August 9, 2013 |
SAN FRANCISCO - The sound system was on the fritz in Russian technology billionaire Yuri Milner's $100-million, 30,000-square-foot mansion in Silicon Valley. Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres had been served. The guests had taken their seats in Milner's home theater. And Ashton Kutcher was ready to screen "Jobs," the new film in which he plays the late chief executive and co-founder of Apple. The audience was a who's who of the technology industry, including venture capitalists John Doerr and Vinod Khosla.
August 2, 2013 |
The gig: Phil Libin, 41, is chief executive of Evernote, which makes apps that let people store notes and other content that is important to them and make those items available across many devices. The original Evernote app launched in 2008 and the Redwood City, Calif., company now has 66 million users. Along the way, it has raised more than $200 million in venture capital, and with its most recent round of funding in 2012 it has been valued at $1 billion. Serial entrepreneur: Prior to joining Evernote, Libin founded and served as president of CoreStreet, which provides credential and identity management technologies to governments and large corporations.
July 28, 2013 |
Diego Porqueras' Deezmaker store in Pasadena is a geeky version of Santa's workshop, brimming with action figures, chess pieces and jewelry. But instead of relying on elves, Porqueras has built his own one-man factory using 3-D printers capable of churning out plastic objects within a few hours. He sells the printers, which go for as little as $650, at the shop, which opened in September in a strip mall. The 37-year-old entrepreneur is part of an emerging industry for affordable 3-D printers.
July 21, 2013 |
The gig: A couple of weeks into his first semester at Stanford University in 1999, Blaine Vess co-founded Oppapers.com, a website to search for essays, reports and term papers. He's now the chief executive of StudyMode, a West Hollywood network of educational websites. StudyMode offers three core services: a website with online flashcards, a test preparation website and a subscription website with essays and reports to assist with research and writing. "We're trying to help college and high school students succeed," Vess said.
July 19, 2013 |
The Bee Gees are playing on Roy Englebrecht's office radio, but the 67-year-old sports promoter has a saying taped on his wall to assure he's not stuck in days gone by. "Don't judge me by my past. I don't live there anymore. " Southland boxing fans know Englebrecht's name. From 1985 until 2010 he promoted a grass-roots staple of the sport, the "Battle in the Ballroom" club shows at the Irvine Marriott. Future champions Shane Mosley, Genaro Hernandez, Johnny Tapia and Carlos "El Famoso" Hernandez all won there - Englebrecht claiming victories too, by routinely pocketing profits that climbed to about $15,000 per show at the end. But the staying power of the quick-thinking entrepreneur - who still works 80-hour weeks in staging more fight promotions in California than anyone else - is about more than just placing a blood sport in a swanky venue.
July 9, 2013 |
It's a common experience in cities like Los Angeles. You raise your hand to hail a cab. One goes by. Then another. You contemplate giving up and heading to the closest bus stop or Metro subway station. And you're left frustrated, thinking that there's got to be a better way. Enter Uber. Uber's mobile app lets consumers arrange for a ride in a Town Car-like vehicle from their phone. Ride-sharing services Lyft and Sidecar operate in similar fashion but use privately owned cars. One plus is that the app allows you to see whether any available cars are nearby and how long it'll take before one can pick you up. Another is the payment system: Funds are deducted automatically from your pre-linked credit card, so there's no need to carry a wallet (a receipt is emailed to the customer)
June 13, 2013 |
When tech entrepreneurs look back at their bumpy launches, a common lament is, “If only I had known.” To shorten the list of regrets for the next Snapchat or Facebook, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Administration on Thursday launched Bixel Exchange, a small-business development center focusing on technology start-ups. The center aims to help the Southland's proliferating new tech entrepreneurs by offering mentors and classes and by advocating for them in government.
May 29, 2013 |
Should you need a license from the government to exercise free speech? The real scandal at the Internal Revenue Service should be seen not as a left-versus-right issue but instead as infringement on the 1st Amendment. The people targeted were political entrepreneurs with unorthodox political voices. More to the point, IRS discrimination was consistent with 40 years of institutionalized hostility by the federal government to such views. Elections in a free country are not truly free unless all voices are allowed to enter the marketplace of ideas.
May 26, 2013 |
HERZLIYA, Israel - High-tech entrepreneur Kobi Stok is chasing the new Israeli dream. The 33-year-old software engineer quit a steady job to launch a Web start-up that teaches guitar playing. In three years, Stok's Jamstar.co signed up 80,000 users, raised $650,000 from investors, and inked a partnership deal with Warner Music to teach songs by Led Zeppelin and others on the site. Next step? Like most Israeli start-up founders, Stok is hoping to sell his brainchild to a large international Internet-based company, preferably at a price in the eight digits.
May 26, 2013 |
Jewelry and fashion designer, celebrity stylist, retailer - Nevena Borissova has worn an array of hats. She also happens to sell chic toppers at her Curve boutiques, known for their well-edited, closet-like mix of apparel and accessories. Fifteen years ago, at age 22, Borissova opened the first Curve boutique on Robertson Boulevard. Mind you, that was after stints as freelance designer of a private-label jewelry line for Bisou Bisou while working at the now-defunct fashion boutique Pupe on Melrose Avenue and then as an assistant to star stylist Andrea Lieberman.