SoCal Venture Pipeline

Frequently Asked Questions

About the SoCal Venture Pipeline

The SoCal Venture Pipeline (SVP) program helps SoCal-based founders get access to sources of institutional capital for Seed and Series A funding. After a thorough vetting process via two committees of experienced investors,  startups accepted into the SVP program receive personal introductions to VCs with a proven track record of funding similar startups or that match their investment thesis.

Program FAQ

What is the SoCal Venture Pipeline?

The SoCal Venture Pipeline is a program developed by The Alliance for SoCal Innovation designed to assist founders in Southern California to access institutional capital. We facilitate strategic introductions to VCs who invest in Seed and Series A rounds.

Who is eligible to apply?

Founders based in Southern California who are preparing to raise their first round of institutional Seed or Series A funding within the next 6 to 12 months are eligible. We cater to various tech industry verticals. 

What are the criteria for a startup to be considered ready for Seed or Series A funding?

Key indicators include a minimum raised through angel funding, product market presence, customer traction, a dedicated team, and a scalable business model. Specific requirements vary for Seed and Series A stages as detailed below. 

Founders: Here’s a helpful guide we wrote to explain the different funding stages to help you determine which round you should be raising.

What are the program acceptance criteria for Seed stage startups?

These are guidelines and not strict criteria since every startup is a little different:

  1. Have ideally raised at least $250K through angel funding and/or friends and family
    1. If not, product in market and demonstrated customer traction and potentially early revenue generation
    2. Proof of Value Proposition: Annual Run Rate (ARR) sales of $100K or more (ideally) and/or at least 100 customer discovery interviews
  2. Dedicated team of 2 or more
  3. Have articulated a compelling market opportunity and identified target customer segments, and early customer validation (e.g. pilots, etc.), for example
    1. MVP built and in use by customers
    2. Proof of a growing customer prospect pipeline
    3. Identified Key Performance Indicators
  4. Raising institutional seed capital of $1M or more with a scalable business model and a Series A raise planned in next 12-24 months.
  5. Based in Southern California

What are the acceptance criteria for Series A stage startups?

These are guidelines and not strict criteria since every startup is a little different:

  1. Have raised $500K angel or seed investment
  2. Dedicated team of 5 or more
  3. Product in the market
  4. Demonstrated accelerating market traction (e.g. revenue, customers, or users)
    1. Annual Run Rate (ARR) sales of $2M or more (ideally)
    2. What makes you the winner in this market?
  5. Raising institutional Series A capital of $4M or more
  6. Based in Southern California

Do I need to be based in Southern California to apply?

Yes! Our program service area is from Santa Barbara down to San Diego and from the beach to Riverside (and everywhere in between). Basically these 7 counties: Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernadino, Orange, San Diego.

Is there a cost to apply?

No, there is no cost to apply and we do not take equity in exchange for our services. Our sponsors and a federal grant cover the operational expenses of the program.

How does the selection process work?

Applications are first reviewed by Alliance staff, followed by evaluation and feedback from our Evaluation Committee to narrow down the applicants to the top five startups. The top five startups that month get to live pitch to the Selection Committee who then make the final decision.

What support can I expect if accepted into the program?

Once accepted, we want to get to know you and better understand your business and current fundraising progress so we can find the right investors for you. Once we have a game plan, you’ll receive strategic introductions to VCs, guidance on pitching and presenting your startup, and access to our network of resources and mentors.

What VCs do you reach out to?

Our program partner has built a national VC syndicate of over 200 active investors (and growing) from all around the country, mostly located in California.

How many VC introductions will I get?

This will vary on how many investors are interested in your field, technology, and market size and traction. We try to make at least three but that is not guaranteed.

How long will it take to hear if I’m admitted?

We aim to provide a status of your application within 30 days of applying to the program. The Selection Committee meets monthly to make final decisions, but the committee may not be able to review all applications submitted in the previous month. If a final determination is not reached at the conclusion of the Selection Committee deliberations, we will notify you of the delay and provide updated guidance.

What happens if my startup is not accepted?

If not selected, we provide feedback and referrals to resources to address areas needing improvement. We encourage founders to reapply after further development.

Can I reapply if my startup has evolved since a previous application?

Absolutely! We welcome reapplications from startups that have achieved new milestones or overcome previous challenges.

How are conflicts of interest handled?

We maintain high standards of integrity and transparency. Any potential conflicts of interest with committee members or founders must be disclosed to the Alliance.

How do you do this for free?

