The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show: the Future Looks Amazing!

The recent International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas featured more than 3600 exhibitors and was attended by over 170,000 people, both show records. It’s a trade-only event for the consumer technology industry and not open to the general public. Exhibitors include many startups up to Fortune 500 companies like Ford, pictured below.


​Ford’s display was over 25,000 square feet, featured a live jazz band, and had a 250 square foot video screen behind the band. It was estimated Ford spent over $1 million on their CES display.

Among the hottest products on display were drones. Over 80 exhibitors featured drones, a 500% increase over 2014.


​In the midst of the intensity of commerce, one exhibitor still found time to honor the victims of the French terror attacks.


Virtual reality was immensely popular. Occulus had a huge display and offered virtual reality demonstrations which were easily among the top three experiences of those attendees who often waited hours to participate.


​CES 2015, for the first time, featured a separate Bitcoin area with 11 exhibitors (in 2014 there were only two Bitcoin exhibitors). Two of the Bitcoin exhibitors, Blockchain and BitPay, have each received over $30 million in investor funding.


​CES is the world’s largest trade show. It would be impossible for one person to even walk by every exhibitor’s display during the four days of the show. It gives one an idea of just how massive the US economy is and is a great gauge of what consumers want. New products and services offered by startups give a glimpse into a fast-changing future which promises to be amazing and profitable. At CES, the spirit of entrepreneurship is front and center. That is a great sign for the American economy.

Growthink Exhibits at LAEDC 2015 Economic Forecast

On October 8th, LAEDC presented the 2015 Economic Forecast Event.

LAEDC’s twice-yearly economic forecast events provide insight and planning information to our members, partners, LA County leaders, and the general public.  For this event, LAEDC shifted its format to include a five-year planning horizon, and with the help of our guests such as Cal State University Chancellor Timothy White and expert panelists, we discussed the drivers in the economy related to education and skills.

The industry panel discussed how their workforce needs are changing and made recommendations on the skills needed to remain relevant and in-demand

  • Jodie Lesh of Kaiser Permanente
  • Michael Bissonette of AeroVironment, and Steve Nissen of NBC Universal
  • Art Yoon, FilmLA
  • David Rattray of LA Area Chamber of Commerce
Growthinkers Myke Andrews, Luke Brown and Justin Goodkind represented Growthink, below.

The full industry report is available here.



Tech Merger Frenzy in L.A. Highlights New Set of Startups


By Rob Golum and James Nash

Two takeovers in two days are putting a spotlight on Southern California’s role as a hotbed for technology startups.

Facebook Inc. said March 25 that it agreed to buy the virtual reality company Oculus VR Inc., based in the Orange County city of Irvine, for at least $2 billion in cash and stock. A day earlier, Walt Disney Co. plunked down a minimum of $500 million for Maker Studios, a supplier of shows for YouTube that has its headquarters in Culver City, next to Los Angeles.

Southern California has developed enough talent and financing for a self-sustaining community of tech startups to take root and grow, from the seed capital stage on up. Local universities are pushing entrepreneurship programs, the flow of venture capital money is on the rise and earlier startups have helped attract talent that’s remained instead of moving north to Silicon Valley.

“There’s been a proliferation of both angel and seed capital over the last couple years, and that’s allowed companies to stay here, build and grow,” said Paul Bricault, a venture partner with Greycroft Partners, a backer of Maker Studios.

Facebook’s interest in the region came to light last year, when Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg unsuccessfully tried to buy SnapChat Inc., a mobile photo-sharing service in Venice, a beach community on the west side of Los Angeles.

The company, founded by two Stanford University graduates, turned down his offer of about $3 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

Bricault,who’s also managing partner of Amplify.LA, which assists startups, said the climate for new businesses has changed over the past two decades.

Staying Put

In the past, entrepreneurs in Southern California would leave as their funding needs grew and not return, he said. Now “companies are not only electing to stay here, but they are drawing capital from outside L.A. to fill the gap.”

