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avatar for Taj Ahmad Eldridge

Taj Ahmad Eldridge

Babylon Ventures & ExCITE Accelerator
Director
Riverside/San Francisco
Taj Ahmad Eldridge serves as the co-founder and Managing Partner of Babylon Ventures, a venture fund dedicated to manufacturing & logistics within the United States. In addition, Eldridge serves as the Director for the ExCITE Riverside Accelerator under the Office of Technology Partnerships (OTP) at the University of California at Riverside in Riverside, California. ExCITE is a collaboration between the County and City of Riverside and the University of California Riverside. Eldridge spearheads a division geared towards facilitating the successful growth of startup companies engaged in entrepreneurial research and development of advanced technologies with the intent to create high tech jobs in the county of Riverside, California.ExCITE, founded over 2 years ago as the Center for Innovation Technology & Entrepreneurship, focuses on accelerating new startups by providing a location for the growing advanced tech startup community, mentorship by successful entrepreneurs and venture partners who have been down the same path, and creating access to financial resources, partnerships, and information to help entrepreneurs succeed. ExCITE is unique in the University Accelerator startup space because of the direct collaboration with both the City of Riverside and the County of Riverside. Startups that have been residents at ExCITE include Sutro, founded by the University of California Riverside graduate Ravi Kurani and Zyante, with products such as Zybooks, founded by University of California Riverside faculty Dr. Frank Vahid.In addition to working with the strong local community resources and partners in Riverside, Eldridge assembled national partnerships in legal services, IP, accounting, banking, and creative services to help streamline startups in the region, modeled after the QB3 program at the University of California San Francisco. Eldridge recently partnered with Boulder, Colorado-based SendGrid founded by University of California Riverside graduates Tim Jenkins, Isaac Saldana, Jose Lopez. The partnership with SendGrid allows the company’s highly successful SendGrid Accelerate program to be available for ExCITE resident startups. Eldridge also recently created a strategic partnership with Stripe's new legal offering Atlas and is currently negotiating with a large auto service provide to allow for entrepreneurs at UC Riverside to have access to travel to ExCITE. ExCITE, and the newly created Highlander Venture Fund, will help startups from the university thrive as well as help Riverside become an emerging innovation center to attract research-based startups in the areas of biotech, agtech, logistic tech, energy, and enterprise IT.

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