November 22, 2023

Annual Festival Ignites Global Innovation, Focuses on Growth for Startups

A photo of the Hibernia building in San Francisco, California, USA

Innovators worldwide gathered in October at the Hibernia in San Francisco, California, USA for the third annual Innovation Festival, hosted by LG NOVA, LG Electronics’ North America Center for Innovation. The festival is a unique event that brings together innovators to discuss, explore and build next-generation impact-driven solutions for digital health, cleantech, future tech, smart life and other emerging technology areas.

A photo of Annie Hanlon, Emerging Tech Executive and Producer at Alchemy Tech & Entertainment Group, standing and talking on the stageAnnie Hanlon, Emerging Tech Executive/Producer, Alchemy Tech & Entertainment Group, emceed the Innovation Festival

With over 500 startup founders, industry experts, investors, mentors and influencers in attendance, the festival provided a collaborative environment for innovators to network and discuss the challenges and key topics important to their businesses, in the context of creating impact for a better future. Through think tank-styled sessions, meet-ups, interactive panels, mentoring, reverse panels and other sessions, innovators had the opportunity to share their stories and ideas.

A photo of Alicia Hanf from LG NOVA, Cheryl Contee from The Impact Seat, Dorothy Johnson from gener8tor, Flossie Hall, Stella and Sayki O'Duro from Lockstep Ventures sitting next to each other in discussion(From left to right) Alicia Hanf, LG NOVA; Cheryl Contee, The Impact Seat, Dorothy Johnson, gener8tor,
Flossie Hall, Stella and Sayki O’Duro, Lockstep Ventures discuss “The Power of Diversity in Tech” at the Innovation Festival

From these discussions, attendees forged new connections with potential investors, other startups, advisors and corporate partners. The festival’s theme “Growth Through Innovation” was top of mind for all attendees, as they used this opportunity to explore innovative ways to help their businesses grow. Alongside this focus, the festival hosted discussions on women in tech, balancing growth, profitability and impact, and diversity in tech, to heighten, grow awareness and discuss solutions to the challenges in these key topic areas in the innovation community today. It also hosted a special guest presentation from award-winning wildlife filmmaker Amoghavarsha JS, who touched on the importance of impact and building for a better future through technology innovations. In total, this year’s event hosted over 90 speakers and 28 sessions.

A photo of Amoghavarsha JS, film-maker, standing and talking on the stageFilm-maker, Amoghavarsha JS presents on creating impact through storytelling at the LG NOVA Innovation Festival

In addition, for the first time, this year’s Innovation Festival featured a webOS Hackathon, where 15 developer teams pitched their app ideas using the webOS platform to bring new use cases and applications to smart TVs. And the Festival’s annual Startup Pitch Competition hosted 12 startup companies in the categories of digital health, cleantech, future tech and innovation for impact.

A photo of the winners of the webOS Hackathon standing next to each other posing for the camera with their awardsThe winners of the webOS Hackathon

The top three winners of the hackathon were:

  • First Place: Key2Enable provides greater digital accessibility to people with disabilities. Its Key-X, a multifunctional Smart Keyboard, provides people with motor limitations to have full control of a computer and other digital devices, and together with its AI-powered inclusive Educational platform aligned with curriculum and learning goals, enables them to develop their motor and cognitive skills.
  • Second Place: AAVAA provides bionic technology for hands-free control of remote devices, utilizing brain and bio-signal decoding to enable intuitive control and enhance accessibility for users with differing abilities on LG devices.
  • Third Place: Doktorconnect offers a comprehensive healthcare experience through its app, integrated with LG TVs, allowing users to conduct Telehealth appointments, store fitness data and access various health tools, all compatible with Doktorconnects’ line of health devices.

A photo of the winners of the Startup Pitch Competition standing next to each other posing for the camera with their awardsThe winners of the Startup Pitch Competition

Winners of the Startup Pitch competition were:

  • First Place: Light Technologies, a health tech company on a mission to create AI-enabled technology to assess eye and brain health and aid earlier detection and intervention for neurodegenerative diseases, neuro-inflammatory diseases, brain injury and concussion and retinal diseases.
  • Second Place: SafeBeat makes software that goes beyond diagnostics to power cardiac therapeutics, all from a phone. SafeBeat software uses explainable AI to fully automate and streamline this process and even recommend patient-specific drug dosing for physician approval.
  • Third Place: Safire Technology Group develops advanced Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technologies. The company’s core technology, SAFe Impact Resistant Electrolyte (SAFIRE™), is the world’s only patented and proprietary drop-in additive for any Li-ion battery cell that prevents fire and explosion through an instantaneous liquid-to-solid transformation upon kinetic impacts, such as electric vehicle crashes or ballistic events.
  • Winning again, as Innovation for Impact special award recipient was Key2Enable.

 “It’s gratifying to see how this event and the LG NOVA community have grown in the past two years,” said Thomas Yoon, President and CEO of LG Electronics North America, who participated as a judge in the hackathon and presented the keynote on address, alongside Dr. Sokwoo Rhee, Senior Vice President of Innovation and Head of LG NOVA and Dong-su Kim, CEO of LG Technology Ventures, setting the stage for the conference. “For LG, our growth signifies how we’re collaborating more closely with the startup community on new ideas to deliver on our vision of Innovation for a Better Life,” he said.

A photo of LG Executives, representing home appliance and air solutions, home entertainment and LG NOVA, sitting next to each other presenting and discussingLG Executives representing home appliance and air solutions, home entertainment and LG NOVA presenting on “How to Build with LG”

At the festival, LG NOVA re-launched its Mission for the Future initiative. Now starting its third year, the program has been re-designed to enable greater collaboration with startups by extending the process year-round. In this new engagement process, startups can approach LG NOVA with ideas for collaboration throughout the year across the key market areas that have a positive impact on people and the planet, including digital health, cleantech, future tech and smart life. LG’s objective is to find new market opportunities by collaborating with companies to create innovative solutions and business ideas, build and test them in the open markets and accelerate market growth with support from LG’s global brand and resources.

A photo of the 15 teams that participated in the webOS Hackathon posing for the camera togetherThe 15 teams that participated in the webOS hackathon

“This year’s event was even better than last year. We intentionally added more opportunities for discussion and idea sharing for speakers and audiences alike,” said Rhee. “The best part of the event is being able to sit down and connect with startup founders to hear what they have to say on the industry, their market areas and their business. The openness and collaboration at the Innovation Festival represents LG NOVA’s sentiment and sincerity in its intentions to work with others to build for a better future.”

View a highlight reel of the Innovation Festival here.

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