Four promising Southern California startups will spend the next nine months positioning their businesses for success with the help of San Diego’s largest law firm.
Procopio has announced the names of the four startup businesses that will receive the firm’s support during their stay at the LaunchPad incubator.
Three of the businesses will take part in the program at Procopio’s Del Mar Heights offices. A fourth business from the Los Angeles area will work virtually.
The businesses are CargoShot, an innovator in freight tracking; Enti3, an AI-enabled wearable tech developer for those with autism; Kaptain, an all-inclusive outdoor adventure organizer; and Perceev, a creative software as a service platform for endurance sporting events.
“We like them all,” said Ken Weixel, senior growth advisor with Procopio Business Advisors, a subsidiary of the law firm. “We like their ability to be funded and where they are in their emergence as companies.”
The people behind the four businesses share a passion for what they do as well as detailed knowledge of the markets they hope to serve, said Procopio’s Michael Kinkelaar. In addition to being manager of Procopio Business Advisors, Kinkelaar is a partner with the Procopio law firm.
Strong IP — that is, intellectual property — plays a central role in each of the four companies, he added.
The chosen companies need much more than a great idea, said Weixel, former managing partner of the San Diego office of Deloitte LLP and a highly accomplished life science and healthcare industry leader. The promising companies have to have the ability to be funded.
“These companies can be successful but they need help” getting to the next level, Weixel added. “I can’t think of a better firm to do it.”
Companies were chosen in a competitive process that included a “Shark Tank”-like pitch before a panel of startup experts.
Unlike “Shark Tank,” the participants aren’t asking for money — not yet. They are asking for support.
Specifically, LaunchPad participants receive a selection of complimentary corporate and intellectual property legal services along with office space and back-office business support. The nine-month program also includes educational opportunities on key topics including valuation, funding, intellectual property strategy, employment issues, and pursuing a strong exit. Procopio attorneys provide ongoing legal support and assist with corporate structuring, patent protection, investor pitches, branding and growth strategy.
At the Center of It All
Procopio announced the incubator participants for 2022-23 on Dec. 7. It is the first new LaunchPad class following COVID-19. The companies were expected to take up residence at the Procopio offices in mid-December.
The LaunchPad program goes back to 2012. Since then, select groups of emerging growth companies have begun their formation, protection of core technology, early funding and growth in Procopio’s offices in Del Mar Heights, a location at the center of San Diego’s groundbreaking high-technology community.
A key strength of the LaunchPad is its people. Its advisory board consists of successful entrepreneurs and investors and experts in finance, marketing and other critical areas for emerging-growth companies. Members include life sciences serial entrepreneur and CONNECT Entrepreneur Hall of Fame inductee Magda Marquet; serial medtech entrepreneur, venture investor, board member and advisor Brian Kelleher; longtime San Diego growth strategist Susan Kuruvilla; Tech Coast Angels LA co-founder John Morris; and healthcare executive and board adviser Sal DiGiuseppi.
CargoShot to Aid Multiple Industries
The four selected companies will serve other businesses as well as consumers.
CargoShot has developed what it considers the premier application for documenting and tracking “proof of condition” for freight moving through the supply chain, across shipping, receiving and cross-dock operations.
Users now have the ability to verify multiple aspects of freight condition, including labeling, packaging, handling and loading. CargoShot proactively seeks to save shippers and logistics providers thousands of dollars in fines, penalties and freight claims with each shipment.
“We are thrilled to be selected to participate in Procopio’s LaunchPad incubator program,” said CargoShot President and co-founder Jon Van Winkle. “LaunchPad has a long and successful history of assisting companies in their early formation and growth, as well as guiding them to successful early stage funding rounds.”
Van Winkle’s founding team includes Jeff Jaeger, CFO of the company, and Ed Streeter, its chief technology officer.
Kinkelaar is serving as the corporate attorney for CargoShot, while Pattric Rawlins, partner at Procopio, will handle intellectual property matters for the company.
Enti3 Bridges Gap
Enti3’s founder is Chris Taicher, a medical doctor. With his startup, he plans to serve people with autism.
“I’ve joined LaunchPad because the Procopio team is a powerhouse of IP knowledge poised to accelerate and protect the IP of tech startups,” said Taicher, who will participate from the Los Angeles area.
The global population of persons with autism is estimated to be more than 100 million. Enti3 believes that by providing unparalleled education tools and AI-integrated wearable tech to people with autism, their communication abilities will transform to allow personal and professional success.
The statistics are troubling: some 30% of persons with autism report complete social isolation, according to Enti3, and only 5% ever marry. Only around half of adults with autism ever have a paying job in their 20s or 30s. Enti3 sees this as a humanitarian crisis waiting for a solution, which the business intends to provide.
Paul Johnson, partner at Procopio, will provide corporate support for Enti3 while Rawlins will handle IP matters.
Kaptain Eyes Epic Adventures
The two remaining businesses have to do with outdoor adventure and endurance sports.
Kaptain plans to offer an innovative discovery and planning tool designed to make it easy for a person to plan experiences, organize gear and find the right rentals for their next epic adventure. With curated activity data for 33 outdoor sports, Kaptain empowers many types of outdoor enthusiasts. Since outdoor recreation can be intimidating, Kaptain says it is on a mission to make it more accessible for all.
“We pursued Procopio’s LaunchPad due to the combination of Procopio’s extensive experience with startups, presence in the San Diego community, and the team who will be working with us over the next nine months,” said Kaptain founder Kirk Magnuson. “In 2023, we are eager to launch our mobile platform, continue building our gear rental marketplace and connect with investors.”
Kirk Magnuson’s brother, Erik Magnuson, is his co-founder. Procopio’s Johnson will handle corporate matters for the company while Noel Gillespie, partner at Procopio, will handle IP.
Perceev Changing Endurance Sports
Perceev is a software as a service platform and micro media solution for endurance sporting events worldwide. Race organizers are able to build an event app with live athlete tracking and leaderboards to improve participant engagement on race day and continue stickiness throughout the year.
“We are thrilled to participate in the LaunchPad program. Procopio has assembled a rock star team of advisers; from the partners in the corporate and IP practices to executives in finance, senior level management, venture capital and more,” said Perceev co-founder and CEO Ed Hoffman. “These resources will help establish the foundation we need to not only obtain funding in the short term, but obtain long term success. We couldn’t be more excited to find this amazing opportunity in our hometown of San Diego, the birthplace of triathlon. An awesome bonus is that the majority of these advisors are endurance athletes themselves. It’s going to be an awesome nine months.”
Rebecca Hoffman is Ed Hoffman’s co-founder. Procopio’s Johnson and Gillespie have teamed up to advise Perceev.
Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves and Savitch LLP
Founded: 1946 (by Alec Cory)
Managing Partner: John Alessio
Headquarters: Procopio Tower, Downtown San Diego
Business: Law Firm
Notable: Company also has offices in Del Mar Heights, Silicon Valley, Orange County, Las Vegas, Scottsdale, and Washington, D.C..