Health and Fitness 2015 in NYC

Walking into a Tech in Motion event for the first time might be overwhelming. Here you are at a new event where you potentially don’t know anyone. But if you were at Tech in Motion NYC’s January event, you remember that you’re at a WeWork space, and you know people who work in WeWork spaces (and love it!), and then you remember that it’s a demos event, where companies are there to show off their latest product. Nearly everyone has come independently, or with a colleague and that it’s basically a room full of friendly faces.

Find a Tech in Motion demo night to network at in your city on our event list.

One Thursday this winter, that was the scene at WeWork Soho West. Filling the space were engineers, developers, investors, tech enthusiasts and health aficionados. At the cross-section of these people were health techies, an impressive group of people and companies that strive to bring simplicity to the varied aspects of health. Said Matt Hacknney, a Tech in Motion member: “You find a little bit of everything here—I met someone in the health care industry who’s a dietician, so it’s not just ‘tech’ people, but I have met a few ‘techies,’ a few designers, a few developers – but while varied techies and non-techies.”

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The demo companies covered a significant gamut of the health care industry: In attendance were Alcohoot, “a smartphone breathalyzer that can plug into any smartphone”; Body Labs, a company that digitizes all of the data related to individual bodies; LoseIt!, a smartphone-based weight loss app; Pager, a company that allows for on-demand access to doctors; and Smart Vision Labs, which created a smartphone-based device to do eye exams. Each set up a boot complete with interactive demos and swag.

Interested in participating in a Tech in Motion event? Send us a message.

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Chika Ota of Smart Vision labs compared Tech in Motion to other events saying, “I think here people are more interested in learning about each other and each other’s companies and seeing what’s out there in the tech world, so there’s probably a slightly more tech savvy crowd here.”

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In addition to the wonderful demos, healthy treats were enjoyed all around: Runa donated kombucha, a delicious probiotic tea and red and white wine—for heart health—were enjoyed. To keep it healthy, mixed nuts and fresh veggies were scattered around the venue.

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It was clear by the end of the night that those who had arrived alone were leaving with a new network of potential friends and colleagues, and that everyone in attendance was ready to kick off 2015 the healthy way. Join Tech in Motion NYC to keep up to date with upcoming events so you can leave one with new connections of your own. 

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What You Should Know About Startup Incubators

Written by Chris Norris of EvoNexus

Startup incubators provide startups a faster, better chance of success through mentorship driven programs. In essence, that’s the allure of an incubator.

Incubators typically provide startups the key ingredients needs for success: office space, the best network of mentors and investors, networking events, collaboration with other like-minded entrepreneurs and a program that drives a startup to move fast. Incubators are often seen as the best place to launch a startup. It’s rich with benefits and allows the startup to focus on company and product development without having to worry about the hassle of things like leasing an office or getting an Internet connection set up. For most startups, creating and innovating sounds a lot more appealing than waiting four hours for the cable guy that may or may not show up.

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In addition to giving companies the freedom to focus on work, incubators give startups access to business networks and investor contacts they otherwise might not even know how to find. In exchange for all these great benefits, the startup typically gives up some form of equity to the incubator or pays a fee. Y-Combinator takes 7%, the 500 startups accelerator takes 5%, and there are some programs that take even more, as much as 50%!

For some entrepreneurs, this can be more than worth the benefit received in return.   Access to a network as strong as those offered from world-renowned programs like Y-Combinator or 500 startups can be tough to beat. However, there are several options out there that don’t require any equity or fees.  One such option is a local incubator in San Diego and Irvine that has proven an excellent accelerator or incubator program does not need to come with the stipulation of giving up anything in return.

Where EvoNexus differs from traditional incubators is that they offer startup companies all these benefits without requiring any equity or IP-related obligations from the company. In other words, entrepreneurs reap all the benefits of the incubator without having to sacrifice any shares or percentage of their company.

EvoNexus was formed by local San Diego entrepreneurs who wanted to inspire the talented people in San Diego to launch startups.  EvoNexus wants to move the needle in growing the San Diego economy.  Their mission is to build a sustainable community supported, technology business incubator to launch companies, raise capital and create outcomes.

