Southern California’s First Hardware Accelerator, Make in LA, Announces Second Class

Ola Danilina

Make in LA’s sophomore class of startups will participate in a fourth-month, intensive mentorship program commencing March 7 and concluding with Demo Day on June 28, 2016. Make in LA received 112 applications for the second class from entrepreneurs across 24 countries, including many from the Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco Bay areas. Female founders were well represented, 20 percent of all applicants have a female founder and over half of the companies selected include women on the founding team. The program accepts no more than five companies each session to allow for a more personalized and intimate experience, which focuses on developing, prototyping and manufacturing products, as well as growing the founders into leaders with strong ethics, morals and a sense of responsibility to their community and team.  

The companies selected for the second class include:

  • Canviz brings art to life with its wood-framed 22” LCD canvas; it’s the perfect display for art, photography, and even living images. Canviz features a social marketplace for discovering, buying, and sharing great content, and also connects to popular social media platforms like Tumblr and Flickr. The frame is controlled wirelessly using the Canviz app; users can add their own photos, movies and animated GIFs with the swipe of a finger. Co-founded by Colin Zablocki, Joyce Pan and Matt Waters, Canviz opens a window to a world of living images. For more information, please visit or follow them on Twitter.

  • Emerge is building the next form of digital communication. The telephone was invented in 1876; the videophone in 1955. Co-founded by Sly Lee, Isaac Castro, and Mauricio Terán, they believe it is time to digitize our most intuitive, expressive form of communication: touch. Their hardware and software solution will use a combination of additive manufacturing and micro-sensors to recreate touch in its full complexity, and in the right context, enhancing our ability to connect. Their product will also enable new forms of nonverbal communication, increasing connection and work capacity in both everyday and extreme work environments. For more information, please visit or follow on Twitter.

  • Luma Legacy is an innovative smart bracelet that connects charms to selected digital content allowing users to fashionably and conveniently connect to others. The technology-enabled charm bracelet gives women a stylish alternative to sharing memories with close friends and family. Co-founded by Alina Balean and Karol Munoz, Luma Legacy is offering women a unique and relevant means to express individuality. For more information, please visit or follow on Instagram.

  • Rufus Labs is the creator of the Rufus Cuff, the world’s first wrist communicator that can connect to smartphones or Wi-Fi to function as a standalone device. The wearable has a 3.2-inch wide screen, front-facing camera for voice and video calls, GPS, 9-axis accel/gyro/compass, 1175 mAh battery and runs complete Android OS to provide practical consumer applications as well as unique solutions for the industrial sector. Founded in 2013, the Los Angeles-based company was started by Gabe Grifoni, Travis LaBerge, Paula Odysseos-Panayiotou and Matt Goldman to lead the wrist revolution. For more information, please visit or follow on Twitter.

“Hardware innovation is ripe for investment due to lower production costs and rising consumer demand for intuitive objects,” said Make in LA co-founder and general manager, Shaun Arora. “However, the process can still be costly for an individual without experience and focus. Through existing relationships and deep experience, we are able to help our participating companies streamline workflow and maximize efficiencies to get their technologically advanced and tangible item to market quickly.”

Participants receive up to $150,000 in investment capital to develop their product as well as have access to resources including mentoring from a global network of industry experts, creative office space, an advanced prototype lab through a partnership with HexLab Makerspace, extensive production facilities as well as established supply chain and engineering partnerships with NEO Tech.

We learned an incredible amount from our first class. No amount of benchmarking could've prepared us for what we'd discover as we rolled up our sleeves to work shoulder to shoulder with our teams,” said Make in LA co-founder and general manager, Noramay Cadena. “One of our differentiators is our unique approach to development which focuses on the entrepreneur first and places an often overlooked importance on developing centered, visionary, ethical and mission-focused leaders. This will better position the companies emerging from our program for success with their current tech startups as well as any other project they may pursue in the future.”

Make in LA’s freshman class includes:

  • Feel: Sentio Solutions has created Feel, the first wristband to monitor emotional wellness, track feelings and manage stress. The integrated wristband sensors measure and track biosignals throughout the day, including galvanic skin response, blood volume pulse and skin temperature, to show individuals how their mood is affected by factors such as activity, the people they meet and environmental conditions. Through Bluetooth enabled communication, the Feel app visualizes the results and provides personalized recommendations to improve emotional health. Co-founded by George Eleftheriou and Haris Tsirbas, Feel is helping individuals manage their emotional health and improve their overall well-being. For more information, please visit and follow Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  

  • FITGuard™: FITGuard is a cutting-edge mouthguard from Force Impact Technologies Inc., that measures the force of head impact in real time. The mouthguard constantly measures peak linear and angular acceleration to improve the risk indication levels and threshold based on age, weight, and gender or set desired levels of indication. If the peak of the acceleration breaches a threshold, the LEDs will change colors indicating the amount of force. The FITGuard is Bluetooth compatible and can communicate data to any BLE-enabled smartphone. Co-founded by Anthony Gonzales and Bob Merriman, this device significantly increases the likelihood of early detection of head injury and the overall safety of athletes around the globe. For more information, please visit, and follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

  • Plobot: Plobot is a programmable robot created to empower children to find creative solutions and use logical thinking. The robot promotes smart learning and physical coding without the need for computers, Plobot allows young learners to use smart cards that represent the same coding blocks that engineers use when developing software syntax. Parents and teachers are also able to track children’s progress through a series of educational activities. Co-founded by Rodolfo Cossovich and Camilo Parra Palacio, Plobot brings fun, educational technology to children developing logical thinking. For more information, please visit and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

  • RideBlock: RideBlock, from Flipmotion, Inc., is a motion and activity tracker designed for skateboards and longboards, allowing skaters to track tricks and fitness, learn and improve new skills and compete with other skaters. RideBlock is carefully designed to be slim, shock resistant, water-resistant and fit perfectly to the truck of any skateboard or longboard. The RideBlock pairs with an app featuring a dashboard to track tricks and trails. Co-founded by Jibin Jose and Abimanyu Nair, RideBlock enables skaters to track, compete and connect with skaters around the world. For more information, please visit, and follow on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


For more information on the first and second classes as well as the accelerator program, please visit Applications for the next class will open in April 2016.


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