Southern California ranks No. 3 worldwide for technology startups, behind Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv, according to a 2013 report by Be Great Partners, a technology incubator based in Los Angeles.

A concentration of immigrants and universities are driving the growth in technology businesses, said Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto.

Some companies are big enough to be considering initial public offerings. The Rubicon Project Inc., anonline advertising company based in Los Angeles, expects to raise as much as $132.4 million in an offering of up to 7.79 million shares at $15 to $17 each, according to a regulatory filing.

Car Culture

TrueCar Inc., an online auto shopping service, attracted a $30 million investment from Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital in December. The Santa Monica-based company is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. on a possible IPO, people familiar with the matter said in November.

Venture capital financing in Los Angeles and Orange counties has amounted to more than $17 billion over the past decade, according to data from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. The two counties cover almost 5,000 square miles, about the size of Connecticut, according to Census Data.

The number of deals in the region rose to 267 in 2012, the highest since 2004, according to Esmael Adibi, head of Chapman University’s Center for Economic Research in the City of Orange, citing PricewaterhouseCoopers statistics.

Small Business

The role of digital business in the region is still small relative to the wider local economy, which is led by shipping, the entertainment industry and construction, as well as aerospace and fashion. Los Angeles is the largest manufacturing center in the U.S., according to Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

Small and midsize businesses play a particularly large role in Los Angeles, according to Helena Yli-Renko, director of the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Southern California.

The back-to-back sales of Oculus and Maker Studios underscore how vibrant the startup climate has become, said Bricault, whose company oversees investments of $400 million.

“If you look today, the number of companies that have raised money in excess of $500 million and their private market valuations, it’s probably higher than it ever has been before,” he said.

In Los Angeles, employment in e-commerce and digital entertainment has climbed 24 percent in the past five years to 14,920 jobs, according to the Milken Institute in Santa Monica.

Homegrown Companies

“Los Angeles and Silicon Beach are profiting from the shift to digital entertainment leveraging the large number of entertainment workers already living in the area,” said Kristen Keough, a Milken research analyst.

Locals shouldn’t view the sales of homegrown companies as a setback for the regional economy, Yli-Renko said. Oculus plans to continue running independently, while Maker Studios will remain in Culver City.

“Both of these companies look to be at the point where they can really benefit from additional resources to grow and expand, so I don’t think there’s a negative to it,” she said. Oculus and Maker Studios have demonstrated “strong proof of concept and strong proof of market adoption.”

CELEBRATE! on March 26! Surprise Launch Jump-Started by Maverick Angels

Register for the event here. Growthink is a proud sponsor of Maverick Angels.


At this event, Maverick Angels will be unveiling the Launch of our New Company -- and We Want You to Join in the Celebration. This is the night when we will reveal exciting details of our New Venture -- it's a Wild Idea dedicated to the Greatest Pioneers of our Time...Entrepreneurs! 

  
So...if you're the type who crosses at a red light, has your hair on fire exploding with ideas and challenges the Status Quo, then you will feel right at home during our Big Bash on March 26th. Please join us at this historic event and meet up with Angels, Other Investors, Accelerators, Incubators, Crowdfunders, Sponsors & Affiliates and LA's Influencers.

  

We have mastered mixing business with fun, so bring plenty of business cards as we Collaborate, Educate and Get Down to Learning about YOUR Ventures. 

Here's the Deal: 

Who It's About: Entrepreneurs at All Stages
Date: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 6PM to 9PM PDT

Location: 

Loyola Marymount University

Roski Dining Hall located in University Hall

1 Loyola Marymount University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90045
 

Parking:  

On-Campus parking will cost $10 for the evening.

As you enter LMU from Lincoln Ave and pass security, University Hall is the first building you see on the right. Simply enter the adjacent parking lot and park anywhere. The parking fee is payable at machine kiosks located near each elevator bank. You may pay with either cash or by credit card. 

