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First Look SoCal Innovation Showcase 2024

May 21 @ 1:00 pm 8:00 pm

The First Look SoCal Innovation Showcase is an annual celebration of the best early-stage teams commercializing deep tech and life science breakthroughs from the top research institutions in Southern California. This is the premiere gathering that celebrates research-based spinouts and connects them with top-tier investors and successful serial entrepreneurs with expertise to help them leap from the lab to market. 

The day’s program will feature a pair of keynote presentations followed by a full program of 24 quick-pitch presentations with investor-led Q&A. Stay for the networking reception to (re)connect with the community.

Limited seats available for a special pre-event founder workshop on Protecting and Commercializing Intellectual Property. More details below. 

Look Forward To…

Connect with investors, peers, and mentors

Unparalleled opportunities to connect with investors, mentors and other support resources crucial for early stage startups. Past years attracted over 300 attendees including over 130 investors such as Lux Capital, Alexandria Venture Investments, Kairos, Wavemaker 360, NXT Biomedical, NEA, Elevation Ventures, FullCycle, Aligned Climate Capital, Mitsubishi Ventures and many more. 

Keynotes

The opening keynote from Keith Strier, VP of Worldwide AI Initiatives at NVIDIA who will discuss the implications and opportunities of ubiquitous computing (AI) followed by a keynote from Mike Miller, Director of Product at AWS (Amazon) who will show you how they built a generative AI app-building playground in ‘startup mode’ inside of a massive company like AWS.

Startup quick-pitch presentations

Two concurrent tracks (Life Science and Technology) where each track features 12 startups doing 3-minute quick pitch presentations followed by 9 minutes of moderated Q&A led by a panel of investors, corporates and subject matter experts. See full lineup below.

The largest showcase of university-based deep tech and life science startups

This is SoCal’s premiere gathering of the best startups emerging from the region’s top research institutions so it attracts the region’s community in a rare concentrated program that celebrates the entrepreneur’s journey from lab to market.

Workshop for startup founders (limited seats available)

Learn from subject matter experts in IP law and licensing best practices for protecting and monetizing intellectual property as well as early stage startup commercialization of deep tech and life science innovations.

Networking Reception

Stay for drinks and small bites as we celebrate and connect with attendees and speakers.

Free Parking

Parking is available in the Skirball’s North Parking garage, located underground at the north end of the Skirball’s main driveway, approximately 150 yards north of our Main Entrance. Parking is also available in the East Parking garage, located across Sepulveda Blvd.

1:00p: Pick up Name Badge + Networking

1:30p: Opening remarks and Keynotes: Keith Strier, Vice President of Worldwide AI Initiatives at NVIDIA and Mike Miller, Director of Product at Amazon Web Services

2:45p: Startup Pitch Presentations

LIFE SCIENCE TRACKTECHNOLOGY TRACK
Session 1 (2:45 – 3:50p)Medtech Session 1Computing & Software
Break (3:50 – 4:10p)BREAKBREAK
Session 2 (4:10 – 5:15p)Medtech Session 2Energy & Materials
Break (5:15 – 5:35p)BREAKBREAK
Session 3 (5:35-6:40p)TherapeuticsHealth Tech

6:40 – 8:00p: Networking Reception

Why You Should Attend: 

  • Get a first look at emerging technology with high potential for market disruption and impact
  • Discover companies seeking early stage funding to commercialize big ideas with massive potential
  • See 24 emerging startups quick pitches w/Q&A led by specialized investors with deep domain expertise
  • Unparalleled in-person networking opportunities

Registration

Speakers and Startups

Keith Strier
Vice President, Worldwide AI Initiatives
NVIDIA
View Bio
Keith Strier
Vice President, Worldwide AI Initiatives
NVIDIA

Keith Strier is vice president of worldwide AI initiatives at NVIDIA, with responsibility for NVIDIA’s strategic and commercial engagements with foreign governments. He also leads the company’s AI Nations Initiative, facilitating public-private partnerships that help governments build sovereign AI capabilities to drive economic growth. Strier has 30 years of global leadership experience, previously serving as the first global AI leader for EY and the first global chief digital officer for Deloitte. He has also been appointed to multiple AI policy advisory roles across the world, serving on the U.S. National AI Advisory Committee (NAIAC) to help coordinate the AI strategy for the President; as Founding Chair, AI Compute and Climate Expert Group, OECD, leading development of the first blueprint for building domestic compute capacity; and as the only non-Australian on Australia’s National AI Centre Think Tank. Strier holds a bachelor’s degree in labor and industrial relations from Cornell University and a J.D. from the New York University School of Law. He also served 10 years as a visiting lecturer at Harvard Medical School’s Center for BioInformatics.

