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.

2018 Tech Awards: The Rising Stars

Glendale’s 1st Annual Tech Awards was a star studded affair as 9 rising stars from the local tech scene were lauded for their inspiring work. Attendees were wowed by the exceptional talent being recognized during the closing celebration of Glendale Tech Week which was held at the Americana at Brand this past September.

Benztown, a leader in international radio imaging, provides digital services to over a thousand radio stations around the world. And while they’re well known for their radio production prowess including jingles, this year they received a nod for their standout workplace culture with the Best Culture Award. Headquartered in Glendale, Benztown is known for fostering a respectful environment where employees feel free to share ideas and opinions. Family vibes reign supreme with regular team outings and birthday celebrations!

Our minds were blown when we learned about Crescenta Valley High School Junior, Rohin Manvi, recipient of the Student Innovation (K-12) Award. After a visit to a relative’s village in India, Rohin discovered that water is not available there 24/7. The government supplies water for 2-4 hours up to two times per week. Since the water is not released on a predictable schedule, those who miss the window of opportunity are left without water. Rohin developed the Water Notifier app, which is currently being used by residents in villages where water is rationed. Sensors along the water network send notices to villagers through the app when the water is being released.

Rohin Manvi, Student Innovation Award Winner

In the VR/AR/AI category, Screen Door Labs was recognized for its development of ARescue, an AR communication tool for first responders that gives them access to 2D & 3D maps, geotags, data and video feeds all accessible through handsfree AR glasses. Additionally, Beyond Limits was also honored for their AI solutions for a variety of industries including finance, healthcare, energy, manufacturing and beyond!

The Privacy & Security Award recognizes progressive accomplishments in the way we go about securing data and ensuring privacy; and Reevert’s “all-in-one'“ technology came out on top. It features back-up services, ransomware protection and recovery tools all managed with one user friendly dashboard that provides hourly, daily, weekly and monthly account snapshots.


Ani Torosyan, received the Glendale Young Entrepreneur Award for her food sharing app DishDivvy. The app brings matchmaking to a delicious new level as hungry people can meet home cooks with a passion for creating delectable dishes. Dinner is served!

Rounding out the night’s winners were:

  • Student Innovation Award (Post Secondary) - Sebouh & Shawnt Bazikian, Bikes 4 Orphans

  • Best Pivot Award - Adriana Torresan, Founder & CEO of Lupn

  • Health, Med + Bio Tech Award - SnapMD