Tag Archives: silicon valley

The growing popularity of summer camps for building iPhone, Android apps

Here is an excerpt from a Marketplace interview on computer-focused summer camps, they’re surging in popularity:

 

Queena Kim: Aw…the  sounds of summer. Families getting together for barbeques. The sound of BBQ sizzling. Dogs running around.

And 9-year-old Alex  is plopped down on a lounge chair totally engrossed in his favorite iPad game, which prompts this from his dad:

 

Gary: Alex, lose the iPad!

 

Chances are, these words are being heard across the country. But a growing number of parents are taking the opposite tack.

 

Instructor: And this is the course that uses x-code so…

 

Welcome to ID Tech Camps.  It started 13 years ago with 200 hundred campers in Silicon Valley. Today, ID Tech says it has about 23,000 campers in 25 states. One week at the camp can cost up to $1,400 — and that comes with the usual camp activities like swimming, games and nighttime pranks.

 

Read the full story: Marketplace - Summer camp for young techies

 

 

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Silicon Beach Fest – this weekend in Santa Monica – June 21-23 – the SXSW of Los Angeles

Silicon Beach Fest is LA’s first festival organized by its tech community to celebrate LA tech, entertainment & startups with panels, keynotes, workshops, mixers, and more at a dozen venues focused in Santa Monica and Venice on June 21-23, 2012. Head to the beach on the first weekend of summer to celebrate LA’s digital innovators!

Follow @SBFestLA - #SBF.

Fest attendees and speakers include: invited celebs, start-ups, VCs, movie and music studio execs, agencies, fashion, content creators, artists, social media gurus, developers, etc. from LA, Silicon Valley, etc.

 

Learn moreSilicon Beach Feast

 

Of all the events, the most exciting is Angel Pitch Day, with Nate Werlin of Venture Beat judging:

Got an idea? Want to pitch it to the angels and get feedback?

Then Angel Pitch Day is the event for you. If your idea is selected, you will get to participate at Angel Pitch Day where you will have an opportunity to pitch your idea to a live audience of angel investors.

You will have 2 minutes to deliver your pitch, then you will get candid feedback from top angels on your idea. Hear what they have to say and their insights into how you can improve your idea.

Silicon Valley to get its own airline – SurfAir

A new airline, SurfAir, has emerged to serve entrepreneurs, executives, and Venture Capitalists, who travel frequently throughout the state of California.

…the US infrastructure has billions of dollars that is hardly used, so much infrastructure that Michael Flint said he could have us landing on a runway within 20 minutes, in case of an emergency with my mom. I later learned that about half of America’s airports operate at less than 10% capacity, and those are mainly the municipal airports, such as Palo Alto Airport in Silicon Valley.

SurfAir grew quickly and is already launching its beta this month. It’s starting with six destinations. 500 people were selected to participate. It’s a subscription model, just like Netflix. For less than $1000 per month, members can fly multiple trips between California destinations on a private Pilatus 8-seater aircraft. Passengers drive right up to the aircraft, where a valet parks their car and takes their luggage. They’re all pre-screened, so all they have to do is board the aircraft, and they’re at their destination within an hour with a car waiting for them as they exit the plane.

via Pando Daily

 

 

The airline will have (planned) service to – Palo Alto, Monterey, Santa Barbara, & Los Angeles – and it looks to be big hit:

 

When we originally interviewed SurfAir CEO Wade Eyerly last March, he indicated the company was seeking about $2 million. But over the past couple of days we’ve gotten unsolicited calls from investors, who wish to remain anonymous at this point, who have told us that there was so much demand that the company has raised nearly $14 million.

via - SurfAir’s 1st Round of Funding “Oversubscribed”

Pinterest valued at $1.5 billion – as megalithic Japanese website invests

Rakuten (the Amazon of Japan) has led a $100m funding round into Pinterest, which values the online “curation” community at around $1.5 billion.

