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We are about to head on a four-month, 48-state road trip to help people across America bring their ideas to life and shine the light on some of the amazing entrepreneurs and communities. We believe there are awesome entrepreneurs everywhere, not just in the places constantly covered by the media. We want to help them, and will.
And you know, one of the communities that has some super remarkable entrepreneurs that doesn’t get enough credit is Los Angeles. There are hundreds of entrepreneurs here in Los Angeles who are building awesome companies, writing awesome books, making awesome movies and are trying to solve important problems to help make this world a better place.
62 63 Los Angeles entrepreneurs we can be proud of. If you or someone you know should be on this list, feel free to comment below.
Jake Wood – Co-Founder and President of Team Rubicon
Jake Wood serves as President of Team Rubicon, the organization he co-founded following the massive earthquake in Haiti. Team Rubicon unites the unique skills America’s returning veterans offer with the expertise of medical professionals; all while interactively engaging donors through social media. As president, Jake is focusing on establishing Team Rubicon’s organizational vision in order to direct sustainability and scalability.
Laura Brashier – Founder of 2date4love
Laura Brashier is the founder of 2date4love, an online dating service for singles who are unable to have sexual intercourse but still want to find love. Twelve years ago, Laura, a hairstylist from California, was diagnosed with Stage IV cervical cancer. The treatment she received for this saved her life but left her unable to function sexually as she once had.
Finding this a difficult subject to broach when dating, and knowing she was not alone in her predicament, Laura Brashier decided to create the 2date4love dating website to help others facing similar difficulties.
Charlie Capen – Co-founder of HowToBeADad.com
Charlie Capen is co-founder of HowToBeADad.com , an entertainment site and dad blog for “parents, soon-to-be parents and people who have no desire to procreate, whatsoever.” The site features running commentary and visual diagrams on the idiosyncrasies of fatherhood, parenting missteps and his own adjustment to having children.
Lisa Nicole Bell – CEO of Inspired Life Media Group
Named a Woman Making A Difference by the Los Angeles Business Journal, Lisa Nicole Bell brings more than 10 years of experience to her role as the CEO of Inspired Life Media Group. Lisa and her team create media projects designed to move the social progress agenda forward. Partnering with brands like K-Swiss, Luna and Bellaboo, Lisa advocates for women in business as an international speaker, author and contributor to the Business Beware television show, which reaches more than 23 million homes.
Joey Flores – Co-Founder and CEO of Earbits
Joey Flores is co-founder and CEO of Earbits, an online radio platform that enables bands, labels and concert promoters to acquire fans, market new releases and promote live events. He was Director of Online Marketing for Mota Motors, a BusinessWeek Top 50 Most Promising Startup of 2009 and TechCrunch50 finalist. He previously led business development for Affiliate Fuel, leading to its acquisition by Experian in 2005.
Sizhao “Zao” Yang – COO and Co-founder at BetterWorks
Sizhao “Zao” Yang is currently the COO/co-founder at BetterWorks, Inc., a perks platform for small and medium sized businesses. Previously, he co-created Farmville, and was the CEO/co-founder of MyMiniLife, Inc. (sold to Zynga Game Networks, Inc.). After the acquisition, MyMiniLife became the common technology platform at Zynga and powers 150M monthly users including games like Cityville, Farmville, and Frontierville.
Josh Allan Dykstra – Co-Founder of Strengths Doctors
Josh Allan Dykstra is a work revolutionary, author and speaker. He is a founder of Strengths Doctors, a consulting firm which helps leaders design energizing work environments. He has an eclectic work background in a variety of industries, varying from Fortune 500 companies like Apple, Starbucks, and Viacom/CBS to startups, nonprofits and government agencies.
Matthew Clough – Founder of Benson Backpacks
Matthew Clough is a social entrepreneur and creative professional who has dedicated himself to helping children get the educations they deserve in Tanzania, Africa. He is the founder of Benson Backpacks, a company that sells backpacks and supports children’s educations in Tanzania with each purchase.
Cyrus Farudi – Co-founder of Capsule
Cyrus Farudi is an American entrepreneur who co-founded Flipswap, Inc in 2004 and Capsule in 2011. Capsule is an event planning and group sharing platform built to help anyone who is planning, attending, or organizing a trip, party, or event. It combines a lot of the best features from evite, groupme, path, and color but is ultimately a unique solution in the market.
