Wearable Tech. Meet this Sector’s Wonks and Brand Wizards at GROW
When Google Glass launched, it opened the world’s eyes to a segment of the tech industry that was already growing in ways never before seen. Wearable technology is everywhere: not just on the bridge of your nose, but on our wrists, bicycles and the clothes we wear to work or to our workouts at the gym. It’s a multi-billion dollar “niche” that’s come a long way since the humble wind-up wristwatch.
At the GROW, you’ll meet the founders strategists, marketers and thought leaders who are changing our world with ubiquitous and increasingly invisible innovations. Meet Google’s engaging executive in charge of the glasses that let you see your world in a new way; rub shoulders with a former NFL linebacker whose company is extending human capabilities with award-winning engineering; meet the visionary who built up a franchise into a multi-million dollar blockbuster and is today changing the way you listen to music.
Learn more about the extraordinary people of one of tech’s hottest sectors that you can meet at the GROW conference:
Chris O’Neill, Business Lead, Google Glass
What does it take to build a brand and find your audience? Find out from the expert in charge of one of the most well-branded products from the most famous tech company in the world. Even among Google’s cadres of extraordinary slate of top execs, Chris has stood out; under his direction, Google Canada massively boosted its presence. Here’s your chance to meet the man behind the magic glasses that have made wearable tech the niche to watch.
Kyle Vogt, Founder & CEO, Cruise Automation Inc.
“In Soviet Russia, car drives YOU!” In a post-modern world where everything can be automated, a stale Yakov Smirnoff joke comes to life thanks to the innovation of Cruise Automation. For $10,000, you can buy a “cruise control” feature that might just change the way we drive forevermore, starting in 2015. Self-driving cars won’t just help us get to where we’re going, no muss, no fuss; once these really get going, they might just save the lives of tens of thousands of people all over the world, every year. They also might just save us $5.6 trillion per year from reduced accidents and waste. Kyle, serial entrepreneur and cofounder of Justin.tv, Socialcam, and Twitch has wanted to build this since he was a kid. Y Combinator, Signia Venture Partners and other keen investors can see that this market has a long road ahead of it.
Sonny Vu, Founder & CEO, Misfit Wearables
Activity sensors are hot for investors, with Misfit Wearables earning a solid $7.6 million in their first round of funding, later eclipsed by a $15.2 million injection of round B funding. Misfit Wearables has gone on to win plenty of awards and media acclaim for their sleek designs that can fit on your sleeve. Sonny’s been
in this business right from the beginning, when his company AgaMatrix became the first to connect a medical diagnosis app with an iPhone. Investors are sensing plenty more activity in this fired-up marketplace.
$200 million in venture funding gets you some serious respect in any forum. Adding on another $250 million in funding that values Jawbone at $3.3 billion makes even seasoned tech watchers look again. Jawbone keeps sweeping up accolades, awards, and serious cash as it rides high on “the Internet of Things”. The company’s biggest challenge is a problem other companies would love to have: keeping up with demand for its best-selling Bluetooth headsets, military-grade noise-eliminating technology and the wireless speaker and speakerphone. Jawbone was an early entrant into the wearable tech space, rolling off assembly lines for more than a decade. How does a market leader get to here – and what’s next?
He built one of the most addictive mobile fitness apps of all time: an app that lets you test your performance against pro-athletes, along with every other weekend cyclist out there. $16 million in funding from Madrone Capital and Sigma Partners have helped Strava capitalize on a fan-base of millions of athletes compulsively checking in to see how they match up against the rest of the pack. Fom a handful of users, this app has taken on a fanatical community that doubled in size in 2013. It’s exploding internationally in 2014, prompting other app developers and investors to ride out this market for all its worth.
Recon Instruments gives athletes the kind of HUD displays that used to be the preserve of Top Gun fighter pilots. Backed by Motorola and working with partners like Apple, Oakley and Smith Optics, this award-winning tech company is flying high. Recon is run by a high-performing athlete/CEO who has scaled the summits of the corporate world as a management consultant for giants like, IBM and Pricewaterhouse Coopers. With Dan at the helm, Recon is reworking how hardware companies make money by taking a page out of the software sales strategy handbook.
Successful businesses don’t just sell products: they sell experiences. Four rounds of funding and $55 million later, that’s a proven concept for SOL Republic, which is “changing the world one listener at a time” with their extraordinary headphones. Co-Founder Seth Combs started out by launching a franchise and took it to multi-million dollar success through effective marketing. He’s gone on to help big companies find their own path to success by offering experiences they can’t get anywhere else.
MC10 builds invisible electronics that “stretch, bend and twist seamlessly with our bodies and the natural world”. Partnered with Reebok and a diverse slate of health sciences investors, they’ve achieved $61 million in funding to develop award-winning technologies that can protect soldiers, treat heart ailments and monitor your baby in its crib. Heading up MC10’s Sports Segment, Harvard Business School grad Isaiah Kacyvenski is known for being as powerfully engaging at a conference as he ever was playing 8 seasons as a linebacker with the NFL.
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