Category Archives: Computers

Episode 39: Pasadena Startups: Past, Present and Future



Talk a walk down memory lane with Gene as he tells stories of Pasadena Startups Past, Present and Future.

I am the Forrest Gump of Internet – I have worked in the worked with some of the pioneers and innovators all with origin stories to Pasadena: GoTo, Overture, Yahoo, YP, Chegg, WhatsApp, Tinder, Google Adword/AdSense/Photos, Sellbrite. So come take a seat on the bench and listen to my story. Pasadena tech is like a box of chocolates – you’ll never know what you’re gonna get.

Bio:

Gene is a software veteran and Internet executive known for his expertise in mobile, social, cloud, Big Data, search marketing and eCommerce. He is currently VP of Engineering at Sellbrite.com a eCommerce SaaS startup in Pasadena. Before that he was CTO of Synctree.com a Ruby/Node and DevOps-as-a-Service boutique development shop. He was the CTO of Oversee.net a $100M Consumer Mobile and Domain Monetization company. Before that he was Director of Engineering at Chegg, an online network for college students that offers assistance with homework, course selection and textbook rentals. He was also Executive Director of AT&T Interactive, building and leading teams for YP Mobile, Data Systems and Buzz.com. He also served as Director of Engineering at Yahoo Search Marketing/Overture where he built large-scale search marketing platforms. Gene is currently a on Board of Directors for Innovate Pasadena, a mentor for Mucker Labs, as well as advisor to mobile startups. Gene is a frequent speaker at tech industry events and has received numerous industry awards. He graduated Magna cum Laude with a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles and lives in San Marino with a very supportive wife Jacki and 3 kids.


Episode 38: Where the future demands will be for jobs and what skills will be most needed



Some of the topics addressed will be why technical skills and programming are necessary for all majors. The importance of including goal achievement in higher education. Creating the right environment for learning and moving education toward a solution based model as opposed to subject based.

Bio:

Dr. Tao founded the Institute for Innovation and Economic Development and was Director of the school of Computing and Design at California State University, Monterey Bay. Under his leadership, the school grew to have over a thousand students, 50 faculty, staff and researchers, receiving multi-million dollars of funding annually from public and private sources, including a $43 million dollars funding to construct the Gambord/BIT building on campus.

Supported by Economic Development Administration of United States, the Institute for Innovation and Economic Development serves the Greater Monterey Bay region by providing a venue for innovative ideas, the commercial transfer of research and technology, and a support network for start-ups and entrepreneurs. Many companies that supported by the Institute grow to be successful ventures.

Dr. Tao teaches and conducts research in computer engineering, innovation, e-learning and globalization. He has published numerous papers and articles in innovation, high-tech entrepreneurship, educational technology, globalization, medical image processing and higher education. He often speaks at international conferences on global technology, innovation and education issues. He also serves as judges at many business plan competitions.


Episode 37: How to Ask for It



Learn 2 simple + effective ways to get more of what you want for your business. (As learned the hard way by one social entrepreneur).

After 10 years starting, running, and growing a national organization I learned two critical things.

First, I learned the difference between “pitching” people an idea and enrolling them in making an idea thrive. Second, I learned that if I wasn’t hearing NO, I wasn’t asking for enough.

I’ll share my painfully awkward stories (don’t judge!) and the simple tools I was forced to master in order to raise the 10 million I needed to scale my idea.

Bio

Niko Everett (https://www.nikoeverett.com/) is a coach + strategist to leaders and entrepreneurs, supporting them to achieve audacious dreams and undo habits of exhaustion, overwhelm, and doubt. She’s a social entrepreneur and change agent who started and grew her first venture, Girls For A Change, from her kitchen table to serve 20,000 girls globally. She raised millions in growth capital along the way.

She’s a TEDx (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOrzmFUJtrs) presenter and diplomatic speaker for the US State Department. She was named by The Silicon Valley Business Journal as a “40 Under 40” social innovator and acknowledged by Fast Company magazine’s Social Capitalist Award. Her accomplishments have been featured in Newsweek, The San Jose Mercury News, NPR, and Fast Company Magazine and her blog is published in Mindbodygreen (https://www.mindbodygreen.com/search?q=niko+everett) + Elephant Journal (https://www.elephantjournal.com/2017/06/9-mindful-beauty-lessons-to-empower-women-at-any-age/). You can connect with Niko on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/luvnikoeverett/) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/nikoeverett15) and LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/nikoeverett/).

Instagram: @nikoeverett15

Speaker email: niko@nikoeverett.com


Episode 36: SBA Loans: The Alternative to Venture Capital



Want to grow your business or create start-up? Well you are going to need capital – it’s the key to your success.