Lori Deschene – Founder of Tiny Buddha
Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha, a place where individuals from all over the globe can share stories and lessons about applying those ideas to everyday life. After years of struggling with low self esteem, discontentment, and a sense of powerlessness, Lori wanted to share her challenges and insights honestly—not as an expert on living wisely, but as someone facilitating conversations that affect our individual and collective peace and happiness.
Check out Lori’s talk at IdeaMensch LA.
Michael Schneider – CEO of Mobile Roadie
Michael Schneider is the CEO of Mobile Roadie, the leading self-service mobile app engagement platform. In just a few minutes, anyone (no programming knowledge required) can create a mobile app. The apps can stream video, audio, news feeds, Twitter, Facebook, sell digital content, physical merchandise, and much more.
Christopher Brereton – Co-founder of Picturehealing
Christopher Brereton is one of the founders and lead guru of PictureHealing, a company that develops community, awareness and support through photo sharing on iPhones.
Loren Bendele – CEO of Savings.com
Loren Bendele joined Savings.com in January 2007 as the CEO. Prior to Savings.com Loren ran Teleflora’s Partner Marketing business, selling through key relationships including USAA, UPS, American Express, Sears, JC Penney, American Airlines, United Airlines, Continental Airlines, and other major communities.
Shivani Siroya – CEO and Founder of InVenture
Michael Mothner – Founder of Wpromote
Michael Mothner is the Founder of Wpromote, which with an innovative, proprietary search platform and over 75 employees at the Los Angeles headquarters, Wpromote provides powerful and effective online marketing solutions to over 2,000 clients worldwide.
Jeff Unger – A Lawyer and Founder of eMinutes
Jeff Unger is a lawyer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of eMinutes. Since founding his firm in 1997, Jeff has become best known as an expert on business organizations, including corporations, LLCs, and partnerships. For nearly twenty years, eMinutes has formed corporations and LLCs for A-list movie stars, Grammy award winning musicians, and athletes.
He is on a mission to form 500 free corporations for first-time, passionate entrepreneurs.
Otis Chandler – Founder and CEO of Goodreads
Otis Chandler built Goodreads in 2006 because he believed in social networking and wanted to see what his friends were reading. The site has since grown to nearly 7.5 million members who have added over 270 million books, completely by word of mouth. Goodreads raised a Series A round of funding from True Ventures in the summer of 2009.
Brian Norgard – Co-founder of Chill
Brian Norgard is a founder of Chill, which is a platform that allows you to watch video from (and with) the people you care about. Brian also founded Newroo (acquired by Fox Interactive Media when he was 25) and Ad.ly(the world’s largest celeb endorsement network).
Dan Gould – Co-founder of Chill
Dan Gould is the another founder of Chill and leads the technology team. Dan also founded Newroo (acquired by Fox Interactive Media), Ad.ly (the world’s largest celeb endorsement network) and Corridor. Dan previously was a researcher at the National Institutes of Health and at the Brown University Computer Graphics Group and has won a number of Computer Science awards.
Check out Dan Gould’s talk at IdeaMensch Los Angeles.
Jody Sherman – CEO and Co-Founder of ecomom.com
Jody Sherman co-founded ecomom.com in 2009 out of a desire to help moms with the myriad decisions they face on a daily basis. Sherman felt that helping them sort through the confusing and often misleading information about what is safe to put in, on, and around their families would be the best way to help effect change that would be good for children and also good for the planet.
Bridget Hilton – Founder of Jack’s Soap
Bridget Hilton is the 26-year old founder of Jack’s Soap. Founded in 2011 with the goal of saving lives through soap, Jack’s gives one bar away every time one is sold. Five thousand children under the age of 5 die per day because of diseases that can be prevented by simply washing their hands. Jack’s is hoping to become one solution to this huge problem.
Rebecca Pontius – Co-founder of the Do Good Bus
Rebecca Pontius is co-founder of the Do Good Bus — a transportable community service venture based in Los Angeles, CA. Her background is in event planning and community based projects like LA Guerrilla Gardening and LA Field Day. She’s worked all over the world including the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Hong Kong, and Toronto. Her goals in business and in life are to create community, see it all and remind people to have fun.
Jiyan Wei – CEO & Co-Founder of BuildZoom
Jiyan Wei is currently the CEO and Co-Founder of BuildZoom, a site that helps connect consumers with home improvement contractors. He formerly served as Director of Product Management for Vocus (VOCS), a global PR and marketing technology provider, where he drove product platform strategy and roadmap execution for a variety of small business products including PRWeb, the leading online news distribution service.
