Techies, Founders and Funders Prep for Biggest Week of the Year

Innovate Pasadena’s Connect Week has been scheduled for October 13 to 20

Published : Tuesday, October 1, 2019 | 4:38 AM

Last year's Connect Week

Technology enthusiasts can look forward to getting together with other like-minded techies at Connect Week, which runs October 13 through October 20 in various locations in the Pasadena area.

Connect Week is a weeklong series of events held in a festival-like atmosphere, designed with the intent to bring together people who create life-changing innovation.

The week is run by Innovate Pasadena, the all-volunteer organization made up of technology funders, founders, CEOs and others.

The president of Innovate Pasadena, Beth Kuchar, who with her husband Alan Baker, is co-founder of Pasadena-based digital media agency, Enbroaden, said Connect Week is one of the most anticipated weeks of the year in the local tech world.

Last year's Connect Week

“Connect Week is an entire week of different events and we split them into tracks,” Kuchar said. “We have an art and design track, business and entrepreneurship, science and astronomy, and technology tracks. We have events that span several areas.”

While innovate Pasadena organizes the week, what makes it compelling is independent event organizers will host different events within the weeklong schedule.

Innovate Pasadena is kicking off the week the Thursday before Connect Week with a mixer called Innovation and Libation, to be held at the Armory Center for the Arts on Oct. 10.

“It’s a fun mixer and we tend to get a really great crowd,” Kuchar said. “We have a Funders and Founders Day this year. That’s relevant because we have a lot of amazing startups that are coming into Pasadena and there’s a lot more capital coming into the city, we have interesting research how much goes to Pasadena.”

Innovate Pasadena is sponsoring a day where entrepreneurs can get access to different resources to help them as they’re building their company, Kuchar said.

“They can listen to a panel of investors share some real talk about investing in local startups and they can attend a mixer where they can ‘speed-network’ with funders,” she said.

In this way, these types of events bring together the people with the ideas and the people with the money who invest in those ideas.

One of our meetup groups that Innovate Pasadena helps support, called AI LA  will be presenting an entire day’s worth of events on artificial intelligence in healthcare, Kuchar said. Healthcare and the sciences represent a big opportunity for AI. The organizer is creating a day-long event series to bring people from different disciplines to work on, and problem-solve challenges in the healthcare industry using design solutions, AI solutions and machine learning.

People who want to attend should check out the website connectpasadena.com and look at the calendar. They can also look at innovatepasadena.org.

Last year's Connect Week

Events take place all over Pasadena.

“One of the fun things about the week is, not only do we cover a variety of topics, but the idea is to get people exploring the city,” she said. “Our events take place all around the city. The idea is to have a little bit of something for everybody, if you’re more on the east side, there are events closer to you, it’s not all in Old Pasadena. People need to be aware there is some exploration involved.

People should seek out the open houses, and those are opportunities to see how the companies look on the inside, Kuchar said.

“We have some great companies and sponsors of Innovate Pasadena that host open houses, and t’s a great way to get a behind the scenes look a lot of the tech companies that open their doors,” she said. “In the past we’ve actually connected with people who have attended Connect Week events who said ‘I got a job because I went to an open house during Connect Week.’”

Kuchar said her involvement in Innovate Pasadena came about because she is a community business owner.

“Because I’m a business owner, I try to make sure I’m involved in my community,” she said. “I make sure I’m in an area that stays relevant and stays prosperous. No one wants to have their business in an area that is downtrodden. I was on the South Lake Business Association board and I kept pitching, I had a portion of us on the board who would come up with ideas for events to promote the district.”

Kuchar teamed with City of Pasadena Chief Information Officer Phillip Leclair on the city’s first hack-a-thon back in 2012.

“From there I heard about a group forming called Innovate Pasadena and I’ve been involved ever since,” she said. “It turned into ‘What other groups are trying to focus on technology in Pasadena?’”

What’s the secret to keeping all the balls in the air?

“I don’t need much sleep,” she joked. “My husband is co-owner of our company and supportive, and he’s great when Connect Week is coming up because he knows I take time away from the business and he picks up the overflow for me and he carries the burden.”

For details about Connect Week, visit www.connectpasadena.com

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