Category Archives: Business

Episode 74: Buy Vs. Build



Entrepreneurship through acquisition is gaining popularity and provides a compelling business case for new and experienced entrepreneurs.

In recent years the practice of buying and operating small businesses as an entry into entrepreneurship has gained popularity, as well as generated significant capital gains for those who practice it. Even institutional investors have started to recognize the significant upside of investing in the small business space. Bryan Cambra will walk through his personal experience purchasing a small business in 2018, discuss some of the strategic aspects to consider during the process and present a case for why “M&A” is the single most valuable skill set an entrepreneur can develop.

Bio:
Bryan Cambra is a marketer and business leader working for small to midsize companies who has helped others build their businesses for over a decade. After years of research and trying to work the intrapreneurship route, Bryan finally made the leap and purchased his own company, Blue Pacific Yachts a CA Yacht Brokerage, in the latter half of 2018. Bryan is an advocate for acquisition as a core business strategy.


Episode 73: Changing the Conservation Conversation!



Less than 1% of the earth’s water is potable and suitable for our survival. Today, we are using up those resources faster than they are naturally replenished. By the year 2050 we will see the world population grow by 50%. Compound that growth with increased standards of living and
increased per capita usage and there is a disaster in the making. As agriculture and residential water consumers battle over water rights, residential consumers will win in the short term. Will they really win in the end?

If we do nothing, our grandchildren will be faced with famine and lack of water on a global scale. Droughts like we are experiencing in the 9 western states give us a glimpse of what a future with limited potable water would be like. In a recent 5-year period, water prices increased
41%. Energy prices are rising at a similar rate. Fines for “bad behavior” are more common, but ineffective.

The only way to truly solve this dilemma is to make water conservation second nature. What are the characteristics of such a solution? Can we access the solution on a personal level? Come to the Friday MeetUp at Cross Campus on 1/18/19 to learn what you can do to join the
movement toward intelligent water and energy solutions.

Bio:

Kerry Austin-Dunkijacobs – Disruptor for Good l Inventor l Water Conservation Advocate l Co-Founder l CEO
Epiphany Shower US l Intelligent Green Products
www.epiphanyshower.com

Kerry Austin-Dunkijacobs is a problem-solving visionary that creates solutions that are unique, simple to use, and provide uncompromising performance. A “conscious capitalist,” I listen to the spoken and unspoken needs of all the stakeholders that impact the products and
companies that I envision and bring to life.

By focusing on Disruptive Innovation that creates widespread product adoption and continued enthusiastic use by consumers, I envision products that are so effective and aesthetically pleasing that they become the standard by which competitive products are measured.
My most recent product, the Epiphany!™ 1000 Digital Flow Optimizer, brings this philosophy to the Bath and Shower space. Saving a typical 50-60% in water and energy use, this device delivers Conservation without Compromise™, Benefits without Sacrifice™ and Savings without Effort™.
Vision must be complemented by the ability to execute. The most critical component of execution is the ability to identify the right talent to move a project along from the earliest concept stages through product development and on to marketing, manufacturing, distribution and customer service. The team we assembled at Intelligent Green Products and Epiphany Shower US brings together a unique blend of product development, business development, marketing, and finance needed to create successful products in today’s rapidly evolving markets.


Episode 72: From Mayhem to Mindfulness



Border Wars: From Mayhem to Mindfulness

​Nicholas Stein, the Series Producer of National Geographic Television’s series, “Border Wars,” can attest to the impact of human misery. Stein chronicled the unspeakable suffering of illegal migrants, coerced drug smugglers, violent crime victims and burnt out federal law enforcement officers. Over time, the combat-related stress of shooting “Border Wars,” took a psychological toll on Stein’s personal resiliency as he struggled with his own post traumatic stress and unseen wounds. Using photographs and footage from his groundbreaking show, Nick humanizes and brings to life the everyday drama of the border all-the-while sharing his parallel story of burnout, change and affirmative growth. At the end Nick invites his audiences to experience the mindfulness, meditation and resilience training he currently shares with first-responders across the country.


Episode 71: “You call yourself a salesman?”



So you want to break into cyber sales? You think you can sell anything? People in your life tell you that your personable, likable, even competent? It takes a bit more to break in, takes a lot more to stay and grow. The cyber security industry is growing at an exponential rate. The demand for the right person to manage a sales territory or a team is also in very high demand. It can be quite lucrative, and at time one of the most stressful careers. Many people enter, many people leave.

Join us on Friday Dec 14th to hear how a college dropout, with little cyber education, became a highly sought-after sales person for both startups and large enterprise. Mr. Schell will share some of his highs, his lows and what it takes to truly succeed in cyber sales.