Mike Miller
Director of Product, AWS
Amazon
View Bio
Mike Miller
Director of Product, AWS
Amazon

Mike Miller is a Director of Product Management at AWS, leading multiple initiatives across AWS focusing on Generative AI. In November of 2023, his team launched PartyRock, an Amazon Bedrock Playground, a fun, intuitive, and hands-on generative AI app-building playground – no coding skills required. Mike previously led the AWS AI & ML Thought Leadership team, who brought AWS DeepLens, AWS DeepRacer, and AWS DeepComposer to developers worldwide, helping aspiring machine learning developers get hands-on with the latest technologies. In 2020 Mike’s team launched AWS Panorama, a service that allows organizations to bring computer vision (CV) to on-premises cameras to make predictions locally with high accuracy and low latency. Mike has been with Amazon for over eleven years, previously leading product management for Fire TV at Lab126 before joining Amazon Web Services. Mike has over 30 years of technology experience from startups to large corporations, including leadership roles at Google, OnLive, Motive, and Trilogy, spanning Silicon Valley and Austin, TX. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from MIT in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

PRESENTING STARTUPS

Selection Committee

Thank you to the following members of the ecosystem who lent their subject matter expertise to evaluate the Life Science applicants. Criteria used were 1) novelty/quality of the solution/invention 2) size of commercial opportunity and/or overall potential and 3) do they fit the First Look SoCal mission of showcasing breakthrough innovations emerging from SoCal institutions. The final 12 startups were ultimately chosen by Alliance for SoCal Innovation staff using the feedback provided by the Selection Committee.

Allen Keel, Senior Director, Innovation at Edwards Lifesciences
Beth Andrews, Chief Digital Health Officer at Dell Technologies
Chris Bostick, Partner at OCV
Chris Lew, Principal at Rock Health Advisory
Dave Whelan, Managing Director at Bespoke Strategy
David H. Crean, Managing Partner at Coast BioVentures LLC
Debbie Lin, Venture Partner at T.Rx Cap
Jay Goss, General Partner at Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health
Kathryn Zavala, Chief Operating Officer at MedTech Innovator

Meet the "Judges"

Representatives of industry (VCs, corporate leaders) with domain expertise in frontier tech and life science innovation.

Brian Wayne

Managing Partner & Co-Founder CurvePoint Capital

Bio
Stephanie Gonzales

Strategic Innovation and Care Solutions Director Kaiser Permanente

Bio
Tari Suprapto

Director, Search and Evaluation (West) Novo Nordisk

Bio
Kate Avaline Edwards

Early Stage VC/Startup Business Development AWS, Amazon

Bio
Duncan Huston-Paterson

Director of Business Development Amgen

Bio
Beth Andrews

Chief Digital Health Officer, Life Sciences and Healthcare Dell Technologies

Bio
Aiden Aceves

Vice President, Investments Insight Partners

Bio
Tad Funahashi, MD

Chief Innovation and Transformation Officer Kaiser Permanente of Southern California

Bio
Allen Keel

Senior Director of Strategic Innovation, Advanced Technology Edwards Lifesciences

Bio
Tulsi Patel

Head of LA Office FedTech

Bio
Zafer Sahinoglu

VP Innovation, GM – Mitsubishi Electric Innovation Center MELIC – Mitsubishi Electric Innovation Center

Bio
Kathyrn Zavala

COO and Managing Director, Biotools Innovator MedTech Innovator

Bio
Farahnaz Forozan

President / CEO Forozan OncoGen Consulting

Bio
Eric Lee

Senior Vice President Aligned Climate Capital

Bio
Katie Vasquez

Investor Calibrate Ventures

Bio
Roberto Medrano

CEO Beach View Capital

Bio
David Crean

Managing Partner Cardiff Advisory, LLC

Bio
Les Karpas

Inception Partner Manager, Robotics, Automotive & Manufacturing NVIDIA

Bio
Ken Hayes

Executive Director Cleantech Open

Bio
Howard Ko

Partner Morpheus Ventures

Bio
Ahmed Mirza

Investor Techstars

Bio
Erik Gonzalez-Leon

Analyst Propel Bio Partners

Bio
Lucy Abgaryan

Founder GrittGene Therapeutics

Bio
Steven Chin

Regional Director of Neonatology Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Bio
Leanna Levine

President & CEO ALine, Inc.

Bio
Ivan Markman
Iván Markman

Startup Advisor, Angel Investor Former CBO at Yahoo!

Bio
Dave Whelan

Managing Director Bespoke Business Strategy Inc.

