Crowdfunder Educational Series: Introduction to Launching an ICO

We believe entrepreneurship to be one of the most powerful forces for economic and societal change in our time. Through access to capital and education, we empower thousands of entrepreneurs to grow high-impact ventures.

Crowdfunder is the equity crowdfunding leader for sourcing and funding high-growth ventures with a network of over 130,000 entrepreneurs and investors. Crowdfunder and its VC Index Fund provide the opportunity for direct online investment into single ventures, as well as diversification into a broad VC-led portfolio (Index Fund) of early-stage startups – backed by many of the world’s leading Venture Capital firms and private investors.

• $160,000,000 investment commitments on the platform

• 12,000 individual & institutional investors

• 36,000 companies

• Funded 100+ deals at an average deal size of $1.8M

By joining Crowdfunder you will get free access to private early-stage VC-backed startups.

Listen to the podcast on iTunes here.


Joanne Park is currently the Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Legal Officer at Crowdfunder, Inc., a equity crowdfunding leader for sourcing and funding high growth ventures with a network of over 130,000 entrepreneurs and investors. She is also the Chief Compliance Officer for its affiliated investment advisor and broker-dealer. Ms. Park is also the creator, organizer and presenter behind the Crowdfunder Educational Series on coaching fundraising pitches and giving ICOs regulatory overviews, among other topics. Previously, Ms. Park was the Chief Compliance Officer at several registered investment advisors whose products ranged from private equity, mutual funds, hedge funds and CDOs. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Harvard University and Carleton College.

DeRosa Siranosian presentation at Friday Coffee Meetup

Innovations to Power the Future of Public and Private Transportation

Electric, autonomous, connected, and shared vehicles are coming and in some ways are already here. But a future of millions and millions of vehicles driving themselves and travelers in single-occupant, or even zero-occupant vehicles, will not improve our congested roadways and cities. What will public and private transportation and our cities look like in the not so distant future? Will the sharing economy thrive in our AV, EV, and CV future?

Varying adoption levels of electric, autonomous, connected, and shared vehicles can dramatically alter the future of transportation and land use. This presentation will cover the benefits of roadways that wirelessly charge shared EVs and the state of autonomous technology.

Listen to the podcast on iTunes here.


David DeRosa is a Mobility Planner with ten years of experience in both public and private sectors, as well as non-profit. His recent experience has focused on delivery of transportation projects including connected and autonomous vehicles, Hyperloop, High-Speed Rail, Light-Rail, and Streetcars.

Veronica Siranosian, AICP, LEED GA is a senior project manager in the AECOM Ventures group, which focuses on integrating technology and innovation into the company’s core business. Her areas of focus include future transportation, Smart Cities, and Internet of Things. She has experience managing and preparing feasibility studies, alternatives analyses, and environmental and planning studies for integrated transportation and land use projects across multiple modes (BRT, light rail, high-speed rail, streetcar, Hyperloop, autonomous and connected vehicles). With a background in transportation and land use planning, she brings ten years of experience in the public and private sectors to the role.

Creating an Innovation Roadmap – A Taco Bell Case Study

Learn about how to create an innovation roadmap including what foundational insights drive innovation, how to evolve brand promises through product introductions, and lessons for emerging businesses. A Taco Bell case study focuses on how to address even your heaviest users unmet needs.

Listen to the podcast on iTunes here.


Debra Kassarjian is a practice leader in Innovation and New Product Development for major CPG and Hospitality providers.

Director of Consumer Insights for fortune 500 companies such as ConAgra, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, IHOP and Applebee’s. Additional CPG work included partnerships with Nestle, Whitewave and Ventura Foods.

Breadth of work included strategic projects setting the foundation for business building initiatives, as well as full innovation programs from ideation, concept testing, pipeline prioritization and all product development phases. Brought new targets to life.

Grew both the business and Consumer Insights function within major organizations, elevating businesses and setting them up for future growth, whether it was:

•Establishing a whole new grocery category through Banquet Homestyle Bakes for ConAgra

•Identifying 7 long term innovation platforms for a global seafood CPG firm

•Creating a LaunchPad program partnering with food vendors resulting in the ground-breaking Doritos Locos Taco

•Pin-pointing defection pain points as a cornerstone of an international guest satisfaction program

•Launching new ad campaigns and pipeline of product news around “Eat of Every Moment” at IHOP

Created powerful programs that resulted in new brand promises generating greater loyalty for current users and a call-to-action for new customers.

