The neatly dressed crowd that gathered in the Port of Los Angeles board room to talk tech, renewable energy and the environment was a far cry from the burly, rugged males you’d expect working the docks in a Disney movie. These scientists and inventors were flexing brains.
More than 100 people gathered to watch the PortTech Pitch finals, a techie–meets-roustabout melding at which nine companies pitched ideas to resolve pressing issues in Los Angeles, Long Beach and other ports, everything from saving lives in the mounting battle against bacteria to improving military security to finally coming up with a superior solar shower.
Velox Biosystems, the grand prize winner, created technology that monitors and quickly tests bacteria in water. Treatment plants release contaminated water accidentally but generally don’t find out about it until the water makes it into reservoirs or the broader environment. Velox’s system is intended to alert treatment centers to such tainted water before it reaches the public.
Each company founder or CEO got eight minutes to argue his or her case, then eight minutes to field questions from a panel of judges assembled by nonprofit PortTech. The judges included investors, venture capitalists and environmental specialists from the local ports.