There Were Winners & There Were More Winners

On Thursday, September 19, 2019, eight finalists competed in Glendale Tech Week’s annual “Shark-Tank style” Pitchfest. The eight finalists were selected from a pool of over 60 applicants this year. Each finalist had the opportunity to pitch in front of an audience of over 100 people including investors and a panel of judges.  They competed for a $43,000 prize package. The finalists included:

Pitchfest 2019 was held at CBRE

Hovanes Margarian, AppearMe
Khalil Jammal, CareWell
Benjamin Benichou, Creative Bot, Inc.
Alexis Schomer, Expy Health
Ara Keshishian, PinpointEyes
Albert Stepanyan, Scylla
Benjamin Trammell, Tooth Fairy Stem Cell

After several hours of pitch presentations, the seven member panel of judges deliberated to choose the grand prize winner. Members of the public were also invited to vote online for their favorite startup which would be named the “Fan Favorite.” Both Pitchfest winners are Glendale-based startups and were announced during the Tech Awards Party that evening along with the winners of six awards recognizing a variety of standout companies and individuals. The evening’s winners were:

Pitchfest 2019 $43,000 Grand Prize Winner
Albert Stepanyan for Scylla
Albert Stepanyan is an artificial intelligence engineer and entrepreneur with a passion for coding. Coming from a military background and having experience building tech businesses, he decided to combine his skills to build Scylla – a real-time threat detection system designed to predict violent behavior through the use of AI. The technology aims to revolutionize the security and surveillance industry by addressing active shooting events, violent crimes and terrorist acts.

Pitchfest “Fan Favorite” - AppearMe was founded by brothers Hovanes and Armen Margarian, is a real-time and on demand web and mobile app that connects users with legal professionals.

With this year’s “Next in Tech” theme in mind, dozens of individuals and companies were nominated for Glendale Tech Week’s Tech Awards.  The Awards are a chance to recognize start-ups, student innovators, established tech firms and up and coming entrepreneurs for their accomplishments in the local tech industry. “The extraordinary amount of innovation and talent present in the City of Glendale and in the region is evident in this year’s diverse group of awardees. Glendale is proud to offer an environment in which entrepreneurs, startups and tech companies can reach their fullest potential,” said Mayor Ara Najarian, who served as one of the judges for this year’s Pitchfest.

Best Culture -  ServiceTitan
Founded by Ara Mahdessian and Vahe Kuzoyan, ServiceTitan is a software company built to accelerate the $400B home service industry. Their all-in-one software helps the industry streamline operations, improve customer service and increase sales.

Community Impact -  DishDivvy
Founded by Ani Torosyan and Nahid LaCiura, DishDivvy is a food-tech platform connecting approved home cooks with hungry neighbors. Its mission is to provide economic opportunities to underrepresented labor groups who are traditionally left out of the commercial food sector.

Cutting Edge Technology - DeepRoot Green Infrastructure
Deeproot Green Infrastructure is a global water technology leader which integrates green infrastructure such as trees, soils, and LIDs into streets, plazas, parking lots, and other paved surfaces. Their flagship technology Silva Cell allows for an efficient integration of water, soils, and tree roots to promote on-site storm water management through bio retention.

Rising Star: Isabella Bruyere
Currently a senior at Hoover High School, Isabella has been teaching a free after school coding class to elementary and middle school students for the last five years. She has created a space for children who do not have access to or have never seen programming to learn in a fun, pressure-free way. She teaches using MIT's Scratch platform.

Glendale Young Entrepreneurs - Picktrace, Inc.
PickTrace, founded by brothers Austin and Harrison Steed, builds powerful software products that help agriculture companies thrive. Their workforce and harvest management software helps growers gain insight into their operations and improve their operational efficiency. Their vision and goal is to revolutionize the industry with a complete farm management solution. Picktrace  recently moved to Glendale from Northern California.

William Lee, Abrupt Collective
A Glendale based digital marketing consulting agency, Abrupt Collective was founded during William’s junior year in high school. His company consists of a collective of individuals who specialize in delivering quality content to their clients.

dot818: Q & A with President & Founder, David Tonoyan

Since its inception in 2016, Glendale Tech Week has counted on the support of the local tech community to not only elevate the week-long celebration of tech and innovation but also to help raise Glendale’s profile as a growing and thriving tech hub for the region. There from the start, was dot818.


In 2016, dot818 joined a small group of local tech companies and businesses who supported the first ever Glendale Tech Week. Without knowing if the event would have any success, dot818 took a chance by becoming a Bronze Sponsor. They have been loyal sponsor ever since.

