Do you have questions about Intellectual Property? Do you know what the difference is between a provisional patent and a non-provisional patent? If you have questions about IP then this is the workshop for you. The workshop will take place at our Palm Springs office on Friday April 26th from 10:00AM to 11:30AM. Admission is free but space is limited so RSVP in advance to 760.340.1575 or rsvp @ cvep .com
Have you ever wondered how to jumpstart your PR campaign? Are you looking for one on one advice with a seasoned professional that will help you prepare to tell your story to the media and ultimately your target audience? Now is your chance. The team from Larkin/Volpatt Communications will be conducting one-on-one 45-minute sessions for clients of CViHub, CVEP, and the CVSBDC on Friday April 26th at our Palm Springs office. The team will provide you with a brief list of questions prior to the meeting to get the conversation started. To schedule your one-on-one session with a member of the Larkin/Volpatt Communications team, email rsvp @ cvep .com with your preferred meeting time.
Now that Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and (eventually) Cyber Monday have passed, let’s all take a collective sight of relief. If you didn’t manage to get all of your holiday shopping completed, consider looking at the NBIA’s holiday list. NBIA is the National Business Incubator Association (see the logo at the bottom of our page). They have collected a list of great products produced by NBIA incubator clients from across the world. See the list here.
Here are a few of the products we found to be interesting:
Bad Elf GPS. This Apple-approved external GPS accessory plugs into 30-pin Apple products to provide accurate GPS information for apps.
Koffee Karousel. A vending machine for K-Cups that can help small businesses monetize Keurig’s at the office.
SipSmart Straw. Single-use pass-or-fail breathalyzers.
Make sure to visit the NBIA Holiday website throughout the season as new products will be added.
*UPDATE* CViHub’s own EV Enterprises now has their Canary 100 product listed on the NBIA Holiday Catalog, congrats guys!
The Coachella Valley Innovation Hub would like to formally welcome our newest sponsor, Larkin/Volpatt Communications, to our collaborative community! View the press release here and visit their website here.
As part of their sponsorship, Larkin/Volpatt will perform quarterly workshops for iHub clients & other Coachella Valley-based entrepreneurs & small business owners. The first workshop, entitled “Practical Public Relations,” will take place on Tuesday October 23rd from 10am to noon here at the Rabobank Regional Business Center. Admission is free but space is limited so interested attendees are encouraged to RSVP via phone (760.340.1575) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Download the workshop flyer here.
Are you a startup company or existing business that is looking to expand awareness and promote your products and services? Have you ever wondered how public relations can help with your overall marketing efforts, but are not sure how to jumpstart your PR engine? Join the Coachella Valley iHub and Michael Volpatt of Larkin/Volpatt Communications for a two-hour seminar that will cover topics such as: understanding the basics of strategic messaging, media outreach and creative pitch development. During this seminar Michael will provide an overview of the PR landscape and outline how to think about developing the right message for the right audience. He will also talk about how to best conduct media outreach and offer details on how to creatively tell your story and pitch it to the editorial community. You’ll walk away from this seminar with a clear understanding of how to develop your own PR campaign and start raising awareness with your target customers.
A national panel of seed investors, venture capitalists and corporate licensing executives selected three Coachella Valley Innovation Hub (CViHub) clients to be presenters for the WBT 2012 Innovation Marketplace in San Diego. Presenters for the nation’s showcase of the largest collection of vetted and mentored start-up companies and pure technologies hail from top universities, labs, research institutions, incubators and innovation centers.
About 100 start-ups are chosen from a broad international field to be a WBT Innovation Marketplace presenter at their annual conference on October 24 – 26 at the San Diego Convention Center. Judging criteria is rigorous, CViHub managing director Joe Wallace explained. Presenters have to demonstrate that their technology or product has strong potential for high-growth as a commercial enterprise or a solution to a market problem. “Having three clients deemed as market-ready innovators is a major step forward for them and for the Coachella Valley iHub,’’ Wallace said.
