Is the Next Billion Dollar Company in South LA?

Multicultural millennial consumers are one of the fastest growing segments of the population across the United States of America and they are engaged with technology like never before. And they are the ‘super consumers’—young, connected, culturally aware and socially active—notes the trends report State of Technology and Culture: Culture A$ Currency released by venture capital firm Cross Culture Ventures.

As the
 U.S. population shifts and becomes more and more diverse, founders who take an inclusive approach in serving this market are poised launch the next billion-dollar companies. Founders with this mindset can not only realize revenue, but also affect change, unlocking new markets and opportunities and influencing global culture and trends. And with the right support, strategy, and execution, the next billion-dollar startup can most certainly bloom in South LA.

Startups who see the data showing that 86{5be84514e8f68b2a600bba95dc743ad17e8b7c13eea9b1550b2859fef5fde271} of Latinos, 76{5be84514e8f68b2a600bba95dc743ad17e8b7c13eea9b1550b2859fef5fde271} of Blacks, and 88{5be84514e8f68b2a600bba95dc743ad17e8b7c13eea9b1550b2859fef5fde271} of Asians are early adopters and heavy consumers are beginning to create products with specific use cases in multicultural markets. From deeply multicultural-focused beauty lines like the Rihanna-founded Fenty (whose groundbreaking 40 shades of foundation saw its darkest hues sell out in a flash) to financial services and beyond, there is still plenty of room for upstarts to shake things up.

See Cross Culture Ventures founder and managing partner Marlon Nichols discuss where these opportunities are, how to leverage them, and connect with the ‘super consumer’ population during the Urban Tech Connect segment Culture as Currency: The Next Billion-Dollar Company, alongside Ignition Factory founder Chris Denson on May 17, 2018, in Los Angeles. Get your tickets now.

Nielsen study the Multicultural Edge reports that multicultural consumers, the fastest growing segment in the United States, total more than 120 million and are increasing by 2.3 million per year. The growth engine of the future in the U.S. Hispanics, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and other multiculturals comprise 38{5be84514e8f68b2a600bba95dc743ad17e8b7c13eea9b1550b2859fef5fde271} of the U.S. population right now, with Census projections logging multicultural populations as the numeric majority by 2044. The addition of a MENA category for people of Middle Eastern or North African descent (who are currently identified by the U.S. Census Bureau as NHWhite) on the 2020 decennial census is under review, and could potentially change the date of the majority-minority tipping point, Nielsen said.



How Our Lunch and Learn Series Empowers Founders


Plug-In Lunch and Learns are designed to help cultivate the next generation of founders and entrepreneurs in Los Angeles. Our meetings and workshops take place in South LA and around Los Angeles at leading VC firms, corporations, entertainment, and digital media studios . If you’d like to be a featured presenter at one our programs, please get in touch by providing the information below. We’ll review and get in touch if we think we can help.

Sign up here to present and or be featured in a future session!

Here’s what folks are saying: 

I’ve enjoyed participating in Derek Smith’s lunch and learn series via Plug in South LA.  For me, it’s a great opportunity to contribute to the growing entrepreneurial fabric of Los Angeles and to connect with emerging entrepreneurs and underrepresented founders in an open dialogue about their businesses.  I learned a lot in my first lunch and learn experience and look forward to participating again in the future.

Cody Simms, Techstars

The lunch and learn series gives entrepreneurs a chance to workshop their vision with a hand-picked group of insightful founders and venture professionals without the added pressure of a formal pitch. Its particularly helpful for minority founders because we often lack the organic networks in tech that provide opportunities for open discussion and informal feedback. In an arena where access is the prime mover, there is tremendous value in the rare opportunity to just be heard.

Jibril Jackson, Founder of HYVE

I had a wonderful time being open and vulnerable in a safe place during the Lunch & Learn Series.  I was nervous at first because It’s not always easy pitching your business to experts, but the program made it safe and conducive. Everyone with a great idea and business plan would be lucky to be apart of this opportunity!

Jeff Boodie, Founder of JobSnap

I love that the lunch and learn provides founders the opportunity to deep dive into challenges with other well established entrepreneurs and investors. The feedback and recommendations I was given was an invaluable source of information that I could not have gotten from anywhere else. Apart from my learnings I was also very empowered as a black female founder; this experience made me apart of a larger community, one that changed my lack of resources and has exceleratored my ability to build key relationships with VC’s and founders alike.


