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By Tim Hunt

Wowed by pitches by innovative companies

Uploaded: Feb 4, 2021

Living and writing about the Tri-Valley innovative companies led to an invitation last month to view the Alchemist Accelerator’s 26th pitch day.
The San Francisco-based accelerator works with companies from around the world and did so prior to COVID-19. What was striking to me was the variety of companies in the class. Some descriptions were so filled with technical terms that they lost me quickly, but others I could readily understand.
When I read the front-page story in the East Bay Times last Sunday about 3-D printed housing and was trying to recall where I had seen something similar. It was at the pitch day for a firm with a mobile robot that also can 3-D print a structure named Apis Cor.
Here’s just a few samples of the companies making pitches that day. PostureHealth is developing a digital system for corporate ergonomics—even more timely now with working remotely is routine for many companies. Rebolet AG has developed software and a sales platform to handle returns for e-commerce companies, while Predictive Wear, led by a triathlete, has wearable athletic clothing that can determine when athletes are getting dehydrated.
Other companies offered drones coupled with artificial intelligence to manage inventory in large warehouses and Sensegrass Inc. that monitors soil conditions to reduce and target fertilizer for better crops. Fotonow used cameras coupled with AI to monitor assembly lines and determine defects or manufacturing errors in real time.
As you read, the accelerator welcomes a huge range of solutions. Its distinction is it is focused on sales to enterprises (businesses) instead of consumers. The six-month classes are limited to 25 companies. Over the course of its history, the venture-backed accelerator has seen 193 Alchemist-backed startups have closed funding rounds and have raised over $1.3 billion collectively.
It has hubs in San Francisco and Munich, Germany. Ravi Belani, a lecturer at Stanford and former associate with Draper Fisher Jurvetson, is the managing director of the accelerator.

It’s amazing how whacky some elected officials can be. Take the San Francisco school board, for instance.
Students are not in schools so what does the board turn its attention too—renaming schools because the namesakes have been determined to have committed unpardonable acts in the view of today’s woke progressives. That includes towering historical figures such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson as well as Senator Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein, for those with long memories, was the city’s first woman mayor and took over after the assassination of Mayor George Moscone. Her transgression was replacing a tattered Confederate flag that she later removed.
It’s absurd to hold historical figures to today’s standards instead of the times in which they were living, but sadly that’s the viewpoint that progressives are trying to impose upon this country.
While six of the seven school trustees voted to eliminate the historical names, San Francisco schools remain closed. That’s prompted the city attorney, with the approval of Mayor London Breed, to prepare legal action against the trustees and the district for failing to have a reopening plan in place as required by the state.
It’s tragic to think about how badly the education of elementary students, particularly those who would struggle anyway by having to learn English or living in poor homes (primarily black and brown students), has been damaged. It’s notable that elementary schools in Napa and Marin counties have been open since the fall as have most private and parochial schools. That includes the private school that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s kids attend.