“We are extremely proud to see three Coachella Valley nurtured start-ups in the national spotlight,’’ said Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet. “We are equally proud of the progress the Coachella Valley Innovation Hub has made to mentor these promising candidates to market-ready status.’’
The three WBT 2012 presenters from the CViHub are:
- TransMedImage, a start-up business that intends to become the definitive medical image network for physicians, radiologists, hospitals, patients, insurance carriers, imaging companies and others. It plans to integrate proprietary technology, radiological services, electronic medical records and other services to store, retrieve and distribute information in a way that expedites and improves patient care across multiple platforms and locations.
- Indy Power Systems, developer of the Energy Router(tm), a patented hardware and software package that can optimize the flow of energy between different sources or loads, regardless of voltage. It is the only company blending energy into different types of storage devices, making it possible to use renewable energy like solar and wind at night or when the air is still. IPS has already delivered its first micro-grid management system. A battery cycler system will be installed in the fourth quarter, along with a second micro-grid system for Pratt Whitney Rocketdyme. IPS also signed a letter of intent with a manufacturer that is worth $5 million annually.
- EV Enterprises, developer of a prototype device the size of a key-fob that enables the presence of radiation to be detected. EVE’s product came about in response to a concern expressed by an organic food supplier who wanted to be able to offer their customers the security of knowing whether or not the food they were buying was radiation-free. The need for a practical, inexpensive and portable radiation detector came to the forefront in the aftermath of the Japanese Tsunami that caused radiation to leak from the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor complex. Although it is hard to say what levels of contamination in our food and environment are ultimately dangerous enough to cause harm, the device provides shoppers with the ability to test for the presence of radiation as they go about their day-to-day activities.
“The fact that three start-up companies from the CViHub were chosen as presenters at the World’s Best Technology conference less than a year after that iHub was officially opened speaks volumes about the rapid positive impact that California’s Innovation Hubs can have when engaged local stakeholders take the bull by the horns and commit to the iHub concept”, said Louis Stewart, Deputy Director of California Go-Biz (California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development).
“The benefit of presenting at an internationally recognized forum represents an opportunity of a lifetime for start-ups,’’ Wallace said. At the deal-focused event, the CViHub clients will give a 6-minute presentation to over 100 seasoned venture investors and Fortune 500 licensing scouts from a variety of industries. Since the first WBT Marketplace in 2002, more than $786 million worth of early and seed-stage funding and licensing has been awarded to the more than 680 presenters from the U.S. and 26 other countries.
“We are impressed by the caliber of our clients,’’ said Cathedral City Mayor Kathleen DeRosa. “They typify the mission of the CViHub and the goals of the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership to diversify the economy through renewal energy initiatives.” “The Coachella Valley will be watching these companies, and all others nurtured by the Innovation Hub, as they continue to evolve and ultimately contribute to the vitality of our region,’’ Desert Hot Springs Mayor Yvonne Parks said.
The CViHub is a regional project funded by the cities of Palm Springs, Cathedral City and Desert Hot Springs and is an integral part of the blueprint strategy of the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership (CVEP).
To learn more about the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership and the Coachella Valley Innovation Hub, visit www.cvep.com or call (760) 340-1575.
Joe J. Wallace became managing director of the Coachella Valley Innovation Hub in January.
The CViHub is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting growth businesses in the renewable energy and enabling technologies such as energy management and storage. Wallace is a veteran of electronics industry start-up companies, having been a founder or principal in 10 businesses.
The Coachella Valley iHub is proud to co-sponsor a workshop geared towards small & new businesses. The iHub will co-sponsor this workshop with Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz. The two topics that will be discussed at the workshop are: an overview of start-up structures and risks/rewards for new employers. The workshop will take place on Tuesday, June 26th from 10am to noon at the Rabobank Regional Business Center in Palm Springs. There is no fee to attend the workshop, though participants are strongly encouraged to RSVP by email at email@example.com or phone at 760.340.1575.