Bio

Brian Wayne

Managing Partner & Co-Founder CurvePoint Capital

Brian is the Managing Partner & Co-Founder of CurvePoint Capital, a growth stage climate tech investment firm. CurvePoint focuses on investing in broadscale decarbonization themes through technology companies across areas of the built environment, distributed energy resources and advanced materials.

Prior to founding CurvePoint, Brian was the co-founder of the Aegon Climate Capital strategy at Aegon Asset Management, with a thesis of investing in companies solving the world’s most pressing issues related to the environment and society. Brian joined Aegon in 2017 to lead the design, development, and commercialization of numerous global investment businesses, with a specific emphasis on sustainability and impact-related solutions and was the co-chair of Aegon’s US Social Responsibility Committee.

Prior to Aegon, Brian spent a decade at Congress Asset Management investing in private equity and venture capital and was head of product strategy, deploying in excess of $1 billion across innovative ventures.

Brian also is the co-founder of The Water Genome. A 501(c)3 non-profit impact studio that focuses on identifying and catalyzing water technologies to solve health and climate resilience issues.

He is a member of The Milken Institute’s Young Leaders Circle, an expert advisor at AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles, and a startup mentor to the gener8tor sustainability program.

Stephanie Gonzales

Strategic Innovation and Care Solutions Director Kaiser Permanente

Stephanie is the Strategic Innovation and Care Solutions Director for the Kaiser Permanente Care Transformation Office. Her team of physician leaders, designers, and consultants explore new possibilities and create care systems, leveraging technologies, clinical expertise, and human-centered design. The team is tasked with transforming healthcare delivery through virtual care, analytics, and artificial intelligence advancements. Stephanie is responsible for collaborating with multiple leaders to set the strategic roadmap, oversee operational execution, bring innovation to scale, and transform healthcare ideas into real-world solutions.

Prior to this role, Stephanie served as the founding Administrator for the Regional Virtual Medical Center Clinical Operations team and has over 15 years of operational experience in ambulatory and acute care settings. During her tenure with Kaiser Permanente, she has successfully created high-performing teams and executed new and innovative ideas.

Stephanie earned her MPH from UCLA

Tari Suprapto

Director, Search and Evaluation (West) Novo Nordisk

About Tari Suprapto

Tari Suprapto, Ph.D., RTTP is a seasoned technology commercialization professional in the life sciences. She is currently the Director for Search & Evaluation for Western US and Canada for Novo Nordisk, and previously was part of the External Innovation team at Elanco. Tari spent over 15 years commercializing innovations from world-class research institutions such as the Salk Institute, The Rockefeller University, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.  Tari has extensive experience in licensing, building and managing strategic alliances, and a strong scientific background in a variety of therapeutic areas evidenced by her Ph.D. in cell biology from The Rockefeller University and an Honors B.A. from Swarthmore College.  Tari is also a member of BIOCOM’s Capital Development Committee and serves on the Board of the Association for University Technology Managers, the San Diego Innovation Council, and official advisor to Founders Corner Venture Capital in San Diego.

Kate Avaline Edwards

Early Stage VC/Startup Business Development AWS, Amazon

Kate was the first employee at Amp, an internal live audio startup funded within Amazon Music. Kate helped grow the Amp team from 2 to 300 employees and managed 4 customer-facing teams as the Head of Creator Services. Amp, which was greenlit by Jeff Bezos in 2020, was a consumer app that enabled music-lovers to host their own live radio shows featuring licensed music and their own commentary. Think Twitch, but for music aficionados rather than gamers.

Kate was previously the co-founder and COO of Heartbeat a B2B marketing software and B2C creator app that was the technology backbone behind tens of thousands of sponsored content posts on Instagram, TikTok, and beyond. Heartbeat went through the Techstars Los Angeles Accelerator program in Summer 2017, raised $5M in venture funding, and worked with over 400 DTC clients, as well as Disney, P&G, Bose, and Dunkin.

As COO of Heartbeat, Kate led business operations, OKR implementation, product monetization, and directly built and managed Sales, Operations, and Customer Success teams. She ran the full P&L including financial projections, sales forecasting, cash management, and pricing, and provided operational oversight across Product, Marketing, and Engineering teams. Kate is now part of AWS Startup Business Development, a team of former startup founders, investors, and executives with one main goal: help startups succeed. She has been the Entrepreneur-in-Residence for Techstars LA and Techstars Iowa, was rated a Techstars Top 1% mentor, and runs a slack group focused on supporting women founders. She lives in LA with her son, Wolf, and her partner, who she unsurprisingly also met at a startup.

