Thursday, December 29, 2016
Reflections on 2016: Alon Goren, Crowd Invest Summit and 805 Startups
This holiday season, we are again sharing the reflections on 2016 from Southern California's technology ecosystem. Today's contribution is from Alon Goren, the co-founder of Crowd Invest Summit and 805 Startups. You can see all of our holiday reflections here.
What's was biggest news from you or your firm this year?
Alon Goren: This year, my partners, Josef Holm (Krowdster), Darren Marble (CrowdfundX) and I started Crowd Invest Summit. On December 7th and 8th, we hosted the inaugural Crowd Invest Summit at the LA Convention Center, which was the largest Crowdfunding and Online Investing event ever held. We had a ton of amazing speakers like Robert Herjavec and James Altucher come out. We also got the LA VC community involved as well which was a lot of fun. We had a great fireside chat with Brock Pierce and had a panel with Richard Wolpert, Jim Andelman, Mark Mullen, Peter Liu and Buck Jordan. Next year, we plan on building it into a bigger business and in April 2017, we'll be doing it again, but this time in New York.
What's the biggest lesson you learned this year?
Alon Goren: Delegate! My partners and I were able to plan, sell and organize the conference, but without the help of our teams and interns, it would have been a nightmare to execute. We hired on Jo Beyersdorfer to produce the event and tackle all of the last minute logistics and she killed it for us. Next year, we'll be hiring on a larger team to help us throw gasoline on the fire.
What's your favorite technology gadget, device, or innovation you ran across this year?
Alon Goren: I am loving all of the ai products out there and use x.ai regularly now, but my favorite is actually not very technologically advanced at all. It's called Flyte Bike and it was created by an entrepreneur that works out of HUB101 with me named Robin Palmer. It's basically a set of bike pedals that are super lightweight and fold completely flat that you can travel with or leave under your desk. If you sit too much and for too long with movement, it can have amazing health effects. I love it because it shows how there are so many ways to innovate, not always hi-tech, and if you find the right market / problem to tackle, it doesn't have to be super-complicated. Robin is killing it, her product could save people's lives, and some of the smartest engineers I know who are working on amazing (super-expensive and complicated) products are having trouble selling.
Finally, what do you think will have the biggest impact on the technology industry in 2017?
Alon Goren: I think the biggest and most obvious is ai and automation, as it will have a huge effect and will transform the whole world, not just tech. That said, I think that what has the possibility to effect the technology industry specifically and the way it works, is the mainstream's recognition of investing and the fact that they are now allowed to participate. I'm not delusional to believe that all startups will start to raise publicly or anything like that, but I do believe that if a startup has a product or service that they are selling to the mainstream, raising equity from the mainstream will start to get a lot more appealing and a lot easier. It's been a long time coming, and I think we'll start to see it happening more often.
Alon Goren is a Co-Founder of Crowd Invest Summit and 805 Startups. With his previous companies, Alon developed technology that powers websites and financial transactions for Fortune 500 companies and well-known foundations such as Coca-Cola, ATB Financial and Global Philanthropy Group. He also created a white label fundraising portal for individuals and businesses hoping to crowdfund ventures independently of major platforms. Before launching Crowd Invest Summit, Alon worked for entertainment tech giants such as IMDb and MySpace where he managed product development, testing and performance. Alon is a thought leader on social enterprise and crowdfunding, and has spoken at SXSW V2V, Kingonomics and many other conferences and been featured in prominent publications including Forbes and VentureBeat.