how tech is propelling entertainment

A look at tech and entertainment — and how the merger of the two has

manifested itself in different ways (i.e. MCNs (multi-channel networks) on

YouTube, publications like Smashd that examine tech and culture, and even

the Hollywood studio system looking at virtual reality as a future for

film). What VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) could bring to

the table for entertainment, the arts, politics, and advertising.

Lori Kozlowski is a writer, editor, and media executive in

Los Angeles. She has worked at the intersection of tech, art, and

entertainment, exploring how tech is changing culture.

She is producing a VR film series, which examines social justice and human

rights issues. She co-founded the tech and culture publication Smashd at

music management firm Atom Factory. Prior to Atom Factory, she was an

editor and columnist for Forbes, covering tech, startups, and

entrepreneurs. Before Forbes, she was a senior editor at the Los Angeles

Times, overseeing digital strategy, mobile, and emerging platforms.


The Ups and Downs of a VC-backed Start-up

“Founding to Exit – The Ups and Downs of a VC-backed Start-up”

Tracy will provide the story behind

·  Founding the company in the late ‘90s at Idealab

·  Raising $ pre- and post- bubbles

·  Restructuring and profitability

·  Re-capping and pivoting the business

·  The Exit ups and downs


Tracy Randall is a technology-focused entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in consumer products, retail, e-commerce and B2B platforms. Currently, she is advising a number of early stage technology businesses in LA.

Tracy was the CEO and co-Founder of, a B2B2C e-commerce business founded in 1998 with Idealab. Target acquired in 2013.

Prior to, Tracy worked at Disney, where she led the Business Development and Operational efforts in bringing Disney’s retail presence online.  Prior to The Disney Store Online, Tracy led the Technology and Business Operations efforts for The Disney Store’s retail expansion into Australia and Singapore. Tracy began her career in management consulting at Accenture (formerly Anderson Consulting) and is an Engineering graduate from the University of Illinois.

Our Craft Brewery Identity Crisis

A growing craft brewery tries to trademark its company name and is DENIED!  WTF?! We’ll tell the story of how Last Name Brewing (formerly Dale Bros Brewery) weathered this identity crisis and turned it into a marketing opportunity.

In 2014, after 11 years as a growing craft brewery, Dale Bros Brewery decided it was time to trademark their name.  But their application was denied by the Trademark Office – there was already a Dale in craft beer, and he had trademarked his name long before Dale Bros came into being.  After multiple trips through the stages of grief, some self-flagellation and a whole bunch of hand-wringing, Dale Bros crafted a strategy to change its name and turn the whole experience into a net-positive.  This talk will tell the story of this transition, visiting all the various bumps along the road, and sharing lessons learned along the way.

Ashley Crowder presents: “The Making of a Hologram: Bootstrapping an AR Company”

Time and talent are two of the most important elements involved when building a technology startup. The former isn’t flexible and the latter isn’t cheap, or easy to find.

Ashley Crowder, CEO of VNTANA, an augmented reality company that builds the world’s only scalable and interactive hologram systems will share VNTANA’s story on how her and co-founder, Ben Conway were able to build VNTANA on minimal investment and turned profits their second year of business.

Crowder will walk you through her journey from idea to conception, and discuss challenges faced, lessons learned and milestones that kept them going. Additionally, Ashley will touch on how brands are using augmented reality to provide customers an engaging group experience without the use of wearables.

The Building of VNTANA and Making of a Hologram:

+ From Idea to Concept

+ How Far $5K can Take you

+ Building a Team

+ Closing Deals

+ Staying Lean

+ The Future of Holograms and Augmented Reality

VNTANA is the first augmented reality company to build an interactive hologram system with social media integration and data collection capabilities. VNTANA’s interactive hologram technologies are applicable globally and across multiple industries including sports, education, advertising, retail, business communications, automotive, health care and entertainment. VNTANA’s hardware and software technology is developed in-house and made in the United States. VNTANA’s technology has been used by many Fortune 500 brands including Pepsi, Microsoft, Mercedes-Benz, Dell, NBC Universal, Virgin Atlantic, DJI, Nokia, Kia, TYLT, Universal Pictures, University of Southern California, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Paul Oakenfold, Mike Rayburn, and Nicky Romero.

The Story of my Cockroach Startup by Max Aram, CEO Pick My Solar

How we managed to bootstrap our startup through two failed fundraising attempts to become the fastest growing marketplace in the solar industry with $1M ARR and 25% MoM growth- all in just 12 months.

