Hello friend --
The secret to success: giving back
Amidst the excitement of a $1 billion acquisition, last Thursday Bixel Exchange accompanied 23 lucky high school students on a tour of Dollar Shave Club's Marina del Rey headquarters. The students – all enrolled in a summer introductory coding academy at Pasadena City College through the Los Angeles High Impact Information Technology, Entertainment & Entrepreneurship, and Communications Hubs regional consortium – took in the inner workings of the razor delivery service that made their splash into the scene just five years ago. Students also listened in as a panel of seven engineering staffers recounted their career paths, emphasized the tremendous opportunities available at growing tech companies, and shared their advice for a prosperous career in tech: Be adaptable, flexible and embrace failure or iteration.
Many thanks to Dollar Shave Club for generously hosting our students! Check out event photos.
Co-working: creativity finds community
Last Thursday, more than 25 Bixel Exchange startups plugged in to work here at the Chamber, sprawling out in our board room and patio spaces. In addition to a full day of free co-working space in downtown Los Angeles (not to mention Wi-Fi, refreshments, parking and a skyline view) with fellow startups, the group got an insider look at Avisare, an online B2B marketplace portal that’s the creation of founder and startup client Sky Kelley. Thanks to all who made it another successful event!
New advisor on the block
For anyone who has ever dreamed of working for "The Mouse", our newest advisor, Eric Garcia, could share some tails (get it?). He started his career as a ride mechanical engineer as part of the Walt Disney Imagineering team, went on to build two companies, then pivoted to law, where he now focuses on intellectual property. Eric has extensive experience in counseling early-stage companies on all matters related to patents, trademarks, licensing, joint development, intellectual property strategy and litigation, counting numerous Fortune 500 companies among his clients, in the technology areas of mechanical, software and electronic arts. Welcome to the team, Eric!
Free Pivotal Labs + General Assembly + Bixel Exchange masterclass
Last chance! Get a taste of how your business can benefit from perceptive analytics at tomorrow night's free "Demystifying Data for Business" masterclass with data science experts from Pivotal Labs. Sign up here!
Buckle up and let go
Driverless vehicles might be coming to L.A. sooner than you think. Still, several proposals have come forward concerning the regulation of testing and implementation of driverless or autonomous vehicles in L.A. What are some of the policy issues surrounding the introduction, regulation and implementation of this technology, and what is its potential impact of these vehicles on business and innovation in the area? And how far are we from being able to purchase these vehicles?
Come talk about the exciting future of autonomous vehicles in L.A. with our panel on Aug. 16! RSVP here.
Want to help students unlock a world of opportunity with Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) education? STEAM:CODERS, a nonprofit group dedicated to inspiring underrepresented and underserved students and families by teaching them STEAM fundamentals, has openings for several instructor positions. The organization currently conducts computer science and robotics courses in the Pasadena, Inglewood and Long Beach school districts, among others. Find out more.
Spotlight on …
… recreational sports app startup The Ringer and its founder, Maxwell Lubahn.
On what it’s really all about:
“The Ringer is about making participation in rec league sports easier and as fun as possible. The app helps line up players with teams that fit their skill level and personality, so the experience is as enjoyable as possible. On the flip side, we make it easier for team managers and leagues to organize games, communicate with their teams and organize post game social events. Social is a big part of what we do; we want people meeting up after the games, having fun and forming ties (friendships, professional or romantic) with their teammates.
On how it all started:
“My background is in business development and my most rewarding and enjoyable experiences have been when working with startups. I enjoy trying to turn an idea into an actual business. Ringer came from my participation in a softball league where we spent an incredible amount of time emailing to organize replacements for games and discussing very little time socializing after the games. My thought was to take some existing tech platforms and apply them to this sports/social market and create a community around an app that would get people participating more and spending more time together in a social environment.
“Raising money is always tough. Fortunately, I have some great friends/business partners who believe in what I'm doing and were willing to risk some investment money to help get this off the ground to match my contributions. The biggest challenge was finding the right development/tech partner and luckily my [advisor] at Bixel Exchange put me in touch with Wonderful Collective in El Segundo. I can't say enough good things about them. I would not be anywhere near as far along without them. And I wouldn't have found them without Bixel Exchange, which has been a huge help and is providing an essential service to the tech community in L.A.
On the horizon:
“Right now, we just signed up our first couple of rec leagues and are focused on signing up several more before we launch next month. Our other focus is registering individual players; so, please go and sign up! We want everyone to give it a try and share with his or her friends. You'll thank yourselves! Anyone interested in partnering with our platform could please reach out to me through the website.”
Until we sync again,