Nasim Maubbat presentation at Friday Coffee Meetup

J. Mark Sutton & Nasim Maubbat – Finding your CoFounder

Finding a co-founder is not as easy as one may think. Your cofounder could be the person you last expect to complete the circle of balance and expertise for your project. Unfortunately it may not even be the first person you initially partner with as it is much like a marriage and requires a very high level of compatibility and trust.

You may get your cofounder when you least expect, as was my case. A mutual manufacturer introduced my cofounder and I at the Consumer Electronic show January 2017. The coincidence that we were both working on the same concept from different sides of the planet makes you really stop and get a prospective.

Listen to the podcast on iTunes here.


Nasim Maubbat

Nasim Maubbat is the CEO and cofounder of Juize, a network of shareable, portable chargers for mobile devices. Just like the LA Metro Bike Share, just grab and go!

Nasim is also a Y-Combinator Graduate.

Øivind Alexander Slaatto

Øivind works in a variety of materials, depending on the task at hand. In his design, he always strives for simple, straightforward yet poetic solutions – often with inspiration from nature. With quality, clarity and beauty as his primary goals, he never sets out to create something unusual or innovative, and although his process often results in shapes and solutions that appear innovative and fresh, the underlying structure or form often derives from natural principles that have been around for millions of years.

Øivind is working with established Danish High End Design Brands such as Louis Poulsen Lighting , Bang & Olufsen (for whom he previously designed the Beosound SHAPE and B&O A9) and Le Klint as well as with international startups.

Øivind is involved in building and strengthening the design community locally in his shared studio space, on national level through Danish Design MAKERS (which he co-founded) and through international collaboration such as with Mikiya Kobayashi Studio in Japan.

For his design he has received awards and grants such as The Danish Arts Foundation (2017, 2016, 2015 and 2010, Denmark), The Albertesen Foundation 2017, The Danish Design Award 2016, SIDA Best of The Best (2015 – China), IF Award (2014 – Germany) CES Innovation Award (2013 – USA) and Bo Bedre Award (2013-Denmark)

J. Mark Sutton

After 20 years in the equipment finance space, Mark is now an entrepreneur starting 3 successful companies in Southern California. His newest venture is Co-Founder and VP of Business Development for Juize. He is also graduate of Y Combinator.


Twitter: @getjuize1

#GetJuize #PasadenaJuizeNetwork

Jody B Miller presentation at Friday Coffee Meetup

Jody B. Miller: “TGIM” A new look at how to create the best work environment

Baby Boomers and Millennials are the two largest work forces in the history of our country, yet they approach work happiness from completely different viewpoints. Why is this? It’s not necessarily what you think or have read about in the news. There are distinct imprints that each generation brings into the working world and in this talk you will leave looking at your own work/life happiness in a new way. Whether you are a Baby Boomer, a Generation X, a Millennial or Centennial, you will take away practices that you can implement today at your place of work. When we are happy at work, productivity rises and employees don’t leave. Let’s make your work life happier today and every day.

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.


Jody B. Miller is one of the country’s leading Career/Life Coaches and Company Culture Strategists. She is known as “The Work Happiness Expert.” She is also a Bestselling Author and Keynote Speaker. Her passion is helping people achieve Work/Life Meaning and Happiness. Jody’s books and articles are read worldwide and she is interviewed regularly on television, radio and global podcasts. She contributes to publications including Entrepreneur Magazine, Bloomberg BNA, CEO Magazine, (, Thrive Global, Huffington Post, LinkedIn, and many more.

Jody has helped thousands of people find their dream job so that their work and life has meaning and happiness. She also helps companies develop corporate cultures that increase employee engagement and decrease departures.

Jody is the head of Dream Job Academy; an online portal of courses and personal coaching that help job seekers find true meaning and happiness in their work, and Company Culture Academy: courses that help companies create thriving cultures that invite employee engagement and collaborative productivity within the organization.

Her newest book, “From Drift to SHIFT: How Change Can Bring True Meaning and Happiness to Your Work and Life,” ( has just been released worldwide. It follows the stories of amazing people who have gone through major challenges and shifts in order to find true meaning and happiness in their work. Because of these shifts, happiness flowed over into their personal lives and into their businesses and communities. It is an inspirational book that will give you the courage to make a shift in your life in order to achieve happiness and meaning, even if that means finding a way to love your current job. Remember – You Matter!




Dr. Stephen Fiacco presentation at Friday Coffee Meetup

Dr. Stephen Fiacco: From Student to Entrepreneur, Jumping in Head First…

What is it like to be a first-time entrepreneur? In some ways, I imagine it is like mountain biking. There are parts that are uphill and parts that are fast moving and exhilarating…Also probably a good idea to keep an eye out for the steep drop-offs.