Richard O’Connor comes across like a whiz-kid in a vegetable store, passionate about the hydroponic grow system business he is incubating.
Called Mobile Farming Systems, O’Connor as CEO and an investment team are sowing the seeds of a new agriculture technology company that focuses on two types of hydroponic grow systems for fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs:
• A grow system that can be built in mobile shipping containers, pods or bumper-pull-type box trailers.
The plug-and-play units, some capable of producing yields that equate to 1-acre of farmland, could be sold to government, business and private entities for shipment to disaster sites, impoverished and barren areas, military sites, schools or commercial growing centers.
Equipped with water and carbon-dioxide tanks, grow containers, air conditioning, fans to simulate wind and lights to mimic night, they are being designed to produce food year-round, regardless of climate.
A computer system regulates the water, air, temperature and pH levels, keep temperatures at prime growing conditions and sends out an alert if the levels go awry.
• The VegBuddy, a patio-sized system for home gardeners. It, along with nutrient-pack seedlings, could be sold through at retail outlets, and through infomercials.
“This company will be the ‘Geek Squad’ of hydroponics,” O’Connor said. “This is a company I will keep.”
An Orange County entrepreneur, O’Connor lays claim to taking Rawlings Golf public in 1992, and in 2002 being one of four to start a venture that became Mail.com. In 2010, Mail.com sold the e-mail portion of its assets to Germany’s United Internet Group. The deal was reported to be in the range of $50 million to $100 million.
“This is more than a business,” O’Connor said. “Every deal I did before, I looked at the bottom line — what’s in it for me. I never got emotionally attached. This is different. This is about helping the world on a local, regional and global basis.”
With Richard Probst as company president and some $250,000 in seed money, O’Connor said a 20,000-square-foot facility has already been set up in Azusa. It is capable of making 10 advanced mobile grow units per week.
Recently, O’Conner scoped out sites in the east valley for a corporate headquarters, hydroponic farmers market and a showroom.
Plans are taking shape with Denise DuBarry Hay, founder and president of the direct response marketing firm Kaswit, to create infomercials for VegBuddy.com
“I’m all about finding ways to bring organic food to the table in a cost-effective way,” said DuBarry Hay. “It’s a cool concept, and product. Who doesn’t want an herb garden in the backyard? This way, you can have herbs, and an assortment of vegetables, and you know where it came from: No pesticides, no junk.”
And Mobile Farming System signed a deal with Los Angeles-based Phototron Holdings Inc., to develop prototypes for the VegBuddy. It plans to get its nutrient packs from Phototron, as well.
A company that spent over $60,000 in R&D at the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center of the University of Arizona on its grow system technology, Phototron has been featured on the Martha Stewart Show.
O’Connor, now raising $500,000 for an official launch, is pleased with the progress.
“If it starts good, it ends good,” he said. “It’s been an awesome experience, so far.”
Andy Gibbs was told it couldn’t be done when he founded the Veterans Business Institute and offered draft language for a GI Bill that Congress is mulling to help veterans apply their educational benefits toward a start-up business.
Gibbs heard it again when he designed an intellectual property business model called, Duty1.com
Now, Microsoft is knocking at his door.
Gibbs is the founder and former CEO of Patent Café, an Internet distribution site for intellectual property, patent, trademark and copyright information. After selling the “six-figure” business in 2009, Gibbs decided to flip strategies.
“I thought of the core business, first, and then designed the software around it.”
That got Microsoft’s attention.
Veterans Business Institute was one of three businesses in the United States to be selected for a marketing campaign Microsoft plans to launch in March in print, online and in stores.
“Their main message is how we are relying on, and leveraging, ‘cloud’ technology and mobile computing to build our small business,” Gibbs said.
The proprietary software program Gibbs designed functions along the lines of a Google or a Facebook, he said.