Whether you are a start-up or an existing business looking to grow and expand, there are a multitude of options available for consideration. One such option is a Small Business Administration Loan (SBA). It’s a great alternative to venture capital and you won’t have to give up any ownership in your company or start-up. In a collaborative presentation by representatives from the Small Business Administration and E-Central Credit Union, you will hear how a SBA loan works, how to get started, and why an SBA loan may be an excellent financing option.

Bio:

Andrew Ten, Lender Relations Specialist

U.S. Small Business Administration

Andrew Ten is a financial and business development professional with extensive front line experience in building and managing successful financial service teams. Mr. Ten started his career in the business and commercial banking industry with institutions such as Wells Fargo Bank, Citizens Business Bank, and US Bank. In 2008 Mr. Ten transitioned to the public sector, which included work at the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Disaster Office and 7(a) Loan Guaranty Processing Center. In addition, Mr. Ten has worked as a Federal Examiner for the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and also worked with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) as a financial analyst. Mr. Ten’s background is complemented with a BS degree in Business Administration from the University of California, Riverside.

Jennifer Gin, Member Business Loan Officer

E-Central Credit Union

Jennifer Gin specializes in commercial and SBA lending. Ms. Gin has over 15 years of business lending experience having worked as a credit analyst and commercial loan officer for a number of community banks. In 2015, she joined E-Central Credit Union as a member business loan officer. She is responsible for strengthening and enhancing the Credit Union’s small business lending and SBA programs. Ms. Gin is a graduate of California Bankers Association’s Commercial Lending School and University of California, Riverside with a degree in Business Administration and Political Science.

About E-Central Credit Union

E-Central Credit Union is a Pasadena-based credit union celebrating its seventy-fifth anniversary. As a local, financial institution and SBA lender, E-Central offers a multitude of affordable services tailored to meet the needs for just about anyone or any business.

jgin@ecentralcu.org


Episode 35: Cannabis vs. High Tech



A Side by Side Comparison of the Two Industries discussing their similarities and differences. How well do high tech experiences transfer to the cannabis industry? How do the obstacles differ? How are they similar?

Rich spent much of his career in high tech and online ventures. The last few years he’s been involved in the cannabis industry. Although all new business startups share significant similarities, he’ll contrast the unique challenges, the future trends, and the possible opportunities.

Bio:

Rich Rygg started his career at tech giants IBM and Hewlett-Packard gaining big company and big iron experience. Eventually he ended up in the online industry in 1990 well before the Internet was released. He lived through both the rise and deaths of online companies like CompuServe, Prodigy, and AOL, as well as the birth and growth of the Internet and the many companies that have come and gone.

He opened the first AOL office in California, but shortly after joined the early top #3 Internet site GeoCities where they raised multiple rounds of VC funding, went public with a successful IPO, and then were acquired by Yahoo! He moved to Palo Alto, and launched a number of Yahoo! properties. Since then he’s been involved in many startups, ranging from online sites to telephony technology, to hemp oil, to soccer, to licensed dispensaries. He recently returned from a strategic consulting project in China related to its One Belt, One Road initiative.

Always curious, he loves the startup process and opportunities in the early stages of any industry. On Saturday mornings you’ll likely find him watching English Premiere League soccer at Lucky Baldwin’s in Pasadena, YNWA.

Speaker email: RichRygg@gmail.com


Episode 34: “TGIM”: A new look at how to create the best work environment



Baby Boomers and Millennials are the two largest work forces in the history of our country, yet they approach work happiness from completely different viewpoints. Why is this? It’s not necessarily what you think or have read about in the news. There are distinct imprints that each generation brings into the working world and in this talk you will leave looking at your own work/life happiness in a new way. Whether you are a Baby Boomer, a Generation X, a Millennial or Centennial, you will take away practices that you can implement today at your place of work. When we are happy at work, productivity rises and employees don’t leave. Let’s make your work life happier today and every day.

Bio:

Jody B. Miller is one of the country’s leading Career/Life Coaches and Company Culture Strategists. She is known as “The Work Happiness Expert.” She is also a Bestselling Author and Keynote Speaker. Her passion is helping people achieve Work/Life Meaning and Happiness. Jody’s books and articles are read worldwide and she is interviewed regularly on television, radio and global podcasts. She contributes to publications including Entrepreneur Magazine, Bloomberg BNA, CEO Magazine, HR.com (http://hr.com/), Thrive Global, Huffington Post, LinkedIn, and many more.

Jody has helped thousands of people find their dream job so that their work and life has meaning and happiness. She also helps companies develop corporate cultures that increase employee engagement and decrease departures.

Jody is the head of Dream Job Academy; an online portal of courses and personal coaching that help job seekers find true meaning and happiness in their work, and Company Culture Academy: courses that help companies create thriving cultures that invite employee engagement and collaborative productivity within the organization.

