Paul Orlando presentation at Friday Coffee Meetup

Paul Orlando: Building Companies While Running Startup Accelerators on Three Continents

From Hong Kong, to Los Angeles, to the Vatican. How running three very different startup accelerators over five years changed the way I think about entrepreneurship. Multiple program formats, 100+ companies, tens of millions in funding, lots of customers, exits, all across three continents. The talk will focus on:

• Commonalities growing companies face across locations.

• Getting results: How I try to trick people into learning.

• Next steps in thinking about the future of company growth.

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.


Paul Orlando enables companies to grow. He is Incubator Director and Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at USC. Paul has founded and operated successful startup accelerator programs in Hong Kong (focused on mobile development), Los Angeles (focused on growing a wide range of companies with founders affiliated with USC), and Rome (the Laudato Si accelerator, partnered with the Vatican and focused on environmental technology). Companies Paul has worked with have raised tens of millions in capital, served millions of customers, and have been acquired. He has authored several related academic case studies available on Harvard Business Publishing. Paul also helps larger institutions innovate, develop, and grow, especially in lowering the risk of innovation projects, speeding up learning cycles, and transitioning past legacy business models and products.

Paul has been featured in media including Forbes, TechCrunch, Fast Company, and the Wall Street Journal. He was a winner at the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon. Paul has a BA from Cornell, an MBA from Columbia, and speaks Mandarin.

Gene Chuang presentation at Friday Coffee Meetup

Gene Chuang: 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.

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.


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 a eCommerce SaaS startup in Pasadena. Before that he was CTO of a Ruby/Node and DevOps-as-a-Service boutique development shop. He was the CTO of 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 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.

Dr. Tao presentation at Friday Coffee Meetup

Dr. Tao: 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.

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.


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.

Niko Everett presentation at Friday Coffee Meetup

Niko Everett: 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.

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.


Niko Everett ( 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 ( 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 ( + Elephant Journal ( You can connect with Niko on Facebook ( and Instagram ( and LinkedIn (

Jennifer Gin presentation at Friday Coffee Meetup

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.

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.


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.

Josh Holtzman presentation at Friday Coffee Meetup

Josh Holtzman: Breaking Through the Ceiling

My Journey in Building a Company and Selling Twice

Josh Holtzman is a fourth generation Los Angeles based entrepreneur that got stuck. The company he founded was growing, racking up awards from Inc. Magazine and the Los Angeles Business Journal, and all of the sudden, the company hit a ceiling. Growth stalled, things became complicated… During this talk Josh shares what he learned and how he ultimately broke through, leading to the sale of his company twice!

Listen to the podcast on iTunes here.


Josh Holtzman is a fourth generation entrepreneur that helps people get what they want from their businesses.

Josh brings a proven system with simple tools to help leadership teams clarify their vision, gain traction toward realizing their vision, and become more healthy, functional and cohesive as a team. As goes the leadership team so goes the rest of the organization. Through teaching, facilitation, and coaching Josh brings 15 years as an entrepreneur (including 2 exits, Inc. Fastest Growing Company, Best Place to Work) and the power of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) to achieve real results.

Innovation and Meditation Part 2: Practical Ways to Have a Practice!

This talk will once again go over the whys-and-wherefores behind the popularity of Mindfulness. Nick will normalize meditation while offering practical ways to integrate a consistent practice into one’s life; both at work and at home. He’ll discuss creating the right mental & physical environments, that will inevitably lead us back to the “the cushion,” which is where we need to be.

Nick will also introduce us to a series of, “Mind Hacks,” specific techniques to bring meaning and insight into our sits and everyday experience. He’ll also go over the best apps, books, videos and LA based groups – invaluable resources that will support and sustain our practice. All of this in service to it’s demonstrated benefits: improved attention, reduced emotional reactivity and a general sense of health and wellbeing. Not a bad way to start 2018!


