Tag: Portfolio Companies

Hive Lighting Wins 2016 Award of Excellence at NAB

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LACI Portfolio company Hive Lighting’s new 1000 Watt Plasma Bulb successfully debuted at NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Show 2016 in Las Vegas last week. The 1000 Watt Plasma Bulb took home a 2016 Award of Excellence from ProductionHUB, the global network of freelancers, crew and vendors. The Awards of Excellence recognize the innovation in technology and practice from the NAB Show Floor, the anchor event of the industry.

“We interview hundreds of exhibitors from trade shows across the country to make sure our users are up to date on the tech and skills needed to succeed on set and in the workforce,” says Katrina de Leon, Director of Marketing for ProductionHUB. “Because of this focused view, we are in a unique position to select and spotlight the best of the best from the NAB Show.”

To finalize the award selections, ProductionHUB used a combination of the following criteria: nomination form entries, expert opinion from both industry icons and the ProductionHUB leadership team, and direct feedback from attendees at the show.

The 1000 Watt Plasma Bulb generated lots of buzz on the trade show floor, resulting in interviews with No Film SchoolAbelCine, a feature in ICG Magazine’s April 2016 Gear Guide and more.

Hive’s new 1000 Watt Plasma Bulb is 5 times brighter than their 250 Watt Plasma Bulb, has a CRI of 98, making it the brightest light you can plug into the wall. Pulling only 9.5 amps of power, the 1000 Watt is the equivalent output of a 2,500W HMI or 10,000W Tungsten Incandescent but costs almost 40% less to purchase and over 50% less to operate. All of Hive’s Plasma Fixtures are manufactured in Los Angeles, CA, USA. 

The 1000 Watt Wasp Plasma Par and 1000 Watt Bee Plasma Flood are available now for pre-order and will be available for sale at Cine Gear Expo in June.

Find out more about Hive Lighting at hivelighting.com

Read more about the ProductionHUB NAB Awards of Excellence here

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LACI Portfolio Company Ayyeka Chosen as Runner-up In 2016 Water Data Challenge

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LACI congratulates Ayyeka on it’s great showing at Imagine H2O’s 2016 Water Data Challenge. Ten promising data-driven water businesses were selected from a global field of 90 startups in 20 countries to participate in IH2O’s 7th annual innovation program. Winning teams will participate in IH2O’s rigorous business accelerator, benefitting from cash awards, mentorship, industry exposure, as well as introductions to customers and investors.

“Data is a fundamental tool to improve how we monitor and manage water,” said Andy Wheeler of GV (formerly Google Ventures) who served on the judging panel. “Imagine H2O’s Data Challenge attracted some of the most promising data solutions to tackle pressing water challenges globally.”

Ayyeka is gaining great traction in the field of water and wastewater instrumentation monitoring and control systems. They are nearing completion of their first full scale implementation of their systems with the Cincinnati Municipal Wastewater District and are in the planning stages of a pilot project with the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power.

The Challenge’s winner was Ceres Imaging (Oakland, CA), a breakthrough aerial imaging solution for agriculture. Offering a proprietary imaging technology and analytics platform currently unmatched in the industry, Ceres provides farmers affordable access to actionable data to manage water stress and fertilizer application.

Ayyeka and Apana (Spokane, WA), a commercial water use management and detection platform, were both recognized as runners-up. IH2O’s 2016 cohort offered a full range of innovative data solutions to critical water issues and all ten selectees were showcased at the organization’s annual Water Gala on March 16 in San Francisco.

You can read more here http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/water-innovation-accelerator-showcases-promising-data-startups-300237238.html

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Repurpose Product Featured on Showtime Series “Billions”

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LACI Portfolio Company Repurpose was featured on Season 1 episode 4 of the hit Showtime show Billions starring Paul Giamatti (Sideways) and Damian Lewis (Homeland). The award-winning Repurpose insulated hot cup is being enjoyed by the US Attorney (Giamatti) and his co-workers while they plot to take down the criminal hedge fund manager (Lewis).