Duncan Huston-Paterson

Director of Business Development Amgen

About Duncan Huston-Paterson

Duncan Huston-Paterson is a member of the Technology Business Development group. Duncan focuses on scouting and deal-making to access innovative technologies and platforms that enable the next generation of therapeutics at Amgen. Prior to joining Amgen in 2020, Duncan spent 4 years at Integral Molecular where he led a team that developed, launched, and commercialized a novel target discovery platform, resulting in multiple partnerships with large Pharma. Duncan grew up in South Africa and completed his early scientific training at University of Pretoria, before going on to receive his DPhil at Oxford University in the UK, where he studied the biochemical determinants of bird flu transmission to humans.

Beth Andrews

Chief Digital Health Officer, Life Sciences and Healthcare Dell Technologies

About Beth Andrews

Allen currently serves as the Senior Director of Innovation for Edwards Lifesciences’ Advanced Technology Incubator. In his role, he brings marketing, engineering, and clinical functions together to discover and build the next wave of groundbreaking products for the future of Edwards, leading a team to build and implement the strategy for needs-driven innovation. The incubator is deeply dedicated to solving complex challenges in order to transform cardiovascular treatment and significantly improve patients’ lives around the world. Prior to Edwards, Allen spent time in product management and R&D roles in various medtech industries ranging from digital health (Verily / Google Life Sciences) to cardiac rhythm management (St. Jude Medical), as well as a stint in management consulting with PwC’s medtech strategy & operations practice. In terms of educational background, he holds an MBA from UC-Berkeley (Haas School of Business) and MS/BS in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

Aiden Aceves

Vice President, Investments Insight Partners

Aiden Aceves is a Vice President on the investments team at Insight. He joined the firm in 2021 to focus on investments in therapeutics and enabling technologies. Aiden was previously an associate at Vida Ventures, where he worked in the firm’s LA office making investments in innovative cell and gene therapy companies. Prior to becoming an investor, Aiden worked on founding and operating biotechnology companies in San Diego California, where he is based.

Aiden traces his academic lineage to Caltech, where he earned his doctorate in the lab of Dr. Steven Mayo, a leader in the space of computational protein engineering. Aiden received his B.S. in synthetic chemistry from the University of California, Riverside.

Tad Funahashi, MD

Chief Innovation and Transformation Officer Kaiser Permanente of Southern California

Tad Funahashi, MD is the Chief Innovation Officer for Kaiser Permanente Southern California. In this role, he leads a team of physicians, consultants, designers, data scientists, and engineers​ who work together with teams and leaders across Kaiser Permanente ​to envision and build the healthcare delivery system of the future at the Kaiser Permanente Innovations Studio. Dr. Funahashi and the Innovation Studio take a people-first approach to healthcare to enhance the member experience by improving care across the continuum, leveraging big data to provide personalized and improved quality of care, and exploring merging opportunities that have transformative potential.

Dr. Funahashi maintains a busy clinical and teaching practice in orthopedic surgery and is a Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at University of California Irvine College of Medicine. Dr. Funahashi also founded and chairs the Kaiser Permanente National Implant Registries that currently tracks the safety and outcomes of over 3.2 million implants ranging from orthopedics and cardiology to vascular surgery. He has given hundreds of presentations across the country and internationally and has authored more than 60 papers in publications such as the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, American Journal of Sports Medicine, Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics, and Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. Dr. Funahashi is a diplomat of the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, and an active fellow of the American Orthopedic Association, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy Association of North America, and a member of the Orange County Medical Association. He served as the Chief of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery in Kaiser Permanente Orange County from 1994 to 2012, the Regional Chief of Orthopedic Surgery from 2004 to 2012, Chaired the National Chiefs of Orthopedic Surgery from 2004 to 2012, and an Assistant Area Medical Director from 1998 to 2012. He earned his medical degree and completed his orthopedic residency at UCLA School of Medicine.

Allen Keel

Senior Director of Strategic Innovation, Advanced Technology Edwards Lifesciences

Allen currently serves as the Senior Director of Innovation for Edwards Lifesciences’ Advanced Technology Incubator. In his role, he brings marketing, engineering, and clinical functions together to discover and build the next wave of groundbreaking products for the future of Edwards, leading a team to build and implement the strategy for needs-driven innovation. The incubator is deeply dedicated to solving complex challenges in order to transform cardiovascular treatment and significantly improve patients’ lives around the world. Prior to Edwards, Allen spent time in product management and R&D roles in various medtech industries ranging from digital health (Verily / Google Life Sciences) to cardiac rhythm management (St. Jude Medical), as well as a stint in management consulting with PwC’s medtech strategy & operations practice. In terms of educational background, he holds an MBA from UC-Berkeley (Haas School of Business) and MS/BS in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

Tulsi Patel

Head of LA Office FedTech



Tulsi heads the Los Angeles Office of FedTech, one of the world’s most successful innovation catalysts and entrepreneurial ecosystem builders. There she oversees multi-million dollar programming for the US Navy, Northrop Grumman, and other stakeholders.