Brittney Carter, Founder of QUE-UE

As a VC I typically don’t have the time to give every founder I speak with as much in-depth, actionable feedback as I would like, but the Lunch & Learn series solves this through a dedicated working session. It creates an intimate environment where early stage investors and successful entrepreneurs can provide guidance to the founders who need it most. Many of the founders have made progress by turning their ideas into real products, but the Lunch and Learn series is designed to strategically take that business to the next level.

Austin Clements, TenOneTen Ventures




A different type of conference for those who think differently. Not business as usual.

LOS ANGELES, April 4, 2018 ( – Today, Plug In South LA announced a new tech conference Urban Tech Connect for emerging and established entrepreneurs in South Los Angeles. The conference will bring together Los Angelesbased entrepreneurs and founders, innovators, business and civic leaders, and venture capitalists to create a hub for entrepreneurial growth and development in South Los Angeles. It will pave the way for the next generation of tech and digital media entrepreneurs, harnessing local talent from underserved communities and connecting them with opportunities in the thriving tech centers in neighboring Los Angeles and Orange County.

Urban Tech Connect will take place at Thursday, May 17, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center.

Urban Tech Connect is designed to connect aspiring and established founders in South Los Angeles with venture capitalists, executives, and other business leaders. Attendees will have space to network, work on-site with their teams, meet and learn from successful entrepreneurs and business professionals, and be inspired. It will also convene stakeholders who are dedicated to cultivating inclusive economic growth in redeveloping areas like South and Southeast Los Angeles.

A partial list of participants includes:
Matt Barnes, NBA Retired, Investor
Marlon Nichols, Co-Founder, Cross-Culture Ventures
Brent Bushnell, CEO, Two Bit Circus
Sky Kelley, CEO, Avisare
Iddris Sandu, Architect
Derek Smith, Founder of Plug In South Los Angeles
Keith Coleman, Chief Strategy Officer, Tesla Foundation
Anna Barber, Managing Director, Techstars LA
Tracy Gray, Founder and Managing Partner, 22 Fund
Brian Martinez, Global Business Operations, Airbnb
Cassie Betts, Founder, Made In South Los Angeles
Anthony Mays, Software Engineer, Google

Register online at:
“Urban Tech Connect is a critical meeting of the minds. South LA is a tech desert. We sit on the edge of some incredible tech and entrepreneurial communities and yet there are virtually no resources dedicated to cultivating entrepreneurialism in South LA. We’re going to change that. We are reaching into our local communities to tap the talent we know is there and we’re connecting them with the resources and opportunities they need to thrive. We believe the next Snap will come from South LA and we’re building the community to nurture it.” – Derek Smith, Founder, Plug In South LA


Hundreds of Start-Ups Tell Investors: Diversify, or Keep Your Money

SAN FRANCISCO — When Trevor McFedries set out last year to raise money for Brud, his robotics and artificial intelligence start-up, he found himself in many meetings with “a ton of white guy” venture capitalists.

So Mr. McFedries, who is black, and his co-founder, Sara DeCou, a Latino woman, added a condition for investors: The pair would accept money only from venture firms that had a woman or a person of color in a position to write them a check.

“It was counterintuitive for us to raise money from a bunch of white guys who want to extract all the value from the world,” said Mr. McFedries, who eventually collected several million dollars from firms that met the condition. “We’re interested in reshaping the way that tech looks.”

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© 2018 The New Your Times by PUI-WING TAM


NBA all-star Baron Davis wants to prep athletes and entertainers for the startup game

Last Saturday afternoon in his penthouse suite at the London West Hollywood, two-time NBA all-star Baron Davis was providing assists in a different kind of court.

In front of a gathering of entrepreneurs, athletes, artists, designers, musicians and members of the Los Angeles investment community and business elite, Davis was putting on a show designed to encourage, educate and inspire collaboration among the attendees.

The Business Inside the Game (BIG) Power Summit, which took place during the NBA All-Star Game weekend extravaganza in Los Angeles, saw Ice Cube and Lyft co-founder John Zimmer talk about disruption with Upfront Ventures board partner and MoviePass co-founder Hamet Watt; basketball stars Chris Paul and David Robinson and mega-producer Chris Budnick (the producer of “The Hangover” and “Old School”) shared insights on making an impact beyond sports and entertainment; and a panel of rising startup stars discussed how new technology trends are changing things for sports, entertainment and culture at large.

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