Repurpose® has created a line of sustainable tableware made exclusively from plants and they are on a mission to reduce the amount of plastics in the environment, offering high quality, durable, and guilt-free renewable alternatives.

The product placement was achieved in partnership with Green Product Placement, a first-of-its-kind agency helping environmentally friendly products find their way into film and television. This is not the first major placement for Repurpose and GPP, as Repurpose’s cup was featured prominently on Season 1 of House of Cards. Repurpose products have also been seen in shows like VEEP and The Good Wife

For more information on Repurpose, go to https://laincubator.org/portfolio-companies/repurpose/ and http://www.repurposecompostables.com/#intro

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Hive Lighting’s Rutherford and Miller Receive IPA Tesla Award

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Hive Lighting’s Rutherford and Miller Receive IPA Tesla Award

LACI Portfolio Company HIVE Lighting’s co-founders Robert Rutherford and Jon Edward Miller were honored along with Actors, Filmmakers and Technicians gathered for the star-studded 20th annual International Press Academy awards, on Sunday Feb. 21, 2016 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Century City, Calif.

Rutherford and Miller were honored for Hive’s energy efficient, full spectrum, flicker-free plasma lighting systems in the category of Visionary Achievement in Filmmaking Technology for 2015.

“This award is both a gratifying recognition of [Hive Lighting’s] ethos and a challenge for all of us at Hive Lighting to live up to this award’s promise to ‘influence future generations and give rise to further innovation’. We are only just getting started.” said Miller. Rutherford added, “To anyone here working hard on a dream, let this award remind you to keep going, because it may take longer than expected, but as Tesla said, you ‘will prevail in the end and make it a triumphal success.’” Past recipients of the Tesla Award include Director and Inventor James Cameron, George Lucas, Cinematographer Roger Deakins and SteadiCam inventor Garrett Brown.  

The IPA is the largest group of international and domestic entertainment journalists and their annual awards honor the best in film, television and new media. The IPA is the only major awards show comprised of international and domestic entertainment journalists and critics that give awards to film, television, new media and interactive and digital every year. The more than 100 members hail from more than 20 countries.

For a complete list of winners and nominees, as well as photos from the event, go to www.pressacademy.com.

For More on Hive Lighting:

http://hivelighting.com

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Attend Venture Summit West 2016

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Venture Summit | West 

March 1st – 2nd, 2016
Computer History Museum | Mountain View, CA 

Where Innovation Meets Capital 

LACI is pleased to announce its sponsorship and invite you to attend Venture Summit | West presented by youngStartup Ventures.

Special discount.  Use discount code “LACIVIP” and receive $100 off the Current rates.

Come meet, interact and network with more than 500 VCs, Corporate VCs, angel investors, investment bankers and CEOs of early stage and emerging growth companies at the prestigious  Venture Summit | West being held on March 1st – 2nd , 2016 at the Computer History museum in Mountain View.

Whether you’re a startup seeking capital and exposure, or an investor seeking new deals, Venture Summit | West presented by youngStartup Ventures – is one event you won’t want to miss.

 Register at youngStartup Ventures.

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2015: The Year in Pictures

LACI Year In Review 2015

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2015 was a transformative year for LACI. The organization’s beginnings in a converted bus repair terminal have given way to a sparkling new address at La Kretz Innovation Campus, a move that positions LACI at the focal point of cleantech innovation in Los Angeles.

We have many people to thank for this continued growth and good fortune: We’re lucky to have worked with mayors who possess great vision. Honored to work with the LADWP, whose confidence in us is a daily inspiration. Grateful for our academic partners, mentors and advisors: you continue to be a wellspring of innovation and invention.

It’s not all luck: it takes the tireless efforts of our staff, the dedication of our executives, and most of all the creativity and persistence of our portfolio companies to make this all happen.