Bio:

Michael Schell is a 15+ year cyber security executive, Army veteran, and utility knife. He has been thru a few successful exits, paid his dues working for large organizations such as IBM. He founded and runs Cyber Happy Hour.


Episode 70: Space to Startup



Erin was a Dragon Mission Director for SpaceX. Then she took off around the world for a year, had a baby, and started her own business. What did she learn from her years working for Elon Musk? How did she take the leap from stable corporate employment to being self-employed and mobile? And where is Wana now, one year after Erin took the big bet on her free babysitting tech startup? Join us for an inside look at the GO from space engineer to social entrepreneur.

BIO:

Erin Beck is an aerospace engineer, scuba instructor, theatre director, and round-the-world backpacker turned mompreneur at the birth of her first child two years ago. She is the Founder and CEO of Wana, an online marketplace for family-to-family babysitting exchange. Before that, she was a SpaceX Dragon Mission Director, designing and operating the spacecraft bound for the International Space Station. She believes skills are cumulative and transferable across disciplines. She believes being a parent tops them all.


Episode 69: Raising VC for “Deep Tech” Startups in Southern California



Embark Ventures is a pre-seed and seed stage fund focused on “deep
tech” – companies with proprietary and highly defensible technology
that is a strong competitive barrier. Particularly interested in
cyber-security, robotics, advanced manufacturing, materials, and
bio/med tech but open to other opportunities that have a highly
technical/proprietary core. We invest early (generally first
institutional round) with check sizes between $250k and $1M typically.
Most of our companies are pre-product, and our goal is to get them to
first customer/revenue on our round of financing. Will discuss the
Southern California eco-system for “deep tech” startups and bridging
the gap between R&D and engineering

BIO:

Peter Lee is the Founding Managing Partner at Embark Ventures, a seed
stage venture capital fund based in Los Angeles focused on “deep tech”
companies in industries such as robotics, advanced manufacturing, and
cybersecurity. Prior to entering venture capital, he was the VP of
Product at a venture backed startup in the digital media space. Peter
was a manager with McKinsey and also worked as a product manager at
Microsoft. Peter earned his BS and MS at MIT, and an MBA from Harvard
Business School.

https://twitter.com/ptlee


Episode 68: Lies and Hardware Startups



If you have ambitions to create a company, but scared because someone said that hardware is hard, allow me to prove to you otherwise. Pretty much everyone funds hardware and it can be bootstrapped. There are a lot of ways to get off the ground and I am more than happy to debunk the myths. By managing expectations and translating hardware phases to stakeholders, everyone chills out and things get produced. Trust me. Here are some things that are awesome: Kickstarter, makerspaces, Arduino, robotics, rockets, CRISPR Cas9.

Bio:

Shaun Arora is an angel investor and entrepreneur who has grown NEO Tech as part owner. He’s on the board of several successful startups, and brings his experience to help hardware startups scale and be resource efficient at Make in LA. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, Shaun went to work as a cultural anthropologist for consumer packaged goods companies. In parallel he was active in starting several non-profits focused around mentoring. In 2005, he joined the electronics manufacturing business, NEO Tech, and worked to scale the business. As a result of his leadership, the business has grown 40X in that time and has over 3400 employees servicing the aerospace, industrial, and medical device industries. In 2015, Shaun official spun off Make in LA from the contract manufacturing business to improve learnings and outcomes for hardware startups. He remains a director at NEO Tech. At Make in LA, Shaun focuses on leveraging NEO Tech’s resources to support the startups, leveraging his portfolio for best practices, providing world class programming, and building strategic partnerships for the benefit of the startups.

@ShaunFromLA


Episode 67: From Intrapreneur to Entrepreneur



Jeff began his career at IBM. After 3 uneventful years, he moved to Google to help launch the Google Apps (now GSuite) business. After running the Education team for 4 years and growing the business to 70% market share, he transitioned to help launch the Chromebook product line and drove the go-to-market strategy.

But 6 years and 2 major launches were at Google was enough. Following this 6-year stint helping launch new businesses at Google, he joined other Xooglers to help launch Upstart the first lending platform to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to price credit and automate the borrowing process. He is now leading Powered by Upstart, Upstart’s new white label offering for banks.

The transition from employee to intrapreneur to entrepreneur may seem daunting – but it’s easier than you think. Come hear about Jeff’s story and the lessons you can take away from his experiences.

