Ted Aronson, Chief Creative Officer
At Cognivive, we're very proud to be supported by the University of California, Davis. One of the many benefits of that support is that we occasionally get invited to represent the university at events like the APLU's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase. The APLU, or Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, is an organization that advocates for America's public universities and land-grant institutions to policy makers in Washington DC. Their annual meeting draws together administrators from hundreds of universities from across the country. This year, the meeting also included a nod to the many researchers-turned-entrepreneurs that come from these institutions. The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase was a two day event that highlighted 22 start-ups backed by APLU member universities.
The first evening's event was a cocktail hour for APLU members. All 22 start-ups had tables and posters to help tell attendees about their companies. Not to be outdone, Cognivive showed up with a laptop and an Oculus Rift, ready to run our first public demo! We were barely set up before visitors started asking us who we were and what we were making.
The excitement really got going when some of them asked to try the demo. We had brought with us a version of our "Ball Toss Prototype". Players have to catch and throw balls (and occasionally farm animals) as they fly across the room. Throwing in the right direction earns you points and unlocks additional zaniness.
Our prototype was a huge hit. We had people playing all evening, some for over 20 minutes! Showing off a prototype is always a terrifying and exciting experience, but this was the most fun we've had doing it ever. We got plenty of great feedback to take back to the office and make improvements, too.
The highlight of the weekend was the second night's event: a showcase at the Rayburn House Office Building. The showcase was open to APLU members, but also to members of Congress and their staff. Again we brought our laptop and Rift and set up to show off our prototype digital therapy. We had a blast demonstrating it to House staffers from across the country.
Overall, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase was an incredible experience to show and tell the world about our digital therapies. We were thrilled to meet so many people who were excited about what we're making. We were especially excited to watch them play it too! Thanks, again, to UC Davis and the APLU for inviting us to be there.