Previously, she served as the Director of Innovation and Partnerships for VentureFuel. There she ran accelerator programs for Fortune 500 companies and led executive briefings focused on blue ocean opportunities and startup partnerships. Prior to VentureFuel, she was a Senior Associate at Plug and Play Ventures where she led investments and built multiple greatly successful innovation and accelerator programs. During her tenue, Tulsi worked with 100+ significant global brands, including PepsiCo, Arcelor Mittal, Swiss Post, Tetra Pak, BASF, Ajinomoto, Georgia Pacific, Coca-Cola, Sherwin Williams, and Dominion Energy. As a result, Tulsi has cultivated a nuanced skillset and extensive network of technology and innovation subject matter experts, including top tier investors, Fortune 500 companies, and emerging startups.

Zafer Sahinoglu

VP Innovation, GM – Mitsubishi Electric Innovation Center MELIC – Mitsubishi Electric Innovation Center

Dr. Zafer Sahinoglu is currently the General Manager of Mitsubishi Electric Innovation Center (MELIC Ventures), which was launched in April 2020 as the innovation and investment arm of Mitsubishi Electric in North America. He is also serving as VP Innovation at Mitsubishi Electric US (MEUS). In MEUS, he has developed and launched SaaS businesses and new products in the fields of energy management, infrastructure monitoring, touchless interfaces, connected vehicles. He has led and managed product design and agile product development, built new business models, developed technology strategies, and bundled these steps into customized processes with continuous innovation.

Zafer was a senior principal research scientist in MERL between 2001 and 2016. In his MERL years, he was an inventor on more than 80 patents, co-authored more than 100 international journal and conference papers, made more than 50 key contributions to international standards including ZigBee, IEEE 802.15.4a UWB PHY and MAC, IEEE 802.15.4e MAC, and MPEG 21. His technical expertise includes deep learning, stochastic signal processing, space-time adaptive processing, ultra-wideband and OFDMA wireless communications, and indoor localization and tracking, biomedical signal processing, and Li-ion battery modeling. He has written two books on wireless communication and localization systems published by Cambridge University Press.

Kathyrn Zavala

COO and Managing Director, Biotools Innovator MedTech Innovator

Kathryn Zavala, PhD, is Chief Operating Officer of MedTech Innovator, the largest accelerator of medical devices in the world. In 2016, she helped spin the nonprofit entity out of the venture capital firm where it was founded and has been instrumental in expanding the organization. To date, MedTech Innovator has supported 612 alumni that have gone on to raise over $7.8 billion in follow-on equity funding and achieved 45 exits. In 2021, Kathryn launched and now serves as Managing Director of BioTools Innovator, a new program powered by MedTech Innovator to support life science tools.
Kathryn previously held positions at the UCLA Technology Development Group, where she assisted with the commercialization of university technologies, and at Campbell Alliance (now Syneos Health), where she developed launch strategies for biopharma clients. Kathryn received a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cell Biology and Rhetoric from UC Berkeley and a PhD in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology from UCLA.

Farahnaz Forozan

President / CEO Forozan OncoGen Consulting

Farahnaz Forozan is a Clinical Ph.D., with 20+ years of global experience in the life sciences industry & proven track record having contributed to the development, approval, & post-marketing launch of more than 15 marketed products & more than 30 global programs in various stages of clinical development. She is the Founder & President of Vash ImmOnc, LLC; a global, virtual consulting firm that provides strategic, regulatory, & technical support to clients across the healthcare sector, inducing biotech, pharma, VCs, investment firms, family offices, global consulting companies, platform companies, diagnostic ompanies, KOLs, accelerator programs, incubators, early-stage startups, research academic centers, hospitals, & laboratories, encompassing the therapeutics, diagnostics, & med device sectors, globally including Australia and Asia).

She offers a spectrum of expertise & experiences pertaining to pharma, biotech, diagnostics, med device, clinical development, clinical trials & CRO/Central lab industries with specialized expertise in drug discovery/drug development, evaluation and development of complex R&D/preclinical as well as clinical programs, laboratory build outs, implementing precision medicine, developing global regulatory expertise in oncology, & immuno-Oncology, neurology, autoimmune disorders, and microbiome.

Through extended industry network & collaborations, she provide expertise & develop partnerships & form consortiums, with pharma, biotech, KOLs, research academic centers, device & diagnostic companies, CROs, tech transfer offices, to not only develop innovative scientific programs but also co-develop & launch diagnostics, device, & therapeutic drugs by translating fundamental biology into impactful therapies, de-risking new ideas by bringing them into a developmental pipeline, fast tracking the evaluation with efficiency, ensure the most promising drug targets are rapidly identified & validated,
and advance first-in-class therapies towards therapeutic & commercial success, AND ultimately bring more groundbreaking therapies to patients.

