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Reflections on 2016: Richard Wolpert, HelloTech

Story by Richard Wolpert

 

This holiday season, we are again sharing the reflections on 2016 from Southern California's technology ecosystem. Today's contribution is from Richard Wolpert, the co-founder of HelloTech (www.hellotech.com), an in-home, technology and IT support service. Wolpert is also a longtime angel investor in Southern California's technology industry, helps to run technology accelerator Amplify, and has been involved in countless other startup ventures.

What's was biggest news from you or your‏ firm this year?

Richard Wolpert: For HelloTech it was the acquisition of Geekatoo which converted our business from covering So Cal to full nationwide coverage which lead to deals with Ring, Luma, and AARP. For Amplify it was the raising of our third fund. As an angel it was seeing some amazing progress from some of my portfolio companies such as Scopely, Jukin Media, and MobCrush.

What's the biggest lesson you learned this year?

Richard Wolpert: You cannot time the markets...most of the time. At the end of last year I was prepared for a massive decline in the public stock markets this year and with it, a drying up of funding for startups. I really thought I was right. I was not with two very short term blips. Overall the stock market was strong and has had a good year and far more IPO's got out and were successful than I would have thought. However there were a few days where the public markets took big negative hits and I was wise enough to buy in on both of those days. One was a blip way back in mid February which I thought would be the start to a big slide but it wasn't. The other was the day after Brexit where the DOW was down almost 700 points which was another great buying opportunity. Lesson learned; if you are Long the market mini crashes are great buying opportunities

What's your favorite technology gadget, device, or innovation you ran across this year?

Richard Wolpert: Has to be the Amazon Echo. They are the first product that has really nailed Natural Language Processing and its the kind of product that you find more and more uses for the longer you own it. They have integrated with so many services and devices and it just continues to get better every week.

Finally, what do you think will have the biggest impact on the technology industry in 2017?

Richard Wolpert: If I knew this I would make the bet based on it and sit back and relax all year :-) Anyone who claims to know doesn't. You can't know for sure. But seeing what happens in the initial months of the Trump era along with seeing if VR/AR/AI/Bots can live up to all of the hype from this year will be interesting.