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With 3 locations, over 83 admitted startups to date and 88% of those startups still active, it would appear the organization is succeeding.

EvoNexus is a fully pro-bono and community supported technology incubator that has a mentor driven program, hosts speaker and networking events, and workshops on a regular basis for the incubator’s aspiring entrepreneurs.

EvoNexus gives companies access to executive level contacts from large tech companies like Qualcomm, Sony, LG, Samsung, etc.  Additionally, EvoNexus has strategic funding partnerships with Qualcomm, Cisco, and Mitchell International.  Each respective company has a representative on the EvoNexus selection company and will consider investing seed funding into startups admitted that fit within their areas of interest.

The relationships EvoNexus has built over the years with these companies, as well as others, has resulted in eight companies being acquired and $573 million in total venture funding and acquisition outcomes by companies from the EvoNexus incubator.

Accelerators and incubators have become increasingly important to startups all across the country, especially in southern California. It’s why establishments like EvoNexus have been able to grow and thrive. As the region’s only fully pro bono tech incubator, EvoNexus is launching a third location in Irvine, hoping to replicate its success in San Diego by being a resource and a hub for startups.

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About the Author 

Chris Norris is the marketing coordinator at EvoNexus. Chris earned his B.A. in Communications and Economics from Southwestern University and his Masters in Global Business Management from the University of Alabama. Prior to joining EvoNexus, Chris was involved in the creation of startups and served in the United States Peace Corps. His hobbies include writing and playing sports.

DC Tech Titans Talk Entrepreneurship, Co-founders and the Power of No

Tech in Motion’s DC chapter put on their first ever fireside chat this fall, hosting Adam Zuckerman, founder of Fosterly and Dan Berger, CEO and founder of Social Tables to speak about startups. Joe Colangelo, co-founder and CEO of Bear Analytics, moderated the conversation for the night with a heavy emphasis on content but a far more laid-back and intimate approach than the typical panel discussion.

Find a tech talk near you on Tech in Motion’s event list.

The event took place at the Artisphere, a local arts center located in Arlington, Virginia, which was once the site of the Newseum. The evening kicked off with networking in the Lower Town Hall, an open concept space equipped with a bar and art installations. The discussion then moved to the Dome Theater, which provided the perfect setting for the audience to interact with our speakers.

With Joe at the helm of the conversation, his easy-going personality and knowledge of the startup world was on display as he expertly moderated what proved to be a very insightful and engaging dialogue. His two speakers for the night, however, were no strangers to speaking up in front of the local technology community.

Adam Zuckerman of Fosterly was a recognizable figure to many in the audience as an important player in the DC tech space. He is well known for his work at Fosterly as well as various advising roles to the community at large. Adam calls upon his unique background in business, law, and technology to help galvanize the entrepreneurial community in the greater Washington, DC area.

Dan Berger is the CEO and founder of Social Tables, a hospitality software company with a thriving culture based in Washington, DC. Dan has been described as a “relentless and focused entrepreneur” and recognized 40 Under 40 in the meetings industry by Collaborate Magazine and Connect Meetings and named to Successful Meetings Magazine’s “Most Influential” list.

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When the networking portion of the night wrapped up, attendees eagerly took their seats in the Dome Theater to listen to these two experienced entrepreneurs. After going over their individual backgrounds, the discussion kicked off with Joe prompting Adam and Dan about the dedication they feel towards their companies.

Gone is the 40 hour work week – Adam stated the necessity of his 6 day work week schedule in order to make sure that Fosterly happens. Adam recommended that audience members find a job they would normally do as a hobby, because in the entrepreneurial realm, Work/Life balance is nonexistent.

“I’m very bought in, I don’t unplug. It’s a luxury which I don’t allow myself,” Dan remarked.

Dan was on the same page with Adam’s line of reasoning, stating that Social Tables was a side project on which he originally dedicated nights and weekends to. However, he quit his day job when a future investor didn’t believe him committed enough.

If anyone doubted the commitment of these two individuals and countless others in the tech community in D.C., that was put to rest as chuckles and murmurs of agreements followed Adam saying that “Entrepreneurs are the only people on Friday or the weekend who say, ‘Whoa, wish it was Monday.’”

