Russell Nichols is a freelance writer who focuses on technology, culture and mental health. His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Governing Magazine and Government Technology.
Typically, fruit goes through many hands — farmer, packer, shipper, broker — before reaching the supermarket. Based in Lodi, Branch to Box focuses on cutting out the middlemen (hence the name) to provide the freshest possible fruit to offices.
Plumas Lake Elementary School District in Yuba County partnered with SmartWatt, a New York-based solar firm with an office in Rocklin, to optimize its energy system, including the installation of a solar photovoltaic system. It wasn’t the first solar panel project for SmartWatt, but it is the company’s largest to date.
This year marks the deadline for California’s 10-year bet on solar roofs. In 2006, the state launched the “Million Solar Roofs” vision, pumping $3.2 billion into incentive programs. The plan was to build one million solar roofs, or the equivalent thereof, generating 3,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2017.
If you’re a basketball player, you’re not one to just sit around and spectate. You want to prove you got skills too. Problem is, finding people to hoop with is no walk in the park.
In 2014, Darling launched Free Form Factory, making after-market decks and hulls out of durable polymer material. Two years later, the company relocated from Rochester, New York to Rancho Cordova. Free Form Factory has unveiled a stand-up watercraft prototype that is 100-percent recyclable and electric-powered.
If you’re texting and driving, Sarah Morell might be recording you. She’s usually riding shotgun, as her husband drives, with her camera phone, ready to catch traffic safety violators on video. Her 6-year-old daughter’s in on the action too.
The push to integrate VR into the media has surged in recent years. The Guardian last summer unveiled its first VR project, 6×9, putting viewers into a solitary confinement prison cell. Last fall, The New York Times introduced The Daily 360. These immersive videos, made with Samsung technology, give readers rare glimpses into scenes worldwide.
If you’re going to live in a 3D environment, you need to see a 3D environment.”
These are the words of Stephen Phillips, co-founder and chief technology officer at Theia Interactive, a design firm based in Chico. His company creates VR tours for people looking to build or buy homes, cars and yachts. It was one of the four startups to come out of the Green Screen Institute’s first accelerator program.
From police shootings to incidents like the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting, gun violence has been dominating news cycles in recent years. Additional virtual training could help civilians know how to respond in a hostile encounter.
By linking with loyalty cards and tracking purchases (by scanning receipts), Foodfully knows what food you buy and gives an estimate about how long it may last, then sends notifications before that estimated date. These alerts help consumers avoid wasting forgotten food
It wasn’t taken as a joke or a typo or an anonymous quote from some trolling conspiracy theorist. It was a real-live tweet from a billionaire with mystery hair: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
Sievent is a social experience app that helps event organizers and attendees stay connected with information before, during and after an event. The app is an end-to-end platform that handles all facets of an event such as promotion, ticketing, payment, event analytics and social media management.
This is the new age of advertising, a digital world dominated by big data, controlled by those who know how to handle it. New technology, such as mobile devices and smart speakers, has opened the door for advertisers to track everything from customer locations to spending habits.
The start of the year is resolution time, the season when gyms push special deals to lure new customers or pull in old ones. Jeff Rizzo isn’t trying to sell you a gym membership, but if you’re into technology and fitness, he does want to equip you with the latest gear for the lowest price.
“It’s like Uber for X.” In recent years, this line has become the go-to marketing pitch, where “X” can stand for practically any mobile-based service, from shipping to laundry to valet services to primary care. It’s not hard to see why.
Technically, Atocera Inc. is the result of a shaving accident.
Back in 2012, Saif Islam, a UC Davis professor of electrical and computer engineering, was in the campus labs building silicon micro-walls for solar panels. During the process of cutting semiconductor material into small slices, something unexpected happened.
But Anpac Bio’s major innovation is not about where, but when. Catching cancer in the earliest stages has been Yu’s goal since the company launched in 2010. With so much medical research focused on treatment and imaging, he set his sights on early detection as the key to prevention. His ideas were unconventional.
In the first few days after a baby is born, the mother produces colostrum — a yellowish, thick and sticky substance packed with fat, micronutrients and antibodies. In breastfeeding circles, this special milk is called “liquid gold,” which is essentially a supercharged immunity boost to equip newborns for their new world.
