Author: Clare Le

Pick My Solar Wins at Techweek Launch LA

Congratulations to LACI Portfolio Company Pick My Solar, who won the $50,000 prize as champions of the Techweek Launch LA pitch competition on Friday November 13. Competing against 100 startups all over LA and judged by a panel of prominent venture capitalists, Pick My Solar was also voted People’s Choice award winner on Twitter.

Techweek’s Launch Championship pits top startups from around the country and the world in a competition to crown Techweek’s Launch Grand Champion. Pick My Solar now moves on to Miami in December to compete against winners in Miami, Detroit, Kansas City, Chicago and New York competitions. LACI wishes Max, Chris, and the whole Pick My Solar Team the best as they continue on.

UBI Recognizes LACI as One of Two High Impact Incubation Programs

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada (November 3, 2015) – At the UBI Awards and Networking Event in Toronto on November 3, 2015, it was announced that the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) was recognized as one out of only two High Impact Incubation Programs in North America, based on UBI’s Global Benchmark Study of 2015. LACI was noted for its contribution to the growth of its local economy by catalyzing job creation, providing high-quality incubation services to its client startups, especially on access to fund indicators.

LACI has also been shortlisted for the UBI Global World Rankings Announcement for Top University Associated Business Incubators 2015 on December 15 in Stockholm, Sweden.

This is the second consecutive year LACI has received an honor from UBI’s world-renowned rankings, as the 4 year old incubator was recognized as the #6 Incubator globally by UBI in 2014, from over 800 candidates in 67 countries.

Based on the one of the most comprehensive frameworks to measure incubator performance, UBI Index examines over 66 distinct criteria to determine each incubator’s economy enhancement performance, such as job creation and talent retention, value for their client base, such as access to funds and competence development, and the client’s post-incubation performance (see www.ubiindex.com  for details).
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A New International Partnership in Support of Cleantech Entrepreneurs

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Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and MaRS Cleantech announce a new international partnership in support of Cleantech entrepreneurs

LOS ANGELES, CA (November 3, 2015) — Tuesday was the dawning of a new international collaboration as the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) and MaRS Cleantech, a division of MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, have announced an co-operation agreement aimed at increasing the adoption of clean technologies and the advancement of a sustainable future for both cites.

LACI and MaRS Cleantech will focus on several joint programs aimed at advancing cleantech innovation globally, including the development of a reciprocal “Landing Pad” program, enabling cleantech entrepreneurs to access programming, networks and platforms to assist companies in both Canadian and California markets.

In addition, the partnership will concentrate on projects such as the development of LACI’s Network for Global Innovation (NGIN), which brings together innovation institutions around the world to provide access to customers and investors worldwide, share best practices and accelerate the commercialization of clean technology on a global scale.

The agreement was signed at the new La Kretz Innovation Campus in Downtown Los Angeles in an event co-hosted by VerdeXchange and LACI that featured remarks by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, and a panel discussion featuring the topic Cleantech Collaboration: California and Ontario, Canada.

“We’re delighted to announce this collaboration between hubs in Toronto and Los Angeles during Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s visit to California,” said Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS. “Partnering with LACI will create opportunities for innovative cleantech companies in Canada and California to collaborate and grow globally.”

“We are thrilled to be entering into this co-operation agreement with one of Canada’s premier innovation institutions,” said Fred Walti, CEO, LACI. “Both LACI and MaRS are dedicated to helping cleantech innovators get their ideas to market — no matter where in the world that market is. This is an exciting example of the best kind of collaboration between two technology leaders and important trading partners.”
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SoCal Edge: Accelerating Investments in Innovative Building Technologies

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SoCal Edge First Movers and Advisory Board with representatives from the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Kilroy Realty, UCLA, Hudson Pacific Properties, Jones Lang LaSalle, Morlin Asset Management, Los Angeles Green Building Council, Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites, Southern California Edison, ABM, and RedCar Properties LTD.
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By Monica Kanojia

Any time industry leaders and stakeholders are brought together great strides can be made toward accomplishing mutual goals. The Los Angeles Better Buildings Challenge (LABBC) provided a platform to do just that during its Third Annual Building Technology Showcase, where leading technology companies gave fast-pitch presentations on the best energy and water solutions available in the marketplace to the LABBC’s network of property owners, property managers, and contractors.

The showcase, co-hosted by LACI, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the City of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, represented a breadth of technology experts with presentations ranging from water recycling and water metering to building controls to cooling tower solutions. Each expert presented their technology’s features and applications as well as average energy and cost savings, ROIs, rebates, and successful case studies. Networking after the presentations led to a number of productive connections.

