THE LATEST THINKING
The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.
Silicon Beach Fest: Fast & Furious
Silicon Beach Fest -- a key event in the LA startup scene -- came and went in a flash recently. It was four action-packed days of ideas, startups, fellowship and good advice.
In Silicon Beach Fest's “Shark Tank”-like pitch contest, there were two companies that ran neck and neck in the competition.
Blue Fever, which won the “show of hands” vote from the audience, is an app that sends positive and helpful messages, via text, to mostly teenage girls seeking reassurance.
The teen jots a quick text saying what’s troubling her – boyfriend problems, body issues, parents – and immediately Blue Fever fires back an appropriate message, often with an inspirational video attached.
“Everybody needs a best friend” is how Blue Fever’s Greta McAnany put it.
For more information, go to bluefever.com.
The panel of judges clearly liked Blue Fever, but selected DASH Systems as the top winner.
DASH has come up with an interesting way of getting help to people in post-cataclysmic situations – floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters.
The company employs a GPS flight controller that allows boxes dropped out of airplanes to land within 10-30 feet of the intended target, explained CEO Joel Ifill.
Drones can’t do this, because the boxes are too big and too heavy, he continued. And planes and helicopters often have no place to land in a situation like this.
Simply dropping boxes out of planes can result in helter-skelter deliveries, with boxes getting lost in out-of-reach places, added CTO Joe Caravella.
DASH uses cardboard boxes with "wings" attached. The parachute, wings and GPS flight controller work in concert to make sure the box lands in just the right place.
DASH recently helped out in Puerto Rico and is now in touch with Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations that might use DASH’s services in future emergencies.
DASH will also be used to make commercial deliveries in out-of-the-way places. For more information, go to: dashshipping.com.
In a session on raising capital, moderated by angel investor Asher Leids, panelists gave the audience their best tips on raising money.
Brian MacMahon, who runs Expert DOJO in Santa Monica, encouraged entrepreneurs to “be real. You need to make money for your investors.”
Britt Danneman of Alpha Edison Ventures said, “You need to have real clarity of vision and you need to be able to communicate that vision well.”
Eric Pakravan of Amplify.LA suggested entrepreneurs “keep it short” when first inquiring.
In a panel on social media, some video producers said production values are nice, but not critical. “Authenticity” is in.
“People just want to be part of something,” said Jarrel Pyro2Sick, a YouTube producer.
That said, if you really want to make it in today’s social arena, it helps to have followers, according to beauty and fashion blogger Sara Mills (“Sara on the Internet”). She has 590,000 Instagram followers.
Mills said having lots of followers makes one more interesting to potential partners.
For more information about SiliconBeachFest, go to SiliconBeachFest.com.
Who is the American Angel? What makes an angel investor successful? How do they make investment decisions? What are the...