Jameson Morris – Founder of Organic Soul and Conscious Box
In early 2010 Jameson Morris sought out to share his passion for natural, sustainable living with world and founded Organic Soul, which in less than a years time grew to become one of the largest organic living publications online. More recently, Morris and his team have launched “Conscious Box” a new monthly subscription service for everyday people to discover unique, conscious businesses they can trust.
Matt Miller – Co-Founder and CTO of CareerBliss.com
Matt Miller is the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of CareerBliss.com – an online career community that helps everyone find happiness in the workplace. Matt is also the Chief Technology Officer of CyberCoders, a leading recruiting firm that places top talent in every job type and industry.
Scott Dudelson – Co-Founder and COO of Swagbucks.com
Scott Dudelson is an internet entrepreneur and the Chief Operating Officer of Prodege. As COO of Prodege, Dudelson spearheads the operation and business development of Prodege- owned properties, including the web’s premier online rewards destination, Swagbucks.com, and The Gift App, one of the most popular virtual gifting applications on facebook.
Dave Danhi – Founder of The Grilled Cheese Truck
Dave Danhi is the Founder of The Grilled Cheese Truck. After being out of the kitchen for almost 11 years, Dave had entered the Cheesy Mac and Rib Melt (the GCT’s signature Melt) in the 2009 Grilled Cheese Invitational. After seeing the throngs of grilled cheese lovers, Dave realized that he a way to get this classic sandwich (as well as many takes on the classic!) to the masses… This is how The Grilled Cheese Truck was born!
Matt McKinney – Founder of TiesForCharity.com
Matt McKinney is the Founder of TiesForCharity.com, a trendy tie company that donates a percentage of each tie sale to unique charities. Although a new company, it is already gaining momentum—being featured in European CEO, Playboy, and Da Man Magazine.
Steven Pressfield – Author of ‘The War of Art’
Steven Pressfield is the author of the hugely successful historical novels Gates of Fire, Tides of War, and Last of the Amazons. He also wrote popular books for entrepreneurs including The War of Art and Do The Work. His debut novel, The Legend of Bagger Vance, was made into a movie starring Matt Damon and Will Smith in 2000.
David Filmore – Writer, Producer, Director and Superhero
David Filmore is an award-winning writer, producer and director. His filmmaking career began at the age of 9 when, using his family’s Hi8 camera, he shot a series of one minute stop-motion films with his toy robots, entitled CLANK. When not in front of or behind a camera, he patrols the mean streets of Los Angeles in costume as HERO MAN, a real-life superhero.
Heather McPhaul – Founder of AgingGal.com
Heather McPhaul is the founder of AgingGal.com, a funny little blog about aging and other inconveniences. As baby boomers begin to turn 65, Aging Gal spotlights issues faced by all boomers whether they are starting to collect social security or, like Heather herself, bringing up the Boomer caboose. Overall, Aging Gal’s focus is not on preaching, but on laughing. Life’s too short not to.
Gregg Spiridellis – Co-Founder and CEO Guy at JibJab Media
Gregg Spiridellis co-founded JibJab with his brother Evan in 1999, back in an era when it was cool to reject lucrative job post-MBA job opportunities to purse dot com glory. Five years later, Gregg and his brother achieved “overnight success” when their election parody of George Bush and John Kerry singing ‘This Land is Your Land’ became a global sensation, leading Peter Jennings to name the brothers ‘People of the Year’.
Isaac Garcia – CEO and Co-founder of Central Desktop
Isaac Garcia is the CEO & Co-founder of Central Desktop. The company is the provider of the cloud-based collaboration software Central Desktop, which revolutionizes how people connect and share information to drive profitable business results.
Eli Portnoy – Founder and CEO of ThinkNear
Eli Portnoy is the CEO of ThinkNear and is responsible for the overall health of the business and making sure the company reaches its full potential. ThinkNear helps you target mobile ads to consumers at precise locations. With access to billions of mobile impressions and cutting-edge location technology we make sure that your message reaches customers ready to buy what you sell.
Tyler Bleszinski – Founder of SB Nation
Tyler Bleszinski is the founder and editorial director of SB Nation which is the fastest growing online sports media company. He is responsible for building the foundation of the more than 300 sites that have become immensely popular with sports fans around the world.
Lauri Burns – Founder of The Teen Project
Lauri Burns is the founder of The Teen Project, a non-profit organization founded in 2007, whose mission is to give every foster child an equal chance in life. As a young girl, Lauri was a victim of an inadequate foster care system.
