Riverside Startup Week Highlights Local Entrepreneurs


When it was time to name his company’s first product, recent University of California at Riverside graduate and Nex Move Games co-founder Mark Gilpatrick thought back to his travels abroad.

“In Middle Eastern cultures you’ll see people playing games like backgammon all day,” he said. “We wanted to reference this and we found the name Kumasi, which was a village that I backpacked through when I traveled through Ghana.”

Gilpatrick and Nex Move Games are part of ExCITE, a collaboration between business leaders, UCR, and the city and county of Riverside. ExCITE was founded to accelerate startup companies in Riverside, with the focus being on development of advanced technologies to create high technology jobs.

ExCITE is among the participants at this week’s inaugural Riverside Startup Week, a free, five-day event featuring local entrepreneurs, keynote speakers, and demonstrations. In addition to learning from CEOs, inventors, and investors of companies such as ESRI, Airbnb, Uber, and iRobot, attendees will also benefit from mentoring and networking opportunities.

“During Startup week, my interns and I will take advantage of the different modules that are available,” Gilpatrick said. “We all learn something and bring it back to help develop the company.”


According to Steve Massa, Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Riverside and one of the organizers of the event, “This regional event will allow all Inland Southern California entrepreneurs to come together and learn how to pitch to investors, build an MVP (minimal viable product), monetize their apps, and source new team members for their startup,find talent from nontraditional channels.”

Massa noted that Riverside ranked #13 in Kauffman’s Startup Activity Index in 2017, moving up five spots from the previous year. Entrepreneur Magazine also recognized Riverside as a top city for minority entrepreneurs.

“The ecosystem we are building fosters mentorship and increases investment opportunities for entrepreneurs who are committed to building and scaling businesses in our region,” he said.

Riverside Startup Week joins more than 600 other Startup Weeks around the world to foster the growth of the entrepreneurial community.

“ExCITE and Epic [Entrepreneurial Proof of Concept and Innovation Center at UCR] are awesome and led by some talented people that have a lot of faith in the Riverside community,” Gilpatrick said. “People like Taj [Ahmad Eldridge], and Mark Leibowitz give us invaluable advice. It’s a great community to be a part of. They’ve taken a well-rounded approach to guiding me and developing my company.”

For more information on Startup Week, visit https://riverside.startupweek.co/

Day 155: ChromeFan

MacBook and Chromebook getting along.

MacBook and Chromebook getting along.

I forgot to celebrate an anniversary a few months ago. Thankfully, it wasn’t anything important, but it was something I wanted to note: it’s been two years since I bought my first Chromebook. When Samsung released their Series 3 Chromebook in late 2012, it received excellent reviews and the $249 list price was a game-changer. Not only was it half the price of an iPad, it had a full keyboard, it was lighter than a MacBook Air, and it featured a boot-up time of less than 10 seconds.

That price was what got me to buy it in the spring of 2013. While I love Apple products, they’re overkill for typical everyday use: checking Facebook, browsing the web, listening to music, and streaming movies can be done on machines that are a fraction of the price of an iPad or MacBook. If you’re a professional musician or filmmaker, then Apple is your go-to, but I believe that the majority of users waste a lot of money on laptops that aren’t being used to their full potential. It’s like buying a Ferrari when you live nowhere near the Autobahn.

So the Chromebook fit my needs, both professionally and financially. I easily made the transition to computing in the cloud, but what surprised me the most was the Chromebook’s durability. It’s over two years old and it’s my everyday computer. I’ve dropped it twice from my bed and it’s still going strong. It’s been my second-best technology purchase in the last few years.

My best tech purchase? Without a doubt, the Chromecast. A few months after I got my Chromebook, I couldn’t resist the lure of another inexpensive Google product. While I missed out on the free three months of Netflix for early purchasers, I’ve redeemed quite a few offers that Google occasionally adds to the Chromecast Offers page. From free movie rentals to free months of unlimited music, my purchase price of $35 has been paid for multiple times over the last two years.

Today, I scored a free month of UFC’s Fight Pass. Much to my wife’s chagrin, that’s 30 days of unlimited UFC fights.

Day 148: Google I/O 2015

Google Photos

Google Photos

The big news from today’s Google I/O was the Google Photos launch. In short, the Photos part of Google+ is now a separate entity called Google Photos. I played with it earlier today and it’s terrific. The best part? The free unlimited storage for your photos and videos. Yes, Google one-upped Flickr, right when I was thinking about taking advantage of Flickr’s free 1TB of storage.

One thing that flew under the radar, though, was news about Google+.  Google’s Vice President of Streams, Photos, and Sharing Bradley Horowitz talks about Photos and Plus here. In short, Google+ isn’t going anywhere, much to the chagrin of those who call it a ghost town or worse; reading between the lines, it seems like Plus will be streamlined and re-focused on what it does best, which is connecting people of common interests. I don’t think it’ll ever take over Facebook’s place as the default social media network, but of course I said the same thing about Myspace years ago.