PathSense Finds Way to Grand Prize in “Quick Pitch” Competition
PathSense, a suburban San Diego startup using a “sensor fusion” approach to provide an alternative to battery-draining GPS location technology for mobile devices, was the grand prize winner last week at the San Diego Tech Coast Angels’ ninth annual “Quick Pitch” event.
The Cardiff, CA-based company uses a proprietary “predictive routing algorithm” and machine learning engine to interpret data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, and other smartphone sensors to provide location data with what the company calls GPS-accuracy without tapping satellite-based technology. In his two-minute presentation, PathSense presenter Zack Linford said the technology can be used by customers like Uber, Waze, and Life360 as an alternative to battery-draining GPS technology.
Linford’s presentation was determined as the best overall combination of style and content in voting by seven volunteer judges Thursday night. The grand prize-winner received a $15,000 cash prize, made possible by the John G. Watson Foundation, and consulting services from the Startup Garage. About 110 companies applied to be one of nine finalists selected to compete in the annual pitch event, which drew over 300 people to the Irwin M. Jacobs Lecture Hall at Qualcomm’s San Diego headquarters.
PathSense CEO Pete Tenereillo said the company is his seventh startup. He began working on the technology about 2½ years ago, and provided initial funding himself. The company raised $2.2 million earlier this year from Data Collective, Vertical Ventures, and Keshif Ventures, the nom de guerre of San Diego angel investor Taner Halicioglu.
The audience favorite, based on a text-messaging vote, was Lubax, a San Diego-based dermatology startup that uses a smartphone-based clinical reference system to identify skin lesions. The mobile app, which is limited to physicians, enables users to compare a photo of a patient’s skin lesion with a proprietary image database of diagnosed lesions.
The Lubax technology is 90 percent accurate in diagnosing skin cancer (melanoma), CEO Raymond Chen said in his presentation. Lubax also was named a runner-up for best content, according to voting by the judges.
The judges gave MomCo founder and CEO Jillian Darlington their runner-up award for style. MomCo is a free, GPS-based social networking app that makes it easier for new moms to connect with potential “mom friends” who live nearby and have similar-aged children and interests.
Citing a Today Show poll, Darlington said 82 percent of moms feel that making “mom friends” is as difficult as dating. With traditional forms of advertising becoming obsolete, she said major brands and local businesses are lining up to sponsor MomCo-organized playdates, and to be featured in the mobile app’s deals, giveaways, and “Mom Must-Have” section.
Other finalists that presented at the Quick Pitch competition:
—Intuitive Motion CEO Brad Phillipi demonstrated the ZBoard, saying it is the world’s first weight-sensing electric skateboard.
—GoShare founder and CEO Shaun Savage presented GoShare, a peer-to-peer network that uses a free mobile app to connect drivers who have a pickup truck or cargo van with people and businesses who need mattresses, and other large items delivered on demand.
—iZZi Gadgets founder Jayson Guz showed how a smartphone equipped with iZZi’s rotating camera accessory enables smartphone users to take photos with a fisheye, wide-angle, zoom, and macro lens.
—GroupSolver CEO Rasto Ivanic presented technology that uses mobile data collection and Web-based analytics to provide market research for companies like O2, Starbucks, and SpoonRocket.
—everyStory CEO Edward Cox explained how users can create their own multimedia stories, using the company’s Web-based platform to record voice-overs that explain the story behind each photo. The company enables storytellers to archive their important memories for invited friends and family, creating a privacy-focused, micro-social network.
—The Steel Glass founder Iñaki Pedroarena-Leal presented a coating service that strengthens conventional wine glasses and other glassware by seven times. The startup is targeting restaurant and hospitality industries where reducing breakage losses by as much as 80 percent could lead to substantial cost savings.
Avalon Ventures partner Court Turner served as master of ceremonies for the Quick Pitch event. The volunteer judges included Summer Rodgers, who won the grand prize at last year’s Quick Pitch event; Kara Bortone, head of company sourcing for Johnson & Johnson’s JLabs San Diego; Peter Farrell, ResMed founder and chairman; Anthony Mauriello, a partner in the San Diego office of the Stradling Yocca law firm; Tina Nova, a former Illumina senior vice president, Navrana Singh, Qualcomm director of product managent and head of Qualcomm Innovation; and David Titus, senior vice president of business development with the Cooley law firm in San Diego.