Chad Kukahiko – Hawaiian writer, director and performer
Chad Kukahiko is a Hawaiian writer, director and performer, Chad has spent over half his life performing in more than fifty plays including two years traveling the world with STOMP and several more appearing in a variety of TV shows and independent films. Since becoming a writer/director he’s launched a production company with his brother Denny and long-time girlfriend Kendall Hawley with whom he’s completed a motion comic, a transmedia piece that was recently featured on Wired.com and a one-man show, and as the Director of Interactive at We Make Movies Chad helps indie filmmakers in Los Angeles get the filmmaking news and assistance they need.
Kevin Fremon – Co-founder and CEO of vibe.me
Kevin Fremon is the co-founder and CEO of vibe.me, a social network that gives you a meaningful, simple, and fun way to share the vibe (sentiment) you get from places you visit, trending topics, media, brands, or day-to-day life.
Emily Scherberth – Founder of Symphony PR
Emily Scherberth is the Founder and Chief Connections Officer of Symphony PR & Marketing, Inc., a marketing and PR consultancy focused primarily on the technology and digital media industries. Symphony works with both established brands and startup companies who prefer to outsource their entire marketing and public relations departments to senior–level strategists who can also “do the work.”
Eric Jackson – Author of The PayPal Wars and CEO of CapLinked
Eric M. Jackson is the CEO and co-founder of CapLinked, a Los Angeles-based startup that connects entrepreneurs and investors. Jackson previously ran the marketing team at PayPal, where he was responsible for the campaign to monetize the online payment service.
Mark Jeffrey – Co-Founder of ThisWeekIn
Mark Jeffrey is a serial entrepreneur and author. He has co-founded four internet companies and written two novels. He is currently CEO of ThisWeekIn.com, a web television network he co-founded with Jason Calacanis and comedian/actor Kevin Pollak.
Jordan Passman – Founder of scoreAscore.com
Jordan Passman launched scoreAscore.com in May 2010, which Jordan started when recognizing a void in the industry for a platform connecting professional composers and quality media producers. He began developing the business model for scoreAscore.com in October of 2008.
Clark Landry – Internet Entrepreneur and Investor
Clark Landry is an entrepreneur and investor with several successful exits and 10+ years of experience at online advertising and consumer internet ventures. He is currently the founder and executive chairman at GraphEffect, a social media marketing company that helps clients advertise more effectively on Facebook.
Paige Craig – CEO and Co-Founder of BetterWorks
Paige Craig is the CEO & Cofounder of BetterWorks, an LA based company focused on “Making Work Rewarding” for small & medium business across the US. He is also an angel investor, board member and advisor to both early-stage consumer internet and new media companies as well as companies in the national security and defense sectors.
Sam Mestman – Founder of We Make Movies
Sam Mestman is the founder of We Make Movies, a Los Angeles independent film collective dedicated to reviving a sense of community within the independent film world. It is a place for filmmakers to build an audience, find helpful resources to develop their craft and business, as well as being a production company actively developing its own content and throwing events and workshops throughout Los Angeles.
Alissa White – Founder of Matcha Source
Alissa White is the Founder of Matcha Source, which an online retailer of premium matcha tea and specialty utensils for preparing and enjoying matcha. The company sells to retailers, food establishments, individuals and taste-forward kitchens throughout the United States and beyond.
Court Crandall – Executive Creative Director at WDCW
The executive creative director and partner of WDCW’s Los Angeles office, Court Crandall spends his days and more than a few nights steering the company’s creative output and trying to improve and differentiate the business. He’s also created a bunch of award-winning “content,” ranging from the DreamWorks hit comedy, Old School, to a children’s book released by Random House called “Hugville,” to WDCW’s first independent film, Free Throw, which became the lead story on Yahoo and was recently featured in Bing’s “Decisions That Shaped 2011.” Court also likes the Red Sox. A lot.
Check out Court’s talk at IdeaMensch Los Angeles, an event for entrepreneurs.
Laura Trice – Wholesome Junk Food Junkie
Laura Trice, M.D. is the founder and CEO of Laura’s Wholesome Junk Food and author of the best-seller, “The Wholesome Junk Food Cookbook.” Her health and lifestyle tips appear in Health Magazine, Shape magazine, and many other national publications. Start-up Nation chose Laura’s Wholesome Junk Food as the nations Yummiest company and she was nominated for Business Woman of the Year.