A healthy human body is a fortress with guards at the ready to seize intruders. When under attack, these guards (antibodies) secrete chemicals that recruit and grow immune cells. The cells then seek and destroy the intruders (antigens) to protect the fortress.
Moore believes UC Davis could be the first institution in the country to have an approved clinical trial using banked stem cells in a young, athletic population.
For many residential landlords, choosing a tenant is a gamble — like shopping for a used car without a full history report. Vitaliy Merkulov learned this the hard way.
Is 14 too young to get into coffee? It wasn’t for Randall Echevarria. He grew up in Crescent City on the California/Oregon border, and the small town’s first coffee shop gave him his very first job. He started as a barista and moved up in the ranks over four years, his favorite part being the beverage development. Turns out, this high school gig was just warm-up.
On New Mohawk Road in Nevada City, the 27,000-square-foot facility has three components: a training academy, business accelerator and coworking lab for established companies. The academy will include classes that can last from a weekend to up to six months. The Green Screen Institute will hire industry experts on a contract basis to teach the classes. The idea is to develop the workforce needed for the influx of virtual reality and augmented reality companies.
ExtraPlate puts homecooked meals on the map as an on-demand food marketplace that works like Uber or Lyft for hungry consumers.
After plans for a massive upgrade to the historic Crystal Ice and Cold Storage building went up in smoke, Mike Heller and his team were forced back to the drawing board — here’s how they forged ahead.
Tim Keller started in the basement. His startup, VinPerfect, won the UC Davis Big Bang! Business Competition in 2008. But he had nowhere to work, so his employer, Sierra Energy, let him use a room below their offices in Davis.
Update (4/2021): Quicklegal CEO Derek Bluford was sentenced to seven years in prison for wire fraud, money laundering and other charges, according to the Sacramento Business Journal.
Update (2/2018): Quicklegal was named our Startup of the Month in June of 2016. Shortly after, we became aware of legal proceedings against Quicklegal. You can read more about the settlement judgement and the original complaint. In a statement to Comstock’s, CEO Derek Bluford said, “I had an employee who impersonated me. He defrauded me, our company and one of our clients.” In January of 2018, Derek Bluford was convicted of fraud.
Derek Bluford was in eighth grade when his single mom got into legal trouble. She had gotten injured at her prison job and couldn’t work full-time. Disability assistance wasn’t enough to cover utilities, food and rent, and they were about to get evicted from their duplex rental in Elk Grove.
For the past 48 years, Mike Doran has watched El Dorado County evolve— slowly. He recalls the days when the county was a peaceful, low-density community — long before the Home Depot came to Placerville, before the Dollar General got the greenlight for Georgetown, back when Highway 50 was nothing but a two-lane road.
You can’t deny it: The cloud is everywhere. Thanks to tech titans like Google, Amazon and Apple, the idea of data storage has shifted from bulky, blinking units in an enclosed place to the more abstract concept of data stored in open, virtual space.
It was time for Lola’s afternoon nap. Her mother, Melissa Logue, was all set to read Thomas the Tank Engine. But as she walked to her 3-year-old daughter’s bedroom, she dropped the book. Her right side felt numb and a sharp pain suddenly seized her head. She couldn’t speak.
In mammals, the developmental pathway known as sonic hedgehog (named after the popular video game character) regulates the generation and survival of neurons and other brain cells. But a team of UC Davis scientists found that this pathway plays a critical role in neuroprotection, regeneration and functional recovery after a clot blocks blood flow in the brain.
As a radiation oncologist with Sutter Health, Dr. Harvey Wolkov spends his days zapping tumors and other types of lesions from patients’ brains with gamma rays. It’s a tricky job because, during the procedure, patients aren’t allowed to move, even a fraction.
The case study: It’s a staple in medical schools throughout the U.S., where students learn how to diagnose and treat various conditions through mock scenarios. But can a doctor-in-training really grasp medical knowledge by sitting alone at a computer or by working out a problem on paper?
After working the male-dominated world of technology and venture investment for more than a decade, Saville decided to take matters into her own hands.
Placemaking. You might have heard the word — maybe at a redevelopment conference or tossed around at a marketing mixer. You might have seen it in a neighborhood newsletter about new housing downtown, or read about it in an article shared by that cool architect friend who was just inspired with a vision for how to make Sacramento “the place to be.” But no matter what you’ve heard or how you feel about placemaking, the concept likely won’t be disappearing in the near future.