Full story…
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Hyperloop, Lyft Execs Predict Profound Shifts in Personal Mobility

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by Michael Walker
10/22/2015 5:48pm PDT

The day after ‘Back to the Future’ ‘Day, leaders at the GloSho15 conference predicted a near future of self-driving electric cars and 15-minute trips from L.A. to Vegas: “We don’t have to reinvent the wheel — this is existing technology.”

Full Story….
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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to Deliver Keynote Address at GloSho15

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A long-time champion of sustainability and job creation, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will deliver the keynote address on the morning of October 21st, Day 1 of GloSho’15. In April, Mayor Garcetti released L.A.’s first-ever Sustainable City pLAn, a roadmap for accomplishing back to basics short-term results while establishing a path to strengthen and transform LA in the decades to come. By taking on the challenges of the environment, economy and equity together, the Mayor’s pLAn is moving the City of Los Angeles towards a truly sustainable future.

The Mayor’s address kicks off a day of programming featuring compelling keynote speakers, technology demonstrations, and high-level thought leadership panels, featuring top investors who will provide an insider’s perspective on the evolving Cleantech investment ecosystem. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an investor, no other Cleantech conference in North America brings you this kind of access to intellectual capital, business opportunities and investment.

Visit glosho.la frequently for the latest GloSho’15 program.
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Dave Twomey and Juicer

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juicer.pc-fIn the search for authenticity in today’s consumer culture, words like “artisanal”, “one-of-a-kind”, and “custom” get thrown around rather casually, in a longing for a time when mass production and homogeny didn’t define American transportation options.

In a remote garage workshop in the hills of Echo Park overlooking Los Angeles, Dave Twomey combines cultural and artistic inspiration from Southern California’s past with the electric vehicle industry and green movement that are shaping the region’s future to create Juicer Electric Motorbicycles. Hand-built by Dave himself, each bike is a product that combines components of lifestyle, culture, and art in ways that set it far apart from other e-bikes on the market.

Originally from Oakland, California, Dave moved south as a young man to study design at UCLA. Having a deep appreciation for SoCal-born art, Dave cites Robert Williams, George Barris, Big Daddy Roth and Von Dutch as some of his influences. LA being the home of lowbrow art, kustom kulture, and hot-rod culture, these were the forces that shaped the inspiration for what would eventually become Juicer. Looking closer, it’s clear how Juicer pays homage to these artists and movements. “Kids back in the ‘50s would buy the cheapest cars around, leftovers from the ‘20s and ‘30s, and turn them into hot rods, making them special and personal. That’s been going on ever since – Long Beach, East LA, San Diego, and now Hollywood all have this strong car culture. Crazy, imaginative machines come out of Southern California, and I think it’s only appropriate that Juicer be thrown into the mix”. Accordingly, Dave runs Juicer as a custom shop and builds each bike to the buyer’s specifications. For people who share Dave’s love for working with their hands, he builds the Juicer anticipating the prospect of customers “tricking out” the bike with simple hand tools themselves – encouraging a 21st century incarnation of hot rod culture by way of an electric vehicle.

In addition to the cultural influences of Southern California, the Juicer was also inspired by the first motorcycles of the early 20th century. Specifically, Dave references loop frame bikes of the board track era in the 1910s. He points out that for the first time since that day and age, the components of an electric bike are equivalent in power and weight as they were in traditional motorcycles 100 years ago. To him, it’s natural for the Juicer to resemble bikes of that era. While most electric motor vehicles hide their components behind plastic fairings, Dave makes it a point to be honest with the materials, showing them for what they are and arranging them in a visually harmonious way. “Part of the appeal and sexiness of a cruiser bike is that you can see the motor, see the belts and chain spinning, and so far that’s been an unfulfilled niche in two wheeled electric vehicles”. Where motors served as the central focal point of early motorcycles, Juicer applies the principle of form following function to Juicer’s electric battery pack.

Post-JuicerIMG_4986_Photo2The craftsmanship, design, and philosophy behind the Juicer certainly differentiate it from other e-bikes out there. While most of these products are aimed at avid cyclists, Dave’s work aims to appeal to motorheads. “I see the electric bike not as a bicycle-plus, but as its own type of vehicle, one that’s underexplored. Rather than looking for customers who want to pedal around or want a longer range, I’m looking for people who want to ride”. This includes young people in the beach communities who can commute in comfort, ease, and style, and older customers who are moving off their motorcycles but don’t want to totally give up the cruising lifestyle.

