Grubhub is piloting the use of delivery robots, manufactured by self-driving startup Yandex, at Ohio State University this academic year. The convergence of autonomous vehicle technology and robotics is bringing a future that we only saw in movies to us today, and rapidly. However, the accuracy of autonomous technology aspect has always been the stumbling block that has prevented widescale deployment in the case of delivery. This LA startup has found the answer. Coco is a last-mile delivery service that uses remote human-piloted robots to power deliveries. The technology is versatile enough to be used by restaurants, groceries, convenience stores, and pharmacies; basically, all the essentials that you have become accustomed to ordering on-demand. These industries have been forced to adopt technology in a rapid fashion to address the pandemic and Coco makes local delivery faster, smarter, and more cost-efficient. In fact, Coco estimates that it is able to save up to 30% on delivery times while reducing the environmental footprint. The company, founded in 2019, already has 50+ customers using the technology and has scaled the team to 120. LA TechWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Zach Rash to learn more about the state and future of the delivery market, the inspiration for the business, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding from investors that include Sam Altman, Silicon Valley Bank, and Founders Fund.
Brands and marketers are always looking for new and innovative ways to reach target audiences. The convergence of technology and mobility solutions like rideshares has enabled a new wave of ad units. For example, taxis for several years have had ads in cars and on top of vehicles, which now have become digitized from analog. This LA startup takes it one step further. Adway is a digital advertising platform that uses proprietary projection technology to display ads on the side of any vehicle without any major modifications. The projectors are affixed to a vehicle’s mirrors and ad buyers can purchase slots based on geography in real-time, enabling sophisticated targeting. The platform also tracks the number of cellular devices in and around the vehicles through Bluetooth to provide measured reach metrics. Adway drivers are given a share of the advertising revenue based on the number of hours they drive. LA TechWatch caught up with CEO Sasha Krylov to learn more about how the idea for the business came to fruition, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding from investors that include Upfront Ventures, Revel Partners, Watertower Ventures, and Inflection Capital.
The pandemic has propelled the adoption of NFC-powered contactless technologies for retailers and restaurants with everyone focusing on public safety. With the public now familiar with these technologies, new use cases will emerge post-COVID. Popl brings the benefits of NFC technologies to the general public. The product lineup of stickers keychains, and bands all enable the seamless sharing of information. The company focuses on making it easier for people to exchange contact information wirelessly, reducing the need for business cards in a contactless world. The software allows you to include social media profiles, payment info, links, etc., making the use-cases versatile.. LA TechWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Jason Alvarez-Cohen and COO and Cofounder Nick Eischens to learn more about the company’s offering, traction, and future plans.
Most entrepreneurs believe that they are going to change the world. However, there are very few that actually will have such an impact. Meet Doug Bernauer, a former SpaceX engineer that left the company to launch Radiant, an LA startup developing the world’s first portable, nuclear microreactor. The company’s vision is grand and if they are successful, they will be able to seamlessly bring energy to many places that need it the most. LA TechWatch caught up with Bernauer to learn more about the company’s vision, future plans, and recent funding round from investors that include Charlie Songhurst, Hank Vigil, Josh Manchester, and Tom McInerney.
California recently passed regulations requiring that over 50% of all commercial trucks sold in the state must be zero-emissions by 2035 and other states have signed a memorandum to phase out all diesel-burning medium- to heavy-duty truck and bus sales by 2050. These new laws signal promise and opportunity for companies like Xos Trucks, the LA company building state-of-the-art OEM electric trucks that forge together battery packs, chassis, and software. Xos Trucks’ flagship X-Platform 1 is fully electric and compatible with a variety of medium-duty bodies, wheelbases, and range requirements up to 200 miles. The X-Platform 1 is often customized into Class 6 medium-duty bodies that fulfill short-range deliveries, which have been used by UPS. Xos Trucks is also developing the ET-One, a Class 8 heavy-duty truck that can carry 80,000 pounds and can travel 150 miles per charge. 65% percent of trucks on the road travel less than 150 miles per day and Xos is addressing this market with its solutions to make last-mile delivery sustainable and efficient. COO and Cofounder Giordano Sordoni shares more about Xos Trucks is disrupting an $8T industry from the ground up with saavy engineering and software.
Loneliness and isolation are heightened in the midst of the pandemic. Can robots fill a void? Expper’s founder Karén Khachikyan says the company’s robot Robin changes a kid’s perception of medical treatments, where they will no longer feel isolated, lonely, and scared. The innovator explains how his whimsical four-foot robot employs digital facial expressions to form lasting bonds with its young users.
Through what it calls “storyhacking”, Whatifi offers numerous plotlines, character arcs, and endings, and even critical points where the watch party is faced with a problem and the movie cannot continue until everyone unanimously decides what decision to make. Using methodology from interactive theater, Cofounders Hardi Meybaum and Jaanus Juss are putting social audiences in the Director’s seat from their phones. The duo shared some insight into the company’s engaging platform for developing movies, future plans, and recent funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz.
Moving past the hysteria, computer vision is a defining element of intelligent machines transforming mechanical movements into dynamic workflows.
Sitting in New York’s former Engineer’s Society, I spoke with Oleg Kivokurtsev of Promobot and discussed his latest service bot creations that are being deployed across the globe in hotels, office buildings, and hospitals. Fay-Louise Hayden of VentureOut (his New York mentor) shared a vignette of her experiences last month as the imposing humanoid diagnosed tourists in Times Square for […]
Autonomous eVTOLs (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing systems) are coming sooner than you think.
Electronic vehicles are increasing in popularity with the number of electronic vehicles expected to increase by 170 million by 2030. This impressive growth will be supported by EV Connect’s tech-agnostic and cloud-based platform for managing electronic vehicle (EV) charging stations. As the industry grows, having a centralized cloud infrastructure that can resolve issues in seconds instead […]