In my case, I had spent much of my life in academia. I heard a few exciting stories from colleagues about people they knew in start-ups, and perhaps I saw the Social Network one too many times. I read news about start-ups who seemed to quickly raise massive amounts of money for ideas that didn’t seem that groundbreaking to me. If they could do it, why can’t I?

The reality is, of course, a little different than the mythology. I’m looking forward to discussing what I learned, some common misconceptions, and provide some more clarity as to what it is like to be a first-time entrepreneur. Ultimately, it is a great endeavor, but a little different than most expect.

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.


Prior to founding EvoRx, Dr. Fiacco earned his PhD in the lab of Prof. Rich Roberts at the University of Southern California. He is an inventor on 5 patents and an author in 5 related publications.

Dr. Stephen Fiacco is a founding member of a local biotech company, EvoRx Technologies. There he serves as CEO where he oversees its general operations and business development. In this role, Dr. Fiacco has advanced the business through multiple negotiations of collaboration and license agreements with large and small pharmaceutical and biotech companies. During one of these deals, intellectual property was created and sold to AstraZeneca. Other deals are ongoing and not able to be publicly disclosed, but have resulted in licensing arrangements. Additionally, he and his team had applied for and received a phase I SBIR contract from the National Cancer Institute. That work was successful, and Stephen and his team applied for and received a phase II SBIR grant. Work on the grant is currently ongoing. A major pharmaceutical company has expressed interest in partnering around and eventually acquiring the technology generated by those grants.

Dr. Fiacco is actively involved in the Los Angeles biotech community serving on the advisory board of Biocom LA and had previously served on the board of directors at Innovate Pasadena. In March of 2017, Dr. Fiacco was invited to travel to Washington DC to as a representative of the Los Angeles biotech community to discuss this growing industry in southern California as well as the social and economic importance of National Institute of Health funding.


Raymond Ealy: Adventures in STEAM

STEAM:CODERS, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, teaches underrepresented and underserved K-12 students the fundamentals of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM). Students engage in a variety of STEAM-related classes (i.e., Coding and Robotics) and field trips that allow students to learn directly from professionals – scientists, engineers and artists – and see technology first-hand. Our goal is to unlock each student’s potential for continued learning and future success, providing them with attainable pathways to academic and career pathways. We focus on developing their logic, creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Opportunity + Imagination = Innovation.

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.


Raymond Ealy, Executive Director, founded STEAM:CODERS in July 2014. The organization was a spin-off from the Gamma Zeta Boule Foundation’s award-winning L.A.M.P. Mentor Program, based in Pasadena, CA. Ealy helped create the L.A.M.P. Mentor Program (L.A.M.P. – Leadership, Achievement, Management and Professionalism) in 2007, to provide soft skill training for underserved and underrepresented high school boys who wanted to attend and graduate from college. The L.A.M.P. Mentor Program students attend and have graduated from schools across the country (i.e., Harvard, UCLA, Amherst, UC Berkeley, Morehouse College, University of Michigan, Marist College, Loyola Marymount, Hampton University, American University, among many others).

STEAM;CODERS was created to address the demand for STEM (and STEAM) training for disadvantaged K-12 youth. STEAM:CODERS has served over 2500 students, since inception. Students have been introduced to the STEAM-related fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. The program teaches logic, critical thinking and problem solving, providing attainable pathways for academic and career success. STEAM:CODERS focuses on underserved and underrepresented students of color, who attend Title 1 schools and reside in low-income households. Access to instruction, curricula and equipment, expands their skill sets and increases their exposure to industries and careers that may not be within their vision (i.e., coding, robotics, art and design).

Ealy has over 25 years of management experience in financial services, the nonprofit and retail sectors. Past positions have included management roles with Bank of America, Countrywide Financial Services, Security Pacific Bank, and Wells Fargo Bank. Ealy currently serves on the following Boards: Innovate Pasadena, La Salle High School Board of Regents (Pasadena, CA) and LA’s BEST Advisory Board (Los Angeles, CA). Previous board affiliations include the Pasadena Community Foundation and the Gamma Zeta Boule Foundation. He received a B.A. from Florida State University.

Twitter: @steamcoders


“Who is this TED guy anyway? And what the heck is TEDx?”