Through targeting the latter, Dave feels he can make a larger impact as a green company by widening the net of potential EV customers. Instead of competing with other e-bike companies for the same group of clean-minded consumers, Juicer is a product that “reaches across the aisle”, bringing some of the worst eco-offenders into the clean energy fold, without having to compromise a powerful machine and some of the physical and aesthetic characteristics they’re accustomed to.

Dave is an artist whose work juxtaposes the past with the future, while filling an underrepresented niche in the electric vehicle market. His long-term goal is for Juicer to survive as an idea, and he is looking for partners in the industry to further evolve this new way of thinking about electric cruisers.

“When the EV museum is 50 years old, what will be in the collection of today’s era? I don’t think it’s going to be the plastic scooters or bikes that have disposable battery packs. I’m trying to make something that is repairable, customizable, and serviced by the end user. This seems like an old fashioned idea today, where we throw away our devices as soon as they stop working or the next new thing comes out.”

To that end, Juicer combines a classic aesthetic in form and craftsmanship with modern technology to create something truly authentic, bringing the vitality of Southern California’s cultural and artistic past into the 21st century.

For now, Dave’s days are spent building in his garage, doing what he loves, building on a little-known idea that has the potential to make a big impact – environmentally, culturally, and artistically.

By: Kara Mazareas
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SoCal Edge Launch

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SoCal Edge was officially announced at the 3rd Annual LABBC Building Technology Showcase on September 15, 2015.

The announcement at the event recognized the initiative’s First Movers & Advisory Board – a group of building owners/manager and local organizations supporting the effort.
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Q & A with Freewire’s Co-Founder and CEO Arcady Sosinov

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In your words, what is FreeWire?

FreeWire is innovative, agile, and fast. In just over a year we went from an idea about mobile electric vehicle (EV) charging to production-ready units called Mobis. We talked to our customers, identified their pain points, and created a solution designed specifically to address them. Mobis allow us to perform Charging as a Service, where chargers are brought to the vehicles instead vehicles being brought to the chargers. Blocked stations, range anxiety, and charge rage are all things of the past with FreeWire. Mobis also eliminate the need for expensive, time-consuming infrastructure projects that ultimately result in underutilized assets. FreeWire is the future of EV charging: easy, scalable, and upgradeable.

What was your inspiration for starting FreeWire?

I’ve had a passion for all things automotive since I was a kid, doing my first brake job at 7 and engine swap at 11. I developed a passion for entrepreneurship about the same time. When I entered Steve Blank’s Lean Launchpad class at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, in an age defined by powerhouse software companies, I knew I wanted to start a company that made a physical product. California was in the throes of a burgeoning EV market and issues with insufficient charging infrastructure were starting to crop up. Leveraging my experience with the automotive industry and my co-founder’s engineering expertise seemed like a perfect combination to address these issues.

What did you do before FreeWire?

I spent the last five years in finance doing emerging market analysis and modeling for a large hedge fund based out of Boston. Before that I was a SQL developer for an accounting software company. I’ve consulted, worked on requirements-gathering, and even started a company selling modified exhausts for BMW M3s. I like to cast a wide net.

What are the best and most difficult parts of running a startup company?

The best parts are the good days. When you get great feedback from investors, strong pull from customers, and good publicity. The worst parts are the bad days, when you question whether there’s anyone who actually wants what you’re selling.

What motivates you to keep at it?

FreeWire is my baby. I dedicate more time, money, and effort than I should, it sometimes kicks me in the shins, and yet I love it unconditionally. Even after a streak of bad days, the rush you get after nailing a pitch and making someone else get as excited as you are makes it all worthwhile.

Where are you from originally? What brought you to LA/ California?

I was born in Russia, but I spent most of my life in Boston. After graduating from Boston University and working in the area for a few years I decided to go back to school for my MBA. I was ready for a break from the Boston winters and had a love for California from the first time I visited. Being accepted to Berkeley’s Haas School of Business sealed the deal, and I headed for the west coast.

The company being founded out of Berkeley’s Haas school, could you tell the readers a little about that process?

One of the classes I took at Haas was Lean Launchpad taught by Steve Blank, who is the father of the lean startup methodology. His philosophy is all about customer discovery, that you shouldn’t spend a dollar on product until you’ve talked to your customers. So that’s exactly what we did. We spent three months traveling all around the Bay Area talking to stakeholders, from EV drivers and facilities managers to politicians and utilities. This was crucial to FreeWire’s pivot from wireless charging to mobile charging. We hypothesized that plugging in was a major pain point which needed to be addressed, but our customers helped us realize that it doesn’t help with the real problems: boring into concrete, laying conduit, permitting, and all the other hassles associated with major construction projects.

