THRED Talks Showcase Region’s Innovators

SAMCEDA, the San Mateo County Economic Development Association, launched its answer to the “TED Talks” in 2016. This year, the event’s second installment showcased some of the region’s key leaders addressing the County and the Bay Area’s most vexing challenges.

SAMCEDA members gained insight into how Silicon Valley aims to solve for the “Big 5” challenges: Transportation, Housing, Regionalism, Economy and Development.

Who could possibly have something to say on these issues? How about President of the SF 49ers? Check. Maybe a company deploying sidewalk robots for on-demand local delivery? Yup. SAMCEDA even brought in the founder of what might be called the Uber of ferry service.

Below are some highlights from this insightful event.

President Al Guido was forthright in addressing, first, the challenges of “working out kinks” for a $1.3 billion stadium. Not one to play victim, Guido took ownership of a number of the issues the team has faced concerning Levi’s stadium. But he was also unbowed in his defense of benefits the stadium brings to the region, which far outweigh the challenges. From blockbuster live concerts to one-of-a-kind sporting events, the 49ers Stadium is already playing an outsize role in the regional economy. And, as for the team? Guido is confident that the franchise that’s won 5 Super Bowls will return to its former glory.

Scoop Technologies
Carpooling that’s easy, efficient and flexible? There’s an app for that, of course. Thanks to Scoop Technologies. People who give rides via Scoop typically receive around $5 per passenger for a trip of 20 miles, or about 25 cents a mile. Scoop CEO Robert Sadow noted that the app has carpoolers commuting one million miles together each month.

Ferries are “our untapped transportation system,” according to James Jaber, CEO of Alameda-based startup PROP. The crisis of freeway traffic prompted this boating industry veteran to devise a private ferry service dedicated to commuters. Utilizing the existing port infrastructure, PROP operates a fleet of conveniently located “water taxis” aimed at relieving Bay Area congestion and comfortably transporting local workers. PROP’s ultimate vision would be scaling to the point where riders don’t need to review a schedule, but can board on regularly-operating ships. Search #commuterrevolution for more info.

Starship Technologies
The robots have landed and they’ll deliver goods right to your door. The signature product from Starship is the autonomous, on-demand robot that solves the “last-mile” problem of transporting directly to the consumer. With capacity for 20 pounds or about “3 bags worth of groceries,” Starship’s robots travel on sidewalks at 4 MPH. With partners such as DoorDash and Postmates, the robot’s have been praised for their safe passage. “Kids love us,” noted presented Justin Hoffmann, the company’s Head of Operations.

Businesses expanding or relocating within Silicon Valley, San Francisco or the greater Bay Area need look no further. Bay Meadows has 5 new office buildings conveniently located on Caltrain. Station 4 is home to SurveyMonkey, as well as Zuora and Ten-X. Station 3 is nearly completed and will house OpenText. Station 2 is under construction and now leasing. These state-of-the-art buildings feature floor to ceiling glass, bike storage, expansive floorplates and locker room facilities. All Bay Meadows Station buildings will have access to 18 acres of open space, a social street featuring coffee shops, restaurants, bocce court and plenty of outdoor gathering spaces. The buildings are minutes from the Hillsdale Caltrain Station and proximal to SFO. It’s just 10 minutes to Palo Alto and SFO and 25 minutes to San Francisco!