We are supported by generous sponsors and a federal grant that covers the operational expenses of the program. Also, we rely on local ecosystem leaders who volunteer their time to help great companies access funding. Our community leaders and committees work closely with founders and know what it takes to get VC funding.

We are constantly working with partners across SoCal so we can get founders the support they need. This may include local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), accelerators, incubators, as well as early stage funders.

How is my application data used and protected?

Your application data is strictly used for evaluation purposes within the SoCal Venture Pipeline program and is not sold or shared externally. We are committed to maintaining confidentiality and data security.

Investors: Join our relationship network

The Alliance has established a network of over 200 investors who we regularly share high quality startup deal flow for Seed and Series A investors who match their investment thesis and criteria. Join our relationship network to get connected to high potential startups or investor specific events.

Our Sponsors Make SVP A Free Service

We take no fees, equity or compensation from startups or investors because the program is generously underwritten by Banc of California, as well as Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, KPPB, and HVTC. When you’re fabulously successful, we will brag about you.

Lead Sponsor

Banc of California

As one of the strongest and most trusted banks headquartered in California, we have the resources and expertise to help your business grow and succeed.

Additional Sponsors

Meet the experts

The SVP Selection Committee is comprised of seasoned investors with decades of experience in a wide range of industries and backgrounds who help us select startups who are investor-ready. The committee meets monthly to review up to four startups via live pitch and Q&A.

Renée LaBran

Investor and Business Advisor Director at Idealab, Sambazon, TomboyX

Bio
Mark diTargiani

SVP, Startup Services Banc of California

Bio
Ivan Markman
Iván Markman

Startup Advisor, Angel Investor Former CBO at Yahoo!

Bio
Krisztina “Z” Holly

Venture Partner Good Growth Capital

Bio
David Bailey

Founding Partner KPPB, LLP

Bio
Kenji (Ken) Funahashi

Partner Wilson Sonsini

Bio
Jade Tran

SVP, Technology Banking & Venture Lending Banc of California

Bio

The SVP Evaluation Committee helps us review the dozens of startup applications we receive every month to narrow down the top four or five that will be chosen to pitch to the Selection Committee. This committee is comprised of highly experienced investors and startup advisors who know what investor-ready looks like across a broad range of industry and market categories.

Pat Hwang

Partner Heedfirst Ventures

Bio
Jeff Bocan

Partner Okapi Venture Capital

Bio
J.C. Ruffalo

Venture Partner The Cove Fund

Bio
Josh Resnick

Co-Founder & General Partner, OpenSky Ventures; Angel Investor Founder and CEO, Sugarfina and Pure Imagination Brands

Bio
Yash Chopra

Partner Plassa Capital

Bio
Mike Panesis

Executive Director; Angel Investor Steven Dorfman Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Cal Lutheran

Bio
Kei Morita

Partner HCVT

Bio
Scott Witt

Startup Advisor

Bio

Renée LaBran

Investor and Business Advisor Director at Idealab, Sambazon, TomboyX

Renée LaBran is a board director, business advisor, and investor with 25+ years of executive management experience in both start-ups and major corporations, across a range of industries including technology, consumer products, and financial services.

She is also a Qualified Financial Expert with audit committee experience. Ms. LaBran currently serves on the boards of B. Riley Financial (NASDAQ: RILY), where she is a member of the audit and governance committees, Iconic Sports Acquisition Corporation (NYSE: ICNC-UN), and Idealab (the longest running technology incubator).

She is an active investor and advisor to early-stage companies (tech and consumer products), navigating new opportunities from the perspectives of both the disruptors and the disrupted. She is also an Adjunct Professor at UCLA Anderson Business School’s entrepreneurship program, and serves on the Advisory Board of Principia Growth, a late-stage growth fund.

In 2015, Ms. LaBran was appointed by Governor Brown to the California State Bar Board of Trustees (responsible for regulation of CA attorneys) and was confirmed to two terms by the State Senate as a non-attorney public member. Ms. LaBran played a key role in the restructuring and turn-around of both the board and the organization and completed her tenure in December 2020.

Ms. LaBran has been involved in the venture capital industry since 2000, initially as a founding partner of Rustic Canyon Partners (RCP), a technology focused VC fund. RCP also served as the launching pad for RC/Fontis, a growth stage fund focused on consumer products and business services.

Prior to venture capital, Ms. LaBran held a variety of executive management positions at the Los Angeles Times and was a management consultant with Monitor Company US and Europe, working on corporate strategy projects for Fortune 500 companies.