As we move forward into our 5th year and continue to broaden our outreach, expand our services and further our mission of building great cleantech companies, we wanted to take a look back and once again say to all who give so freely of their time, wisdom, and advocacy: thank you.

LACI Year In Review 2015

(1) The year began with a visit to Greentown Labs, a Boston area incubator who would later join LACI’s Network for Global Innovation (NGIN) on Earth Day, April 22nd  (2) The Advanced Transportation Center of Southern California opened for business at LACI in February (3) LACI’s satellite network continued to expand in 2015, with LACI@CSUN building a successful program in Northridge featuring portfolio companies Got Gift Cards and Project Pals and SVCI in Silicon Valley working with new portfolio company Nevados Engineering (4) LACI CEO Fred Walti is shown visiting NGIN member Borderstep Institute in Berlin last February. In 2015 NGIN grew to 15 members in key markets in 7 countries around the world.

LACI 2015 Year in Review

(5) On April 8th, Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled his landmark Sustainable City pLAn outlining a set of goals and directives to improve Angelenos’ environmental and economic quality of life. The pLAn directly cites $50 million dollars of private investment raised by LACI portfolio companies as an example of “LA’s Leadership to Date.” (6) Pick My Solar had a blockbuster 2015, winning an Outstanding Small Business Ward from the SBA, Techweek’s Grand Championship and the DoE’s Sunshot Catalyst Award   (7) VP of Partnerships Mike Swords is shown giving Secretary of State Alex Padilla a tour of La Kretz Innovation Campus, a hot ticket even before its construction was complete (8) Other Campus visitors included the SBA’s Eileen Sanchez (9) White House Cabinet member Maria Contreras-Sweet, who presented LACI with a $50,000 check for its win in the SBA Growth Accelerator Fund Competition and (10) State Senator Kevin de Leon who also spoke at May’s LACI Leadership Council meeting. Other 2015 Leadership Council speakers included CA Secretary of State Padilla and Brogan Bambrogan of Hyperloop Tech (11) LACI companies enjoyed a successful 2015, including Repurpose (CEO Lauren Gropper pictured) getting shelf space for their line of compostable cups plates and utensils at Safeway stores (12) Chai Energy’s app went live with SDGE, SCE and PG&E in 2015 (CEO Cole Hershkowitz pictured) (13) Isidore Electronics Recycling now employs 13 people full-time and is now the premier R2 certified company in Los Angeles (Kabira Stokes pictured) (14) Freewire Tech’s Arcady Sosinov appeared on CNBC as Freewire won $35,000 in the Secure America’s Future Energy competition with it’s Mobi technology. Other LACI company developments featured Grid Logistics securing a patent for their containerized goods transportation system, Local Roots raised a round of financing and moved into a new headquarters in Vernon. Green Way Labs developed a second brand of cleaner (Verday) and its Masticlean product is carried in 135 Lowes stores. Juicer unveiled a new concept in Motorbicycles, Current EV launched its new website, Perception Robotics , Cal Lithium Battery and Ecoponex continued to advance their disruptive technologies. CAGIX launched its beta site, Vena Water received a $300K round of funding and got to pitch its technology in Dubai. Revoterial continued in its quest to minimize the toxicity of the fashion industry and Xelnt’s client list for it’s NanoTec-ERA continues to grow.

LACI 2015 Year in Review

(15-19) The LACI Cleantech Global Showcase (GloSho15) brought the cleantech world to Los Angeles. This year’s conference was focused on the nexus of three themes: the cleantech investment outlook, innovation, and global markets. Glosho15 featured almost 600 guests, 50+ speakers including LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Steve Westly and CA Secretary of State Alex Padilla, spirited and informative panel discussions, 30+ investors and over 50 companies from 17 different countries presenting their technologies at the JW Marriott at LA Live.

