Russell Nichols is a freelance writer who focuses on technology, culture and mental health. His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Governing Magazine and Government Technology.
On New Mohawk Road in Nevada City, the 27,000-square-foot facility has three components: a training academy, business accelerator and coworking lab for established companies. The academy will include classes that can last from a weekend to up to six months. The Green Screen Institute will hire industry experts on a contract basis to teach the classes. The idea is to develop the workforce needed for the influx of virtual reality and augmented reality companies.
ExtraPlate puts homecooked meals on the map as an on-demand food marketplace that works like Uber or Lyft for hungry consumers.
After plans for a massive upgrade to the historic Crystal Ice and Cold Storage building went up in smoke, Mike Heller and his team were forced back to the drawing board — here’s how they forged ahead.
Tim Keller started in the basement. His startup, VinPerfect, won the UC Davis Big Bang! Business Competition in 2008. But he had nowhere to work, so his employer, Sierra Energy, let him use a room below their offices in Davis.
Update (2/2018): Quicklegal was named our Startup of the Month in June of 2016. Shortly after, we became aware of legal proceedings against Quicklegal. You can read more about the settlement judgement and the original complaint. In a statement to Comstock’s, CEO Derek Bluford said, “I had an employee who impersonated me. He defrauded me, our company and one of our clients.” In January of 2018, Derek Bluford was convicted of fraud.
Derek Bluford was in eighth grade when his single mom got into legal trouble. She had gotten injured at her prison job and couldn’t work full-time. Disability assistance wasn’t enough to cover utilities, food and rent, and they were about to get evicted from their duplex rental in Elk Grove.
For the past 48 years, Mike Doran has watched El Dorado County evolve— slowly. He recalls the days when the county was a peaceful, low-density community — long before the Home Depot came to Placerville, before the Dollar General got the greenlight for Georgetown, back when Highway 50 was nothing but a two-lane road.
You can’t deny it: The cloud is everywhere. Thanks to tech titans like Google, Amazon and Apple, the idea of data storage has shifted from bulky, blinking units in an enclosed place to the more abstract concept of data stored in open, virtual space.
It was time for Lola’s afternoon nap. Her mother, Melissa Logue, was all set to read Thomas the Tank Engine. But as she walked to her 3-year-old daughter’s bedroom, she dropped the book. Her right side felt numb and a sharp pain suddenly seized her head. She couldn’t speak.
In mammals, the developmental pathway known as sonic hedgehog (named after the popular video game character) regulates the generation and survival of neurons and other brain cells. But a team of UC Davis scientists found that this pathway plays a critical role in neuroprotection, regeneration and functional recovery after a clot blocks blood flow in the brain.
As a radiation oncologist with Sutter Health, Dr. Harvey Wolkov spends his days zapping tumors and other types of lesions from patients’ brains with gamma rays. It’s a tricky job because, during the procedure, patients aren’t allowed to move, even a fraction.
The case study: It’s a staple in medical schools throughout the U.S., where students learn how to diagnose and treat various conditions through mock scenarios. But can a doctor-in-training really grasp medical knowledge by sitting alone at a computer or by working out a problem on paper?
After working the male-dominated world of technology and venture investment for more than a decade, Saville decided to take matters into her own hands.
Placemaking. You might have heard the word — maybe at a redevelopment conference or tossed around at a marketing mixer. You might have seen it in a neighborhood newsletter about new housing downtown, or read about it in an article shared by that cool architect friend who was just inspired with a vision for how to make Sacramento “the place to be.” But no matter what you’ve heard or how you feel about placemaking, the concept likely won’t be disappearing in the near future.
When it comes to gift-giving, you can’t go wrong with a gift card, right? Well, not exactly. Research shows that more than $1 billion in gift cards go unredeemed. Based in West Sacramento, GiftCardBin has been banking on that stat since 2008, buying and selling gift cards that might otherwise go to waste. (Like the $25 Starbucks card you probably have in your wallet right now.)
Think about it like a dating site, except members are looking for loans instead of love. The matchmaker is Magilla Loans, a free, anonymous search engine that helps small business owners to find loans directly from reputable banks across the country.
For the past four years, Star Academy in Natomas didn’t look like a regular school. Due to overcrowding, elementary kids went to class in a commercial building that faced a major street and had warehouse space in the back. Last year, when the moratorium was lifted, the district considered building the new charter school through a lease-leaseback deal. But the method, once a popular way for struggling districts to acquire new facilities, has come under legal fire in recent years.