Farahnaz earned her Ph.D. through a joint program between the George Washington University & National Institutes of Health, National Human Genome Research Institute and obtained her clinical licensure in Los Angles after completing her postdoc at UCLA, while serving as Faculty at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Eric Lee

Senior Vice President Aligned Climate Capital

Eric Lee is a Senior Vice President with Aligned Climate Capital, an asset manager that invests exclusively in the companies and real assets that are decarbonizing the global economy and its infrastructure. In this role, Eric leads Aligned’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) analysis of climate infrastructure and venture capital investment opportunities. Previously, Eric was an investment professional at TriLinc Global, a global impact investing fund manager based in Los Angeles, CA. At TriLinc, Eric led the firm’s ESG & Impact efforts across all portfolios and served as a member of TriLinc’s Credit Committee and Sustainability & Impact Committee. Prior to TriLinc, Mr. Lee worked at Sustainable Insight Capital Management, an ESG public equities fund based in New York, NY. Mr. Lee holds a B.S. from Cornell University and a M.S. in Sustainability Management with a concentration in Sustainable Finance from Columbia University.

Katie Vasquez

Investor Calibrate Ventures

Before joining Calibrate, Katie was an investor at MTech Capital, investing in early- to growth-stage companies in the fintech and insurtech industries in the US and Europe. She has also worked as a strategy consultant at EY-Parthenon advising leading private equity firms and corporate executives in the software and technology sectors. Fascinated by the universe’s biggest questions, Katie was an astrophysics major in college and conducted research on superfluid dark matter in dwarf galaxies.

Outside of work, Katie can often be found on the ski slopes or at a yoga class. She is also on the board of the LA Chapter of Synergist Network, a network of women in investing. Katie received a BS in astrophysics with honors from Brown University.

Best,

Roberto Medrano

CEO Beach View Capital

CEO Beach View, previous GM of HP Software, CEO Polivec, President Finjan, EVP Akana, Executive Sun Microsystems, ICO Advisor, Board Member. Executive with 5 public companies, 3 of them were private when he joined; 14 companies have been acquired when he was in a board position. Executive in the information technology field of cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, IoT, governance, compliance, software, cloud, SOA/API management and enterprise architecture. ICO and board advisor for several Blockchain, AI and cloud companies.

He is has been an ICO advisor to more than 10 ICOs. Latest projects: www.Etheal.com , VaultBank.io, CapLinked.com, www.transitnet.io, www.BlockSafe.network, www.bonafi.io, www.ipwe.com, www.blockchainbtm.com, and others. He is also in the board of advisors to the following cloud AI companies: www.ContractSafe.com , www.DeepCurrent.com, www.durolabs.co. In addition, he is an advisor to http://www.actoneventures.com/ VC firm, https://www.manhattanstreetcapital.com/about-us, and http://nex3.com/. He has been on the board of directors or board of advisors for more than 20 companies and organizations among others: Arcot (Acquired by CA), Aventail (aquired by SonicWall, acquired by Dell), Encentuate (Acquired by IBM), Netscaler (Acquired by Citrix), Bigfix (Acquired by IBM), AirZip (Acquired by Willow Tech), Confluent Software (acquired by Oblix/Oracle), PivX (IPO 2004), Polivec, Clearpath Networks, Sand Hill IT Security (reverse IPO with EdgeWave), JackBe (acquired by SoftwareAG), NAFINSA, Bancomext, Technet. He has an MBA from UCLA, MSEE from MIT and BSEE from USC.

David Crean

Managing Partner Cardiff Advisory, LLC

David H. Crean was a managing partner with Cardiff Advisory, LLC where he led the firm’s strategic and financial advisory service practice focusing on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and partnering transactions with life science and healthcare companies. For the past five years, he was Managing Director for Objective Capital Partners, LLC driving Objective’s practice in the same domains, and currently serves in a Senior Advisory capacity with his former firm. Dr. Crean has in excess of 25 years of life sciences R&D, corporate development and executive leadership experience in the healthcare and biopharmaceutical industries. Dr. Crean holds FINRA Series 79 and Series 63 licenses and is a Registered Investment Banking Representative of BA Securities LLC, Member FINRA SIPC.

In parallel to his investment banking leadership, Dr. Crean currently serves in leading roles on the Boards of Directors for Histogen, Inc. (Nasdaq: HSTO) as Board Chairman and Chair of Audit, and the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA) as Chairman of Development and a member of the Executive Committee. He serves as a strategic business advisor for several life science companies in the U.S., is a limited partner with a leading life sciences venture fund, Mesa Verde Venture Partners, and a member of Corporate Directors Forum. Dr. Crean is also a contributing author for PharmaBoardroom.com and Forbes.com through his work with Forbes Los Angeles Business Council.

