Augmented Reality Product Picked for China Pitch

By Deirdre Newman
Orange County Business Journal
May 23, 2016

Irvine-based Candy Lab, which has developed an augmented reality product intended to help businesses attract consumers, is one of eight companies selected by the Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale to pitch to venture capitalists, angel investors, and government officials in China. 
Candy Lab will pitch its CandyBAR product, which enables branded logos, animations, and other content to be delivered to a mobile device through augmented reality, a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image onto a user’s view of the real world. 
Plug and Play is an accelerator-incubator that’s adding offices in China to focus on incubating augmented and virtual reality companies, according to Candy Lab Vice President of Business Development Andrew Kirkland.
Startup for Artists Goes Live
An online art gallery startup launched on May 15. National Art Gallery, based in Irvine incubator Fast Start Studio, provides an online venue for the sale of original, print and commissioned artwork. It also provides job and events listings and a place for artists to build and showcase portfolios. 
The company is the brainchild of local artist Tammy Ikram, who’d worked with several galleries and wanted to centralize her growing network of artists and collectors.
She started by creating National Art Society, a social media site that still exists on Facebook and has more than 140,000 followers.
Ikram joined Fast Start Studio in early 2015 under the mentorship of Michael Sawitz, who founded the incubator and calls himself its “chief enthusiasm officer,” to refine and scale the startup. She then brought on some team members, including a chief technology officer and a head of client relations. Ikram is executive director and chief curator. 
National Art Gallery has partnered with Bailey Fine Art Printing in Long Beach as its exclusive print company. The startup has been entirely self-funded, Ikram said, and is now looking to scale the business through a recently opened $350,000 seed round, she added. 
Stroke Test App Launched
A startup with the goal of making healthcare more user-friendly for patients and providers recently launched its first product: the StrokeApp NIHSS Calculator, an iPad app that’s a modern redesign of the standard-of-care National Institute of Health Stroke Scale.
The scale is a clinical assessment tool developed in 1989 to standardize a neurologic exam for stroke patients and to help healthcare providers quantify the severity of a stroke in emergency rooms.
personalRN has developed the app at the request of its investors—a group of ER doctors and nurses—based on their frustration with the current assessment method.
Today’s scale has been criticized as “time consuming, with difficult verbiage, confusing instruction and cryptic scoring rules,” according to co-founder and Chief Executive Kourosh Parsapour. The current assessment typically takes 20 to 30 minutes when performed by a non-neurologist, he said. The StrokeApp NIHSS Calculator, however, is an automated assessment tool that significantly cuts down the time, he said. 
The Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of California-Irvine Medical Center just started a study to compare the accuracy of the StrokeApp NIHSS Calculator against the standard, eight-page version of the scale. The study also will look at time differences between the two exams and at user satisfaction. 
personalRN has obtained $375,000 as convertible debt over three financing rounds, mainly from Parsapour’s network of healthcare providers and executives, he said.
It will soon pursue institutional funding for an additional $800,000 so it can grow its in-house development team and recruit a vice president of sales and marketing.
Bits & Pieces
The three finalists of the Southern California Social Entrepreneurship Venture Challenge recently pitched at an investor-only symposium in Long Beach. Pasadena-based codeSpark, which teaches the basics of computer science to children 5 years and older, obtained $12,000; London-based DeSolenator, which created an affordable, eco-friendly residential water purification/desalination system, secured $10,000; and Massachusetts-based Takachar, which works to decentralize the disposal of agricultural waste into solid fuel, got $8,000. The Newport Beach-based Academies for Social Entrepreneurship, founded by Betsy Densmore, produces the competition. … Enrollment is open for two summer business programs for young students to learn business principles and entrepreneurship at Concordia University Irvine. The fifth annual Teen Entrepreneur Academy will take place July 24 to 30 for teens interested in starting their own businesses. The academy is billed as an “intensive, hands-on program that offers real-world, technical and practical training in how to actually launch a business.” Concordia also is offering its second annual Kid Entrepreneur Academy, a weekday camp program, from July 25 to 29. The program is open to students in grades five through eight.