TripScope wins CROWDFUNDxLA

Yesterday evening at ROC, Crowdfunder and Social Media Week L.A. showcased their 10 finalist startups for the CROWDFUNDxLA pitch competition in front of a panel of investor judges. When all was said and done, local upstart travel technology company TripScope took home the grand prize, including a fast-tracked meeting with Launchpad LA‘s investment committee.

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TripScope is a B2B software solution for travel agents that allows them to bypass the current archaic system in which important information is communicated to clients via hardcopy and PDF. Using TripScope, agents are able to enter vital details and pertinent information through a browser interface which populates a traveler-facing iOS app, complete with push notification support for time sensitive changes and communication.

What really got the judges’ attention was the fast progress the startup has made. Founder and CEO Katelyn O’Shaughnessy, a luxury travel agent by day, took her knowledge of industry specific problem areas to a hackathon earlier this year, and despite having no tech or startup experience before, she has made huge progress on both product and business development in a very short time.

We were so impressed with how far you’ve come, that you didn’t know anything, really, about tech, but because you have such individual experience with your product, and you really executed a product that many people who work in tech for a long time don’t do as thoughtfully as you did. We’re really excited to see what you do with it.

-Jamie Kantrowitz, Partner, Launchpad LA

Normally when discussing advances in the travel technology niche, travel agents are the ones being disrupted. Even so, O’Shaughnessy is quick to point out that last year 64% of flights were booked by a travel agent, adding up to $86 billion in airfare. “TripScope will redefine the consumer usage of travel agents by providing clients with higher quality travel resources , and will allow travel agents to provide their services more efficiently and effectively worldwide,” pitched O’Shaughnessy.

Given that TripScope’s business model is to give away the mobile app to consumers for free and charge professional travel agents a fee per itinerary, O’Shaughnessy’s growing clout in the travel industry, particularly the younger demographic of travel professionals, is probably the company’s biggest asset.

We have in depth profiles of both TripScope and Launchpad LA coming up soon, so stay tuned.

And…. we’re back.

We said goodbye to a fantastic summer this past weekend, capping it off at Venture Pong in Venice. Now it’s time to get back to the grind!

VP-GPStartups are doing more and more great things here in L.A., so stay tuned for news and updates.

In case you hadn’t heard, it’s Social Media Week in L.A. right now, so there’s plenty to keep you busy if you’ve got some free time.

logo-crowdfundx-localWe’ll be at CROWDFUNDxLA this evening at ROC in Santa Monica. I highly recommend you consider attending; it’s not too late.

Three Ways to Improve Your Logo

By Lee Decker // CEO, Creative Director // Vytal Los Angeles // Lee@VytalLA.com // 818.277.7171

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I woke up one morning to an email from a new client, “Lee – …get me a logo done by next week so we can move onto more important things”. It was 5:30am and I stared at my iPhone, taken aback. “More important things?” I thought.

I wrote back: “Hey [client name], Yes, we are starting with your logo to build your brand identity, but I’ve got to tell you: your logo is something that could make or break your business — one small mistake could lead to future trouble…let’s spend a little more time than that with development”…

Later that day I got a call from the president of the company yelling at me, saying that I didn’t make the rules in this arrangement, the logo was the least important aspect of the campaign and that if I wanted that retainer check it would be in my best interest to follow their schedule.

I immediately fired that client. I didn’t want to be a part of any organization that didn’t care about their first impression with their future customers.

That being said, I am writing this short article to help you educate yourself on how important a logo is for your brand or company. Continue reading

How to Protect Your Startup’s Intellectual Property

pirate-flag-1024x819When you start a business, protecting your intellectual property (IP) should always be a major focus.  In the pre-internet era, IP wasn’t always a primary concern. Businesses were more about tangible goods and services, and information traveled “slowly” via mediums like newspapers and TV broadcasts. Today, everything has changed drastically, and protecting your intellectual property is a necessity.

These days, new businesses emerge onto the scene at lightning speed due to lower barriers to entry and greater accessibility to information, both of which are provided by the Internet. Competition is more prevalent in every industry because your competitors have the ability to reach your potential customers all around the globe, making geographic barriers to the distribution of goods and services almost non-existent. As a result, companies must do whatever possible to protect themselves if they are to survive and eventually thrive.

One major way you can protect your company and ensure it’s on the right track to grow Continue reading

Assignmint is getting writers paid.

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Assignmint founder Jeff Koyen at Zinque in Venice

20 year journalism veteran Jeff Koyen made the move from Brooklyn to Venice and launched Assignmint to help fix the relationship between freelance writers and editors, especially around the issue of timely and organized payment.

Assignmint could have chosen to provide solutions for writers or editors, but instead decided to stay in the middle. As a veteran journalist from both sides of the table (rather than a “startup kid” looking for a space to disrupt),  Koyen argues that professional writing doesn’t need to be disrupted; it’s the frayed relationship between writers and editors/publishers that needs to be repaired. Central to that solution is fixing the disorganized and outdated methods of hiring and paying freelance writers – or pitching and getting paid, from the writer’s perspective.

As the internet changed the way written content Continue reading

ZEFR Branches Out

zefrVenice, CA based startup ZEFR has become the premiere network on YouTube. ZEFR provides solutions for professional content owners on YouTube, and it brings together the largest and most diverse collection of movies, television, music and sports content. With over 1 billion monthly views, ZEFR is the fastest growing YouTube partner. Not only are they the dominant company in the movie category on YouTube, but they also have partnerships with 6 major Hollywood studios and several other independents.

I spoke with Amy McGee, Sr. Director at ZEFR, and she told me about some very exciting news regarding ZEFR. Six months ago, the startup rebranded itself from Movieclips to ZEFR, and along with that rebranding came the expansion of the Continue reading

Russian Filmmaker Bets On LA Tech Startup

Russian Filmmaker Bets On LA Tech Startup

Very quickly I realized that if you really want to become Someone in America you have to create something unique and be persistent in promoting yourself. Even if you can only show your naked ass in the window you have to show it every day at the same time so finally you’ll start to get paid for it

– Vica for Notes Of A Freshman​

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LOS ANGELES – The tech-startup experience is one usually reserved for those who are involvedin a small startup company. Few have had the privilege to know what happens behind the scenes of a tech company in its beginnings, but soon you’ll be able to get a firsthand look at the inner workings of Enplug, an up and coming startup in Los Angeles Continue reading

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Top 10 Tech News Sources on L.A. Tech

The LA tech scene has been making a BIG impact, and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. With all the hustle and bustle going on in the tech world, it’s often hard to keep up with everything. In order to help you stay up-to-date, I have found the top 10 tech news sources for LA Tech. As if life hasn’t been made simple enough for us, it just got even simpler. Take a look, read some articles, and see which sites you like the best! Continue reading