Vastly different from a start-up business that creates a simple Web page to get started, Duty1 sets the framework for a company that offers support and a network for veterans to start their business, build a Duty1-labeled fleet of cars, vans or trucks, recruit clients and provide frontline backup at all times.
The company was designed to tie into the Internet, mobile communications, a call center and a cloud of special-tailored services — from payroll and accounting to procurement — with software designed specifically for them.
It includes a Voice over IP (VoIP) Call Center that Gibbs says will be manned by disabled veterans who take calls and handle field service requests for veteran businesses that sign onto the Duty1 service.
Gibbs, who chose to locate his operation here, has in a few short months moved from a cubicle to a large suite of offices in a corridor of the Rabobank Regional Business Center that’s been renamed “Gung Ho Circle.”
“They said it couldn’t be done,” he said. “Well, I’m doing it.”
As he lines up investors, Gibbs said he’s already gotten two local businessmen to sign on as Duty1 providers: Dr. Bradley Wolff, a chiropractor; and Bernie Johnson, a general contractor who was in the process of remodeling a Palm Springs home.
“It’s all about finding work for vets,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, it will give me some opportunities to be exposed to a larger client base.”
He wants 10,000 veteran-owned businesses signed onto the fee-based program by 2014.
“Pretty soon, I’m going to need more office space,” he said. “I expect we’ll outgrow this within 60 days.”
PALM SPRINGS — When Andy Gibbs began pitching Duty 1, the Vietnam-era veteran was branded a dreamer.
But the founder of Veterans Business Institute was given a cubicle in the Rabobank Regional Business Center — one of many old city jail cells the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership and Coachella Valley iHub retrofitted for budding entrepreneurs — and went to work.
That effort is paying off. In mid-January, Microsoft sent over a film crew to tell the story of Gibbs and the intellectual property business model he created, Duty1.com, to manage a network of veteran-owned businesses across the nation by 2014.
His story — one of three Microsoft picked for a small business marketing campaign — is among several startups with potential who have used the new iHub.
Others include Tala Enterprise; Seismic Warning Systems; Mobile Farming Systems; Attune RTD; Electronic Vehicle Enterprises; Divvali LED Lighting; and Design USA.
“There is finally a facility with grow-your-own economic development that has a chance to flourish,” said Rick Daniels, the city manager of Desert Hot Springs, one of three cities that helped create the iHub.
“It’s refreshing when you see theory — and the way it’s supposed to work — come to life,” the former CEO and president of CVEP said.
Tala Enterprise, a clothing manufacturer that on Jan. 3 moved into a warehouse in the Coachella Valley Enterprise Zone, has already drawn recognition.
The former maker of a Kentucky Denim clothing line that was produced in China, Liat Tala opened the new Tala Enterprise warehouse in Thousand Palms Business Park with a startup crew of 31 and two primary goals:
• Employ 400 people by the fifth year of operation.
• Establish a fashion district in the valley.
Earlier this month, Tala traveled to Washington, D.C., to address a forum on problems facing American manufacturers. She then visited Sacramento to take part in a panel to discuss ways to make California more business friendly.
Rep. Mary Bono Mack, the Palm Springs Republican who chairs the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, said “Liat Tala is the perfect example of entrepreneurialism. … She is a great example — on a small scale — of what we need to do across America.”
Coachella Valley iHub chief executive Joe Wallace — an Indiana entrepreneur, consultant and venture capitalist — started his new job in the valley on Jan. 9.
With his experience at a Midwest incubator, he has no intention of incubating “snow-cone stands.”
“My theme is, ‘Let’s do things to create some wealth,’” he said. “Where wealth happens, economic prosperity happens.”
The iHub — designed to cover Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs and Cathedral City — offers support, education, training, networking, financial assistance and various services and incentives to startup ventures.
While CVEP’s focus is broad, the iHub focuses on cultivating business along the lines of clean technology, solar energy, wind power, geothermal and smart grids. It also focuses on biofuels, water filtration and conservation technologies.
