VC’s, Angel Investors, and More
Summer is CEO and co-founder of Heir alongside Pusha-T. She’s led content, marketing and product at top consumer tech startups TuneIn, Pocket Gems and Playdom (sold to Disney for $763M). Summer started her career in the luxury & fashion industry as co-founder of creative agency CS Global and, prior to that, in music at Oakland-based indie hip hop label ABB Records.
Senior Marketing Strategist / Senior Video Producer, MMA H.E.A.T.
I am an experienced and accomplished senior marketing strategist and video producer. I’ve advised over 200 business owners with their social strategy and content publishing guidelines; personally managing multiple accounts that reached 150k to 1 million subscribers. I’ve filmed, edited, and distributed 3200+ YouTube videos which have accumulated 190 million+ views, 23 cable television episodes, and two live PPV sporting events. My work has aired on ESPN, FS1, Rede Globo, UFC, and more!
Miki Reynolds is the Executive Director of Grid110, an early stage startup accelerator and community development non-profit she co-founded in 2014. She has 15 years of experience working in tech, ranging from digital marketing and creative services to software development and e-commerce. After managing digital projects at global entertainment corporations like MGM Studios and 20th Century Fox, and heading up operations/product for a software development startup, she launched the Downtown LA location for tech education company General Assembly. Miki’s current role at Grid110 focuses on activating the startup ecosystem in Downtown Los Angeles, fostering community, and connecting the dots for entrepreneurs through access to mentoring and critical resources.
Financial & Accounting Advisor, My Money Gal
My Money Gal is proud to be a woman-owned company located in the underserved area of South Central Los Angeles. Owner, Alison Matthews, has been handling finances exclusively for startups and entrepreneurs for 15 years. My Money Gal currently manages well over $15 million per year in financial assets for their clients. We’ve handled entrepreneurs in every sector imaginable including:
Environmentally Focused Companies
Ms. Matthews is also the Treasurer of the Board for The Tree South LA, a non-profit organization focused on work-force development, social justice, and small business support in South Central Los Angeles.
Partner at MiLA.vc
Carmen is a Partner at MiLA.vc, venture capital fund that invests in pre-seed and seed-stage hardware startups across industries including Food & AgTech, Cleantech & New Materials, Biotech & Medical Devices, and Mobility & Aerospace. Carmen’s focus at MiLA is coaching entrepreneurs on finance and strategic planning, and managing venture fund operations. She was formerly VP at Dimensional Fund Advisors, where she scaled operations into new markets including Latin America, Canada, and Europe
Carmen has an MBA from Berkeley-Haas, an MA in sports management from USF, and a BA in economics from USC. She is on the advisory board at Santa Monica City College’s Business Department, Aura; a venture capital-backed Fintech startup, and PledgeLA. Carmen is also an Aspen Institute Ricardo Salinas Scholar.
CMO, Kontrol Media
Erin Kapczynski has built her career as a marketing executive in media, technology and advertising. Currently serving as consultant and advisor to leading Silicon Beach startups and mid-stage businesses in adtech, Erin is helping to grow the next wave of unicorns. She has helped the likes of Demand Media (now LeafGroup), MomentFeed, System1, Ranker and Greenfly tell their stories and get new customers.
Erin’s passion for marketing centers on looking at how a business can transform and grow, leveraging data and user experience, while building customer trust. Erin helps clients plan and execute customer acquisition, content creation, and branding—often tying these pieces together to generate growth.
Coming into the role via acquisition, Erin was formerly VP of Marketing for the media and technology platform Purch, where she oversaw all global consumer and corporate marketing that grew audiences and accelerated ad sales and lead-gen deals for partners to well over $100M in annual revenue. Prior to Purch, Erin served as VP of Marketing at Panache, an early mover and market-leading digital video adtech business that was acquired by WPP. She also held senior-level marketing positions at Herbalife’s HQ and Move.
rue to Erin’s borderline obsessive love of all things digital media, she has served as Interactive Emmy Awards judge, IAB MIXX Awards judge, and continues mentoring individuals and tech start-ups in the L.A.-area, as well as guest lecturing at the city’s premier universities, including UCLA. A virtual L.A. native by way of Ukraine, Erin lives in Santa Monica, CA where she wears lots of sunscreen. When she’s not correcting people on the spelling of her last name, she likes to browse art exhibits and lift kettle bells. She speaks English, Russian, some French and a bit of Polish.