Bio:

Jeff joined Upstart after spending 6 years at Google. He launched and built the Google Apps for Education business, growing market share from zero to almost 70% in its first four years. Jeff spearheaded marketing efforts for Google Apps in Global 2000 accounts and led sales, business development, and go-to-market strategy for the launch of Chrome devices in the education and enterprise sectors. He spent several years in direct sales at IBM, always exceeding quota, and was a founding engineer and led UI developer at SSB Technologies. Jeff holds a BS in Computer Systems Engineering from Stanford University.
Twitter: @jkeltner


Episode 66: Ghosted



People often dream of moving on from their corporate job to start their own “thing”. This often includes the hope that they can do something better for the world then what they are doing for the corporation. We will cover the good, bad and ugh-ly of making the transition from the corporate world to making a difference through social entrepreneurship.

Bio:

Sean has been active entrepreneur in both his corporate and personnel life. After graduating from Rice University with a Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship he came to LA to start a unique journey. Since early in his career from working with Simpson’s and Butterfinger to being a professional entertainer he is always on a path less traveled.
He has worked in various start-ups including Great Domains (the original seller of .com as real estate), a Joint Venture around world’s largest ring tone retailer, to innovative roles in corporations such as VeriSign where he helped establish the first global enterprise messaging platform.

The sale of these companies has generated 10’s of millions of dollars. During this time Sean became a “dog” person. He says it just happens you don’t know when, but you know it happened.

Each year 31% of adoptable animals in the US are euthanized. He had volunteered with various animal welfare groups and saw an opportunity to bring his skills to bear in helping save more animals.

In 2015, he started My Buddy’s Place, a new software company with a very simple business model with an initial focus on rescue dogs, but a very big idea: help rescue become more efficient through an easy to use platform that helps all the people that care for these animals throughout their lives.
The company has continued to innovate and now offers a marketplace where pet parents can shop a curated selection of premium, healthy and natural brands, with 6% of their purchase going directly to a non-profit rescue or shelter of their choice. They can help save animals in need just by taking care of your own. With thousands of animals saved through the platform and the highest donation rate in the industry the goal of making a difference in lives of rescue animals and the people who love them is alive and well.

#ShopforGood, @mybuddysmarketplace (Instagram)


Episode 65: The Future of Augmented Reality



Until recently, augmented reality has been the stuff of science fiction. In 1956, Philip K. Dick’s “The Minority Report” predicted the coming of AR as literally being able to have information at your fingertips. Like Dick’s AR display, the 1977 hologram image of Princess Leia in Star Wars is now a reality. That said, the first appearance of AR actually goes back to 1862 and the concept of Pepper’s Ghost, an illusion effect made for amusement parks and museums. In the early 1950’s, Pepper’s Ghost was used in the early development of the teleprompter.

Since then, advances in both AR and virtual reality have progressed from military uses in the 80’s such as the virtual training cockpit to today’s consumer wearables and mobile apps. The trend of heavy investment in augmented reality by Google, Apple, and Facebook are indicative that distinct from VR, AR benefits from a pre-existing install base of smartphones and is not dependent on external display systems. According to Deloitte, AR stands to potentially be marketing’s next trillion-dollar business with annual revenues expected to be almost $700 billion by 2025.

Bio:

Ziggy Kormandel, Founder/CEO of Augmently

Sagi “Ziggy” Kormandel has been an accomplished art director, creative director, 3D consultant, and digital marketer since the “dot com boom” starting in 1995. He began his career in visual entertainment as an art director with clients including many Fortune 500 and 100 companies like Universal, Nestle, Warner Brothers, and Nike.
In 2011, Ziggy founded 3DX where as CEO, he used his 18 years of experience to assemble a dream team of 3D marketing experts and secured his first patent. He has continued to successfully serve some of the largest global brands with industry leading technology and now has multiple patents.

As VP of Business Development and Innovation for ISBX, Southern California’s leading web and mobile application development agency, Ziggy brought his experience with technology innovation to a new level. To date, ISBX has designed, developed, and launched over 250 apps on iOS, Android, Windows, and BlackBerry.
In 2014, Ziggy founded Augmently with ISBX as its development partner. The company is not only a service provider, but a creative agency that has delivered winning campaigns for many global brands. With its patented AR technology, Augmently has been recognized from Techcrunch to Apple as an innovator with the kind of patented solutions that distinguish the company in the crowded AR marketplace.
Most recently, Augmently has entered the health and wellness sector in partnership with Stayhealthy, a leader in healthcare technology since 1995. In addition to his role at Augmently, Ziggy now serves as President of Stayhealthy where he is driving a number of AR enhanced, app-based healthcare programs and solutions.

ziggy@getaugmently.com