Nick Stein is an award-winning TV Producer and Show-Runner who’s worked on countless hours of non-fiction television for myriad networks and production companies. As Series Producer of the National Geographic Channel’s Border Wars series, he and his crews gained unparalleled access to contested areas of the US/Mexican border, embedding with the operational units of Customs and Border Protection, ICE, DEA and the U.S. Coast Guard. As a result of witnessing extreme suffering in the border zone, Nick began the journey from practitioner to facilitator by taking courses at UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center (MARC) and going on multiple silent retreats. After completing 2 years of MARC’s Intensive Practice Program (IPP), Nick gained entrance into the Engaged Mindfulness Institute’s (EMI) inaugural class and received his Certification of Mindfulness Facilitation in June 2016. Because of his work at the border, Nick has dedicated himself to introducing the concepts and techniques behind mindfulness – to foster resiliency – to the men and women of law enforcement. He’s traveled to New Mexico, Texas and Washington D.C. as he brings this knowledge to US Border Patrol agents and CBP’s Officer of Field Operations Officers, as well as to multiple police departments in the SF East Bay Area. Stein lives in Studio City, CA with his wife, Susan McGuire, a CA licensed MFT Psychotherapist and Jungian Analyst.

Rich Rygg presentation at Friday Coffee Meetup

Rich Rygg: 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.

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.


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.

Michael Culhane presentation at Friday Coffee Meetup

Michael Culhane: Building a Blockchain based Business and funding it via a TGE

Token Generation Events (TGE’s) have proliferated as an alternative means of funding a Start Up. There are some compelling opportunities for the entrepreneur over conventional VC and Angel options. This is the (unfolding) story of how one navigates a fast changing landscape where the SEC looms, Token Economics is religion, Skepticism is growing, Exchanges can help or hurt you and potentially tens of thousands of people in dozens of foreign countries are your investors. I’m all in and I’ll tell you why…..

Listen to the podcast on iTunes here.


Michael Culhane was born and grew up in South Africa. He holds a BA in Psychology, an Honors Degree in Economics and an MBA from the University of Cape Town. After a 3 year stint doing Econometrics for S.A’s largest Asset Management firm, he emigrated to the US to develop the marketing for a Wildlife Tourism company that became a pioneer in the low footprint, high revenue model that is now called Eco-Tourism. After sale of that business in the mid 1990’s and the advent of a nascent internet and the promise of an online distribution model, he left the operating side of the travel business to focus instead on the technology side that he believed would radically change the way travel was bought and sold. He has been a founder or co-founder of a number of businesses in the content aggregation, content optimization and Corporate Travel space and is regarded as an expert in both online and legacy systems that manage and distribute the Air and Hotel content. Both the mission and the muse has afforded or inspired travel in over 120 countries around the world.

His present company, TripX, now intends to massively improve the way in which Global Suppliers are paid and remunerate their re-sellers via Blockchain based solutions that could significantly reduce back office costs throughout this $8 trillion global industry.

Speed Networking with FCM’s very own Christy and Alec

This structured networking event will allow you to meet new professional and personal contacts and establish a basis for future collaboration in an exciting format. You will be randomly placed in small groups and each person will have a few minutes to give an overview of their background, their goals, and areas that they might be looking for new connections or ways they can help others.

If you are new to the format of speed networking don’t worry – we’ll have suggestions as to how to start, what to talk about, and how to follow up afterwards.

Wear comfortable shoes as we will be standing and come prepared with business cards to hand out during the session for follow-ups after!


Alec Miller
Alec is a strategic business manager who specializes in creating strategy and bringing technology products to market, with extensive experience in environmental technologies and industrial products. His experience includes working for multinational and venture backed companies, as well as working on his own startup. Alec has a B.A. from Yale University.

Christy Conner
Christy is a global strategic operations executive that is passionate about networking and connecting people to create innovative new relationships. She enjoys helping companies create and execute new strategies, products and services that allow them to grow their business and enter new markets. She has an M.A. in International Relations from USC and a B.S. in Aviation Business Administration from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.