Her newest book, “From Drift to SHIFT: How Change Can Bring True Meaning and Happiness to Your Work and Life,” (https://www.amazon.com/Drift-Shift-Change-Brings-Meaning/dp/1683502922) has just been released worldwide. It follows the stories of amazing people who have gone through major challenges and shifts in order to find true meaning and happiness in their work. Because of these shifts, happiness flowed over into their personal lives and into their businesses and communities. It is an inspirational book that will give you the courage to make a shift in your life in order to achieve happiness and meaning, even if that means finding a way to love your current job. Remember – You Matter!

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/jbmillerauthor

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/JodyBMillerAuthor

EMAIL: jmiller@c2cexecutivesearch.com


Episode 33: From Student to Entrepreneur: Jumping in Head First…



What is it like to be a first-time entrepreneur? In some ways, I imagine it is like mountain biking. There are parts that are uphill and parts that are fast moving and exhilarating…Also probably a good idea to keep an eye out for the steep drop-offs.

In my case, I had spent much of my life in academia. I heard a few exciting stories from colleagues about people they knew in start-ups, and perhaps I saw the Social Network one too many times. I read news about start-ups who seemed to quickly raise massive amounts of money for ideas that didn’t seem that groundbreaking to me. If they could do it, why can’t I?

The reality is, of course, a little different than the mythology. I’m looking forward to discussing what I learned, some common misconceptions, and provide some more clarity as to what it is like to be a first-time entrepreneur. Ultimately, it is a great endeavor, but a little different than most expect.

Bio:

Prior to founding EvoRx, Dr. Fiacco earned his PhD in the lab of Prof. Rich Roberts at the University of Southern California. He is an inventor on 5 patents and an author in 5 related publications.

Dr. Stephen Fiacco is a founding member of a local biotech company, EvoRx Technologies. There he serves as CEO where he oversees its general operations and business development. In this role, Dr. Fiacco has advanced the business through multiple negotiations of collaboration and license agreements with large and small pharmaceutical and biotech companies. During one of these deals, intellectual property was created and sold to AstraZeneca. Other deals are ongoing and not able to be publicly disclosed, but have resulted in licensing arrangements. Additionally, he and his team had applied for and received a phase I SBIR contract from the National Cancer Institute. That work was successful, and Stephen and his team applied for and received a phase II SBIR grant. Work on the grant is currently ongoing. A major pharmaceutical company has expressed interest in partnering around and eventually acquiring the technology generated by those grants.

Dr. Fiacco is actively involved in the Los Angeles biotech community serving on the advisory board of Biocom LA and had previously served on the board of directors at Innovate Pasadena. In March of 2017, Dr. Fiacco was invited to travel to Washington DC to as a representative of the Los Angeles biotech community to discuss this growing industry in southern California as well as the social and economic importance of National Institute of Health funding.

Email: svfiacco@gmail.com


Episode 32: Adventures in STEAM



STEAM:CODERS, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, teaches underrepresented and underserved K-12 students the fundamentals of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM). Students engage in a variety of STEAM-related classes (i.e., Coding and Robotics) and field trips that allow students to learn directly from professionals – scientists, engineers and artists – and see technology first-hand. Our goal is to unlock each student’s potential for continued learning and future success, providing them with attainable pathways to academic and career pathways. We focus on developing their logic, creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Opportunity + Imagination = Innovation.

Bio:

Raymond Ealy, Executive Director, founded STEAM:CODERS in July 2014. The organization was a spin-off from the Gamma Zeta Boule Foundation’s award-winning L.A.M.P. Mentor Program, based in Pasadena, CA. Ealy helped create the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program (L.A.M.P. – Leadership, Achievement, Management and Professionalism) in 2007, to provide soft skill training for underserved and underrepresented high school boys who wanted to attend and graduate from college. The L.A.M.P. Mentor Program students attend and have graduated from schools across the country (i.e., Harvard, UCLA, Amherst, UC Berkeley, Morehouse College, University of Michigan, Marist College, Loyola Marymount, Hampton University, American University, among many others).

STEAM;CODERS was created to address the demand for STEM (and STEAM) training for disadvantaged K-12 youth. STEAM:CODERS has served over 2500 students, since inception. Students have been introduced to the STEAM-related fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. The program teaches logic, critical thinking and problem solving, providing attainable pathways for academic and career success. STEAM:CODERS focuses on underserved and underrepresented students of color, who attend Title 1 schools and reside in low-income households. Access to instruction, curricula and equipment, expands their skill sets and increases their exposure to industries and careers that may not be within their vision (i.e., coding, robotics, art and design).

Ealy has over 25 years of management experience in financial services, the nonprofit and retail sectors. Past positions have included management roles with Bank of America, Countrywide Financial Services, Security Pacific Bank, and Wells Fargo Bank. Ealy currently serves on the following Boards: Innovate Pasadena, La Salle High School Board of Regents (Pasadena, CA)  and LA’s BEST Advisory Board (Los Angeles, CA). Previous board affiliations include the Pasadena Community Foundation and the Gamma Zeta Boule Foundation. He received a B.A. from Florida State University.