After giving a brief history about Social Tables and how it came to fruition, Dan spoke on the topic of co-founders and how the relationship with his own came to an end. Dan said he realized two major factors eventually highlighted how he and his co-founder could no longer see eye to eye on the best course of action for their company.

“Don’t look for friendship or a different risk profile,” Dan said candidly.

Adam elaborated on the delicate nature of the co-founder relationship, adding that “you might spend more time talking to your co-founder than your family”. In the end, Joe, Adam, and Dan all agreed the most important thing to do was what most benefited the company, no matter how ‘messy’ things became.

Adam brought up a common misconception that a lot of individuals have towards those who have their own businesses; they believe that when you found your own company, you don’t have to answer to anyone. The reality, according to Adam, is that “you don’t stop answering to people. You answer to employees, investors, and the clients you want, have, and lost.”

On another note, it’s easy to take on too much when starting your own business. Dan shared insight on perhaps one of the most difficult lessons of establishing a startup: the power of ‘No’. Both Adam and Dan agree that it’s better to focus on doing a few things well than taking on more tasks or clients; they both firmly stated that it is okay to say ‘no’ and leave things on the table rather than over-commit.

The night ended with an extremely engaging Q & A session, where local entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts were able to pose questions to the speakers about their experiences as well as ask for advice. Tech in Motion DC looks forward to the next tech talk – Join your local chapter to attend one of our free events in 2015.

The Future of Virtual Reality

1097723620Written by Arthur van Hoff, CTO at Jaunt

Virtual reality is something many people have heard of, but few have experienced. Yet trying to put it into words is, as one blogger stated, “like trying to take a picture of your favorite song.” Poised to disrupt the way we see, live and engage with the world, the fully immersing experience of VR has the potential to change the face not just of gaming or entertainment, but has implications for education, travel, healthcare, real estate, and more.

Today, you can put on VR goggles and have an immersive experience beyond your imagination – with high-definition 360-degree, 3D video and binaural audio, you can feel as though you’re in the world’s most spectacular places, on stage next to your favorite musician, or on the field cheering on your home team, even when you’re thousands of miles away.

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The truly exciting part about virtual reality is that this is just the beginning. The potential applications for this technology is something that excites us tremendously and we are continuously exploring.

Much of the content that is currently being developed for virtual reality goggles is simulated or digitally produced, along the lines of video games. At Jaunt, we’re building the full-stack technology to create cinematic VR. This includes the camera, software editing, and content production. Instead of exploring a simulated world, you can be transported to other places in the real world.

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This also means exploring new means of storytelling beyond the current capabilities of traditional film-making. We’re discovering new ways to use the technology, and it’s opening up huge new doors for writers, directors, actors, artists, and other content creators.

We shared some of what we’ve discovered and created at the Tech In Motion event this week. We enjoyed sharing the experience of cinematic VR with you and you’ll see some action photos in an event recap posted later in the month.

Tech in Motion Silicon Valley is also proud to announce their September event, Security & Technology: BYOD, Home, & Mobile {Sponsored By Microsoft & Appvance}. You can RSVP here.

arthurAbout the author: Arthur van Hoff is serial entrepreneur and was most recently CTO at Flipboard. He started his career in Silicon Valley at Sun Microsystems where he was an early developer of the Java programming language. Since then he has started several successful companies. Arthur has expertise in machine learning, big data, mobile applications, 3D printing, and computational photography. He is originally from the Netherlands and has a master’s degree in Computer Science from Strathclyde University in Glasgow.

Kids, Music, and Entrepreneurship

Jon Kraft PhotoThe first time my business partner Girish Venkat pitched me the idea for Thrively, I was in the middle of working with Bill Gross at Idealab to get a company called UberMedia off the ground, and we desperately needed a CTO. Although I loved Girish’s vision, I knew I couldn’t abandon my other project, so I flipped the tables on him and recruited him to be our CTO. Girish and I worked together for over two years at Ubermedia, but eventually the pull of Thrively became too much, and we made the decision to join forces and get started building it.