Stanford Angels | Entrepreneurs
Keith is a distinguished visiting scholar for MediaX at Stanford University / Graduate School of Education, co-founder of Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs of SoCal, member of the Executive Council for the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership of Southern California, senior director of Capitol Partners, and Chief Strategy Officer Emeritus at the Tesla Foundation. Keith is an active investor in software, infrastructure, consumer startups. He is a mentor and coach for entrepreneurs via Stanford Venture Studio, LatinXinTech Weekend, and mediaX startup workshops focused on providing opportunity and access to funders and founders. He went to Stanford for his BA and University of Pennsylvania for his Masters. Keith resides in Santa Monica with his wife and two kids.
Statistical Zero, Founding Partner & Chief Impact Officer
Jessica Salinas is Partner & Chief Impact Officer at Stat Zero, a global investment fund working towards achieving zero: zero poverty, zero disease and zero waste/pollution. There, she co-leads investments in emerging technologies, impactful social enterprises, and underrepresented founders. Previously, she was the founding Social Impact Lead at Headspace and the founding Director of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative Education Program. Jessica serves on the Board of Words Uncaged, which provides programming for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals in LA. Jessica received her BA in Communication from Stanford and her MS in Social Entrepreneurship at USC Marshall School of Business.
Managing Director, Twenty65
A strong advocate for women in tech and venture capital, she works extensively with charitable organizations like Many Hopes, which provides educational resources and support for Kenyan girls. Abyah is a graduate of Pepperdine University, and lives in Los Angeles.
Techstars LA | The Fund LA
Anna Barber is the Managing Director of Techstars LA and a partner in The Fund LA, a pre-seed venture fund. A frequent speaker about the LA tech ecosystem and women in entrepreneurship, Anna’s mission is to support founders of all backgrounds who are solving big problems. Her career has included stints as a corporate lawyer, McKinsey consultant, product executive and entrepreneur in ed tech, retail and e-commerce. She’s also a certified executive coach. Anna graduated from Yale and Yale Law School and is a proud native New Yorker now happily #longLA. Find her @annawbarber.
Wolverine Angels | CrowdSmart
Shane Kelly is a venture investor and entrepreneur with a focus on emerging media technologies. He is the founding partner of Wolverine Angels, an early stage investment firm and mentor network with investments including Neurable and FEM (Acq Nielsen). The firm pools capital and expertise from University of Michigan alumni to accelerate early stage tech startups.
Previously, Shane helped GreeneStreet Films raise several rounds of venture capital and build a slate of over 20 motion pictures generating $250 million at the box office. Motion picture credits include Movie 43 and Awake. He is executive producer for the forthcoming documentary Restarting the Motor City on entrepreneurship in Detroit.
Since launching Wolverine Angels, Shane has immersed himself in new technologies and investment structures to expand access and reduce risk in venture investing. He has mentored in several accelerators including Techstars, Backstage Capital, Female Founders Alliance, and Plug in South LA. In 2017, he joined CrowdSmart to run its venture fund investments. He leveraged the company’s proprietary platform combining human expertise and artificial intelligence to increase transparency and reduce bias in the investment process. Shane led 15 investments by the fund including InvolveSoft and Syntiant.
Shane holds an MBA from University of Michigan and a BS from Morehouse College. While at Morehouse, he undertook the Semester at Sea voyage, circumnavigating Earth by boat in 100 days. His love for travel and exploration continues today..