Episode 29: Future of Personal AI + Pasadena as a start-up location



AI is everywhere: AI driving cars. AI replacing doctors. AI writing music. Taxing robots. AI is taking over the world. By tying our data profiles to artificial intelligence, we can breathe life into our personal information and turn them into our very own 3D avatars; avatars that depict our identical likeness and can perform tasks as our representative. ObEN is developing Personal Artificial Intelligence (PAI), a 3D digital twin avatar that looks, talks, sings and thinks uniquely like its human counterpart. ObEN is also the leading developer for Project PAI, a fully decentralized block-chain based network designed to give people trackable ownership and management rights to their intelligent data profiles, or their PAI. In this talk, you will learn more about what role Personal Artificial Intelligence will play in our future lives.

Most AI companies are based out of Silicon Valley, however, ObEN decided to make Pasadena its home. One of the most common questions ObEN gets is: “Why Pasadena? Why not Silicon Valley?” In this talk, you will find out the critical role location plays in determining if a startup can build a team, raise an initial round of financing, get off the ground, compete in the marketplace, and survive.

Bio:

Nikhil Jain is co-founder and CEO of ObEN, an artificial intelligence company based in Pasadena. Prior to ObEN, Nikhil spent five years at Kaiser Permanente after which he founded two startups, Up and Running Software and OnGreen. Nikhil has an MBA from University of Southern California and a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering. Learn more at www.jain.ai.

ObEN is an AI company that develops Personal Artificial Intelligence, a 3D digital avatar that looks, talks, sings and thinks uniquely like its human counterpart. ObEN was cofounded by Nikhil Jain and Adam Zheng in 2014 with the belief that every person in the world should have their own AI-driven virtual copy which can do things on behalf of the human for which he/she might not have the time or the capability. Nikhil and Adam started the company based on their personal experiences when their kids missed them as they were traveling on business and wished they could leave a virtual copy of themselves behind.

ObEN is based out of Idealab in Pasadena, CA. All technology is developed in-house and is patented. It currently has a team of 35+ of which almost 70% have PhDs and other advanced degrees from top schools such as Caltech, Berkeley, MIT, Princeton, USC and UCLA. ObEN has raised $13.8 million to date in Series A funding from top investors including Tencent, Softbank Korea and HTC.

List of other investors and partners can be found here: https://oben.me/press/


Episode 24: 5 Hi-Profit Secrets from a Hi-Profit Guy



Red is great for lipstick and the sole of your stilettos  – not so much for your balance sheets and bank accounts. The path to profitability can often be seemingly endless, snarled, and plagued with fender-benders and traffic jams – but it doesn’t have to be mysterious or lonely. And while every brand forges its own unique path, there are five markers that guide the way for them all.

This session will cover the 5 steps all direct to consumer brands must take as they navigate their way towards the black:

1) Product Development & Category Expansion

2) Inventory Planning & Allocation

3) Sales Channels, Marketing & Analytics

4) Financial Plans, People Plan & Operations

5) Funding & Pace of Growth

They say it’s the journey that matters, but when we’re talking about profitability, it’s the destination that makes or breaks a brand.

Bio:

Drew Koven is Managing Director of LDR Ventures, an LA based Venture Capital group that works with early stage fashion and consumer lifestyle brands to incubate, operate and grow with a clear path to profitability. LDR focuses on Fashion and Footwear, Food, Health & Beauty, eCommerce, Omnichannel Retail, Fashion Tech & Retail Tech. Notable investments include: Thrive Market, sweetgreen, Fame & Partners and Bow & Drape. They embrace diversity, impact, inclusion and female founders. LDR is opening an incubator in Los Angeles this summer to address the specific needs of fashion and consumer brands and has recently launched a podcast called The BizFix.

An entrepreneur and intrapreneur, Drew was formerly CEO of The Beach People, a home fashion Company his team took global, achieving 5000% growth, which he sold. His executive leadership roles include: Vice President of Omnichannel retail and eCommerce for Guess Jeans, President of eCommerce and Customer Experience for Steve Madden Shoes, CMO/CDO for Melissa & Doug Toys and CMO of FreshDirect, the online grocer. As a leader and culture builder, he has experienced very low single digit turnover with his teams and mantra of “People Before Profits.”

Drew was awarded as a Top 25 Retailer by Apparel Magazine, Top 3 Mobile Marketer by Mobile Marketer Magazine, Boston Business Hall of Fame Inductee, Virgin Atlantic Entrepreneur of the Year, a 40 under 40 recipient and is an Advisory Board Member of Apparel Magazine. He has his finger on the pulse of today’s global retail environment and the ins-and-outs of starting and growing businesses. He is married with two sons and lives in Los Angeles.