La Kretz Innovation Campus

(20-23) LACI moved into it’s new headquarters at the 60,000 square foot La Kretz Innovation Campus in Downtown Los Angeles on October 30. Owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, this remarkable facility features collaborative workspace, offices, R&D and prototyping labs, conference rooms, a workforce-training center, and more. The campus provides an abundance of options and opportunities for the innovation ecosystem LACI is building and provides physical space for the organization to grow.

LACI 2015 Year in Review - 4th Quarter Photo

(24) November spawned a new international collaboration as LACI and MaRS Cleantech, announced a cooperation agreement aimed at the advancement of a sustainable future for both cities at an event attended by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. (25) In November Vice President of the United States Joe Biden visited LACI to take part in a roundtable discussion with Fred Walti and Mayor Eric Garcetti to discuss jobs and clean technology. (26) Panelists included LADWP General Manager Marcie Edwards, Deputy Mayor of Economic Development Kelli Bernard, LACI Board Members Jim McDermott, Richard Morganstern and David Nahai, TCW Managing Director Tom Soto, as well as several entrepreneurs from LACI’s portfolio companies. (27) LACI was ranked #3 on the list of World Top University Associated Business Incubators for 2015, by UBI Global. (28) Robert Rutherford and Jon Miller of Hive Lighting will receive the International Press Academy’s (IPA) 2015 Tesla Award for Visionary Achievement in Filmmaking Technology for their revolutionary plasma lighting.

Wow. After a year like that, we can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store.
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A Future So Bright: 10 questions with Pick My Solar Co-founders Max Aram and Chris Blevins

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Since Max and Chris started Pick My Solar in 2013, they’ve taken the company from a two-person operation out of a studio apartment in Northridge to being named 2015’s Small Business of the Year by Mayor Eric Garcetti.

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Read on to learn more about Max, Chris, and Pick My Solar’s story – and the bright future ahead for these LA-based entrepreneurs.

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In your words, what is Pick My Solar?

Max: Pick My Solar is an online marketplace that connects homeowners to solar installers through our online bidding platform. We create competition between installers to get the best deals for our customers. As you might know, the solar industry is suffering from a lot of noise that is preventing people from getting the best information. We want to disrupt this market and help homeowners go solar with confidence. The best part is that we don’t charge our customers anything– our service is completely free.

What inspired you to start the company?

Chris: Directly before starting Pick My Solar, I was working in the solar industry in sales, and I found that solar was getting sold for double, sometimes triple what it should be sold for. Salesmen are trained to manipulate and outright lie to homeowners, resulting in a lot of people getting ripped off. At that point, I realized that something needed to be done.

Max: When I started my Master’s degree in Germany, I was exposed to renewable energy and sustainability in general. I came to the US and I realized that the solar market here was very fragmented and totally different from Germany. I knew there was great potential for solar technology to shape the future of our energy model. When I met Chris, we hit it off from the first moment and I realized that he was the partner I needed to start the company I was envisioning.

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

Chris: I’m from Long Island, New York. I went to school in upstate New York, got a mechanical engineering degree, and after that I moved to New Zealand. That’s where I first started to become more of an environmentalist, getting in touch with taking care of the planet because that’s so ingrained in New Zealand’s culture. When I came back, I got a civil engineering job and started a few businesses that were online customer connection services. I flew out to California in 2013 with the hopes of eventually starting a business, but didn’t have a set plan. I crashed on my buddy’s couch for a week, got a job working in solar, and met Max not too far after that.

Max: I left Iran in 2009, 10 days after the fraudulent presidential election. There was chaos and I got into some problems being a student activist. I went to Germany to get my Master’s in global production engineering with a focus on solar. After a few semesters, I had the opportunity to come to the US and I think I made a really great choice. I don’t think an immigrant has the opportunities available here in the states anywhere else in the world. I came here August 2010, landed in Burbank, took a bus to Northridge, and continued my Master’s at CSUN.

How did the two of you meet?

