ExCITE Riverside: A Startup Accelerator Program offering Mentorship, Capital, and Connections

By: Sharjeel Sohaib


Sep 29, 2021


ExCITE Riverside

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“It’s almost always harder to raise capital than you thought it would be, and it always takes longer. So plan for that.”Richard Harroch, Venture Capitalist. 

With that in mind, ExCITE Riverside is a startup accelerator that helps select startups with promising MVPs and founders as a way to rapidly scale growth. Led by UC Riverside, in partnership with the County of Riverside and the city of Riverside, the accelerator is located at 10th St. in downtown Riverside, California,

ExCITE currently houses 21 startups in various stages of development, including DeepBits, SmartBot360, StarNav, and Apsidal.

Program Structure

ExCITE runs a 6-12 month startup accelerator program and facility for technology startups. It chooses the growth-ready companies from Inland Southern California and provides them with access to:

  • Mentorship
  • Liquidity opportunities
  • Network and community
  • Professional & strategic resources
  • Lab space and specialized equipment

Startup Tool Box

ExCITE has developed a key resource called the ‘startup toolbox.’ It bundles services and pre-negotiated packages with local law firms and banks, HR benefits, accounting services, and CRO referrals. Some details of the toolbox might give you an idea of how ExCITE adds value to its startups, given that acquiring these services on your own usually requires time and money, two key resources in scarcity for early-stage startups.

Legal Assistance

For instance, law firms like DLA Piper, BB&K, Stubbs Alderton, Markiles LLP, and others provide ExCITE startups with a set package of services at no charge, including incorporation/entity formation, standard legal documents (NDAs, employment agreements, etc.), and assistance with a pre-funding cap-table. 

Financial Support

On the financial front, ExCITE has the Silicon Valley Bank and Square 1 Bank onboard to provide startups with no-deposit, no-fee bank accounts, an essential element of applying for SBIR or STTR grants.

Accounting Services

Early Growth Financial Services offers low-cost, fixed-price professional accounting services through the JumpStart program for early-stage companies. Beyond accounting services, they also provide access to a CFO, financial modeling, and tax services.

For payroll set-up, tax filings, and planning for SBIR and other grants compliance, ExCITE startups can utilize the services of Moss Adams, a firm to guide very early-stage companies with complimentary consultations regarding accounting, as mentioned earlier.

Other support areas include hosting from AWS and marketing support services by SendGrid, Raincross, and Crowdsmart. Check out the ‘Toolbox’ page of ExCITE to understand what the program offers.

Community Focused Events

if your startup becomes part of the ExCITE Riverside accelerator, you will have plenty of support in the form of community-focused events. Some key organizations it has partnered with include 1 Million Cups – a Kauffman Initiative, TechStars Startup Week, Tech Meetups including Riverside.IO, WordPress Meetup, and other ongoing events that help you stay connected.

We covered this in our Weekly Wire Round up

Startups Graduating from ExCITE Riverside

Some well-known startups graduating from the ExCITE Riverside accelerator are Blue, Farm Sense, and Globe Biomedical.


Also called the digital business card for the 21st century, Blue is a mobile app and an NFC-Powered smart card to share your email, LinkedIn, Twitter, & more by swapping the card to a smartphone. The startup is an ExCITE Riverside graduate and has also raised $1M in crowdfunding on Republic, a popular crowd-funding platform.

Globe Biomedical

Globe Biomedical, founded by engineering faculty members from California Baptist University, joined ExCITE in 2018 and benefited from its events, workshops, training, and mentoring provided by EPIC SBDC and led by UC Riverside.

The startup received SBIR Phase I and Phase II funding for almost $1 million, making it the second graduate of ExCITE. 

“Without the space and incubation at ExCITE, we probably would not have been awarded the SBIR Phase II grant. The founders have deep roots here in Riverside. It’s a terrific community, and we are excited to grow Globe right here in the heart of the Inland Empire.”

Globe Biomedical COO Matthew Rickard.

“The biggest reason FarmSense has gotten where it is today is with the help of ExCITE and EPIC SBDC,”

Leslie Hickle, CEO FarmSense


FarmSense worked with ExCITE for four years, as well as UCR’s EPIC Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and raised $2 million in non-dilutive capital after the $7.5 million from previous academic research funding.

“The biggest reason FarmSense has gotten where it is today is with the help of ExCITE and EPIC SBDC,” Hickle said. “Most startups fail because they don’t have this kind of support,” said CEO and co-founder Leslie Hickle.

Some other startups using ExCITE Riverside as their launchpad are:

  • DeepBits
  • Sarcix
  • SmartBot360
  • Neighmo
  • Zybooks
  • VNergy
  • Kids That Code

Our goal at Startempire Wire is to act as a megaphone to connect the dots between the best startups, events, and people in the Inland Empire. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, and like/follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.  


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