Can Hyperloop Actually Be Built?

UCLA joins LA-based group to design prototypes…

From LA Weekly:

“The next big deal — or debate — in the transportation field isn’t a Jetsons-style flying car, high-speed train or monorail. It’s the Hyperloop, a 19th-century mailroom technology with a 21st-century twist. Instead of sucking documents through a pneumatic tube from the basement mailroom up to the executive suite, SpaceX founder Elon Musk and Tesla Motors’ Hyperloop would propel people, seated inside pods, from L.A. to San Francisco in 30 minutes. That’s about 760 mph, the speed of a cruising F-15.

That is, if it ever is built. If it ever can be built.

“We wouldn’t be wasting our time if we didn’t think so,” says Patricia Galloway, the first female president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, who is part of a Los Angeles–based group charged with figuring out how to make Hyperloop a reality.

Also on the “Hyperloopers” team — which is working out of the transformed former Howard Hughes Spruce Goose hangar at Playa Vista — is Paul Coleman, one of the original 100 engineers NASA hired for Apollo moon missions…”

About Hyperloop [web]


UCLA Hosts Conference Uniting Cleantech Inventors and Investors

UCLA researchers meet investors and industry executives who can help commercialize their cleantech inventions.

From EcoSeed:

” LOS ANGELES — The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Office of Intellectual Property & Industry Sponsored Research (OIP-ISR) is gathering leading innovators and investors in the cleantech industry at its Cleantech & Advanced Materials Industry Partnering Conference today at the UCLA Covel Commons. The conference exemplifies OIP-ISR’s quintessential goal of “driving innovation to market” because it is an opportunity for UCLA researchers to meet investors who can help them commercialize their cleantech products.

2013 has featured many initiatives organized by UCLA OIP-ISR that illustrated its commitment to to the success of green businesses. Among these was its Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program which paired UCLA students, staff and faculty with executives who have invested in a variety of industries. Over the course of this three-month program, the four entrepreneurs who served in this program shared their business expertise directly with members of the UCLA family in consulting roles and to the general public through OIP-ISR’s STARTUPS 101 seminar programs. This group of entrepreneurs included UCLA alumna Sandra Itkoff, a renowned cleantech investor who has also advised cleantech entrepreneurs at the newly formed Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator.

One of the OIP-ISR conference’s faculty speakers, UCLA Smart Grid Energy Research Center (SMERC) Founding Director and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor Dr. Rajit Gadh, shared a brief overview of the presentation he will be giving on electric vehicle (EV) technology in a September 2013 email message…”

SMERC [web]
LA Cleantech Incubator [web]

SoCalGas Establishes $1M Innovation Fund To Speed Development Of Clean Technologies

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator Boosts Utility’s Research & Development

From WSJ:

“LOS ANGELES, Sept. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) has established a $1 million innovation fund with the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) to speed the development of clean technologies.

Working in collaboration with the LACI, a nonprofit business development agency that helps accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies, SoCalGas has launched an effort to identify and help bring to market potential clean technology solutions in three key areas: fuel cells, renewable natural gas and distributed natural gas products such as liquid transportation fuels and other chemicals.

“Natural gas is more than just a bridge fuel to meet current global energy needs; it has the potential to become a truly sustainable energy source, through new technologies that can produce gas from biomass and solar energy. We are excited about the project with LACI because it enables us to speed the advancement of key technology areas that we think can have a significant impact on the environmental issues facing California and the planet,” said Jeff Reed, Director of Business Strategy and Development for SoCalGas. “This collaboration provides us with a very cost effective and streamlined solution to identifying, developing and deploying strategic technologies.”

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator [web]

Incubating LA’s Biotech Future, With Richard Koffler, Greenwings Biomedical

Our mission is to bring inventions and innovation out of research institutions, primarily Universities, and license them and convert those inventions and innovations into viable products, and eventually companies, which we can get acquired for an early exit, or launch them into commercial operation and then eventually get acquired.

From SocalTECH:

“A couple of weeks ago, a brand new, startup incubator launched in town–with a slightly different focus, on biomedical technology. The incubator–Greenwings Biomedical (, is led by Richard Koffler, a serial entrepreneur and angel investor in Los Angeles. Koffler tells us why Greenwings isn’t just another accelerator –and instead, is internally incubating companies based on research from local universities. He sat down with us to tell us more about the incubator, plus why–having started an equivalent of what would be called accelerator today, but during the dot com days–he’s a fan of a different model today.