SAP, Design Lead
Design leader at SAP’s Newport Beach Incubation lab- Industry Cloud- working on AI and ML-based applications. I help define and drive the future of Consumer Industry Cloud design. I identify and set product strategy, envision complex UX ecosystems and inspire teams to push the boundaries of what’s possible and pursue forward-thinking design. Our guiding principle is to build the right thing, before building the thing right
With over 15 years of experience, I have had an opportunity to deliver outcomes that improve users’ lives, help companies grow, & increase profitability for Fortune 100 & 500 organizations. Some of the most iconic brands in the world include IBM hybrid cloud, Zillow, Edmunds, City National Bank, UNICEF, Loot Crate, ICRAF, Toyota and Johnson & Johnson.
Manager, Yellow LA & Snap Inc.
Alexandra Levitt is the Manager of Snap Inc.’s Yellow Accelerator, where she supports entrepreneurs and makes investments at the intersection of creativity and technology.
Levitt was previously a Digital Media Agent at William Morris Endeavor, where she represented clients ranging from traditional talent to digital creators and media companies. Levitt also acted as Manager of Platform for WME Ventures where she supported investments in companies such as Glossier, Ollie, Masterclass, and more. Today, she leverages her previous experience at WME in dealmaking, business development & strategy to help support founders seeking to create the next generation of media companies.
Alexandra is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA
Kevin is a multi-disciplinary creative leader with 20 years experience developing transformative experiences for iconic brands. As Executive Creative Director at Elephant Kevin oversees creative work across accounts for Apple, Twitch, Beats, and Kia.
Prior to joining Elephant in 2017, Kevin ran Hard Candy Shell, a digital design agency in New York responsible for producing award-winning work in entertainment and ecommerce. He is a frequent speaker on design and strategy and is most known for having led the design strategy on big digital experiences launches for Hulu, The New York Times, CNN.com, Foursquare, NBC, and Rent The Runway.
We are in the process of updating Jackson Cumming’s bio. Please check back for updates!
BCG Digital Ventures
Eyana Carballo leads Global Business Development and Technology Investments at BCG Digital Ventures, a corporate investment and incubation subsidiary of Boston Consulting Group. In this role, Carballo is responsible for identifying global investment initiatives that support the development of intellectual property, drive new business, and enhance offerings and capabilities with emerging technology. In addition, she was recently appointed to lead the Global Black Employee Affinity group.
Carballo has over 16 years of experience leading corporate innovation with Fortune 500 companies, and was recognized for those achievements in the 2020 Startup Guide Los Angeles, an Entrepreneur’s Handbook.
Eyana holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Florida A&M / Florida State College of Engineering, and was awarded a National Science Foundation scholarship for her academic achievements. Carballo is currently enrolled in the Executive Program at UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Carballo is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Project Management Institute, Small Business Association, and Autism Speaks.
Carballo is married, and has an 11-year old son and 8-year old daughter. She currently resides in Manhattan Beach, California.
Yellow LA, Snap Inc., Director
Mike Su is a seasoned digital media executive, having built multiple brands from the ground up. He is currently an executive on the content team at Snapchat, where he runs Yellow, an accelerator program investing in companies at the intersection of creativity and technology. Prior to Snap, Mike was Chief Product Officer at mitú, the largest Latinx focused digital media company, where he oversaw product, audience development and data. Mike helped transform mitú from a Multi-Channel Network to a full fledged digital media brand, garnering over half a billion content views a month. Mike joined mitú from Upworthy, frequently cited as the fastest growing digital media brand ever. Prior to that he had a mobile gaming startup, and also served as VP of Product for Break Media/Defy Media. Mike also serves on the Los Angeles board of Defy Ventures, a prison entrepreneurship training program.
HelloAdvisr, Pricing Expert and CEO
Ed Lee is a pricing expert and CEO of HelloAdvisr, a growth consultancy that works with startup leadership teams to design high-impact pricing strategies. HelloAdvisr works with startups on pricing across growth stages, and draws on experience from industries including eCommerce/retail, fashion/brands, and consumer goods.