Les Karpas

Inception Partner Manager, Robotics, Automotive & Manufacturing NVIDIA

Leslie Oliver Karpas has a deep product centric background in computer vision, SaaS, digital manufacturing, and robotics. A strategist, evangelist, and technologist with expertise in driving innovative solutions from inception to market; he’s collaborated with such entities as Stanley Black & Decker (DeWalt / Craftsman), Intellectual Ventures, Singularity University, Herman Miller, iRobot, Cirque du Soleil, and the artist Anish Kapoor. He is passionate about innovative user-oriented design through the interplay between digital and physical environments be it computer vision AI at the edge, mixed reality, spatial computing, advanced manufacturing, or scan-to-fit 3D printing; and has been lead inventor on 5 issued patents around said technologies.

Ken Hayes

Executive Director Cleantech Open

Ken Hayes helps start-ups grow, get funded and build value. He joined Cleantech Open in 2017 as Executive Director with US National and Global responsibilities for this established environmental-tech startup accelerator, working with 100 companies per year assisting them gain funding and establish corporate partnerships. Concurrently, he is Co-founder and Venture Partner of Canyon Creek Capital’s Fund II, a VC fund focused on SoCal tech companies from Seed to Series A, with 40+ investments since 2014, including early investments in companies such as Miso Robotics, Relativity Space, FIGS and Jukin Media. He is also a Director Emeritus of the Pasadena Angels, one of the Top 10 angel groups in the US, where he continues to focus on deal sourcing, mentoring entrepreneurs, and performing due diligence. Finally, Ken is a “recovering entrepreneur” who has built and sold several companies in Europe and the USA, in the ed-tech and ad-tech sectors. He earned an MBA at INSEAD, France, and a BA Economics at Pomona College.

Howard Ko

Partner Morpheus Ventures

Howard is a Partner with Morpheus Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Los Angeles that focuses on early stage technology investments. He currently serves as a Board Director of Ingenious.Build, RIZE, and Tagnos as well as a Board Observer at Morpheus Space, Rugged Robotics, RIOS and RapidDeploy. Howard was previously with Mission Ventures, a leading Southern California early stage venture capital firm. While at Mission he focused on investments in software, wireless technologies and semiconductors. Prior to Mission, he was with Salomon Smith Barney in their Technology Investment Banking Group where he was involved in over $3 billion of public and private financings and M&A. Howard has served as co-chair of the San Diego Telecom Council Wireless Infrastructure Group. He was a member of the Board of Reviewers for the San Diego based Center for Commercialization of Advanced Technology, an organization funded by the Department of Defense. Howard holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from UCLA and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Ahmed Mirza

Investor Techstars

Ahmed is an early stage Investor at Techstars, where he helps run the Los Angeles, Healthcare, and Space programs. At Techstars, Ahmed invests in 48 companies a year across six sectors: B2B SaaS, Retail / E-Commerce, Health & Wellness, Deep-Tech, Prop-Tech, and Climate / Sustainability. Most recently, Ahmed was selected to Business Insider’s Rising Stars list of Venture Capital. Ahmed also serves as a Faculty Lecturer at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA.

Previously, Ahmed incubated ideas at Wavemaker Labs, Share Ventures, and Pilot44 by helping the teams bring various concepts to market. There, he partnered with internal corporate venture groups at Fortune 100 companies to launch new products and build businesses.

He’s also spent part of his career as an entrepreneur launching multiple ventures — from retail businesses to digital software products. His expertise in early-stage company building has helped him go 0-to-1 seven times in a span of 3 years. Prior to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Ahmed was an investment banker transacting technology mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and partnerships.

In his spare time, you can find him cycling the sunny streets of Los Angeles, playing basketball (go Knicks!), and building elaborate Lego sets.