The “pull” of this project was not just intellectual, but emotional. My strengths lie in the world of multidimensional analysis, slicing and dicing data, and breaking things down into their individual components so that they can be better understood. I helped to build several companies using these principles, most notably Pandora where we embarked on the Music Genome Project.  Thrively uses similar principles to match kids to activities and opportunities.  I was fascinated by the idea that by understanding children’s underlying strengths and how activities build and support those strengths, we can connect kids to the activities which can have the greatest impact.

I have spent most of my adult life working with kids in various ways. When I went to Stanford, the fall quarter – as incredible as it was – at some point felt like a trap. I felt like a gerbil in a giant, utopian habitat, but unable to escape. It was both an entirely new and intimidating social experience and a stressful and intense academic experience, and the campus was so huge and all-encompassing that I really never left. At least, I had no idea of how to do it. By the time the winter quarter hit, I knew I had to find a way off campus, and by spring, I found my outlet and my sanity coaching Little League in Palo Alto. I continued to do that for five years, and I also picked up coaching at the Stanford Area Youth Basketball League my sophomore year. I never felt trapped on campus again, because I was connected to the community in a fundamental way, through kids.

As the father of three incredible children, I am constantly amazed by the energy with which they throw themselves into their activities, and I find myself fascinated by what appeals to them in each one they love, and what makes them want to stop going to other ones. There is nothing more exciting than a child who has discovered something they’re passionate about. But it’s not always easy!

Girish’s idea for Thrively turned me on to strength-based education, and the idea that, if we built this right, we would democratize a very important element of education and personal development – that which occurs outside of school. No longer do you have to be a superhuman parent scouring the nooks and crannies of the Internet for unique opportunities that you think will inspire passion in your kids. You can simply engage with a platform that will understand your children’s strengths, connect them to the vast world of opportunity, and allow our engine – the same kind of seemingly magical and omniscient engine that allows Pandora to construct the perfect radio station – to direct you and your family to incredible opportunities you may never have discovered.

A big thank you to Jon for speaking at Tech in Motion Orange County.

About Jon Kraft

Jon Kraft is the co-founder and CEO of Thrively, a website that helps children identify their strengths, and recommends targeted extracurricular opportunities to help children build on those strengths. Jon is married, the father of 3, and in addition to starting a number of technology companies in his career (including Pandora), he has been a dedicated youth sports coach for more than 30 years.

Recap: A Los Angeles Startup Panel

Recently, Tech in Motion: Los Angeles hosted their one-of-a-kind meet-up: a startup-based event that focused on the business and entrepreneurial side of tech start-ups. Hosted at nearby Loyola Marymount University, the evening consisted of a Q&A style panel featuring four successful start-ups in the LA area: Surf Air, CARD.com, Valarm Corp and Sendify! The moderator, a professional from the LMU staff, introduced a few general questions for the panelists to answer. The questions were relevant to marketing, business strategy, finding a business partner, and overall successful tips regarding their experience in their own start-ups.

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The night kicked off with mixing and mingling amongst the Tech in Motion guests. Networking was on the minds of many who attended, and the space allowed for an easy flow for meeting fellow attendees. The large display of catered food was also a huge hit!

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The panelists, not knowing one another prior to the event, were very charismatic and cohesive throughout the night. They seemed to be on the same page and they all offered similar advice, while agreeing with each other during the open dialogue. Ron Lin of CARD.com provided the audience with a unique strategy called the “Bad Idea Friend.” Here, he recommended bouncing an idea off a friend who generally has bad ideas to see whether they approve or not. This humorous approach put the audience at ease, and allowed for a dynamic discussion between panelists and audience members. Their passion for the start-up community was very evident in their thoughtful answers. The most important insight that the panelists agreed on was to make sure you have a thorough and complete business plan – including ample funding – BEFORE finding a business partner and/or team. Wade Eyerly, co- founder and CEO of Surf Air shared his enthusiasm and optimism with the guests in regards to finding an able and willing team.

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At the end of the evening, all four panelists were very popular with the Tech in Motion members, who were eager to introduce themselves and bounce ideas off of one another. This was a very successful and unique event for Tech in Motion LA!

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