The Inoak Backstory
Inoak was formed in 2009 by a bunch of Oakland based technology companies including Pandora, North Social, and SkyTide. From 2009 to 2011 the Inoak group hosted meet-ups and tech events focused on cultivating emerging software and technology businesses in Oakland, CA. In 2010 Inoak was commended by the Mayor of Oakland for outstanding community leadership. In 2011 Inoak co-founder Alex Bernstein was recognized by the Oakland Digital Arts and Literacy Center as a Technology leader. In 2012 the community building activities of Inoak were merged into other community groups and city functions and the group ceased operating.
In 2013 the Inoak brand (short for Innovate Oakland) was reborn by entrepreneur/investor Alex Bernstein as an incubator and developer of residential and commercial real estate. Bernstein has spent the past 15 years working and building new companies in Oakland, his love for the East Bay weather, people, culture, and grit has led to investing time and resources in creating infrastructure that will help foster further growth.
Bernstein, a former NFL player, has been featured as one of the most successful professional athletes turned entrepreneurs by Fortune, Inc. Magazine, CNBC, Sports Illustrated, and the Huffington Post.
Alex entered the world of high tech ventures after four seasons in the NFL as an offensive lineman with the Ravens, Jets, Browns, Falcons. His experience with physical pain and screaming coaches with fragile egos serves as the ideal foundation for a career in early stage technology investing.
Alex is also a Co-founder and Managing Partner at North Venture Partners. Since inception North has helped launch new companies, products, and brands including both start-ups as well as new products/divisions for larger companies. North’s latest internal project (North Social) grew from a napkin sketch into a social media marketing & software company with 30,000+ paying customers which culminated in an eight figure exit in 2011.
Prior to North, Bernstein was a Senior Vice President at Virgin Entertainment Group inside Richard Branson’s global Virgin empire. Before joining Virgin Alex helped re-launch a digital music platform called Echo, which was funded by media retailers like Best Buy, Virgin, Borders, and Tower Records.
Bernstein has served as a Vice President of the NFL Retired Players Association of Northern California, and is the owner and developer of Inoak, a commercial and residential real estate development project in Oakland, CA.
Alex graduated from Amherst College and attended the NFL Business Management & Entrepreneurial program at Harvard Business School. Bernstein lives in Alameda, CA with his wife P.J. and their two children.