by Dot Cannon
“This is startup heaven!” commented more than one Tech Day L.A.2016 attendee.
And indeed, Thursday’s event at The Reef, in downtown Los Angeles, more than fulfilled that description.
More than two hundred fifty tech startups were on hand for this second edition of Los Angeles’ largest startup event. And they were showcasing some fantastic ideas!
The exhibit floor was divided into different areas. Among the display categories were “Health and Fitness”, “E-Commerce”, “Music and Media”, “Social Impact” and “Ed Tech”.
Of course, as always, doing justice to all the creativity and enterprise we saw would be impossible. Here are just a few of the highlights.
Software engineer Vanessa Ronan is the founder of “Decorator”. This is a platform that crowdsources interior design–connecting people who need decorating help with people whose hobby is interior design! (And yes, as Vanessa’s sign indicates, their advice is free!)
In the “Ed Tech” area, we met Denise Roth, CEO of Pink Link Capture. This new phone app enables professors to monitor and increase student engagement, and send content directly to students’ phones.
Another exciting offering in the educational area was Helpster.
They connect students with tutors, live, for video chats and assistance with subjects that include algebra, biology, chemistry–and writing essays.
In the “E-Commerce” area we met mechanical engineer Marcelle Durrenberger, who was displaying a 3D printed prototype of the Thesis Couture shoe. This particular innovation may garner a resounding chorus of “THANK YOU!”‘s from professional women. Marcelle has used her engineering and design skills to redistribute the wearer’s weight–so that her feet won’t hurt after a day in high heels!
Meanwhile, shoes were also at the heart of Denny Chou’s innovative idea. Denny, who is Director of Design at Shoobilee, explained how the idea came to him.
“A lot of us have girlfriends (who go out to buy a new pair of shoes for every new occasion),” he said. Observing this “shoe mania” gave Denny and his team an idea.
Mixing a healthy dose of philanthropy with their lady friends’ interest in fabulous shoes led to the creation of Shoobilee, which is a subscription service. Subscribers, according to Shoobilee’s website, can be plan members. receiving up to three pairs of brand-new shoes every month. Members then have the option of buying the shoes, or donating them to a participating Goodwill, before receiving their next selections.
Wandering through the “On Demand” area of the exhibit floor, we met Dean Ramadan of HelloTech. They’re door-to-door tech support, but they cover a lot more than just computers! Their “house calls” also benefit smart-home devices, smart phones, TV and audio.
“What is ‘Lucky Orange‘?” we asked, at one point, as we wandered through the “E-Commerce” area.
Co-founder and COO Danny Wajcman replied that it’s a website analytics service–that automatically captures every visitor to your website. By making a “recording” of visitors’ moves and scrolling, Lucky Orange tells you exactly where they went, and how they’re using the site.
In the “Social Impact” area was another favorite.
Janice Levenhagen-Seeley is the CEO and founder of “ChickTech“, a nonprofit dedicated not only to retaining women in the tech workforce, but to empowering women and girls to pursue careers in technology. ChickTech creates all kinds of cool events involving robotics and other STEAM offerings, including web programming, for grades K through 12.
We also had the opportunity to meet Gabriella Serrato, of Dodgers Accelerator. This is a startup accelerator which R/GA Ventures runs in conjunction with Los Angeles Dodgers. The startups with which they work are ones that combine sports, technology and entertainment, and they recently accepted five startups into their second program.
And in the “Social Media” area, we met the “Clqsix” team. (Their name is pronounced, “click six”.) They’ve developed a social media app for groups, where you can create (or join) a clique, and post selfies!
CMO and Co-Founder Wasiu Animashun says the platform’s designed for cliques throughout the world–and content gets posted on one page that anyone can follow.
We also really liked this innovation, in the “Health and Fitness” area. Meet “Moti”–a “smart” companion, currently on Kickstarter, that helps its owner build better habits.
Moti Public Relations and Communications Manager Su Panya told us the device can be customized to do whatever will motivate a specific action. Moti’s physical presence is a reminder to do something (like an exercise routine, for example). He can respond to that action with a digital “high-five”. Skip your workout, and he may go into an electronic sulk!
Of course, all work and no play could makes for some burned-out entrepreneurs. That never came close to becoming a problem here!
Innovate DTLA was hosting a play area, complete with this game…
Meanwhile, in the Accelerator Alley area, entrepreneurs gave short pitches for their startup concepts throughout the day.
OpenHouseOn.com founder and CEO John Dempsey had brought a special 360-degree camera for his presentation!
John emailed us that he bought the camera about six months ago. Combined with Google’s VR View, he says, the camera (a Ricoh Theta S) allows him to make OpenHouseOn the first nationwide real estate web to give prospective homebuyers a virtual-reality tour. on Android!
John says iPhones and iPads don’t play 360-degree videos, but a Chrome web browser on a different device will let you see both photos and videos.
Missed TechDay, but you’d like to know more? John has now posted his presentation online–and you’ll be able to see it as a 360-degree video OR as VR with your smartphone and virtual-reality goggles. He has kindly sent us the link, which you can access here or in the “Comments” section of this post.
(Los Angeles is the first city in the nation to offer a city-based domain name extension, according to a 2013 BusinessWire® article.)
And, in the course of visiting the exhibits and sitting in on the pitches, we were delighted to see a familiar robot.
“He wants you to play with him. If you set him down and leave him be for more than two seconds, he’ll start chirping at you,” Morgan said.
And–that’s a wrap, for TechDay L.A. 2016! Congratulations to them on a great event. A TechDay New York date is soon to be announced.
(Couldn’t make TechDay L.A. 2016? The next TechDay happens in London, on Friday, October 27th at Old Billingsgate from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Like its Los Angeles counterpart, TechDay London is free to attend, but registration is required. Here’s the link for more information.)