The Herald Bulletin

June 24, 2013

Jesse Wilkerson: Opportunities abound for making your pitch


The Herald Bulletin

---- — Do you know where to pitch what’s next?

Over the last several years I have been tracking activity in Silicon Valley. If you watch closely enough you can catch the next big thing projected to improve our tech world experience.

From tech summits (https://events.aonetwork.com/ehome/innovationsummit) to idea pitch conferences where bright young engineers toss out ideas to hungry investors hoping to make millions, you can see how and why the industry attracts both heavy investors and the brightest of the bright. It is not just a national meeting ground, but internationally it is recognized as a place where things happen.

Silicon Valley doesn’t hold much value to the everyday life of someone planted in the Midwest unless you use your cellphone to monitor your lighting and security at the house, or order a pizza from your phone, or adjust the temperature on your thermostat from your phone. All these unique tech features came to life in a think tank out west.

Then there are the hardware incubators that let you design your own car or the company Ekso Bionics (www.eksobionics.com) that has designed a suit to allow people who have lost the use of their legs to simply strap themselves in and walk again.

Where do you take an idea to see if it sticks? If you are an innovator looking for funding you can register your idea on Angel List. Angel List (www.angellist.com) isn’t for the weak at heart.

It is a robust online investment channel that allows you to register your business idea and seek out top dollars to help you get it to the next level.

The company boasts raising just over $12 million this month alone. It has help raised money from venture capitalist to support projects launched by Google and Facebook. It is really a great place for start-up companies to launch with over 9,000 taking the plunge this month.

These sites aren’t necessarily new. For example, Rally.org (www.rally.org) and Kick Starter (www.kickstarter.com) have helped artists get into gear with raising anywhere from $500 to $5 million for a range of projects like movies to a group of designers’ idea in creating a thinner wallet.

With the billions of dollars swimming in this — the opportunity to engage in ground-floor innovation and product development — the door is wide open for anyone to get involved. If you’re armed with a good idea and passion to pursue tech development or enhance lives through product creation this may be the pool for you.

Jesse J. Wilkerson is the principal of the local architecture firm Jesse J. Wilkerson & Associates. His column appears every other Monday on the Business page.