Why did you decide to start Greenwings?
Richard Koffler: I’ve done this before. I was involved in the healthcare industry with a company that I ran, and eventually sold, in healthcare information systems and telemedicine. After we sold that business, I started an incubator during the dot-com bubble. That ended up being the wrong model. It consisted of what today would be called an accelerator, which involves sprinkling a few dollars and coaching on other people. It was a failure. I think it’s very difficult to find success on that model. It was also focused on consumer internet, which was not my strength. My strength lies in hard science and engineering. Three years ago, I started the first of three companies in a portfolio out of the UCLA health system, VAL9000. I then started another project, based on an invention out of the USC biomedical engineering department, a company developing an ultrasound device used for cardiac monitoring. Finally, I started a third project out of the USC Keck School of Medicine, using software to optimize drug dosages for individuals. That is aimed at personalized medicine.

I had this portfolio of projects, and they were all making great progress, and I realized that I had already extended myself, and needed to bring it up a notch. So, I create the concept and company called Greenwings Biomedical, to help scale out that model and capacity, both in terms of manpower, talent, and financials. I think we’re doing this the right way with this incubator, as opposed to what I had tried many years ago. Plus, with biomedical companies, you have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the world. The devices and technologies you are working on can affect the delivery of medicine and increase the wellness of the population on a global basis. Any good, biomedical products has the opportunity to make a big difference to lots of people, and can also be financially lucrative. Everyone wins…”

Greenwings Biomedical [web]

UCLA Launches Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program

The EIR program emerged out of the voiced need for more interaction between entrepreneurs with commercial experience and faculty and graduate students with research experience.

From UCLA Today:

“When it comes to launching startup companies to help campus researchers bring their inventions to the marketplace, UCLA is one of the nation’s leading schools, with more than 100 startups currently open for business and roughly 20 new ones being established every year. Yet for university-based inventors, stepping from the world of academia into the realm of entrepreneurial ventures can feel like wading into unfamiliar waters.

A new entrepreneur-in-residence program (EIR) launched this month by the Office of Intellectual Property and Industry Sponsored Research (OIP-ISR) comes to the aid of campus inventors by bringing in experienced entrepreneurs to provide guidance and advice…”

UCLA EIR Program [web]

Tech Titans Hit the Silicon Beach

Tech entrepreneurs and executives from Silicon Valley are moving south and buying up luxury homes in the Los Angeles area.

From WSJ:

“The tech industry is going south.

In growing numbers, Silicon Valley executives—long based in tech strongholds like Santa Clara and Palo Alto—are buying homes in Los Angeles, as the lines between the technology and entertainment businesses grow blurrier.

Venture capitalist and hedge-fund manager Peter Thiel—PayPal’s co-founder and Facebook’s FB -4.73% earliest investor—paid $11.5 million in January for a 6,000-square-foot house on a promontory above the Sunset Strip. Andrew Frame, a 30-something entrepreneur who founded Internet-telephone company Ooma, bought a contemporary four bedroom in Bel Air for $5.5 million last summer from singer/reality star Nick Lachey, who in turn had acquired the home from model Heidi Klum and singer Seal. In March of last year, Matt Jacobson, head of market development at Facebook, paid $10.9 million for a modern house on the ocean in Manhattan Beach, according to public records. He uses his former home, a just-under 900-square-foot beach bungalow two blocks away, to house Facebook employees visiting from up north…”


5 things Silicon Valley gets wrong about Southern California

There are a lot of misconceptions about SoCal and it’s time we set them straight

From VentureBeat:

“For anyone from California, you know there are vast differences between the northern and southern parts of the state – so vast in fact that, to us, they could just as easily stand alone as two separate states. In a recent article, contributor Tara Brown wrote of her own misapprehension moving from San Francisco to Southern California, saying, “I’m a technologist and moving away from the tech hub of the world to the land of Botox seemed like a really bad career move. I assumed that the people of Los Angeles were disingenuous attention whores and didn’t know anything about technology.”

The great NorCal vs. SoCal debate is a longstanding, undeniable rivalry between the stereotypical surfer dudes of the south and environmental geeks to the north. But what Silicon Valley doesn’t know could hurt them. There are a lot of misconceptions about SoCal and it’s time we set them straight…”

Why LA will Outpace Silicon Valley as the Tech Startup Capital [web]