Ms. LaBran is an honors graduate of Harvard Business School and received her BA in Economics from UC Berkeley where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Mark diTargiani

SVP, Startup Services Banc of California

Mark manages debt originations and early stage account creation for venture backed early stage companies throughout the western US. He has 25 years of experience developing relationships and leading sales, business development, revenue generation, and go-to-market strategy for startups, SMBs and public companies. Mark has a deep ecosystem of relationships in the SF Bay Area and beyond.

After teaching high school English after college, Mark entered the sales world with RS Hughes, a distributor for 3M and Loctite. After doing another stint as a teacher, Mark became a fully commissioned packaging salesperson, helping companies like Applied Materials, Codexis and Shutterfly build their brands and deliver their products. He then started his first company helping small businesses who could not qualify at banks to gain capital. Mark worked at TriNet during its IPO and helped build the sales team from 30 to over 300 reps selling into vertical markets. Prior to joining Banc of California’ Bank’s Venture Banking Group, he ran a consulting business coaching startup founders on go to market strategies and sales execution.

Mark builds high touch relationships, getting to know his clients and their businesses. He and his team focus on adding shareholder value for founders and investors.
Mark holds a B.A. in English from Wesleyan University, where he also captained the lacrosse team. Mark continues to be involved in lacrosse as a youth and high school coach.
Ivan Markman

Iván Markman

Startup Advisor, Angel Investor Former CBO at Yahoo!

Iván Markman is a c-suite operator, investor and advisor with over 20 years of experience in Technology businesses driving meaningful growth in diverse situations. He has a proven track record of transforming businesses and divisions into high-performance global organizations through a mission-driven, customer-centric approach. He has worked extensively with private and non-profit and boards where his contributions have included supporting growth strategies, mergers & acquisitions, fundraising and strategic partnership development. He has served on Audit, Nomination and Compensation committees.

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. 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.

Iván received his MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and holds an MS in Finance and a BA in Business from Universidad de San Andrés (Argentina).́ He lives in California with his family and enjoys traveling, hiking, and DJing which was his first venture as a teenager in Argentina.

Krisztina “Z” Holly

Venture Partner Good Growth Capital

Krisztina Holly (AKA ‘Z’) is an MIT-trained engineer and serial tech entrepreneur who has been scouting, connecting and investing in early stage deep tech innovators for nearly two decades. She is an Operating Partner for Good Growth Capital and Founder and CEO of At Large and Dangerous LLC. She’s best known as curator of the first-ever TEDx and the founder of pioneering centers at MIT and USC, which invested more than $5M in early stage ideas and launched 39 venture-backed startups from university research. Z has deep technical roots and extensive operating experience (Stylus Innovation, Direct Hit, Jeeves Solutions) and has been advisor and board member to two dozen organizations globally, including the Obama Administration and World Economic Forum. When she’s not scouting undiscovered innovators, you’ll find her writing, exploring the southland by small airplane, skiing the eastern sierra backcountry, and building temporary airports in the desert. She lives and adventures from her home base of Los Angeles.

David Bailey

Founding Partner KPPB, LLP

David’s practice specializes in developing and enforcing IP portfolios on behalf of cutting edge technology companies and leading research universities including Caltech, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Stanford, and UCLA.

David advises clients on a range of patent, copyright, trademark, and Internet related issues with an emphasis on: automatic speech recognition, computational imaging, computer architecture design, digital communication, digital signal processing, distributed computing and “big data” analysis, image and video processing, information theory, machine learning data sets, machine vision, natural language processing, perceptual computing, robotics, software engineering.

David has extensive experience in guiding KPPB’s clients through diligence processes associated with fundraising, acquisition and successful IPO. Among David’s current “portfolio” of clients are companies in the portfolios of Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Benchmark Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, the Facebook Fund, Globespan Capital Partners, Google Ventures, Granite Venture Partners, InnoCal Venture Capital, Intel Capital, InterWest Partners, In-Q-Tel, Oak Investment Partners, Momentum Venture Management, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Red Rock Ventures, Rincon Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and Silicon Valley Bank.

David’s practice also involves deep engagement with the copyright system, and he has a specific expertise in the enforcement and registration of software, machine learning data sets and databases, and in negotiating industry standards-based licenses. David also represents the Los Angeles Philharmonic on a pro bono basis with respect to intellectual property matters.

