“Weird” is a norm for San Mateo Innovators

Innovation guru Ben Weinlick said, “Innovation comes about through combining disparate ideas and disciplines in ways that seem weird at first. Get comfortable with weird if you want real innovation to emerge.”

And today the San Mateo County Economic Development Association (SAMCEDA) celebrated some very successful masters of “weird” … that is, innovation at its 2016 Awards of Excellence.

At Wonder Workshop, they’re definitely combining disparate ideas in new ways: creating a toy that makes learning to code fun. Headquartered in the city of San Mateo, Wonder Workshop is disrupting the toy industry and building robots for tots that teach skills vital for 21st century workers. With Dash & Dot, your nine year-old could learn critical trial and error processes and from-the-ground-up progression of designing something from scratch.

Then there’s Norse Corporation, where things definitely sound weird and, yet, vitally important. Providing real-time visibility into global cyber-attacks, the “Norse Intelligence Network, a globally-distributed ‘distant early warning’ grid of millions of sensors, honeypots, crawlers, and agents, delivers unmatched visibility into difficult-to-penetrate geographies and darknets, where bad actors operate.” We’re glad you’re out there, Norse!

Bay Meadows wishes great success to all the winners of this year’s SAMCEDA Award!

Wonder Workshop (San Mateo): Teaching children to code by integrating cutting-edge hardware and software experiences. Wonder Workshop’s first products are beautifully-designed robots, Dash & Dot, that children can program using mobile devices.

Oric Pharmaceuticals (South San Francisco): With a mission to overcoming resistance to cancer, this privately-held company has assembled a world-class scientific team dedicated to the discovery of therapies that can meaningfully improve clinical outcomes for these patients.

Norse (Foster City): Norse is the global leader in live attack intelligence, helping companies block the threats that other systems miss. Serving the world’s largest financial, government and technology organizations, Norse intelligence offerings dramatically improve the performance, catch-rate, and return-on-investment of the entire security infrastructure.

HealthCrowd (Foster City): The first truly unified, healthcare communications SaaS platform. We help healthcare organizations unify, automate and optimize multichannel communications to deliver personalized member engagement at scale. HealthCrowd is located in Foster City, CA, and is revenue-generating and venture-backed.

Fit3D (Redwood City): To help people live healthier and more fulfilling lives. A lot of the challenge that we all face is to keep showing up to consistently work on our health and wellbeing. As coaches, trainers, and wellness professionals, watching clients fade away is not only a business matter, it can be downright heartbreaking and frustrating to watch discouragement set in. Fit3D was designed to address this crucial element.


Looking to mix up your fitness routine? Meet your neighbors and enjoy the fresh air with pop-up Zumba and Yoga classes at Bay Meadows. Or maybe mixing it up with your pooch is more your style. Twilight Tails at Landing Green Park is a chance to meet other dog-owners and hear about local pet resources. Also, keep an eye out for our annual Red Hot Round-Up spicy food truck event this fall and check out our Facebook page for more events.