Service and Personal Robots – Cuddly or Creepy?

Opportunities Related to SAR (Socially Assistive Robotics)


Far beyond sweeping rooms or “echoing” answers to your questions, useful—even necessary –robots that interact with us psychologically are emerging and will grow in a big way, if only driven by the increasing demographic of elderly, disabled or temporarily limited people.  But elegant laboratory demo’s beg the question: can truly useful robots be cost effectively provided for other than the rich, i.e., at prices affordable to large numbers of people or acceptable to insurers or the Government.  Might one solution be a “meals on wheels”-like offering to the elderly where a visiting robot is one of many tele-guided by a remote human controller?  On the other hand, what about robots to teach, watch, and interact with children?


All of these implicate a 2-way psychological dimension in human-robot ecosystems – our reactions to robots and robotic perception of our state of mind.  Unsurprisingly, socially assistive robotics (SAR) has emerged as a field for machines assisting via social interaction where a robot’s physical appearance induces people to engage with it.   Our program will delve into the uniquely different problems and the entrepreneurial opportunities “psycho-active, economically accessible robots” introduce compared to impersonal industrial or service applications.


Keynote Speaker: 


Prof. Maja Mataric

Chan Soon-Shiong Chair in the Computer Science Department, Neuroscience Program, and the Department of Pediatrics

University of Southern California




Ross Mead, Ph.D.

Founder and CEO

Semio AI, Inc.


Adrian Kaehler, Ph.D.

CEO, Giant.AI Inc.

Author “Learning OpenCV 3”


Nader Hamda







Michael Krieger

Attorney at Law

Willenken Wilson Loh & Delgado LLP

UCLA Computer Science Department


Andy Tomat

Managing Director

Four Pillars, Inc.


Julie-ann Pina

Managing Partner





How Disruptive Companies are Getting Funded in Los Angeles

Can Southern California Become the Next Great Tech Ecosystem?


With a number of high-profile exits, including Amazon’s recent acquisition of Ring, Snap’s IPO and the sale of Dollar Shave Club, Southern California is emerging as one of the hottest venture ecosystems in the country. But before a company and its investors can look for a profitable exit, they typically spend years of hard work designing and building a business, and it all starts with funding.

This program will examine the current state of startup development in Los Angeles, as well as the specific ingredients necessary to plan and execute a successful funding strategy for your startup:

  • What do we need to do to sustain SoCal’s momentum in creating successful startups?
  • Are there aspects of startup funding in our region that differ from Silicon Valley and other regions?
  • How can entrepreneurs equip themselves to improve their odds of finding investors and receiving funding?

Our program will open with Andy Wilson’s keynote presentation, Silicon Valley South: How Southern California Could Become the Next Great Tech Ecosystem, based on a newly published survey by Boston Consulting Group commissioned by the Alliance for Southern California Innovation. Next, our panel, including investors Fred Haney and Alex Rubalcava, will discuss how successful companies go about attracting capital, including thoughts from Fred’s new book, The Fundable Startup. Emerging company attorney Chris Shoff will provide perspective on how best to connect with investors and share his “fund raising best practices”, based on his vast experience representing startup companies.


Keynote Speaker: 


Andy Wilson

Executive Director

Alliance for Southern California Innovation




Fred Haney

Former Venture Capitalist, Angel Investor and Author


Alex Rubalcava


Stage Venture Partners


Chris Shoff


Latham & Watkins




Randy Churchill

Managing Director

Square 1 Bank



Saturday, April 14th, 2018

Networking with refreshments from 8:00 – 9:00 AM / Program: 9:00 – 11:30 AM


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