When it comes to gift-giving, you can’t go wrong with a gift card, right? Well, not exactly. Research shows that more than $1 billion in gift cards go unredeemed. Based in West Sacramento, GiftCardBin has been banking on that stat since 2008, buying and selling gift cards that might otherwise go to waste. (Like the $25 Starbucks card you probably have in your wallet right now.)
Think about it like a dating site, except members are looking for loans instead of love. The matchmaker is Magilla Loans, a free, anonymous search engine that helps small business owners to find loans directly from reputable banks across the country.
For the past four years, Star Academy in Natomas didn’t look like a regular school. Due to overcrowding, elementary kids went to class in a commercial building that faced a major street and had warehouse space in the back. Last year, when the moratorium was lifted, the district considered building the new charter school through a lease-leaseback deal. But the method, once a popular way for struggling districts to acquire new facilities, has come under legal fire in recent years.
New app wimZr’s main focus is people. The interface is straightforward. You view the profiles of people going to the same place. If you like them, click “Connect Me.” If you want to pass, click “Next Time.” If the person you like likes you back, you can start talking. For upcoming events, you can scan guest lists and either connect one-on-one or openly in a public forum.
From small businesses to big chains and state agencies, no system is 100-percent hacker-proof. But in September, Gov. Jerry Brown took another step to prevent cyberattacks that cause data breaches with an order to create the California Cybersecurity Integration Center (Cal-CSIC).
Rocket Department. started as a joke. It was 2013 and the 5-member team decided to design an offbeat product for a local hackathon.
Anthony Costello had the next generation of medicine in mind when he launched Mytrus in 2009. The Davis-based company created a system that helps patients fill out consent forms electronically and participate in clinical trials for new drugs and therapies from the comfort of their homes.
Traditionally, the path from law student to full-fledged lawyer has been fairly straight-forward: A student starts out with a summer internship at a law firm, graduates and passes the bar exam, then gets hired at a law firm. In a secure and supportive work environment, law graduates can make good money, meet professional mentors and learn the skills required to be a real lawyer. This is the standard route, the one most students embark on every year. But more graduates like Alexandria Goff are choosing to buck tradition in the name of independence.
Karen Crawford hasn’t carried a purse in three years. Instead, she uses a prototype wallet, which holds her driver’s license, credit cards, cash and a gym membership card, but also serves as an iPhone case and has a Bluetooth-enabled key tracker. As CEO of New Wallet a Folsom-based startup, Crawford led the development of this design after she couldn’t find a product on the market to meet her needs.
Business owners looking for new hires might want to keep on eye on Meristem. Twenty minutes east of Sacramento, the new school opened in September with a mission to help young adults with ASD or other developmental differences find jobs. Developed in the U.K., this postsecondary transition program uses practical courses to teach transferable work skills such as problem-solving, teamwork and communication.
SkateMD connects youth with special needs with volunteers to learn how to skateboard. The Sacramento-based nonprofit was created by Melanie Tillotson (the “M”) and Andrea “Drea” Bibelheimer (the “D”), who saw a need in the community for a cool program in a safe space that would spread kindness to children facing developmental, physical, emotional and family challenges.
Slated for public release in October, LeadCliq is a referral generation portal, where members share relevant leads within exclusive circles or communities.
Last year’s state corrections budget included $500 million to fund the expansion of county jails (in addition to the jail expansion funds of $1.2 billion from years prior). But how that money should be allocated is debatable (Will adding more jails ease overcrowding? Should funds go toward community-based programs created to help people stay out of jail?), and counties are developing proposals to claim a piece of that multi-million-dollar pie.
In a few years, a brand new criminal courthouse is expected to open on the edge of the Sacramento railyards. Located on the corner of H and 6th streets, this second Sacramento County court building will be 405,500 square feet with 44 courtrooms. And it’s not the only new courthouse on the horizon. Right now, there are about 100 courthouses identified for development in California.
Eighteen months. That’s how long it took to design and build the 1.2 million-square-foot California Health Care Facility near Stockton. Sound impossible? It was an aggressive effort involving numerous parties. The facility, completed in 2013 to house chronically ill inmates, was lauded for its sustainable design. But the speed of the process was the big deal.