So after a recent flood of ‘startup’ encounters, I have some answers.
1) Get a big boost of brain food and cosmic energy for being around startups.
There is something exciting about surrounding yourself by energetic young folks who have nothing to lose and everything to gain with their new business venture. Or on the other side of it, super experienced business executives who are repositioning their careers and lives by throwing in with a startup and leveraging all there great connections and insights on building their own businesses.
Our good friends at Tesloop are an example of the later. Rahul Sonnad, President and Co-Founder, is a colleague from my Interpublic days and is an experienced serial entrepreneur. Rahul reached out to share what he’s doing with his new company, Tesloop, a unique automobile ride sharing service from LA to Vegas and LA to Palm Springs (to start). Tesloop leverages the latest Tesla models and is similar to an airline where passengers share a cabin but instead of needing to go through all the airport madness, Tesloop leaves from ‘Tesla Supercharger’ station locations. Who doesn’t love to be “supercharged!”? These cars are ready for autonomous driving, that’s right, driver free, and they are also sustainable, meaning, zero emissions. At StoryTech, we are partnering with Tesloop for CES 2016 as a demonstration of a great business idea and evidence of 3 key trends for 2016: on-demand services, sustainability and the emergence of self-driving/autonomous vehicles.
2) See and Feel The Trends, Trends and more Trends
At TechCrunch’s recent Disrupt conference in San Francisco, it was like a big hall full of delightful surprises. I highly recommend you get yourself to the next TechCrunch Disrupt. Our good friend, Jeff Taylor, connected us to spending an incredible day talking with hundreds of new companies and shared some data on the most recent event, including 5,000 attendees and over 400 startup exhibitors.I spent a full day interviewing startups, periscoping to my hearts delight(check out this playlist) as part of a new business effort to create content around conferences and events, but more importantly, I left with tremendous insights on technical, cultural and business trends that are bubbling up. It is a foresight exercise on seeing where verticals are going. Two of my favorite examples were a Slovakian company called Diagnose.Me, an online community that is offering second opinion medical advice through telemedical solutions and Wusic, a retail marketplace, which is connected to Alibaba, and is disrupting Big Box retail by connecting consumers directly to manufacturers.
Another great event to get your startup fix is Digital LA’s Silicon Beach Events. Kevin Winston puts together a great experience multiple times a year that highlights what is now becoming one of the top 5 Venture funded investment communities in the US, the thriving startup community of Los Angeles often referred to as Silicon Beach. In 2014 alone, the investment in town was close to 2 billion dollars. BuiltinLA is a another great resource for digging into new companies in Los Angeles.
You never know where a new partnership will come from. That’s why throwing ‘Startup Days’ for our brand clients is so popular and events like AdTech and others are constantly having ‘shootouts’. Whether you’re looking for investment, are established businesses searching for new ideas or playing matchmaker for your own clients, startups are ripe for the picking. The good ones will evolve their model when they meet the right partner to create something new and the ones that may not survive often fall victim to holding on too tight to their original vision.
Lori H. Schwartz, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Catalyst, StoryTech