1. Name of organization
Braid Theory, Inc. (http://braidtheory.com/)
2. Email address (or preferred and reliable way of official contact)
3. Tell us about your organization
Braid Theory is a vertically integrated venture advisory and accelerator based at the Port of Los Angeles, operating in bluetech and the blue economy space. We work with dedicated technology leaders, providing assistance to startup companies that want to embrace opportunities to amplify their presence in the marketplace. Additionally, we provide our innovators with collaboration opportunities with industry partners, through objective-driven planning and sustainable business models, driving market building. Braid Theory provides proof that strength lies in a collaborative framework, and results-driven, evidence-based market-tested opportunities for traction and growth.
Annually, Braid Theory works with more than 50 deep-tech startups, from early- to advanced-stage. Through our acceleration programs, we encourage companies to transition to innovative and open-source business models that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles. Our industries of focus include:
- transportation & goods movement
- energy, water & utilities
- agriculture & food tech
- ocean & maritime
- smart cities, construction & infrastructure
- aerospace & advanced manufacturing
- digital tech
- biotech & life sciences
At Braid Theory, we approach innovation with solutions that look beyond commercialization, reexamining transformative technologies, impact, business application, and interconnectedness.
Braid Theory is located in San Pedro, California at AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles. AltaSea’s 35-acre site includes a 400,000 square foot campus built on a historic pier on the Port of Los Angeles waterfront.
4. Does your organization have representation for a marginalized demographic due to factors such as, but not limited to, race, ability, place of birth, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class situation, or other identification? If so, how?
The Port of Los Angeles is the busiest shipping port in the United States. Yet, where maritime-related industries once provided a large supply of diverse well-paying jobs, economic forces have severely weakened the wellbeing of the surrounding community. Over the last century, the communities surrounding the Port, including San Pedro, Wilmington, and Harbor City, have been largely comprised of recent immigrants to the region. These communities are some of the most vulnerable in the Los Angeles area, with high rates of poverty (38% locally vs. 25% statewide). According to CalEnviroScreen, which identifies California communities by pollution burden, the area is disproportionately highly-affected. Especially of note are the diesel pollution, hazardous waste, and impaired water access due to port and other industrial operations. Related health and social issues, such as high rates of asthma and unemployment, further plague the area.
We strategically located Braid Theory in the heart of the Port to bring deep technology solutions to the maritime sector as well as support this underrepresented community. Through Braid Theory’s existing programs and activities, we are achieving close to 50% participation from women, BIPOC, and underrepresented startups and scaleups in pitch competitions, panel discussions, and workshops. Additionally, Braid Theory is actively engaged with partners in pilot projects at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach dedicated to reducing the environmental footprint from port operations.
Braid Theory aims to always include diversity of thought, geography, and background, with participant split in past events of around 40% entrepreneurs, investors & catalysts, 22% industry adopters (private and public partners), 14% scientists & researchers, and 21% supporters & influencers (artists, local and global community members, etc.).
Finally, Braid Theory is an equal opportunity employer and applies these same principles when working with startups, partners, researchers, and other stakeholder groups.
5. What is the event about, and what do you want to achieve with it?
IGNITE22, Braid Theory’s flagship event, is a two-day science-based innovation conference that breaks down silos and engages with passionate tech innovators from across industry sectors and around the world, celebrating the individuals who are shaping the 22nd century. At IGNITE22, entrepreneurs meet investors, corporate leaders discover emerging technologies, and researchers learn about market opportunities for their scientific discoveries. The fourth edition of IGNITE22 will take place mid-Q2 2022, at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, California.
The San Pedro Bay Port Complex, including the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, is a gateway for international trade with 40% of all goods shipped to the US coming through the Ports. For blue economy and bluetech entrepreneurs (we’re expecting between 80-100 this year), this means unparalleled opportunities for market research, scaling, and collaboration.
IGNITE22 program activities will take place in a 60,000 sq. ft (5,574 m2) AltaSea facility, an industrial creative space directly on the LA waterfront for tech exhibits and demos, with high open ceilings and additional features supporting COVID-19 compliance and participant safety.
IGNITE22 is not a trade show or marketing opportunity and all event partners agree to follow Braid Theory’s goals towards advancing sustainable blue economy and bluetech solutions (versus joining to access mailing lists for product promotion).