Previously, Ed held leadership roles with LG Electronics and Simon-Kucher & Partners, a global management consulting firm. Ed is regularly invited to teach and speak at leading academic institutions including UCLA and USC. He serves as a mentor and advisor to startup accelerators including Techstars and Backstage Capital, and is a resident expert at the Oxford Foundry.
Ed received his MBA from Oxford University, two Masters (MSc) from the London School of Economics, and BA from UCSD.
Fortune 100 trained CSO/CMO and an entrepreneur
Sonata specializes in growth, operations, strategic marketing, and lean management. As a Fortune 100 trained CSO/CMO and an entrepreneur, she has extensive experience in global strategy, operations and an eye for sustainable scaling.
PlayWerks, Founder & CEO
Shirin Laor-Raz Salemnia is the Founder and CEO of PlayWerks and WhizGirls Academy. PlayWerks is an interactive media company that creates multi-platform immersive experiences. At WhizGirls Academy students engage in project based learning with tech literacy while acquiring coding skills, entrepreneurship tools, and building confidence as members of their communities using gamification with a healthy balanced lifestyle slant. As a thought leader and tech pioneer, she has created programs for The White House Council of Women and Girls and collaborated with President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden at the Reach Higher Education Summit at the White House. In 2013, she hosted the first Hackathon for Women and Girls with The White House. In May 2014, she hosted the Kids Hack for LA in collaboration with Mayor Eric Garcetti, the White House, and will.i.am’s i.am.angel Foundation. Salemnia is also a TEDx speaker and was an esteemed panelist at the Milken Institute Global Conference. Salemnia has been honored with these exemplary distinctions: The Los Angeles City Pioneer Woman of the Year and the IJWO Woman of the Year awards. In October 2015, She was honored as a Tribeca Disruptor Innovation Fellow. And she is currently an Advisor to the Bixel Exchange and on the Executive Committee for the Television Academy’s Interactive Media Peer Group.
LACERS, Director of Innovation
As the Director of Innovation for LACERS, one of the largest retirement systems and pension funds in the US, I lead digital transformation across a variety of operational verticals, including administration, member services, and human resources. Prior to this role, I was the Chief Innovation Officer for the City of LA’s Office of Finance, a 300 member department tasked with driving up to $8 billion annually in revenue for the City.
A product and program developer and sales enablement lead at heart, I helped launch Tap.in2, a sports-tech company funded by Rock Ventures and in play in over 32 sports and entertainment properties throughout the US while leading the design-build of its signature mobile POS solution. I’ve also led the design-build of a mixed-medium digital selling platform for Capital Group/American Funds – a first of its kind initiative for the company that paired sales, marketing, and digital to drive client adoption.
The Law Firm of Shivani Honwad, LLC, Founder
Shivani Honwad, Esq. founded The Law Firm of Shivani Honwad, LLC in 2014 after working in the public and private sectors and clerking for the Chief Judge of the Family Court of Delaware upon graduating from law school. She focuses primarily on immigration and business law for companies in the fashion, tech, wellness and entertainment realms. Shivani is a passionate advocate for human rights and dedicates part of her practice to these efforts. She successfully lobbied to amend Delaware’s state laws to provide better protections to juvenile victims of prostitution and is actively advocating for improved transparency in the modeling industry in NYC. She has served on the Young Executive Board of the Nomi Network, the Young Professionals Board of Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS), the Sand Sisters LA Board and been a member of the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition. She has also been a member of the South Asian Bar Association of New York, serving as the Vice President of Public Interest in 2015 and was recognized as the 2017 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year; the American Bar Association, including being appointed by the ABA President as the Young Lawyer’s Delegate to the ABA Human Trafficking Task Force in 2013, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. As a graduate of New York University’s Stern School of Business and founder of a few companies and ventures, Shivani understands what it takes for entrepreneurs and companies to be successful and thus blends her passion and expertise to help people achieve their dreams.
Gooten, Chief Marketing Officer
Mark is the Chief Marketing Officer of Gooten, a globally distributed production and logistics company transforming the way online brands manufacture and fulfill merchandise to their customers. He is responsible for all facets of marketing including branding, content marketing, customer acquisition, and loyalty programs.
