Local Borrow-a-Truck App Expands
GoShare, an app that allows users to tap into a truck or van when they need to move something, has just expanded to Orange County. The idea for GoShare came when CEO and founder Shaun Savage’s house painting business regularly needed a delivery service in the middle of the day so he didn’t have to leave the job. It grew when he tried to rent a truck to purchase a large television and he realized there was a need for an on-demand service. The service is currently offered in San Diego County, Atlanta, Los Angeles, parts of New Jersey, and now Orange County.
Startup Day is August 1
You can read all about it in this piece written by two congressmen, including North County’s Darrell Issa, with startup experience. Its intent is good: to encourage lawmakers to connect with the startup businesses in their communities to better understand the challenges facing these companies and get to know the emerging businesses and leaders. While it might lack the authenticity most startups gravitate toward, it is Washington’s best attempt to understand something that is still new and largely unknown to them. A better approach might be to reach out on an ongoing basis throughout the year as I have seen Congressman Scott Peters do. But, if a local Congressperson doesn’t show up at your place of business today with a television camera in tow, then maybe you can celebrate one of the other holidays that have landed on August 1, including Homemade Pie Day, National Girlfriends Day, Spiderman Day, Women Astronomers Day, or World Wide Web Day.
The Mega Tech Region
Hang around the community leaders in San Diego and before long you will hear them talk of the potential of San Diego as a “mega region,” which includes the entire county as well as the area across the border into neighboring Mexico. If you went to Startup Week this year, you might have noticed a Mexico track and there are regular tours of the startup apparatus that has grown up in Tijuana. While this might still shock those who see Tijuana as a place to get into trouble, the area is showing great potential as a partner for San Diego’s innovation economy. Here is a primer on how it came to be and what it looks like now.
New CEO for NXT
Local robotics security company NXT Robotics has a new CEO. In an announcement this week, the company named local cyber community leader Darin Andersen as CEO. Anderson is best known for his work developing San Diego as a cybersecurity hub and his founding of CyberTECH. Jeff Debrosse, founder and Chief Technology Officer of NXT said of Andersen, “He brings us real-life experience not only as a startup entrepreneur, but as a far-sighted tech visionary.”
San Diego’s Space Race
Wondering where Southern California fits into the emerging private space industry? Well, you are in luck. Local aerospace engineer Ellen Chang has created Lightspeed Innovations, an accelerator program aimed at helping young aerospace companies. She focuses on bringing the kinds of mentors, investors, and help that these unique companies need. Specifically, she helps the companies see past going after grants like the Small Business Innovation Research Grants, so common to this industry, so the companies can become self-sustaining and profitable. “They develop plenty of cool technologies, but lack commercialization muscle. If their best ideas just gather dust on the shelf, that’s not good for engineers. They want to see their tech go into orbit,” said Chang.
Lessons from Kickstagram
When I first met Ronan Galvin of Kickstagram last year, I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, they have really stumbled upon something here.” A year later, Codementor has gone in depth with co-founder Casey Matthews to understand the business and give the company a chance to share lessons learned. The company has grown from a free service to a SaaS business with $100,000 in monthly recurring revenue.
Pivots and Opportunities
Hera Fast Pitch
Female entrepreneurs can apply to pitch as part of the Hera Fast Pitch Competition hosted at Hera Hub in Sorrento Valley on Thursday, August 31. Three finalists will go on to pitch at the Hera Venture Summit in September.
Quick Pitch Competition
Applications are now being accepted for the Quick Pitch Competition sponsored by Tech Coast Angels and the San Diego Venture Group. Ten finalists will be chosen and receive coaching, while the top three companies will be awarded a combined $50,000. Applications are due by August 11.