Sunstone Management logoSeats are still available for the USC CMF Summit & Sunstone Challenge Final Pitch Event on April 11 in downtown Los Angeles, which includes a free lunch! 

This event is the culmination of the 2nd Annual Sunstone Economic Development Challenge @ USC Price. For the last six weeks, graduate students in the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy have been working with economic development experts in five L.A.-area cities to develop an economic development approach supporting innovation, business attraction, and job creation for each city. 

Sunstone Management, Inc., through its Sunstone Community Fund, sponsors the challenge and provides a $5,000 prize to the student team with the best presentation. The USC City/County Management Fellowship (CMF) oversees the program. 

Sunstone CEO and Managing Partner John Keisler created the Challenge to connect public, private and education sector partners to identify innovative economic development solutions for city and county governments. He is a USC Price School graduate and was the Economic Development Director for Long Beach before joining the private capital investment management firm Sunstone. 

“It is a real thrill to watch what these future leaders come up with strategic plans to help enrich our communities through economic development,” Keisler said. “It also sparks ideas any municipal government official can take back to their own city to attract new businesses and create jobs.” 

Ryan Phong, Sunstone’s Research & Management Analyst, is the Challenge’s program advisor. He noted that staff members are welcome to attend as well as city managers and economic development directors. There is no charge to attend, but advance registration is required. 

This year’s participating cities are Culver City, Lomita, Pasadena, San Bernardino and Torrance. Last year, four cities – Long Beach, El Segundo, Garden Grove and Irvine – partnered with the student teams. 

This year’s final pitch event will take place at the USC Hotel in Los Angeles. Doors open at 9 a.m. and the program begins at 10. There will be a panel discussion with local government executives, and lunch will be served before the live pitches from the student teams. 

Pitch judges are Armine Chaparyan, City of South Pasadena city manager; Karin Koch, executive director of University Lab Partners; and Deepak Bahl, program director of the USC Center for Economic Development. 

For more information about the Challenge, email To register for the April 11 event, go to 

About Sunstone Management  

Sunstone Management is a diversified private capital management firm with headquarters in Southern California that provides a range of early-stage venture capital, real estate and fixed income funds to qualified and accredited investors The firm delivers new and exciting options for economic growth through innovative public-private partnerships, making use of its unique experience across government, education and private sectors. Identified by Financial Times as one of America’s Fastest Growing Companies three years in a row. Ranked 18th in the United States on the list of most active venture capital firms by PitchBook. 

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