Prior to joining Gooten, Mark started Screen Sitters after seeing the challenge working parents now face to maintain their jobs, home-school their children, and have opportunities to either get work done or simply relax. Screen Sitters runs a DTC business as well as provides sitter sessions to companies across the US as a new employee benefit – helping work from home employees survive each day.
Mark was also the CEO and Managing Director of Kontrol Media Corp, a digital strategy agency, serving corporate clients, brands, and startups. Mark also served as the former Chief Marketing Officer of Wrench, the market leader for on-demand car care directly to your home or office. With a data-driven approach, he managed all marketing aspects of both the DTC facing business and the fleet B2B business at Wrench.
Beyond Gooten, Mark is a Venture Partner at Arrowroot Capital, where he focuses on investments in the SaaS market in need of growth capital. He is also the Executive Director of the UCLA Venture Capital Fund, supporting innovation by young entrepreneurs. He also spends time advising first-time entrepreneur startup businesses as part of the LA Chamber of Commerce’s Bixel Exchange. Mark holds over 15 patents from his work in data and digital media.
Mark received his Bachelor of Arts in Film and Television at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Daniel is a serial entrepreneur who is a leading social impact and cultural consultant who is passionate about authentic storytelling. He has been known to be a “Swiss Army knife” helping start ups and small businesses through their journeys. With a background in marketing and communication, he has worked to make non-profits and start-ups more sustainable while scaling for growth. He is constantly in search of innovative ways to impact marginalized communities both locally and abroad. He is currently working on creating more access and lasting societal change by building more inclusive communities and local ecosystems.
Fractional Executive to CEOs of Pre A Series Startups
Craig is a fractional executive to CEOs of Pre A Series startups with experience in Blockchain, Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence. Craig currently serves as an Advisor to Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce for the Bixel Launch Accelerator SBDC focused on startups in Los Angeles County. Previously, Mr. Wilson’s career spanned over a decade at Microsoft in various director roles for divisions in Software as a Service, Big Data, Office, Mobile, and Windows. He’s been successfully involved with two merger and acquisitions of startups.
Jocelyn Graf is a serial entrepreneur with expertise social enterprise, doing business internationally, and winning grant funding and government contracts. She helps founders build a team and navigate relationships with advisors, cofounders, employees, and contractors. She has advised businesses in energy and cleantech, hardware and manufacturing, construction, food and agriculture, health care, and education. Jocelyn enjoys guiding others who dream of owning a tech startup or traditional business through the process of envisioning, launching, and growing their own enterprises.
Julie Zwissler has over 20 years of entertainment marketing experience. During that time, she’s shared world-class stories while marketing and launching brands for CBS, Time Warner, and CJ E&M. Julie believes that all good stories are fundamentally stories of change. This is why she is now CMO of Fabric, a company that imagines a world without strangers by nurturing community and in-person interaction.
Julie has her master’s degree from Pepperdine in Social Entrepreneurship and Change. Her entrepreneurial spirit, strong leadership skills, enthusiasm, and positive positive attitude drive her work every day.
Product Development Strategist
With over 20 years of experience as a user-centric Product Manager for a broad set of industries and enterprises, Patria brings extensive product development knowledge and a unique perspective to the ever-evolving digital business landscape. Her mind is that of a strategist, pairing a strong understanding of data & analytics with user experience design to make decisions that create intuitive consumer facing digital applications.
Currently serving as Global Product Director, Point-of-Sale Solutions at Ria Money Transfer, Patria ensures that Ria’s proprietary payment web-based POS provides value to Ria agents and customers worldwide while contributing to Ria’s ROI goals.
Her broad experience across multiple industries spans banking, search & directory, mobility and e-commerce.
Advisor, Bixel Exchange SBDC
Tova Mac is a self-starter, focused on business operations, strategic development, and marketing. With 15+ years in start-ups and small businesses, her passion is in supporting founders, diverse businesses, and developing talent.
About Plug IN South LA
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