Chris: We met at a solar training course – where solar companies train salesmen, teaching them different tactics before they’re sent into the field. I was there as part of my job, Max was there researching how solar is marketed and sold. Three months later he invites me over to his apartment, tells me the idea he had for a business and we stay up all night talking about it. I didn’t sleep at my house for a week, I kept crashing at his place so eventually I just moved into his apartment.

Max: At the time, we both had full time jobs and said, “ok, this idea is going to be the solution this industry needs. We’re going to disrupt the solar market”. We quit our jobs to dedicate our lives to building Pick My Solar. I had a 600 square foot studio apartment in Northridge, we used boards from IKEA to divide work space from living space. We worked out of there for about 10 months until we joined LACI.

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

Max: Before joining LACI, there were two of us. We were two young kids with a great idea. When we joined LACI we started gaining more attention and respect from the industry and partners. The introductions that LACI has made for us have directly contributed to many of our achievements as a company.

How has LACI helped your company?

Chris: The mentorship is fantastic. We don’t have the experience of growing a company, but our mentors at LACI have been there and done that. Every single question we had – from how to write a proper business email to which strategic direction was best for the company – they had a meaningful answer.

Running a startup company can be a challenging experience. What motivates you to keep at it?

Chris: Our concern for the environment definitely plays a key role. Additionally, I was disgusted with the way the solar industry was bullying homeowners and trying to rip them off. Time and again I saw well-intentioned homeowners throw up their hands in frustration and give up on going solar. It was messed up that salespeople were destroying this new technology’s image by selling it the wrong way. We wanted to change that.

Max: Personally, since my childhood, I’ve loved to build things. My brain works in a way that when I face a problem, I can’t get over it. Either there’s a solution out there that I have to find, or else I have to create one. The solar industry had a problem. Making the impact on the environment and on people’s finances is something that motivates me every day. Every time we receive an email or on a phone call from a happy customer that appreciates our service, that keeps us going.

How do you like doing business in the Los Angeles area?

Max: As an immigrant, the reason I chose LA is because of the diversity – people are very open-minded. That doesn’t just apply to how people interact with each other, but also to their willingness to accept new ideas. It was easier for us to offer such a different solution and have people embrace it. That’s a great part of this culture in LA – we are blessed to start a company here.

Chris: I think it’s great that a lot of people aren’t from here. Everybody has the same attitude – we all came to LA for a reason, to experience something new – and that really builds off of what we’re trying to create. Our solution resonates well with Angelenos. Of course, the weather is great and electricity rates are extremely high – which makes even more sense for solar.

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

Max: At the end of Q4 2014, we closed over a million dollars in generated sales. We’ve also provided over 15,000 Californians with solar pricing data from our no-obligation online solar price calculator. These were major milestones because they validated our concept and proved that the price of solar on our platform is lower than the market leaders. We were also named 2015 Outstanding Small Business by Mayor Garcetti, which was a big deal for us, showing that the City of LA values our contribution in helping to make it a world leader in the Green movement.

Chris: We recently won a grant from the Department of Energy to develop a first-of- its-kind app called PVimpact. PVimpact will be a universal tool for all solar homes to connect to the information grid. The technology aggregates three pieces of data: the homeowner’s electricity use, solar system production, and contractual details of the solar system. PVimpact will provide homeowners with their system’s true savings in a completely software solution, while providing utility companies assistance in demand side management. The app will be rolled out to all Pick My Solar customers this summer, then expanding to the rest of the U.S. residential solar market in the fall.

What are some of your goals for the company?

Chris: Solar is such a cutting edge technology, but it is predominantly sold the way aluminum siding was sold in the 1960’s – door to door. We are firmly convinced that solar deserves to be sold with the leading technological resource of our era – the internet. We really want to change the way that solar is sold, and the way homeowners think about going solar.

