I zoomed to downtown San Diego yesterday to hear a few young action sports companies pitch their ideas to a room of investors at the first Connect S.I. Capital Forum. Connect is a non-profit that puts San Diego-area investors together with start-ups in technology, life sciences - and now sports.
Four of the six companies that made half-hour presentations operate in the action sports world, and I've recapped their presentations here in the order they spoke: Malama Composites, FrostByte Video, Loop'd Network and Rhythm.
No one appeared to get a deal on the spot, but they all fielded the kind of probing questions that indicated interest from investors among the audience of about 80 at the Hard Rock Hotel.
Malama makes plant-based composites used in rigid foam. PT Townend introduced the company, saying its application for surfboard blanks is cool - but its broader applications were even more intriguing.Malama's info table displayed two prototype boards.
Company CFO Ned McMahon took the room through a quick primer in the toxic stew that produces polyurethane foam, which is the standard now used for most board blanks.
"This foam is harmful to the people working with it," McMahon said. "It releases volatile organic compounds and it doesn't degrade" when it's dumped in landfills.