The TED tagline is “ideas worth spreading,” but if you want to be one of their speakers or lead one of their events, you need to know how to make your idea stand out from the rest. As the Executive Director of TEDxPasadena, TEDxPasadenaWomen and TEDxPasadenaSalon, and as an attendee at TEDSummit in Banff, Canada, Heather Heimerl Brunold has worked with countless TEDx speakers and curators. Join this lively, interactive conversation designed to identify ways to systematically tackle this dream, step by step.

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). In the spirit of “ideas worth spreading,” TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talk videos and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

TEDxPasadenaWomen seeks to transform the local conversation surrounding equity and access for women and girls, providing a launch pad for the cross-pollination of ideas and expertise between industries, socio-economic groups, ages, and life experiences. We believe strongly in fostering learning, inspiration and wonder — by nurturing relationships that begin though conversations at our yearly conference, but then deepen throughout the year at our monthly TEDxPasadenaSalons. We serve, engage, and empower underserved communities, regardless of gender, including women, girls, people of color, and the LGBTQ communities. Our brand collaborates with members, speakers, and community partners from all over the San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys (and beyond) to positively impact business and community relationships, cooperative partnerships, public policy, knowledge, civic structures and political systems.

The goal of our annual conference (held this year at the Huntington Library on Saturday, September 30th) is to come together as a community of bright minds with diverse interests, to share discourse inspired by live TEDx talks that are idea-focused and cover a wide range of subjects. We hope the community gathering will foster learning, inspiration and wonder – and which will provoke conversations that matter.

Listen to the podcast here or on iTunes here.


Heather Heimerl Brunold has been a thought leader in education, specializing in adolescent development and family/school dynamics, for more than two decades, but after completing her doctorate in education from the University of Southern California, Heather became passionate about utilizing her talents as an educator to impact the greater community. Feeling she could positively influence her community’s approach to how we learn, Heather established Words2Action, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage learners, leaders and educators – through spoken word and tangible action – in a united effort to change the world, one idea at a time. Heather is by her nature a helper, healer and teacher. Her passion for learning and her love of relationship building are the reasons she enjoys serving TEDxPasadenaWomen as the Executive Director/Licensee.

Twitter handle: @DrAbbottBabbott

Speaker email:

Stewart Easterby – Three SoCal Start-Ups With Successful Exits: Lessons Learned

Looking to grow your business? Hear some lessons learned from three SoCal start-ups with successful exits: TrueCar (IPO 2014), Overture Services (IPO 1999 and sold to Yahoo in 2003) and Hot Topic (IPO 1996 and sold to private equity firm in 2013).


Stewart Easterby has served as an executive for three $1 billion+ market cap, fast-growing, publicly-traded Internet companies. He currently is an advisor to CEOs and management teams of early stage technology companies. Previously, he was the Chief Operating Officer of TrueCar, Inc., an online car buying platform. Stewart was also responsible for North American advertising sales operations at Yahoo! Inc. and Overture Services, Inc. (paid search pioneer acquired by Yahoo for $1.8 billion in 2003). He has also served as a venture capitalist and U.S. Navy SEAL. Stewart earned a BS in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, BAS in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and MBA from UCLA Anderson.

Business Advice from the Minds Behind Blaze Pizza

The husband and wife entrepreneur team behind Blaze Pizza, Wetzel’s Pretzels and iSold It On eBay share some of the lessons they’ve learned and some of the secrets to their continued success.

From its initial location in Irvine, Blaze Pizza has grown to over 200 locations nationwide. Elise & Rick Wetzel, the husband and wife team behind not only Blaze Pizza, but Wetzel’s Pretzels and iSold It On eBay, share some of the lessons they’ve learned in their years creating and running businesses, as well as some advice on how to avoid early pitfalls with your own young businesses.

The first Blaze Pizza restaurant opened on Aug. 6, 2012, in Irvine, Calif., and quickly gained attention for its chef-driven recipes, thoughtful interior design, and a service culture that celebrates individuality. Recently named ‘#1 Brand of the Year’ in the 2017 Fast Casual Top 100, the fast-growing chain currently operates over 200 restaurants in 34 states and Canada, including the major metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Las Vegas, Boston, and Toronto. Recently the company signed an international development deal that will take the brand to Dubai and Kuwait in 2018. The concept is backed by private equity firm Brentwood Associates and founding investors that include LeBron James, Maria Shriver, movie producer John Davis and Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner.


Elise & Rick Wetzel are longtime Pasadena residents. After attending business school, they both worked in brand management at Nestle before embarking on their entrepreneurial careers. Blaze Pizza is their third start-up, following Wetzel’s Pretzels and iSold It on eBay.



Twitter: @blazepizza

Instagram: @blazepizza