The Japanese ecommerce giant won out over major US venture capital firms who were vying for a piece of Silicon Valley’s new sweetheart, which lets users clip images to a virtual pinboard.

The FT spoke to Hiroshi Mikitani, chief executive of Rakuten, about how social discovery can boost ecommerce and the growing importance of images over text on the web.

“I met Pinterest’s management a few months ago and we got along very, very well….They said they were planning to raise capital. I offered to take all of it.”

“They had a prior arrangement with their angel investors so I told them I would like to get as much as possible. We talked about how we can help each other and we can help their presence in Japan which is one of the major markets in the internet industry. And they liked the fact they we would be able to help their business in Japan.”

via – Financial Times

 

// Photo – Alan Cleaver

Indian Institute of Technology – spins off a start-up, EnNatura, working on green ink

BY 2017 printing presses around the world will lap up 3.7m tonnes of ink, worth some $18 billion. Most of it will contain hydrocarbon-based solvents resulting in emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), an undesirable by-product of the manufacturing process. But not all. EnNatura, a company spun out of the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi has created a formula for making ink that is environmentally friendly.

In the creation of ink, the current “mixture is spiked with petroleum distillates…EnNatura’s proprietary resin chemistry does the same thing using castor oil, a natural purgative.”

Other companies, especially in America, make biodegradable ink. But most use petrochemicals to clean the resin from printing plates once the printing job is complete, which defeats the purpose. EnNatura, by contrast, employs a liquid concentrate made from a surfactant, a substance which, when mixed with water, eats into the resin and scrapes it off the printer.

via The Economist

 

What’s more exciting about this, the new environmentally friendly ink or the fact that India is creating this kind of start-up?

Why Bloom is a Game Changer

Wow!

What an exciting day in energy. Today Bloom Energy changed the game with their Bloom Server, here is why.

We all know the story that the vast majority of our energy comes from old (and dirty) power plants that use coal and nuclear energy sources. Well the hidden truth behind these “energy sources” is that all they do is heat water to create steam and move turbines. They make steam!

How ridiculous is that. We can send a robot to Mars but to power my iPhone I need some boiling water?

This ridiculous market paradigm is what Bloom hopes to exploit (and make billions in the process). They ignore the source argument over replacing coal and nuclear with wind, solar, or heat. Instead focusing on the energy process itself and applying advanced technology to wring some efficiency out of it.

K.R. Sridhar, CEO of Bloom, PhD, and former Director of Space Technologies at UofA, did just that. He found that a combination of fuel cells and natural gas can get 2x as much power as the steam process can (using same inputs). In his own words, they did it through old fashioned innovation:

“I call it R&D on steroids,” K.R. Sridhar said at the start-up’s offices. “We created an R&D platform where you continuously improve, validate and test. Learn why it broke and move on.”

That RD process has turned out one of the most promising energy technologies to date (imagine needing half as much coal). A fuel cell made out of sand and coated in a cheap metal “oxide” (they are keeping the recipe a secret). Each cell is super thin and just a few inches wide/long and capable of turning natural gas into electricity.

That is the fuel cell side to all this, although it doesn’t sound at all like traditional fuel cells.

The kicker is that this is not future technology. These fuel cells are already in place at many large business sites. Google is reported to be the first to have installed one while eBay, who hosted the press event, said to have five Bloom Servers providing %15 of their energy. A server is about 4,000 cells jammed into a black box that looks like an IT server.

That is just the beginning. This technology is so promising that everybody is joining the party. The press event was attended by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Colin Powell, Dianne Feinstein, and Michael Bloomberg (“make no mistake, when we look at Bloom, we are looking at the future of business, economy, and America”).

Finally, the VP and CEO’s of FedEx, Walmart, Staples, Google, Coca Cola, Bank of America, Cox, and eBay were on hand to explain why they love Bloom.

A star studded public relations event or the future of energy technology?

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CNet Live Blog Of Bloom Energy Press Event

Engadget Live Blog of Bloom Energy Press Event