It’s said in order to successfully raise money for your startup, you need to have at least 2 of these 3: Traction, Team and Relationships. As first-time entrepreneurs, who just moved to LA, my partner and I had none! We self funded the company from a tiny studio apartment in the valley for almost a year. Joined LA CleanTech Incubator in Q4, 2013, built and launched the MVP in Q1 2014. We closed our 1st deal the same quarter and won $100,000 from Innovation Fund SoCal. We tried to use the momentum and raise $500,000 angel investment but could only raise half of the round from our friends and family. No outside investment! With that $250K investment, we built a team of highly motivated, “inexperienced” college graduates who believed in our vision.

In May 2015, LA Mayor, Eric Garcetti, honored us as the Outstanding Small Business of the year. Right after that, we landed Google as a strategic channel partner and tried to use that momentum to raise an angel round in Summer of 2015.

This time, nobody invested!

With enough money to cover 3 months of payroll, we stepped into Q4, 2015. We were forced to restructure the company, let some people go and reset our plans. We were going to go through a Cockroach Mode! We put our entire focus on ramping up the sales and contributing to the bottom-line. In that same quarter, we earned 50% of the annual revenue, won the 1st place ($50K awards) at Techweek LA competition (beating 80 startups), won the 1st place ($50K awards) at Techweek National (beating 600 startups across the country) and won another $100K grant from Department of Energy’s SunShot competition. That quarter, we turned profit (so didn’t run out of money). Tripled our profit in Q1 2016 and hit $1M Annual Revenue Run rate in March 2016.

And we just closed our bridge round at $7M Valuation!

Engineering Disruption for Positive Change

Alexander shares his journey of building a global lifestyle brand with no formal business education, no money and no business experience.  He covers the importance of understanding your core self when it comes to disrupting a market, living a life you love, and creating positive change through entrepreneurship.

Good Men Project Dreams: Interviews w/Entrepreneurs,”­ hosted by Ken Goldstein

Innovate Pasadena was joined by the Good Men Project for a recording of the pilot for their series, “GMP Dreams.”  “GMP Dreams” is a digital video pilot produced for the web. The goal is to capture the heart of the entrepreneurial mission in a series of short interviews with local entrepreneurs who want to change the world.

The series is hosted by Ken Goldstein, a local author who has spoken twice before at Innovate Pasadena about mentorship and reinvention. Ken is on the board of Good Men Media, Inc. (operating company of The Good Men Project) and has  served as CEO of<a href=””>SHOP.COM</a>, EVP/Managing Director of Disney Online, and VP Entertainment &amp; Education Products at Broderbund Software. In this initial episode, he talked with three diverse individuals who have founded or co-founded exciting startups at various stages of development:

<b>Alan Mittelman</b>, CEO of Eagle Eyes

<b>Aurora Cady</b>, CEO of Rhino Bill and WaitNot

<b>Yuval Selik</b>, CEO of <a href=””></a>

Technology, business models, talent, and workplace culture are driving the lightspeed change in today’s world. Entrepreneurs like these are leading the way toward change and progress. These interviews seek to get at the passion of why people chose to build something new, no matter the hurdles, and why embracing a dream is a MUST among their life choices. We believe our first three guests are exemplary of the values we intend to celebrate. Should the pilot prove successful, our hope is to produce an ongoing series of interviews on a regular basis both within the Innnovate Pasadena community and beyond our geography. Come join us for a unique kickoff and help us make this new show a big success for Innovate Pasadena and The Good Men Project.

Chris Wadden Talks About the “Pasadena Angels”

2015  was one of the Pasadena Angels best years with our 100 members investing 5 Million dollars in 28 deals (14 new, 14 follow on). They had their first IPO (Mind Body) and two other significant exits in 2015.


Mr. Wadden is the Chairman of the Pasadena Angels that invests and mentors early stage companies. Pasadena Angels have invested in over 65 million dollars in over 175 companies during the last fifteen years. The group’s one hundred members have expertise in a wide variety of industries.

Chris is an entrepreneur, executive, consultant, investor, and educator. He is President of Veraison LLC which provides strategic and operating advice to small and medium sized companies along with assistance for debt, equity, and non-bank financing.

Chris has had 30 year career in consumer products with 20 years as General Manager and President working domestically and internationally. He has driven top line growth through aggressive new branded, private label and licensed national product introductions (over 400 new products) and focused marketing programs. He has also developed several independent brands including the” Back to Nature” brand that was purchased by Kraft Foods in 2003. Chris ran Nabisco’s joint venture in the People Republic of China in the early 90’s for four years and designed the market development, operations, and manufacturing plan that are in place today.

Mr. Wadden holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering, Degree in Culinary Arts, and an MBA in Finance.