  

Price: $10 + $1.54 (Eventbrite Fee) for Non-Sponsors

NON-REFUNDABLE

 

What's Up at the Launch?

Fire Up for Our Famous Elevator Pitch Contest 
We've Got Swag--Get Your Goodie Bags Ready
Guest D.J. (Name to be Announced) in the Lounge
More Fun Surprises to Tell You about Coming Soon!

 

Don't Miss Our "Ask the Experts" Panel! This evening is all about you--so work it. Make it happen by interacting with our group of Top Mentors who are there to share their knowledge by answering your questions related to the success of your start-ups.

7 Persistent Myths About Intellectual Property


Posting a copyrighted photo on a blog cost a small public relations company thousands of dollars, even though the photo wasn’t labeled with a copyright notice.

Labeling products with a patent number that didn’t match the exact model meant a construction-stilts manufacturer must pay large fines.

And a loophole in the intellectual property clause of an employee contract created nearly a decade of court battles and cost Mattel the Bratz doll empire.

These are just a few examples that show how common intellectual property mistakes can be extremely costly for companies of any size. For entrepreneurs, one intellectual property error could devastate a budding company. Here are seven of the most prevalent myths surrounding intellectual property and how misconceptions could hurt your company.  

Myth 1: Businesses automatically own all intellectual property created by employees and contractors. Many business owners mistakenly assume that when they hire an employee or a contractor, they as a matter of course own full rights to their work. But unless the employee or vendor contract explicitly states that the company owns the rights to any intellectual property created by the employee or contractor, entrepreneurs may be surprised to find that they have limited or no rights to the work.

Myth 2:  A patent grants worldwide protection. Obtaining a patent from the U.S. Patent Office generally protects only the patent within the U.S. Company managers who want to conduct business abroad have to file for a patent in each country in which they want to operate and must comply with each country’s unique patent laws.

Myth 3:  If it sounds "official,” it probably is. Scammers often prey on entrepreneurs’ desire to protect intellectual property. Common scams include emails that say the company needs to pay a fee to protect its trademark or domain name, or contain bogus invoices for protection services. Because the emails come from organizations that sound official and include specific information about the business, many owners pay the fees without question.  

Myth 4:  If it doesn’t have a copyright symbol, anyone can use it. Traditionally, any creative work that did not have a copyright notice or © symbol on it was free for public use. The law changed several decades ago so that copyrighted materials are protected with or without a copyright label. But many people think the old rules still apply, especially when it comes to material on the internet. Business owners should assume any material found on the internet has a copyright and seek permission from the owner for its use.

Myth 5: Trade secrets provide easy catch-all protection. Many owners of young businesses mistakenly think any information not covered by a copyright or patent can easily be protected as a trade secret. But trade secret protection can be difficult to enforce in court, and companies have to prove all of the following:

(a) The information gives the company a competitive advantage by virtue of being unknown.

(b) The company took reasonable measures to protect the information.

(c) The information is not generally known to the public or competitors.

Myth 6: Markings don’t matter. Some business people misuse intellectual property markings, either by using them too much or too little. For example, marking a patent number on items that don’t bear the exact patented design can result in fines of as much as $500 for each mislabeled item. On the other hand, failing to use trademark markings such as ™ and ® can lead to a brand name becoming a generic term that has no trademark protection, as occurred with formerly trademarked terms such as aspirin, zipper and thermos.

Myth 7:  I can wait to figure out my intellectual-property strategy. Companies have no time to waste in creating an intellectual property strategy, especially when it comes to patents. Last year the U.S. patent system changed from a “first to invent” system to a “first to file” system, meaning that patents are now awarded based on who files the application first, not who thought of the idea first.

Intellectual property matters leave little room for error, and a smart strategy concerning this should be a top priority for every entrepreneur. Every new business owner should have a trusted intellectual property consultant to help dispel the myths and build a sound strategy to best protect the company.