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by Chris Teale August 31, 2017 at 11:15 am 0

A company that markets “As Seen on TV” products will come to Arlington next month to hear local inventors’ ideas on the next big thing.

Top Dog Direct will hold a “Speed Pitch” event at TechShop (2100-B Crystal Drive) in Crystal City on Monday, September 18 starting at 9:30 a.m.

The company is known for products like the Sobakawa Cloud PillowStream Clean stain remover, Tag Away skin tag remover, the Futzuki pain relieving reflexology mat.

The event will be held in conjunction with the Inventors Network of the Capital Area, a nonprofit that helps inventors of all experience levels network and share information.

Anyone who wants to pitch their ideas at the event must fill out and send an application form beforehand. The form asks for a short description of the product, and has the following requirements for the pitch itself:

  • Prototype or final product available to present
  • Consumer product
  • Reach a mass audience
  • Can retail from $9.99-39.99
  • Demonstrable
  • Easy to understand
  • New product that is not on the market
  • Short, two-minute pitch

Forms must be sent to [email protected], with the subject line, “Sept 18 Arlington, VA Pitch.” Top Dog will review applications and then select the contenders for the pitch-a-thon.

by Katie Pyzyk March 20, 2017 at 12:15 pm 0

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Want a way to impress friends with a wild video camera trick, à la “The Matrix”? OrcaVue will spin your camera right round, baby, right round to create a professional-looking effect.

The Orcavue in use.The patent-pending technology revolves a camera around whatever item or person is positioned on a central, stationary platform.

The idea was born in October 2014 when Daniel Rosenberry and his brother, Jonathan, owned a small production company and wanted to pull off a 360-degree camera shot, but they didn’t have the proper equipment and didn’t have the money to hire a crew.

Rosenberry came up with some rough sketches for a device and showed his father, who constructed the first protype from “a bunch of stuff from our garage,” Rosenberry said. “A coffee can, a lazy susan and random stuff… he essentially built the very first ‘garage’ version of what the OrcaVue is.”

The Rosenberrys told their friend, Adam Boussouf, about the camera rig idea and he suggested patenting it. “Really, we weren’t thinking about it as any sort of business endeavor” and didn’t know how to go about that, Rosenberry said. So Boussouf came on board and took care of the business aspects.

“My brother had the initial vision. I designed everything. Dad put it together. And our friend pushed us to form a business. So we’re the four co-founders,” Rosenberry said.

Soon after officially launching the business in early 2015, orders quickly piled up. “It was definitely chaotic,” Rosenberry said. “We started getting a lot of orders coming in… and we didn’t quite know what to do.”

An early version of the Orcavue deviceThey realized they had to manufacture a lot of units in a short time span and did research to find a machine workshop. They found TechShop in Crystal City, which still is OrcaVue’s home base and where the devices are manufactured.

As for the name, OrcaVue is an acronym, of sorts, for “orbiting camera view.” The team wanted to have an animal on its logo and they did an internet search for animals that are known for circling, to reference the product’s circling functions. Fittingly, they learned that orcas — also called killer whales — swim circles around their prey. Thus, the OrcaVue name and logo came full circle and was adopted.

The business has evolved to become less about selling the camera rigs and more about selling services. The OrcaVue employees now spend most of their time on equipment rentals and event production. They show up at weddings, red carpet events and new product launches to work the machine and shoot video of the events.

OrcaVue doesn’t simply have local customers, either. The device has been used to shoot videos for numerous high-profile national clients including Olympian Simone Biles, Twitter, the Golden Globe Awards, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the New York Knicks and the TV show Dancing with the Stars.

OrcaVue employees continuously work on product improvements to devise a bigger, better, lighter system that can go faster and support heavier cameras.

As far as general business goals, Rosenberry would like further expansion, both in terms of the number of employees and in product and service reach. “I’d like to… grow the business regionally as well as internationally,” Rosenberry said. He’s working on that by setting up a partnership in Sweden and Australia to more easily cater to international clients.

