Tag Archives: competition

Mobile LAVA and Schmoozd – Starting Your Startup Part 2, August 1, Cross Campus

mobilelava_schmoozd_presentStarting Your Mobile Startup, Part 2:  Getting It Built  For our second installment of Starting Your Mobile Startup, Mobile LAVA and Schmoozd have partnered up to help entrepreneurs who have a mobile-enabled business with one of their most fundamental questions:  How do I get my mobile solution built?As many entrepreneurs soon discover there are many ways to build a mobile solution.  The right approach depends on audience, usage, functionality, business goals, availability of engineers and cost.  In fact, some may even realize that certain business goals may suggest not building an app right away.

Mobile solutions also need to consider lots of other aspects like the use of third party technologies, messaging, notifications, and device-specific functionality.  Furthermore, young startups looking for capital need to be cognizant of their product and technology roadmaps among a tech-savvy venture community.

Tony Karrer, a prolific Los Angeles-based CTO, will moderate an amazing panel of experts to help us answer questions like:

  • What’s the difference between developing for iOS, Android and Windows?  Should I build for all 3?
  • How do I find a CTO?  Do I even need one?
  • Should I outsource my development or find my own engineers?
  • Should I build my solution as a native code, using a framework or as mobile web?
  • How do these factors affect cost?
  • How can I avoid hurdles with app stores?
  • What are some of the common pitfalls in the development process?
  • How do VC’s and other capital providers view technology choices when making funding decisions?
  • How can capital providers help in sourcing CTO’s and other tech resources?

Our Panelists

Rishi Roongta, New World Ventures

Rishi joined New World Ventures in 2010 having previously been a consultant with Bain & Company in Chicago. While at Bain, Rishi worked with clients in various industries including technology, retail, consumer packaged goods, food services and healthcare. Rishi advised senior management teams on topics such as growth strategy, customer acquisition, sales force effectiveness and business process redesign. Prior to Bain, Rishi held internships with Deloitte Consulting, General Electric and Siemens.

In his spare time, Rishi is either working on his own business ideas or advising other entrepreneurs and their startups. He is a regular attendee at national tech meetups and events. He is also on the junior board of the non-profit organization, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).

Rishi graduated with a B.S. in electrical engineering and a minor in technology and management from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Hank Leber, Co-founder & CEO, GonnaBe

Hank LeberHank Leber is the founder and CEO of GonnaBe– social media of the future (literally – all the things you’re gonna be doing).

Hank has a diverse background. He’s an ad-man turned entrepreneur, having toured in a rock band for 5 years, led digital strategy for major brands (on the ad agency side), and started a few companies along the way.

He founded Agency Nil – the world’s first crowd-sourcing-based advertising agency – and sold it in 2009. He also founded Phone2Food.org to help fight famine in East Africa by allowing people to donate used electronics. In advertising, Hank worked on many brands including Lexus, Nationwide, Travelocity, Anheuser-Busch, Sherwin-Williams, Coldwell Banker, Häagen-Dazs, and Wrigley’s.

Hank holds an M.S. in Mass Communications from the VCU Brand Center. In 2010 he won top honors at the Jay Chiat Awards for Strategic Excellence for his work on Travelocity (he put the Gnome on Chatroulette, earning the brand 20MM impressions without spending a dime).

He currently lives in Los Angeles, CA and wishes it would rain sometimes.

David Subar, Chief Product Officer, Zest Finance (previously Chief Technology Officer, Break Media)

David recently became the Chief Product Officer at Zest Finance, a company using big data and machine learning to assess credit for the underbanked. David is responsible for Product Management and Engineering and the development of all platforms. Previously David was the Chief Technology Officer at Break is one of the largest independent online video companies. David was responsible for Product Management, Software Engineering, Ad Execution/Production and TechOps/IT groups at Break. His groups were responsible for all Break’s B2C properties on all iOS platforms, Android and the web, integration with Facebook and Twitter, as well as back-end YouTube analytics, their own ad server and integration with DFP.

In his tenure he has rebuilt the team, infrastructure and products including building new iPhone and iPad apps, new Android apps and completely rebuilding the web site. The company’s redesign of the Break web site increased YoY search traffic from Google by 20% and monthly direct visits increased by 2.8 million in a six-month period.

On mobile, Break Media has had more than 4 million downloads of their apps on iOS and Android and 202 million video views, a 26% increase over the previous year, and 1.99 billion image views, a 40% increase. The company has more than 1 MM video views per day on mobile. Their new iPhone app and the iPad app were selected as ‘New and Noteworthy’ apps by Apple iTunes Store.  They also have several OTT apps for devices such as Roku.

