Eight Long Beach Accelerator founders and their partners traveled to Santa Monica on Tuesday, April 4, to talk about their startup companies in front of a group of potential investors and supporters at a three-hour Demo Day.
The founders repeated the program the next day in an online version.
This is the fifth cohort of founders working through the Long Beach Accelerator (LBA), which is a partnership between the Cal State Long Beach Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the city of Long Beach and Sunstone Management. A contingent from Sunstone, led by Mike Stone, chief investment officer and partner, attended the Demo Day.
The Long Beach-based accelerator conducted its in-person Demo Day in Santa Monica because “that’s where the investors are,” according to Andrea White-Kjoss, the LBA managing director. The event was hosted by Crosscut Ventures, a Santa Monica venture capital company. Each of the presenting founders was looking for pre-seed or seed investment to develop their company.
Startup companies ranged from an edge computing company, SaraniaSat. Inc., looking to vastly improve the timeliness and usability of satellite information to MyRuck, offering a two-way connection tool between military veterans and the providers of services necessary to help veterans successfully transition back into mainstream life.
“In the short time we have been in operation (the LBA formed in 2020), we have seen seven acquisition offers out of 29 companies,” White-Kjoss said to open the afternoon. “Perhaps more important, 66% of our companies have had minority, underrepresented founders.”
Each founder had five minutes to pitch, followed by questions from the audience. Here is a brief synopsis of each startup, in the order that they presented.
- Aircada’s cofounder Sean Chenoweth said his company is using a real-time avatar approach to offering expert technical assistance in a timely manner when a machine breaks down or a problem needs to be solved quickly. The avatar allows the remote expert to get a close-up view of the issue to guide the technician on site in the necessary repair or solution. Chenoweth said he and his brother Wylie Chenowith hope to launch the Beta version in May.
- Emanuel Tafese is a student at Cal State Long Beach, so he speaks with authority when he says “Simply put, school to home communication sucks.” His response is Class Chat, an automated communication system using school data to sort users into the proper channels – classes, activities, etc. The primary market is public high schools. A beta version is operating now.
- Creator-Sync is a platform to connect musical artists with influencers and publishers to both help spread the music and generate more revenue for the artists, the influencers and Creator-Sync. Phoenix Red, Creator-Sync’s CEO, said his company is the first to deal in unreleased, unlicensed content. That helps artists receive a larger share of the revenue from their work.
- Gina Levy said her company, Kinlia, is designed to help ease the “loneliness crisis” society is facing today by connecting people who already are participating in in-person activities but aren’t making the connections to others. Kinlia works with event planners, offers customized chat channels and facilitates people within the community meeting each other. A free version is out now; the full launch is expected this month.
- California Army National Guard members Vic Hill and Brad Clark know firsthand about trying to connect with services of all types for veterans – that’s why they’ve launched MyRuck. The two-way benefits administration software helps veterans connect and service providers be sure they are reaching and helping those in need. Government contracts will pay the bills. Hill said the ultimate goal is to decrease the amount of unemployed, homeless, and suicides in the military-connected community.
- Noveil, a dating app that relies on in-person connections, was born in a college dorm room with friends who were dissatisfied with current available options, according to founder and CEO Michael Allotey. Using machine learning to create potential matches, Noveil starts people with video calls immediately so they can judge compatibility themselves. A free version is in testing on college campuses now.
- Rentado is designed as an adaptable, scalable rental property management software. Cofounder Justin Morgan said the app will be able to facilitate communication between renter and landlord and make it easier to pay rent or schedule maintenance and repairs (using local firms). Renters can get reminders about trash day, street sweeping and more. Once completed, it will be usable by individual property owners or major apartment management companies.
- SaraniaSat may not be rocket science, but it’s close. Founder Thomas George and his partners have spent seven years working on algorithms and high-end edge computing to speed up satellite information dissemination to the point it is usable on a daily basis for everything from agricultural management to defense system information. With government contracts in hand, it now has a deal with the U.S. Air Force to match investment raised for an in-space demonstration project.
After the pitches were complete, White-Kjoss said the startup process will continue with this cohort and more, since the Long Beach Accelerator is a partner in Launch Beach, a Long Beach city government initiative to develop 100 new businesses in the next five years.
The fifth cohort is graduating with this Demo Day, and an announcement is expected soon about who the participants will be in Cohort 6. To stay informed, go to www.lbaccelerator.org.