“We’ve already surpassed anything we imagined that could happen,” Rosenberry said. “We’re a pretty relaxed company. We basically hired my friends and we all work together on it and have a great time.”

by ARLnow.com September 29, 2016 at 8:55 am 0

Pumpkins at the Columbia Pike farmers market (Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok)

Garvey to Hold Book Discussion — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey is launching a series of community book discussions on various topics. Tonight Garvey and School Board Chair Nancy Van Doren will discuss the best-selling book “Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School.” The discussion will take place at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) from 7:30-9 p.m. [Facebook]

Beer Store, TechShop Collaborate for New Kegerator — Crystal City Wine Shop (220 20th Street S.) has teamed up with nearby TechShop to create a new kegerator. The custom-modified refrigerator allows the store to offer varieties of craft beer that aren’t available in bottles or cans. Customers can take the beer home in fillable cans known as crowlers. [Washington Business Journal]

Cosi Files for Bankruptcy — The Cosi chain of sandwich and salad restaurants has filed for bankruptcy and closed 40 percent of its locations. Among the closed stores: the Cosi in Courthouse. A rep for the company told us yesterday: “The decision to close this restaurant was based on its financial performance and market density. At this time, we do not have any plans to reopen this restaurant.” [Nation’s Restaurant News]

Flash Flood Watch Continues — Forecasters are expecting several more inches of rain to fall between now and Saturday. The potential for flash flooding along streams and low-lying areas remains and a Flash Flood Watch is still in effect. [Twitter, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok

by ARLnow.com October 15, 2015 at 10:35 am 0

Halloween-Graphic-1020x1020(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) TechShop in Crystal City is planning a steampunk-themed Halloween party later this month.

The event is planned for Thursday, Oct. 29, from 6-9 p.m. It will include a jack-o’-lantern contest and a steampunk costume contest.

“Break out your petticoats and top hats, don your driving goggles, and adorn yourself with gears of all shapes and sizes, because the winners of these contests will score awesome prizes!” TechShop said in an event page.

In terms of food and drink, the party will feature a Good Stuff Eatery milkshake bar, a kids candy bar and a “haunted cocktail bar.”

Tickets are $15 for adults who aren’t TechShop members, $10 for members, $5 for those under 21.

A family-friendly “Hack Your Halloween” meetup, featuring a workshop on laser etching a pumpkin, will be held from 4-6 p.m. Tickets for children ages 10-14 attending the meetup are $10 and there are additional charges for the pumpkin etching.

TechShop Arlington is located at 2110 Crystal Drive and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except for major holidays.

by Ethan Rothstein April 22, 2014 at 9:50 am 1,678 0

TechShop, a subscription-based, high-tech workshop, has opened its 20,000-square-foot space at 2110-B Crystal Drive, in the Crystal City Shops.

The shop opened last Wednesday after eight weeks of construction. It offers its members access to millions of dollars worth of equipment to use to build prototypes, new inventions or anything else they can dream up.

“There’s a deficit in people knowing how to make things with their hands,” TechShop’s interim general manager Isabella Iglesias Musachio said. “We’re giving people access to the tools to build their dreams.”

TechShop has computers uploaded with $20,000 of software, a high-powered water jet that can cut through several inches of steel, a fully-equipped wood shop, 3D printers and its most popular item, a laser cutter and etcher.

Memberships cost $349 for three months, $1,095 for a year and $7,500 for a lifetime. TechShop offers corporate memberships for companies, either startups or larger firms, that need to use the equipment to develop new products. TechShop also offers classes to teach how to operate each of the machines, but the classes are sold out until May, according to Iglesias-Musachio.

More than 250 people have purchased memberships so far, Iglesias-Musachio said, and more than 100 military veterans have gotten free memberships through TechShop’s partnership with DARPA.

“Our typical member is anyone,” Iglesias-Musachio said. “You could be sitting next to an engineer, an art teacher or a 12-year-old kid. For a few dollars a day, really, you can have access to more than $1 million worth of equipment. That sort of thing appeals to everyone.”

Crystal City is TechShop’s eighth location nationwide and its second on the East Coast, after its Pittsburgh location, which opened in 2013. Several technology and equipment companies, like the mobile transaction company Square, have been helped along by TechShop’s equipment, Iglesias-Musachio said.

“Crystal City was perfect for our next location because it’s extremely innovative and creative,” she said, noting how many people have peered into the window during buildout. “We were looking for a creative and educated community, and one that is accessible by transit.”

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