News Column

WaterCity pitch a winner at Santa Cruz New Tech MeetUp

July 10, 2014

By Jondi Gumz, Santa Cruz Sentinel, Calif.

July 10--SANTA CRUZ -- WaterCity, which adapted the SolarCity model to install rainwater-harvesting and greywater collection systems on homes and help solve California's water crisis, and SeeBright, which developed an affordable see-through head-mounted display for casual gamers, grabbed the attention of venture capitalists at the Santa Cruz New Tech MeetUp on Wednesday at Cruzio.

Based on the cheers of the 200 people in attendance, Jeff Langholz and Maeve Murphy of WaterCity were declared the winners.

The duo is targeting the 4,000 biggest water users on the Monterey Peninsula, to get them out of the highest priced tiers and save on their water bills. The plan then calls to expand to hotels and colleges and then to cities such as Los Angeles.

They are starting at five pilot sites to produce numbers they hope will secure financing partners.

Manny Fernandez of SF Angels Group complimented all four startup presenters, saying, "You're all winners."

John Murray of SeeBright said the projected price of his display, which has patented technology, is $150.

He's raised almost $700,000 and plans to raise $800,000 more before going on a Kickstarter fund drive.

Mark Mitchell of Sand HIlls Angels liked the 2.0 version, but observed, "You're in a pretty crowded space."

Murray said he's open to partnerships and acquisitions.

Peter Mullen pitched the new Digify app, which he used to send a prospective landlord his tax return in secure fashion with the information self-destructing before it could be shared.

He said he sees a market for Digify among businesses such as biotech and film-making and others that need a way to protect confidential documents sent online.

Bud Colligan of South Swell Ventures asked why Digify is mobile only, noting most documents are viewed on desktops.

Mullen said it was easier to build a mobile app first, adding that a desktop version should be ready in another month.

Ganesh Elie showed a video of Slithr, an electric unit designed in Santa Cruz to retrofit any skateboard, at a price of $650, half the price of competitors.

He and his partner need $25,000 for the first production run, targeting Santa Cruz and San Diego. He was advised to launch a fund drive on Kickstarter or Indiegogo.

Tech meetup organizer Doug Erickson announced that $4,955 was raised for the Aptos High robotics team by 59 donors, putting them in a drawing for a Fat Free electric bike invented by Neal Saiki of NTS Works in Santa Cruz.

Damian Matthews was chosen the winner via from the 978 tickets purchased.

Don Hodges, a retired physician in Santa Cruz and a first-time attendee, said he came "to learn new things." He said he joined the Apple club when the Macintosh came out.

Beat Naef of Stagecoach Wireless in Scotts Valley, who wore Google Glass, said he has hired two people he met at the tech meetup.


(c)2014 the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.)

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Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)

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