New app wimZr’s main focus is people. The interface is straightforward. You view the profiles of people going to the same place. If you like them, click “Connect Me.” If you want to pass, click “Next Time.” If the person you like likes you back, you can start talking. For upcoming events, you can scan guest lists and either connect one-on-one or openly in a public forum.
From small businesses to big chains and state agencies, no system is 100-percent hacker-proof. But in September, Gov. Jerry Brown took another step to prevent cyberattacks that cause data breaches with an order to create the California Cybersecurity Integration Center (Cal-CSIC).
Rocket Department. started as a joke. It was 2013 and the 5-member team decided to design an offbeat product for a local hackathon.
Anthony Costello had the next generation of medicine in mind when he launched Mytrus in 2009. The Davis-based company created a system that helps patients fill out consent forms electronically and participate in clinical trials for new drugs and therapies from the comfort of their homes.
Traditionally, the path from law student to full-fledged lawyer has been fairly straight-forward: A student starts out with a summer internship at a law firm, graduates and passes the bar exam, then gets hired at a law firm. In a secure and supportive work environment, law graduates can make good money, meet professional mentors and learn the skills required to be a real lawyer. This is the standard route, the one most students embark on every year. But more graduates like Alexandria Goff are choosing to buck tradition in the name of independence.
Karen Crawford hasn’t carried a purse in three years. Instead, she uses a prototype wallet, which holds her driver’s license, credit cards, cash and a gym membership card, but also serves as an iPhone case and has a Bluetooth-enabled key tracker. As CEO of New Wallet a Folsom-based startup, Crawford led the development of this design after she couldn’t find a product on the market to meet her needs.
Business owners looking for new hires might want to keep on eye on Meristem. Twenty minutes east of Sacramento, the new school opened in September with a mission to help young adults with ASD or other developmental differences find jobs. Developed in the U.K., this postsecondary transition program uses practical courses to teach transferable work skills such as problem-solving, teamwork and communication.
SkateMD connects youth with special needs with volunteers to learn how to skateboard. The Sacramento-based nonprofit was created by Melanie Tillotson (the “M”) and Andrea “Drea” Bibelheimer (the “D”), who saw a need in the community for a cool program in a safe space that would spread kindness to children facing developmental, physical, emotional and family challenges.
Slated for public release in October, LeadCliq is a referral generation portal, where members share relevant leads within exclusive circles or communities.
Last year’s state corrections budget included $500 million to fund the expansion of county jails (in addition to the jail expansion funds of $1.2 billion from years prior). But how that money should be allocated is debatable (Will adding more jails ease overcrowding? Should funds go toward community-based programs created to help people stay out of jail?), and counties are developing proposals to claim a piece of that multi-million-dollar pie.
In a few years, a brand new criminal courthouse is expected to open on the edge of the Sacramento railyards. Located on the corner of H and 6th streets, this second Sacramento County court building will be 405,500 square feet with 44 courtrooms. And it’s not the only new courthouse on the horizon. Right now, there are about 100 courthouses identified for development in California.
Eighteen months. That’s how long it took to design and build the 1.2 million-square-foot California Health Care Facility near Stockton. Sound impossible? It was an aggressive effort involving numerous parties. The facility, completed in 2013 to house chronically ill inmates, was lauded for its sustainable design. But the speed of the process was the big deal.
For most people, William Glen was an enduring symbol of simpler times, a homegrown survivor of bad economies and big department chains. For Mark Snyder, the store was a family treasure. His father, Bill Snyder, co-founded the original store more than 50 years ago. But in 2010, the William Glen story became a tragedy, closing down after Bill passed away from lung cancer.
This type of belt is popular overseas, not so much in the U.S. But for the past few years, Brig Taylor and his wife, Michelle, have been on a mission to make hole-less ratchet belts the go-to accessory for American waistlines.
A nursing shortage has been looming like a storm cloud, warning the country’s health care industry of impending change. The health care and education industries prepared for it by training novice graduates, advocating for advanced degrees and expanding the roles of nurses. The question now is whether the newbies will be ready in time.
In the next decade, as senior nurses leave the field, a new generation will take their place. The transition won’t be easy, as registered nurses fresh out of school must meet the massive demand of baby boomers and newly insured patients. But UC Davis Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing alumna Nicole Smith believes new nurses can transform the health care industry by disrupting the status quo.
