Silicon Beach Events Maintain Brisk Pace

Like the non-stop waves that lick our shores, Silicon Beach events continue apace.

Brad Feld, several-time entrepreneur and now venture capitalist, will speak at a “Fireside Chat” this Wednesday, September 24, from 12 noon till 2 p.m.

Brad Feld of the Foundry Group.
Brad Feld of the Foundry Group.

This “campfire” event will be held at the Grand Pavilion at the St. Monica, Caruso Community Center, 725 California Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90403.

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Brad Feld is managing director of the Foundry Group (see foundrygroup.com) and co-founder of Techstars. He is the author of nine books on venture capital. He lives in Colorado and invests in startups. See also feld.com.

The event is hosted by David Murphy of the LATechAgenda (see latechagenda.com), in conjunction with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, a well known law firm from Silicon Valley. Patrick M. Anding of Wilson Sonsini will interview Brad Feld. See wsgr.com.

At a recent Fireside Chat, Dana Settle, Co-Founder and partner at Greycroft partners, spoke with Robert Kornegay of Wilson Sonsini.

Settle is a venture capitalist who has been involved with deals including McCaw Cellular, AOL, Maker Studios, FanTV, AppAnnie, AwesomenessTV, Pulse and several others.  “Once you’ve been around the startup scene, I don’t think you can ever leave,” she said.

Dana Settle and Rob Kornegay.
Dana Settle and Rob Kornegay.

Her key points: 1) Company founders must be organically from the space they want to go after, it’s impossible to fake it; 2) Building a brand is critically important; 3) Offices should be neat, reflecting tidy business practices.

Dana Settle said she is a big believer in the Southern California tech scene. “There is a Sand Hill Road echo chamber,” she noted. Los Angeles is great because everyone is thinking multichannel, and the talent to do it is here. Greycroft just moved its offices to Downtown LA (see greycroft.com).

At another gathering recently at Shutters Hotel in Santa Monica, TigerText CEO and Co-Founder of Whisper Brad Brooks said it’s important to capture that “lightning in a bottle” quickly, so as to get off to a quick start. Startups that take too long to catch on, he said, run a high risk of failure.

Brad Brooks takes a question from the audience.
Brad Brooks takes a question from the audience.

Whisper lets people discuss highly personal issues –or make confessions – anonymously. Those who post are often surprised by how many people are actually listening – and who care. Whisper recently received $60 million in funding. See whisper.sh.

This talk was moderated by Jason Nazar of DocStoc, a provider of just about any kind of business document and other business intelligence anyone might need. See docstoc.com.

Selling is of course a skill any successful company needs. Jay Tyler gave a talk on building a superior sales culture at Cross Campus recently in which he said company leaders need to be authentic, purposeful and intentional.

Cross Campus runs a shared workspace facility in Santa Monica and hosts a wide range of speakers, mixers and events. See crosscamp.us.

Tyler said companies should create a “success profile” to describe perfect hires and then apply that during the interview process. Emotional Intelligence, according to Tyler, is a key attribute to seek out in candidates.

And bosses need to avoid the “self-deception trap,” he added. For more information, see jaytylerconsulting.com.

Vince Thompson of Middleshift.
Vince Thompson of Middleshift.

A LAVA (Los Angeles Venture Association – see lava.org) gathering, also held at Cross Campus this August, was all about how to best go about raising money.

Vince Thompson of Middleshift moderated (see middleshift.com). Middleshift is a boutique consultancy that elevates the relationship between content producers, marketers and consumers.

“We live in a city of story-tellers” said panelist Adam Lilling of Plus Capital (see pluscapital.com). When making a pitch, he counseled, “tell an inspirational story about how you intend to change the world.”

Matt McCall of Pritzker Group (pritzkergroup.com) agreed. “Making a movie is like a startup. Does the story hold together?” he asked. “There has to be a hook, a heart – and a soul.”

This is a big week for DigitalLA.  Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday and Friday of this week (9/23 –  9/26), starting in the early evening, there are panels on various aspects of social media.  Check out the schedule at digitalla.net.

Len Lanzi, executive director of LAVA.
Len Lanzi, executive director of LAVA.

Hundreds and possibly thousands will gather at the Digital Hollywood conference that returns to the Ritz Carlton in the Marina Oct. 20-23. Experts, exhibitors and those who want to learn descend on this twice-annual action-packed extravaganza run by Victor Harwood. For more information, go to digitalhollywood.com.

The Growth Capital Conference returns to the Olympic Collection October 30. Entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to pitch their deals to local angel investors and venture capitalists. For more information, go to: gcc2000.org.

David Newman and Dr. Kathleen Vinson of Growth Capital.
David Newman and Dr. Kathleen Vinson of Growth Capital.

That’s it for now – but there will be many more events coming soon, you can count on it.

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