Trystan Kosmynka, co-founder and CTO of TestFlight, VP of Product and Technology at Burstly

The mission at Burstly is to provide tools for the entire app life-cycle from beta testing to analytics and monetization.  Burstly has created industry-leading products in beta-testing and monetization with TestFlight and SkyRocket.  In addition to continuing to grow the core products, Burstly has recently expanded the offering to include mobile analytics through its new product FlighPath.

Prior to TestFlight and Burstly, Trystan served as CTO of 23 Divide, a mobile development studio responsible for 6 top-25 apps, a SXSW award, a couple of Webby’s, and TestFlight.

Our Moderator

Tony Karrer — TechEmpower, Aggregage, LA CTO Forum

Dr. Tony Karrer has been defining technical strategy and leading the development of web/software solutions for the past 20 years.  He has been an part-time CTO at numerous startups and is known for being the original CTO of eHarmony—making Tony partly responsible for more than 4% of the marriages in the US each year.  Dr. Karrer was an associate professor of Computer Science and has consulted to many companies seeking to use technology in innovative ways including Credit Suisse, Citibank, Lexus, Microsoft, Nissan, Universal, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Sun and Symbol. He was valedictorian and attended USC as a Tau Beta Pi fellow, one of the top 30 engineers in the U.S. where he received a M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science.  He is well known for his eLearning Technology blog and organizes the Los Angeles CTO Forum.

This event is produced by Mobile LAVA and Schmoozd and Co-Produced by Cross Campus.  Mobile LAVA and Mobile LAVA events are generously sponsored by Ernst & Young.   Mobile LAVA is the Strategic Interest Group of the Los Angeles Venture Association dedicated to exploring the rapidly expanding universe of mobile business, technology and economics.


LAVA Annual Meeting Featured Speaker – Shuki Lehavi, CEO & Co-Founder, Gumiyo

July 10th, 7:00 AM at the Skirball Center, the Los Angeles Venture Association will host its 27th Annual Meeting.  The morning’s program, Mobile Ecosystem of Southern California and Beyond is being produced by LAVA Mobile, the Strategic Interest Group, is focused on mobile enabled businesses, technology, products and services.  Three invited experts will present a 360 view of the Mobile Ecosystem / Marketplace generally with an accent on Southern California.  Rather than the typical panel session, this event provides each speaker the opportunity to make an extended presentation of their insights, observations and perspectives from their unique viewpoint.

One of those invited experts is Shuki Lehavi, Co-Founder and CEO of Gumiyo.  As one of the earliest entrants to conquer the mobile space, Gumiyo founders recognized a need to help companies boast an integrated web experience across any platform and on any device.  As champions for businesses big and small, the Gumiyo platform delivers a website that responds perfectly on a desktop, mobile device or tablet.

The platform is currently used globally by leading publishers, technology companies and local businesses to power websites, applications and messaging programs. The platform integrates more than 1,200 data sources from inventory management systems, content management systems, customer management systems and more to ensure consistently updated websites.

Gumiyo’s services are commercially proven, powering more than 27,000 sites and apps, and reaching over 150,000 small businesses. Leveraging Cloud Computing, our technology is highly scalable. With a team of technology leaders, Gumiyo is currently deploying the next generation of its products, creating an optimized experience for every device and seamlessly delivering the world’s information, anytime and anywhere.

Shuki Lehavi started Gumiyo  in 2006, which offers the cloud-hosted tools to build SMS programs, mobile sites and apps.  Mr. Lehavi is an avid technologist with over 15 years of successful experience in managing and developing enterprise applications in the banking, healthcare, automotive, and mobile industries. He enjoys working with founders and solving business, product and technology problems. When he is not working around the clock, he spends time with his wife and 3 kids, and gets bypassed every year at the LA Marathon by the group of Elvis impersonators.

Joining Mr. Lehavi will be Joe Jasin, VP of Polaroid, SVForum Founder and Chair of Wireless Software Developers and Jeff Liu, Ernst & Young, Principal and Sr. Managing Director, US Group Head, Technology M&A and Capital & Debt Advisory. The program emcee will be Richard Koffler, serial entrepreneur, Tech Coast Angel, founding member of Tech CEO Network and Past President of LAVA.

Exhibit space and sponsorship opportunities are still available – contact len@lava.org for details.

ROI in Mobile – April 24, tiato, Santa Monica, 6:30 PM

Our next LAVA Mobile event examines the intersection of advertising, mobile start-ups – and what investors think about the business models, trends and technology.  Joining moderator Lori Kozlowski (Forbes contributor, digital editor) are Michael Rice (Mulholland Mobile) and John Hadl, entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist at US Venture Partners.