Why did you apply to be a portfolio company at LACI?

For the network and support. LACI is the premier cleantech incubator in the United States and is an organization that we absolutely wanted to be aligned with.

How has LACI helped your company?

LACI has made introductions to dozens of potential investors and has provided great advice on a number of our key business decisions. They’ve also generated several leads on the business development side to help us penetrate the LA market. We’ve even entered into a business relationship with another LACI portfolio company, Hive Lighting, to distribute our products for the entertainment industry.

What are the best parts of your relationship with LACI?

I have a fantastic relationship with our Executive in Residence; we’ve kept up with our weekly calls since joining LACI, and amazingly each one is still valuable. Another member of LACI invested in our company personally, so there’s never been a moment to question LACI’s commitment to our success.

Tell us about some of the milestones you’ve reached as a company so far

A lot in short amount of time:

• Idea

• Customer Discovery

• Refined Idea

• Prototype

• Angel Round

• Pre-Production Units

• Production Units

What are some of your short and long-term goals for FreeWire?

Short-term: promote EV adoption using our Mobi Charger and reduce reliance on diesel generators using our Mobi Gen. We have commercial-ready products that earn revenue today and be used to fund our long-term goals.

Long-term: create an ecosystem for second-life EV batteries and be the preferred partner for OEMs. We have the creativity to find innovative solutions to the problems people are currently facing plus the business and engineering skills to execute our ideas. The OEMs are sitting on a valuable asset and we can be the ones to help them unlock it.

How do you see your company having an impact on society at large- environmentally, economically, socially or in other ways?

FreeWire’s contributions to the environment are obvious:

• Reducing reliance on fossil fuels through increased EV adoption, facilitated by increased charging capacity.

• Reducing reliance on fossil fuels by replacing diesel generators with battery-based alternatives.

• Stabilizing the grid by pulling energy at off-peak times and delivering it at peak times.

But there are several social components as well:

• Reduce range anxiety (people being worried about driving an EV because they don’t know if it will have enough range to get home) by providing more charging in more locations, including EV rescue charging.

• Reduce charge rage (people unplugging each other, sitting in EV charging spots all day even if they only need to charge for an hour) that stem from limited charging capacity.

We’re working to make EV charging as much of an afterthought as filling a car with gas.

Learn more about FreeWire
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LACI Wins Grant in SBA Growth Accelerator Fund Competition

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White House Cabinet Member Maria Contreras-Sweet, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) returned to her hometown Tuesday August 4th to visit the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s La Kretz Innovation Campus in Downtown Los Angeles, celebrating LACI and the City of Los Angeles with a pair of awards that will directly impact L.A.’s small business community.

Ms. Contreras-Sweet presented CEO Fred Walti a check for LACI’s win in the SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, applauding LACI’s efforts working with small businesses and green job creation. The grant will help the organization further its mission of accelerating the commercialization of clean technology to grow the innovation economy and enhance its efforts to include a diversity initiative and more inclusive entrepreneurship for underserved Angelenos.

The SBA chose 80 winners from 400 applicants for the Growth Accelerator Fund. “The entrepreneurial ecosystem in America is incredibly exciting and very powerful,” said Javier Saade, Associate Administrator for Office of Investment and Innovation. “Administrator Contreras-Sweet and I welcome this year’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition winners and the important and inclusive work they do in support of innovative and high-growth small businesses.”

All in all, Tuesday was a win-win for LACI and the City of Los Angeles, as the City received the “Dream Big” Award in the SBA’s “Startup in a Day” Program, a grant which L.A. will use to build an open-source web portal aimed at streamlining business licensing and registration, enabling that process to take place in under 24 hours.
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Fred Walti commented, “We are honored that the SBA recognized both LACI and the City of Los Angeles this way, to invest in our efforts to create green jobs and help build a sustainable city.”


Read the full press release here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/08/prweb12890657.htm
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SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, Victor Parker, District Director, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and LACI CEO Fred H. Walti II – Presentation of “Dream Big” Award to City of LA
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Michael Swords, LACI VP Partnerships, Maria Contreras-Sweet, SBA Administrator, Fred H. Walti II, LACI CEO – Tour La Kretz Innovation Campus
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