Mark Gantt – Executive Producer of The Bannen Way
Mark Gantt is the Executive Producer, and Star of Sony Pictures Television’s web series, The Bannen Way, created by Jesse Warren & Mark Gantt. He plays a character named Neal Bannen who is a womanizing, con man and small-time thief who wants to start his life over. All he has to do is pull off one more job to pay off his debts.
Andrew Loos – Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Attack!
Andrew Loos co-founded Attack! in 2001 as a way to apply his passion toward the experiential marketing movement that was sweeping the marketing industry. In his current role as CXO, Andrew has built Attack! into one of the largest guerrilla marketing, field support and event staffing companies in the country.
Lauren Berger – CEO of Intern Queen
Lauren Berger is CEO of Intern Queen Inc, an online internship destination that helps students find and apply for internships while also educating them on how to make the most of their experiences.
Ryan Born – Founder of AudioMicro
Ryan Born is the Founder of AudioMicro, which provides a collection of royalty free music and sound effects at affordable prices. Contributors include GRAMMY winning composers and Oscar winning sound effects artists and production houses.
Clark Benson – Founder of Ranker and serial entrepreneur
Clark Benson is the founder of Ranker, a consumer web startup that is a platform for ranking . . . anything. Ranker is Benson’s 5th startup; all prior startups were successes – real businesses, real profitability.
Zack Arnold – A Mensch making a movie about his best friend
Zack Arnold is an award-winning film editor currently cutting the TV show Burn Notice on USA Network, and his professional background also includes editing feature films for studios such as Fox Searchlight, Warner Bros, and Walt Disney Pictures, as well as many independent projects. He is currently self-producing a documentary film, GO FAR: The Christopher Rush Story, a biographical film about a close friend of his who lived as a quadriplegic with muscular dystrophy yet achieved amazing things and maintained an incredibly optimistic outlook on life.
Keith Ferrazzi – Business Relationship Development Expert
Keith Ferrazzi, the world’s foremost expert on relationship development, is the author of “Who’s Got Your Back,” the #1 New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon bestseller. As CEO of the consulting, training and research firm Ferrazzi Greenlight, Ferrazzi counsels the world’s top enterprises on how to dramatically accelerate the development of business relationships to drive sales, spark innovation and create team cohesion.
Romain Gaillard – Co-founder of The Detox Market
Romain Gaillard founded the Detox Market with Valerie. The Detox Market is a collaborative pop-up store of hard-to-find, best-in-breed eco-friendly brands. Traveling from city to city the Detox Market introduces carefully screened green brands in beauty, fashion and food to the consumer who wants to detoxify their body and living environment.
Kaye Popofsky Kramer – Founder of Step Up Women’s Network
Kaye Popofsky Kramer founded Step Up Women’s Network and currently sits on the national board of directors of the nonprofit membership organization, which connects and advances professional women and teen girls.
Julie Austin – Inventor of Swiggies
Julie Austin is an award-winning writer, inventor and multiple business owner. Her patented product, Swiggies (wrist water bottles), have been a NASDAQ product of the year semi-finalist and are currently sold in 24 countries. She has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX News, along with dozens of TV shows, magazines and radio shows around the world.
Isabel Garreton – Founder of Itsatwist
Isabel Garreton was a social entrepreneur before it was fashionable. Her company, Isabel Garreton, Inc., empowers through fashion. For over 20 years, her namesake upscale children’s clothing line has provi
ded a dignified work opportunity for disadvantaged women from Ms. Garreton’s native country of Chile.
Nick Bicanic – Founder and CEO of echoecho
Born and raised in Croatia (which was then part of Yugoslavia), Nick Bicanic’s love of computers started when he was given a Sinclair ZX Spectrum at age 8. He is currently the Founder and CEO of echoecho, which was created to solve the “where are you?” problem and as a way to use mobile technology to help people spend time with their real friends.
Benjamin Kuo – Founder of socalTECH.com
Benjamin F. Kuo is the founder, publisher, and editor of socalTECH.com, as well as its sister publications, techrockies.com, texastechpulse.com, silicontap.com, and nwinnovation.com, all focused on technology news and venture capital in their respective markets. socalTECH.com is the most respected and most read sources of information on Southern California’s technology and venture capital industry.
Grant Powell – Founder and CEO of Pomegranate
Grant Powell is the Founder and CEO of Pomegranate, fathering the concept of the “network agency” model – a new way of organizing talent and servicing enterprise companies with innovative brands.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.