Sold-Out Event Attracts Hundreds of Attendees

- Taking a step towards boosting Los Angeles' tech scene, organized its event in the city on Wednesday night. Held at NeueHouse Hollywood, the event featured a lineup of speakers from sectors of the tech industry, including Tekedra Mawakana, Co-CEO of Waymo; Trae Stephens, General Partner at Founders Fund; and Jesse Lyu, Founder and CEO of rabbit. The event was fully booked, with hundreds of attendees comprising venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and executives from . The atmosphere buzzed with excitement as guests socialized over drinks and appetizers in anticipation of the evening's presentations.

Lightspeed Venture Partners on AI-Driven Hardware and Wearables

Faraz Fatemi from Lightspeed Venture Partners opened the event by sharing insights on AI-driven hardware and wearables. He emphasized the resurgence of interest in investing in hardware-related businesses due to advancements in AI . Fatemi highlighted rabbit's R1 device as an example, emphasizing the significance of assistance integrated into core hardware products. Fatemi also discussed the potential of AI to unlock business models, such as forming partnerships with parties that could lead to generating affiliate revenues. "Establishing yourself as the go-to interface and then creating an ecosystem around it puts you in a position," he remarked.

Meredith Whittaker on the Importance of Open Source AI

Following that, Meredith Whittaker, President of , gave a presentation titled "AI Isn't as 'Open' as You Think. Here's Why It's Important." Whittaker, an expert on privacy, criticized the narrative promoted by a few AI companies claiming their technology is "open." "If we want the technology to progress and evolve independently from their influence, we must stop promoting openness and demand open source to foster grassroots innovation," Whittaker emphasized. She also highlighted the privacy threats posed by proposed advocating for backdoors and the Investigatory Powers Act granting authorities the power to require tech firms to seek approval from the UK government before releasing security updates. Whittaker stressed the importance of recognizing these risks, stating, "Both venture capitalists and major tech corporations must acknowledge this threat to our industry and resist it."

Waymo's Progress and Challenges in Self-Driving Car Technology

Tekedra Mawakana, the Co-CEO of Waymo, took the spotlight to talk about how the company's moving with its self-driving car technology and facing challenges along the way. Waymo has been at the forefront of offering robotaxi services for use, despite some controversies in the field. Mawakana shared some insights into who's using their service and for what reasons, showing that people are incorporating it into their daily routines. "It's really cool to see that around 2,000 of those rides are for errands," she mentioned. "Similarly, there are 2,000 trips to restaurants and bars, and 300 trips are for school, from kindergarten all the way up to college." She also touched upon the incidents of vandalism and arson that Waymo faced in San Francisco, expressing concern by saying, "All policymakers us, right? No one wants these things to happen." She stressed Waymo's dedication to maintaining a safe transportation choice for those who rely on it.

rabbit's Innovative Handheld AI Assistant, R1

Jesse Lyu, the Founder and CEO of rabbit, talked about his company's move in creating a product category with their innovative handheld AI assistant called R1. Lyu mentioned that the current app-based operating system is on the decline, and thanks to advancements in AI, devices like the R1 are now a reality. "We aim to make technology more accessible," Lyu remarked. "Instead of creating a $1,000 device or a $500 device with subscriptions, we're looking at producing a $200 device without any subscriptions." Lyu also shared the response to the R1, noting that they received 100,000 pre-orders, far surpassing their initial projection of selling 500 units on the first day. "We quickly increased our inventory. There won't be any delays; we're prepared for all 100,000 units," he added.

Trae Stephens on Funding Trends in the Defense Sector

Trae Stephens, General Partner at Founders Fund and Co-Founder and Chairman of Anduril Industries, delved into trends in the . Stephens emphasized the shift in threats from state entities to near-peer adversaries and stressed the importance of cost-effective systems that can complement existing capabilities. "At Anduril, we've been tackling this issue since our establishment in 2017, pondering how to lower engagement costs while also shielding the men and women serving on the battlefield from risks to their lives due to perilous tasks," shared Stephens. He further discussed apprehensions regarding autonomous systems, emphasizing the goal of preserving life. "Autonomous systems represent a step in that direction. Our aim is to minimize casualties by ensuring decision-making when resorting to lethal measures."

Networking Opportunities and LA's Growing Tech Scene

The gathering concluded with networking opportunities, enabling participants to engage in conversations sparked by the evening's presentations and establish connections within LA's tech community. The decision by StrictlyVC to host its event in Los Angeles underscores the city's rising significance in the tech realm. With its talent pool, thriving startup environment, and growing appeal among investors, LA is poised to emerge as a player in the industry. The event's success, seen through the turnout and quality of speakers, indicates an interest in hosting tech-focused gatherings in the city. With StrictlyVC expanding its presence in LA, there is potential for it to have an on shaping the city's tech landscape and attracting attention from investors and entrepreneurs. To sum up, StrictlyVC's event in LA not only highlighted the newest trends and advancements in the tech field but also underscored the city's potential as a flourishing technology center. Featuring engaging discussions on topics like AI, self-driving cars, defense funding, and others, the event offered a platform for individuals to share their insights and experiences with LA's tech community. As the city continues to nurture its growing tech environment, events such as this one will certainly contribute to solidifying LA's position as a player in the global technology arena.