Max: Our long-term goal is to become one of the biggest solar companies in the nation without a single boot on the ground. We don’t need installation crews like these vertically integrated companies. What we’re doing is creating an online market place – a bidding platform that brings homeowners together with the best local installers. We have all seen this model work across numerous business segments, and we know it will become the norm for the solar market.

Learn more at www.pickmysolar.com
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Second Chances, A Third Way

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When Kabira Stokes drove cross-country from Philadelphia at age 22, like many East Coast transplants she was fascinated by the idea of Los Angeles. In contrast to New York, LA – in Kabira’s mind – was “a story still being written.” Fast-forward to 2015 and a career in public service, a master’s degree, and a successful startup business later, Kabira and her company Isidore Electronics Recycling are contributing to the LA story – for the better.

Isidore logo

A full service electronics recycling and repair company in addition to being a vintage electronics supplier, Isidore  recycles electronics in an environmentally responsible way while providing training and jobs for Angelenos facing  barriers to employment. Formerly incarcerated and homeless job seekers can find a place there. While many organizations that serve these segments of the population are non-profit, Isidore is a for-profit company, which, as Kabira explained, demonstrates a “third way” of doing business:

 

We’re here to make money, but equally, we’re here to make a social and environmental impact.

Kabira’s inspiration for the company came during her days working as a field deputy for then-Los Angeles City Councilmember Eric Garcetti. Dealing directly with constituents facing issues with gangs and crime in their neighborhoods, Kabira saw what she called “the demonization” of people who have been to prison and the difficulties they faced trying to build a new life after serving their time. “These people paid their debt to society and were ready to work again, but because of a lack of opportunity they’d often end up committing crimes again, perpetuating an all-too-common cycle,” explained Kabira.

Witnessing firsthand one of the root causes of the prison recidivism rate, Kabira was determined to get a Masters in Public Policy to equip herself with the knowledge to begin to provide a solution. While studying the California penal system and workforce development, her mentor Van Jones posed a pivotal question: “Do you want to create the policy to create jobs? Or just create jobs?” That was when the idea for Isidore Electronics Recycling was born.

Since Isidore’s establishment, Kabira co-founded “Impact Recyclers”, a national network of 7 socially responsible e-waste companies built on the triple bottom line model. Kabira had a larger goal in co-creating the network: to redefine the recycling of e-waste as an American industry. Hundreds of thousands of tons of e-waste are shipped overseas and often times aren’t processed in environmentally responsible ways. Impact Recyclers works to keep those jobs in the U.S., providing employment for the segments of our population that have the most difficulty finding work, and minimizing the impact of e-waste on the global environment.

Kabira applied to be a portfolio company at LACI at her company’s most difficult time. The warehouse that she was operating out of burned down, as did most of her business. Two months later, her co-founder quit. After losing almost everything, “I needed a team, and LACI became my team. We met weekly to get the business back up and running. I wouldn’t be here without them.” In addition to helping the company in the aftermath of the warehouse fire, Kabira credits LACI with providing instrumental help with Isidore’s financial modeling, projections, finding resources for the company, and providing ongoing mentorship and guidance.

Starting and running a successful company, especially as a woman in a male dominated industry, isn’t the easiest endeavor. When Kabira was asked what keeps her going during difficult times her answer was simple and immediate: her workers. “It means a lot to have created an environment where people aren’t judged by the worst thing they ever did, they’re judged by how they did at work that day. The power of giving people a second chance, the way they respond to being giving that chance is just amazing. For a lot of my workers, this is the first real job they’ve ever had.”

Kabira’s short-term goals for Isidore Electronics Recycling are focused on raising capital so she can to hire more workers and provide her current ones with better wages. Long term, she hopes that her model can be replicated and expanded beyond Los Angeles. Kabira and her company demonstrate the positive impact that entrepreneurship can have on the environment, an industry, and in the lives of the people employed through her mission. The triple bottom line of “people, profit, and planet” continues to motivate Kabira as her business grows – and inspire those who are a part of it.

www.isidorerecycling.com