Michael Rice is currently the co-founder of Mulholland Mobile, a mobile development company. Previously Michael was the SVP, Director of Digital for McCann Erickson responsible for developing and managing all digital executions. Prior to McCann, Michael  managed a large team of digital marketers managing a $50 million yearly budget.

A senior level marketing & technology professional, Michael has more than 15 years of experience across multiple digital channels including product development, online marketing and brand development. He has also concepted and built robust technology solutions from websites to mobile apps for brands including General Motors, Nestlé, eHarmony, Northrop Grumman and Bumble Bee Foods.

John Hadl is the founder and CEO of Brand in Hand, a full-service mobile media and marketing company that serves global brand marketers and assists emerging media companies. Since 2004, Brand in Hand has been responsible for more than 600 mobile campaigns for its various clients which have include P&G, Coke, General Mills, 3M, American Express, Best Buy, Lions Gate Studios, and many others. In April 2007, BrandWeek dubbed John as one of the “Marketers of the Next Generation,” the publication’s highest honor, and in July 2007, Advertising Age acknowledged John as one of its distinguished “40 Under 40” executives.

John frequently keynotes and participates in industry leading events. He holds a J.D. from the New York University School of Law and is currently a venture partner at the venture capital firm U.S. Venture Partners.

Our moderator, Lori Kozlowski is a writer and digital editor, and currently a contributor to Forbes with a focus on the southern California start-ups, tech and entrepreneurs.   Most recently, she was a senior web editor and a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times. Lori also headed mobile technology and emerging platforms for latimes.com.  Previously, she has been on staff at Entrepreneur Magazine, and has written for various national publications.  Her passions are art, tech, and science – and especially places where all three of those things clash, mesh, or merge.

Even our venue for this event is special – tiato, a Kitchen Bar Garden at 2700 Colorado, Santa Monica (90404).  Snacks will be provided.  There is a no-host bar.   Free Parking!

LAVA Members and their guests attend free; $25 for non-LAVA members.  Pre-registration is required at LAVA Mobile.  This event and LAVA Mobile are generously sponsored by E&Y and Gumiyo.  Special thanks to Rich Abronson of Gumiyo and Lori for their efforts to make this a successful event!

iPhone lesson for our economy

There is a lot of reaction to a recent NY Times article on Apple’s production of iPhones in China.  It is a very important article for a number of reasons.  The most significant, IMO, is the recognition that these sorts of products for mass markets are not going to be produced domestically.  We can argue as some do about whether we should be trying to retain low skilled, low wage domestic manufacturing jobs, but the salient point is that the Chinese (and soon others will follow) are basically subsidising our consumer based economy through their industrial policy. 

Under these conditions, brands and developers of consumer products are acting rationally by moving manufacturing overseas.  We will not be successful competing against manufacturing firms in countries like China that use industrial policies to stimulate their economies.

The larger lesson for the domestic brands is not to fight this inevitable trend – rather to take advantage of this trend.  We can grow our economy through innovation and commercialization of technologies in which the US leads the world.  Let the manufacturing of high volume, low value devices go to those countries who need to grow their own economies through exploiting economies of scales.  We should emphasize the start-up and creation of advanced technology products and custom services.  And we should shift our remaining industrial production to focus on high value, low volume custom engineered products. 

Amazingly enough the US still manufacturers a tremendous number of products that are consumed domestically or exported.  And Los Angeles still ranks as the leader in domestic manufacturing.  It is incumbent upon us to continue to invent and innovate for mass consumer products even though those products will be manufactured elsewhere.  And we should continue to focus on the design, engineering and production of custom products locally.

LA Mobile Hack Days this weekend

The first LA Mobile Hack Days down at the Aviation Room in Santa Monica this weekend.  Friday evening is Pitch Night – starting around 7.  Coding all day Saturday (9 AM – midnight) and then Sunday (10AM – 5PM) with the final hours dedicated to seeing what has been coded up and operating through demos and Q&A.  Judges will be circulating, the audience will participate in voting and the winners will be announced at the conclusion of the event.

The event is open to all levels of coders, engineers, GUI designers, entrepreneurs, marketers, mobile executives, investors and media.  You bring the computer, extra batteries and your charger.  LA Mobile Hack Days is supplying just about everything else except the ideas (and they’ll even help with that!)  The coding can be for any mobile platform – iOS, Android, HTML5, Phonegap, Flex, Blackberry or anything else.  A few developer/programmer seats are still available – register here.  Find rules here.

The winners will be announced on the LA Hack Days website and at The Bitsource lalawag.com has more details about the competition.