Erik Gonzalez-Leon

Analyst Propel Bio Partners

Dr. Gonzalez-Leon earned his PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of California, Irvine. There, his research focused on increasing the functional properties of self-assembled articular cartilage and knee meniscus tissue toward their implantation in a large-animal model. Dr. Gonzalez-Leon was also a Research Transfer Group Fellow at Beall Applied Innovation where he evaluated engineering & scientific inventions from UC Irvine through technical assessment, patentability assessment, market research, and prior art searches

Lucy Abgaryan

Founder GrittGene Therapeutics

Dr. Lucy Abgaryan is a scientist, and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in drug development. She obtained her doctoral degree in Biophysics and conducted postdoctoral research in the field of Experimental Medicine at The Scripps Research institute. Her team’s research resulted in an FDA-approved drug, Ozanimod at a Scripps spin-off, Receptos. Subsequently, two more compounds laid the basis for Blackthorn biotherapeutics (now part of Neumora Therapeutics, Inc), drug candidates for Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials. This prompted her to continue her education at UCSD in pursuit of an MBA in Innovation and entrepreneurship. For the last 5 years, she has been involved in the formation of several startup companies (Biotech, digital-tech, Bioprinting, etc.) in the US, Armenia, and Israel where she performs business strategy developments, operations, market entries, as well as regulations advisory. She founded/co-founded 4 science-based organizations including Proone Labs and GrittGene Therapeutics where she is also the CEO. Dr. Abgaryan is an adviser and/or board member for several tech/biotech companies, investment institutions & educational organizations.

Steven Chin

Regional Director of Neonatology Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

About Steven Chin

Steven W. Chin, MD, MMSc is the Regional Director of Neonatology for the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Section Head of Quality and Performance Improvement for the Division of Neonatology. He is an Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. Dr Chin completed his residency training in pediatrics at Rush University Medical Center and his Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine fellowship training at the Harvard Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Program. He completed a research fellowship in Clinical and Translation Science and advanced training in Quality Improvement and Clinical Informatics at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Chin holds numerous leadership roles at the regional and national level including serving on the Board of the Providence St. Joseph Health (PSJH) Women and Children’s Executive Leadership Council and the California Perinatal Advisory Committee – Leadership Advocacy and Consultation (PAC-LAC). Dr Chin also serves as the Director of Virtual Pediatric Systems – NICU

Leanna Levine

President & CEO ALine, Inc.

Dr. Levine, founder of ALine, Inc., is an entrepreneur, technologist, and inventor. She has a unique blend of technical expertise in bioanalytical science and manufacturing process development. Dr. Levine’s success in new technology development has been at the intersection of physics and biology. She conceived and developed ALine’s proprietary fluid circuit technology.

While at Monsanto, her lab led the industry in the development of a fluorescence polarization instrument and a patented assay to screen novel therapeutics for HSV. In collaboration with Pui Kwok at the Washington University medical school, a novel fluorescence polarization SNP assay was developed, patented and sold commercially. 1998 she joined Spectrum Laboratories as Director of Hollow Fiber Manufacture and Product Development. In 2000 she was the chair of the Gordon Conference on Bioanalytical Sensors. Dr. Levine has served as conference chair for the Selectbio conferences in Microfluidics and Organ-on-Chip for the last several years. Dr. Levine is a reviewer for the NIH SBIR program.
Ivan Markman

Iván Markman

Startup Advisor, Angel Investor Former CBO at Yahoo!

Iván is currently an investor, advisor and board member with a focus on Business to Business, Data and AI-driven SaaS businesses in Climate, Marketing, and Education technology spaces.

He was previously a Strategic Advisor at Yahoo, following four years as Chief Business Officer where he led the businesses representing most of its global revenue and importantly, turned it around and successfully exited it to Apollo Global for $5 billion.

Immediately before Yahoo, Iván was a special advisor to the CEO & Board of Directors of comscore, where he led a significant turnaround rekindling innovation, operational scale and growth. Previously, Iván was GM of Neustar’s Marketing Services business, after its $450M acquisition of MarketShare where he was COO and early management team member. At MarketShare he grew the business and built the technology globally, increasing its valuation 15x leading to two exits. Prior to that, Iván held various senior strategic and operational roles in his first run at Yahoo after joining it via its acquisition of Overture. He started his career in Argentina working in various talent, sales & marketing roles at Procter & Gamble.

He serves on the Board of Directors of the Alliance for SoCal Innovation, a non-profit organization that supports the growth and development of Southern California’s innovation ecosystem, as well as the Board of the Center for Impact at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Dave Whelan

Managing Director Bespoke Business Strategy Inc.

David Whelan is the Managing Director of Bespoke Business Strategy Inc. and offers strategy and operations consulting, including interim executive leadership roles, for a variety of organizations, many at the intersection of technology, health, and wellness. Most engagements include significant project management (of internal and external resources), budgeting, oversight of detailed financial modeling, and development of business and marketing strategies.

He is the former CEO at BioscienceLA, a regional accelerator with all stakeholders as constituents, participants, and beneficiaries. We support a diverse economy, including biotech and biopharma, medical devices, digital health, bioinformatics, healthcare IT, MedTech, synthetic biology, and adjacent industries.

Participating Academic and Research Institutions

Skirball Cultural Center

2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049 United States

Alliance for SoCal Innovation

View Organizer Website