Today’s startup innovators come from about six hours south of Silicon Valley in Los Angeles. With about 200,000 small businesses, LA can also be considered an entrepreneurial epicenter – that’s nearly twice as many small businesses as can be found in any other region of the U.S.! As the entertainment capital of the world and home to a creative LGBTQ enclave, LA has a burgeoning startup scene attracting investors, incubators, and accelerators.
Heavily weighted towards Santa Monica – 35% of startups are headquartered in “Silicon Beach” – the city has produced some major successes. From Snapchat and Beats to Oculus Rift, Los Angeles became a prime location for the 2010 development of StartOut’s third national chapter.
On September 8, 2012, Jennifer Brown took the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts stage. Although she entered to strains of opera music, the classically trained opera singer was not there to sing. … READ MORE
People who live in cities have a lot of stuff – but not always enough space to store or park it all. That's why Bonnie Lai (who goes by "Bon") and her business partner Jonathan Gillon co-founded roost.com in March 2014. … READ MORE
Vice Chair, LA Programming Board Chair
Chris Fraley recently started evolve, a real estate investment company focused on capturing the premium associated with the evolution of mixed-use environments. Prior to starting evolve, Mr. Fraley was a Partner and national Head of Research for Rockwood Capital, where he worked for over 13 years. From 1999 through 2011, he was responsible for acquisitions and asset management on the East Coast, including sourcing transactions and negotiating joint venture partnerships.
Chris graduated from New York University and received a MBA from Yale. He currently serves of the Board of Directors of the Westside Urban Forum and is Secretary of the Board of Directors for GLAAD. Chris is also one of the co-founders of the Lesbian and Gay Real Estate Group (LGREG) and lives in Los Angeles with his husband, Victor Self and their two daughters Coco and Kiki.
Alex Capecelatro is the Co-Founder & CEO of JStar, a voice-activated home automation company. Previously, he founded Yeti and At The Pool, social discovery apps with members in more than 120 countries. Alex grew up in New York and received his engineering degree from UCLA in 2010. Prior to launching his own ventures, Alex ran sustainability initiatives at Fisker Automotive and consulted for firms including the X Prize Foundation, the Naval Research Lab, and Aerogel Technologies. Alex splits his time between Denver and Los Angeles. In his spare time Alex is on the Board of Directors for StartOut and the UCLA Engineering Alumni Association. He’s an avid hiker, skier, and skydiver, and lives with his partner Brian.
Nader is Head of Business Development at Josh.ai. Previously, he was managing partner at GenYrator and Vice President / Supervising Execution Trader at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Nader has an MBA from USC and a BS in Electrical Engineering from UT Austin.
Dakotta is a digital nomad (traveling to 80+ countries to date), consultant, researcher and serial entrepreneur fascinated by technology and social sciences. He is currently developing Dakotta.com, StartupIndex.net, AskTheRecruiter.com, and BreakTheGlassCeiling.com. Linkedin: Linkedin.com/in/Dakotta | Twitter: Twitter.com/Dakotta
Damian is the CEO/Founder of REVRY a new LGBTQ digital content streaming service for Apple TV, Chromecast,
Roku, IOS, Android and The Web. Formerly the head of business development for North America for Make.tv, a German company specializing in cutting-edge streaming technology. Former instructor at YouTube Space LA/NYC.
Chad Billmyer is the founder and CEO of Panjo.com, a community-based marketplace focused on auto, sport, and hobby enthusiasts. Billmyer previously founded and sold a SaaS business in the higher education space.
David is President/CEO of Upper Diamond a media communications company specializing in branding, learning or cultural change initiatives and media production. Based in San Francisco and Los Angeles UpperDiamond.com’s client list includes many fortune 500 companies as well growing startups in emerging technologies. David and Upper Diamond enjoy working directly with start-ups and venture firms helping them design a cohesive marketing or launch strategy and then executing on the creative to get their story out.
David was also was co-founder of EntertainNet an Idealabs! incubated start-up whose funders included Steven Speilberg and was on the senior management team of The Ninth House Network the leading provider of e-learning business solutions. He has won multiple awards for his innovative work in the marketing, and e-learning space including Invision Best in Show, Cine Golden Eagle, and Cindy Gold. He received a BA from Vassar College, and studied at UCLA’ s Film and TV graduate school.
Tate spent 10+ years with American Express in New York and London in Business Development/Strategy positions before family and his partner’s screenwriting career drew him to LA. Since the move he’s gotten involved in LA tech as a member of StartOut and Advisor to a variety of startups.
Leonard Lanzi is the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Venture Association. Len graduated from the University of Rochester with a BA in psychology. Len is active with Rotarians for Fighting AIDS and serves on the board for Meals on Wheels West. Leonard served as the Treasurer of the LA County Republican Party and is a California State Republican Party delegate. Len and his domestic partner Russell Nelson live in Topanga Canyon, CA.
With a degree in Business Administration/Marketing, Ms. Sick has worked for anumber of well-funded startups in the B2B space as well as clients and projects inthe consumer and non-profit areas as well. She has run marketing departments andhas focused on growth and business development.
With a lot of hands-on startup experience, Sandra started mentoring companies inthe US and abroad. From 2012 to 2016, Sandra was living, working and involvedwith the startup community in Lisbon, Portugal. She mentored, coached and taughthundreds of startup in numerous 3-month accelerator programs and was anEntrepreneur in Residence at Beta-i in Lisbon. Wired recently wrote that ‘Lisbon isthe top startup hub in Europe’.
Ms. Sick continues to consult and mentors/advices startups who are faced withlaunching new products/services and working to build their momentum andgrowth.