Wallace said he has eight iHub applications in hand, and four are pending. Two businesses want actual space, and 10 plan to incubate in the virtual world. Several applications hail from the iHub cities and one is from out of the country.
Not all business-concepts get into the incubation phase, as applicants are vetted before they get a virtual or real iHub door key.
“The best applicants are ones in technologies that are not being done by anyone else, and are enabling technologies for existing renewable energy,” Wallace said.
“Take these windmills, for example. We’ve got (thousands) of them on the north end of town. We’ve got solar panels all over the place. If you have storage solutions, they would be much more efficient, much more valuable.
“You can burn a lot of time and energy making one windmill work. It would be great if we could make a whole field work better.”
The entrepreneurial stories that bubble up show the Rabobank Regional Business Center is gaining momentum, Bono Mack said.
“If CVEP is identifying local entrepreneurs and private investment — and, most importantly, great ideas — it behooves us all to work together as a team,” she said.
That spirit of cooperation helped the iHub land the first Divvali LED Lighting and Design office in the U.S., said Lisa Olson, general manager of sales and marketing for the Montreal-based firm. She checked out spots in Chicago, Boca Raton, Fla., San Diego, Las Vegas and Houston.
“When I took the tour, everyone was so helpful and positive, and entrepreneurial in their thinking,” she said, noting the receptionist installed a Divvali LED bulb at her desk immediately.
Minutes later, the CVEP team discussed putting a poster in the hallway to explain how much electricity one LED bulb would save.
“It’s that kind of warmth and cooperation that gets things done,” Olson said.
“Even something simple and small like that goes a long way.”
“This is a methodology that has been used successfully in other communities,” longtime inland economist John Husing said.
“It generally involves giving entrepreneurs a first-class place to do their work to get started, generally with the support they can’t get working out of a garage.”
Not everyone makes it.
Linda Knopp, director of policy analysis and research for the National Business Incubation Association in Ohio, said the average time it takes for a business to graduate from an iHub is three years.
“Depending on the type of company, some can be even longer,” she said, like biotech and life science industries. After graduating from an iHub, surveys endorsed by her group say 87 percent of the new ventures survive at least five years.
“Innovation hubs have a good track record of helping companies be successful,” she said.
“The big part is, they help the entrepreneurs in the early stages of developing a business when the businesses are most vulnerable to failure,” Knopp said.
“They identify their challenges, weaknesses and connect them to expertise these firms need to grow to the next level.”
Statistics on success by ventures working outside of iHubs vary, but Knopp said the NBIA most often cites U.S. Small Business Administration figures. Seven out of 10 new employer firms will survive at least two years.
Husing, who gives grades during the annual “State of the Economy” report he provides CVEP, said the progress a handful of iHub businesses has already made is telling.
“I’d give it an A, for sure,” he said of the iHub.
“What we’ve done, so far, has raised our profile and credibility,” said Tom Davis, vice chairman of CVEP’s board of directors. “I think everyone that’s visited the center is aware of it, and extremely impressed with it. It’s a matter now of getting people to the door.”
Recently, investor Hershy Spitz toured a white, self-contained trailer that Richard O’Connor, CEO of Mobile Farming Systems, and his team plan to outfit with a hydroponic grow system to produce kosher vegetables, herbs and fruit.
Spitz is considering shipping the 32-foot-long mobile trailers to New York City to supply kosher food for its large Jewish population.
“I live in Palm Springs, but spend 10 months a year in Brooklyn,” Spitz said, as he stepped into the trailer outside the Rabobank center.
“There could be quite a market there.”
“Considering our start from scratch, I think we’ve made tremendous progress,” said Cathy Van Horn, economic development administrator for the city of Palm Springs.
“We already have one or two businesses that are ready to grow into larger space, and start production to build business, and create jobs.
“That’s the prize: jobs.”