Last weekend (2014 April 25–27), 2/3 of the current Futuristic Lights team attended TechRaising, an annual event in Santa Cruz that attempts to jump-start tech companies. I believe the theory is that the community is best of creating new start-ups, rather than trying to lure established companies to move here. If a company is easily moved to come here, then they are easily lured away again as soon as any sweeteners run out. To get a long-term tech base, we need to build it out of people who already want to stay here.
I’ve never been to a TechRaising, but as I understand it, the format consists of a bunch of short pitches by entrepreneurs looking for help with their new projects, then an intensive weekend of work on those projects that manage to attract the attention of others. Futuristic Lights went looking for some short-term help and advice on their projects—some projects were looking for more long-term connections. As I understand it, two or three software people helped out on the light gloves project during TechRaising.
The press coverage of TechRaising did mention Futuristic Lights, perhaps because it was one of the few hardware projects there (Santa Cruz tends to have more software than hardware start-ups).
From The Sentinel, the daily newspaper, an article about TechRaising included this mention:
Ideas swiftly summarized Sunday after being sculpted and fine-tuned in 48 hours included panelists’ favorites caffeine.com, which drew 20 teammates to help create an online marketplace designed to instill confidence in buyers and sellers, Infinity Gloves, taking the next step in gloves with programmable LED lights in the fingertips, and LuxePods, luxury efficiency room rentals targeting “mega” long-distance commuters.
A more focused online news source, Santa Cruz Tech Beat, had a more detailed article including this mention:
In the case of Suzanne and Zohar Wouk, a mother-and-son pair, TechRaising is also an event to bring people together within an even smaller community. Suzanne is creating SnapPost.com, a mobile app which facilitates the posting process on eBay. Zohar is working with a team to create the “Infinity Gloves,” a set of cotton gloves with LED lights used in the rising art form of “light gloving.”
“We’re kind of in the same world,” said Suzanne. “It’s interesting because I’m not the wiser —he’s wiser in terms of tech, so we’re both really helping each other as equals. We’re both going to school at the same time.”
There was a photographer there from Odden Creative Media taking pictures of some of the presentations and some of the groups working. The photos from Tech Raising are available on their website (and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License). Higher-quality copies can be purchased from them also.
I include a couple here from the Sunday presentation—note the glowing fingers in the first one:
(click the images for bigger versions or to order copies—I have no connection to Odden Creative Media other than the links on this page)