Short on water for your grass? Just add paint, says Bill Schaffer, owner of Brown Lawn Green in Dixon. The idea for his business started as a joke. With California in the midst of a historic drought, Schaffer commented to his girlfriend that people would have to start painting their lawns if they wanted them to be green again. When the state introduced strict new rules concerning water use, he realized he might be onto something.
If you’ve ever wasted hours of free time searching for something to do with your free time, Oleg Kaganovich feels your pain. In 2012, he found himself in that exact situation during a business trip in the Big Apple. Rather than wait in a hotel room between meetings, he wanted to explore New York, but didn’t know where to begin. So he took his question to the web.
When car accident totaled Pedro Avila’s beloved ‘87 Volkswagen Cabriolet, he found himself desperate for money to repair the damage. A transportation industry veteran, Avila came up with Road Finch: eco-friendly and interactive marketing — by bicycle.
Amy Sieffert, a Stockton native, has been running a vintage clothing business since 2010 — but she had to leave her hometown to make a profit. On weekends, she would travel to Sacramento and the Bay Area because there were no local makers markets where she lived. To help turn this ghost town into a local hotspot, Sieffert and business partner Katie Macrae created the Stockmarket, a seasonal market that showcases Central Valley artisans.
The phrase “wine country” harkens to Napa, Sonoma, Calistoga. But Solano? Not so much. In fact, the Suisun Valley appellation was formed in 1982, less than a year after Napa’s. The local environment boasts much of the same benefits, too.
If you want to eat out but can’t decide which restaurant to go to, try asking yourself a different question: How much do I want to pay? That’s the idea behind Requested, a name-your-price app that’s been turning Sacramento’s dining arena into a digital bidding zone.
According to Dr. Charles DeCarli, director of UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center, finding the catalyst (or catalysts) could help researchers determine ways to stop Alzheimer’s disease before it even starts. “One of the things we’re pretty sure of right now is that the earlier we intervene, the more likely we are to prevent dementia,” he says.
Bad news first: Vacancies in the Sacramento office sector remain high, there were no new construction projects in 2014 and average asking lease rates stayed flat at $1.69 per square foot per month. But these stats are yesterday’s news, say real estate analysts.
Downtown Sacramento used to be a dump with a capital D. It was a place for work during the week, but crime and trash made people scatter on nights and weekends. That changed in the mid-1990s when property owners realized blight was bad for business and decided an urban overhaul was in order.
HomeZada is more than digital storage for insurance purposes. The comprehensive solution helps long-time homeowners and new buyers maintain and manage their budgets, plans and possessions online.
If Portland can have one, Sacramento can, too. That is the sentiment among those in favor of running a 3.3-mile trolley line through the heart of the River City.
With SynGen, co-founder Philip Coelho hopes to play a critical role in this breakthrough by supplying tools that harvest stem cells and immune cells from umbilical cord blood, bone marrow and other sources.
The invasion has begun. Don’t look surprised. This moment has been a long-time coming, with research groups prophesying 2015 as the launching point of the wearable technology takeover.
NannyMe is a business and mobile application created by a few Sacramento high schoolers. Similar to the rideshare app Uber, NannyMe receives babysitting requests, then pings nannies (local high school students), who can accept or decline the job. Since NannyMe launched in December, about 75 families have signed up with the service.
Daniel Morash doesn’t like to see spoiled food go to waste. In 2012, Morash and his brother, Dave, spent millions to launch California Safe Soil with one goal in mind: convert leftover organic material from supermarkets into a nutrient-rich soil amendment farmers could use to grow crops.
Eight of 10 alumni under 35 say the main reason they haven’t donated to their alma maters is that they feel they’ve paid enough already in tuition. Over half said they “don’t think the school really needs the money.” Add that to the common belief that their money ends up in some institutional “black hole,” and the currently bleak donation landscape makes sense.
In 2011, Jon Coss was on the hunt for funding. He had an idea for a system that could leverage Google Analytics to detect and prevent fraud and abuse in government programs. But this infrastructure-as-a-service model was new back then, untested and hard to explain to venture capitalists.
Zinfandel from Lodi’s Mokelumne River American Viticultural Area comes in two main styles: west side and east side. West-side vineyards, with their shallower soil, have lusher growth and tend to be earthier or loamier, sometimes pungently compost-like. East-side vineyards have a lower water table, producing smaller clusters and smaller fruit, which generally have more color, tannin and acidity.