A brief program breakdown:
- Moderated panels on the technology demands of future climate scenarios
- All-day exhibits with deep tech innovators
- Pitch sessions with global entrepreneurs
- Entrepreneur “Afterparty” with facilitated networking & matchmaking
- Engaging day activities including harbor & port tours
6. Which of the three levels of funding would you like to apply for? (in round 1 only USD $9910 is available for applications, in further rounds $3000, $6000, or USD $9910 will be available)
7. What is the funding for? Describe your budget. List what you are going to spend it on and how.
The administrative and “existential” costs of IGNITE22 are covered by other sources of funding. We are looking to GOSH to support our vision to democratize access to the event even further for our entrepreneurs, supporting exhibition opportunities for any early-stage startups (seed funding or pre-revenue) interested in attending and engaging with a wide variety of potential partners and investors. Without funding, IGNITE22 will still take place, albeit without equitable access for early-stage (often financially uncertain) entrepreneurs, those who benefit most from such events and their network effects.
Funding would also go to expand our current photography-only plans to include compelling videography about the event and its entrepreneurs. Budget breakdown below (formatting taken from CRADD):
||Unit Cost (USD)
||Total Cost (USD)
|Meal tickets for 50 early-stage startups
||4 per startup (2 lunches x2 entrepreneurs)
|Furniture rental for 50 early-stage startups (tabletop display)
|Signage printing and online directory setup for 50 early-stage startups
|Videographer (½ day)
|Video Editing for post-event videos
||60 per hour
8. How will you share the outcomes of this event. What documentation will result that will this project benefit the community as a whole? (videos? photos? a how-to? innovative hardware designs?)
Planned post-event documentation includes:
- videos featuring snippets of engaging event programming (video lengths to be determined, imagined to be 3-5 minutes of a “main” video for use on social media with additional short videos of lightly edited footage involving entrepreneurs to be shared directly with the relevant participants for personal use)
- public photo album (with verified participant consent, participants can feely request to opt-out)
- short blogs showcasing entrepreneurs, including storytelling on open-source tech and innovative business models
- comprehensive impact report including reporting and analysis of quantitative and qualitative metrics following systems MERL (Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning) approaches (looking beyond short-term results to measure potential event impact and network effects)
- 2-3 months of virtual programming to create a consistent drumbeat of awareness
- sharing of any open-source designs & prototypes via social media and/or website
9. How would your event address GOSH’s values of diversity and inclusion?
As stated above, early-stage entrepreneurs are often not yet financially-secure enough to easily afford participation (especially if non-local) to such events as IGNITE22. We often find that these types of entrepreneurs benefit most from our events, through direct access to potential startup investors and collaborators, larger advanced-stage startups, subject matter experts, potential mentors, and other future advocates. Increasing access for these entrepreneurs ensures greater representation and impact, paving pathways to get these deep-tech innovations more efficiently into the market. Adopting open-source approaches play a key role in this process, as they break down protectionist “business-as-usual” policies and empower more people to get involved in solving pressing global issues like climate change. Although not all startups involved may have hardware solutions, the open-source mindset will be present throughout the event. A breakdown of how IGNITE22, and GOSH’s potential funding, influences key elements of the GOSH Manifesto can be found below (somewhat grouped for clarity)
IGNITE22’s in-person programming will be open and free for any early-stage startups adopting innovative business model approaches related to blue economy and bluetech. Any materials created for the event will be understandable and use clear language (also making them easily translatable). The same applies to any in-person and post-event virtual programming (where closed-captions are intended to be activated).
- Changing the culture & democratization of science
IGNITE22 helps unlock group thinking and collaborative problem-solving by enabling startup founders to talk to each other, potential partners, mentors, and funders, as well as share their open-source solutions. IGNITE22 also engages not-directly-scientific stakeholders such as artists (multimedia, authors, musicians, etc.) for mutual inspiration, bridging different ways of thinking and innovating. This push towards interconnectedness and collaboration unleashes possibilities for transformative impact.
In-person IGNITE22 participation is not restricted to any particular background, country, race, sex, religion, etc. (outside of regulatory requirements, ie. entrance into the US is currently limited due to COVID-19 vaccination status).
IGNITE22 aims to break down ingrained siloes and “business-as-usual” approaches in favor of more sustainable and open models to move forward climate science, from carbon sequestration to ocean cleanup to regeneration and aquaculture. The event aims to excite participants and offers a way of engaging further in concepts presented and conversations taking place.
Of note here is also the planned Impact Report to be published post-event that will be available for free (via Braid Theory’s website) which will share the realized and potential influences such an event focused on innovative business models may have in the future.
10. Are there any conflicts of interest that you wish to declare?
No immediate conflicts of interest come to mind.