We sat down for a chat with 2-year Platinum level sponsor, President & Founder of dot818, David Tonoyan to learn more about their company and about Plat, their newest cutting edge lead distribution platform.

Please tell us about dot818.

At dot818, we help companies analyze and manage their data. Sometimes this means creating new technologies. This is how Plat was born. First, it was used as our own internal lead distribution platform, allowing our account managers to set up and run data campaigns for our partners. After years of fine-tuning the system for our industry, we decided to offer Plat as a white-label solution for any company looking for a lead distribution platform.

How does Plat work?

Plat helps companies better monetize their data. Let’s say you are a publisher who sells clicks directly to an advertiser or lead gen. You lose that data as soon as the click leaves your site. With a lead distribution system like Plat, you control where your clicks go. You can easily set up a ping-tree and let advertisers bid for your clicks. You could also use Plat to become a lead gen and start working with other publishers.

Plat also provides data intelligence, helping companies better understand their marketing efforts. We understand that many companies do not have the resources to support a full data team. Our data analysts help train them on how to use Plat for predictive modeling, AI/ML, and scorecards – this provides companies with all the data intelligence resources the big guys have, but manageable within the scale of their company.

Aren’t other companies working with similar technology too?

None of the other lead distribution systems offer as many tools right out of the box. Beyond that, Plat is more customizable than any other LDS. Our average turnaround time for creating new, client-requested features is 24-hours. That is a fraction of the time it takes the other guys.

It also helps that Plat was first used as dot818’s internal data processing system. That means our account managers have spent time on the system. We know how it works, and we can teach our clients how to get the most out of it. There is simply not a more experienced support staff out there. We know the system because we built it. We know the system because we use it, and we have been using it for years.

Why did you choose Glendale to be home to dot818?

This business was homegrown, and it has stayed here (in Glendale) because there hasn’t been any reason to leave. I named the company dot818 because of my deep love for Glendale. I’m on the board of the Glendale College Foundation and I’m always looking for ways to help Glendale grow.

If someone came to you for advice about possibly moving their business to Glendale what would you tell them?

If they were a direct competitor, we would tell them to go to South Dakota instead. Everyone else should come to Glendale.

Drawing on personal experience, what advice would you give to new startups hoping to break into the tech industry?

Nobody gets rich overnight. It takes consistent hard work and allowing for the time to make things happen.

Get to know the dot818 team at the Glendale Tech Week Opening Day Experience and at the Tech Awards Party. Plus, visit their booth at the Tech Career Fair to learn about job opportunities at dot818.


Glendale Companies Invest in Making Glendale a Regional Tech Hub

Glendale is home to 1,049 tech companies with over 40,000 tech jobs and continues to position itself as a thriving tech hub for the Northwest Los Angeles County region. It’s no surprise that as the City makes its mark in the tech industry; several local companies have stepped forward to pledge their support of the 4th Annual Glendale Tech Week.

This year’s Title Sponsor, Phonexa, is an "all-in-one" SaaS solution for call tracking, lead distribution, and email marketing.  At the Platinum Level are dot818, Downtown Glendale Association and Glendale Arts. Headquartered in downtown Glendale, dot818 has sponsored Glendale Tech Week for the past 3 years.

Our commitment to the community continues to be one of our company’s core is why we feel a responsibility to invest in local technology initiatives like Glendale Tech Week.
— David Tonoyan, President & Founder dot818

In addition to their continued sponsorships, dot818 has participated in Tech Week’s Career Fair for several years. In fact, the career fair is where they discovered and hired their current Director of IT. “We will attend the job fair again this year and hope to add more local talent to our team,” added Tonoyan.

Coming in at the Gold level are Age of Learning, ServiceTitan, mobileforming, Beyond Limits, Applied Earth Sciences, the Professional Development Center of GCC and Glendale Water & Power.

Glendale Tech Week is part of the City’s Tech Strategy, which seeks to develop the ecosystem of technology and innovation in Glendale and the surrounding region. The week long event would not be possible without the ongoing support of these sponsors who are paving the way for more technology based companies to move into the community. Glendale offers many attractive amenities to businesses looking to locate in Southern California including, a variety of housing options in walkable Downtown Glendale, world class retail and dining establishments, access to skilled talent, a variety of options in co-working space, as well as 6-million square feet of office space,  a low cost of doing business, a burgeoning arts & entertainment district and more. As the City’s efforts to attract more start-ups and the necessary amenities to support them continue to bear fruit, events such as Glendale Tech Week shine the light on emerging firms and supporting resources available to ensure their success.

There’s still time to join the growing family of Glendale Tech Week sponsors.