PRACTICE AREAS

Copyright
IP Due Diligence
Licensing & Terms Of Use
Litigation
Patent Protection
Trademark Protection
Trade Secrets
University Tech Transfer
VC Counseling

EDUCATION

The University of Melbourne, Bachelor of Electrical (Computer) Engineering (Honors)
The University of Melbourne, Bachelor of Laws (Honors)

BAR ADMISSIONS

California State Bar
New York State Bar
United States Patent and Trademark Office

Kenji (Ken) Funahashi

Partner Wilson Sonsini

Kenji (Ken) Funahashi is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where his practice focuses on corporate and securities law. Ken works on a wide range of corporate finance matters, from start-up companies obtaining angel financing to multibillion-dollar transactions for multinational and Fortune 500 companies. He has handled more than $10 billion in financings, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and IPOs, including hundreds of private and public financing transactions for entrepreneurs and investors.

Ken’s practice focuses on the representation of technology, life sciences, healthcare, and other growth companies throughout the United States and internationally. Representative clients include software, SaaS, IT, IoT, cybersecurity, aerospace, robotics, e-gaming, AR/VR, and blockchain entrepreneurs and investors in the technology area, and genomics, diagnostics, biologics, pharmaceuticals, medical device, and digital health entrepreneurs and investors in the life sciences and healthcare fields.

In addition to practicing in California’s technology clusters for over two decades, Ken has studied and worked abroad and has extensive experience in cross-border transactions in Asia and Europe. He was previously a partner at one of the largest international law firms in the world and assists both U.S. technology companies engaging in business overseas, as well as Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and European companies in financing, licensing, M&A, and joint venture activities in the U.S.

Jade Tran

SVP, Technology Banking & Venture Lending Banc of California

Jade is passionate about connecting high-achieving innovators with the resources they need to scale and outperform expectations. Currently, she is a Senior Vice President in Pacific Western Bank’s venture practice, working closely with venture-backed startups and the investors who believe in them.

Jade has spent most of her career in the technology and startup space, where she has held roles in venture capital, operations, and executive leadership. Prior to joining the bank, she joined the senior leadership team of technology startup Honey, developing its employee engagement program, developing career development initiatives, and building an international new hire onboarding program for the company as it doubled headcount, before being acquired in a $4B acquisition by PayPal in 2019.

She started her career in technology as a true pioneer in developing the community and platform functions for the venture capital industry, as Director of Platform at Sand Hill Road firm DFJ (now Threshold Ventures and DFJ Growth), and later supporting emerging funds in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

Jade earned an MA and BA in Art History from The Ohio State University. An avid surfer, she lives in Los Angeles, California, and is devoted to her rescue dog, Cricket.

Pat Hwang

Partner Heedfirst Ventures

Pat’s journey in the world of tech startups began during the explosive dot com boom, where her founding team saw an incredible 2,900-times return on their exit. Over the last two decades, she has managed a family office portfolio of real estate, private equity, private credits, alternative investments and venture funds. Pat has invested in many startup companies, her investment thesis is sector agnostic focusing on companies that are able to innovate to solve the pain points of the world. Pat is also a partner of Heedfirst Ventures, a partnership that invests in early-stage companies.

Pat builds from a mechanical engineering background and, in her early career, she managed several space and satellite programs. Joining Tech Coast Angels in 2016, she’s been integral in the startup scene, as a connector, advisor, competition judge, panelist, and executive committee member. She is the incoming president of Tech Coast Angels Orange County in 2024 and on the venture committee of Alliance for SoCal Innovation.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Pat is deeply committed to giving back to her community. She’s involved in multiple charities and serves on the foundation board of two Providence hospitals, channeling her energy into making a positive impact.

Pat finds joy in traveling and playing poker, having explored 43 countries and counting. Through her hobbies, she cultivates her relationships with business peers including founders and board members of the various companies she invests in.

A long-time southern California resident, Pat earned her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southern California.

Jeff Bocan

Partner Okapi Venture Capital

Jeff Bocan is a Partner at Okapi Venture Capital, an early stage VC fund based in Newport Beach, CA. Jeff is an 20+ year veteran venture capitalist and executive in the technology industry. Jeff serves on the board for 11 of Okapi’s investments including: Trellis Research, Chargezoom, Occuspace, TrackStreet, Daasity, WeGive, Network Perception, WhiteFox Defense and Nimble for Good, amongst others.

Prior to joining Okapi, Jeff served on the executive team for 3+ years of one of his portfolio companies as the Senior Vice President of Mophie, helping drive revenues to $250+M and a successful exit to ZAGG (NASDAQ: ZAGG). Prior to joining Mophie, Jeff was a venture capitalist for 13+ years, last serving as a Managing Director at Beringea where he sourced, led, or managed the investments for 35 of Beringea’s portfolio companies and served on 22 boards including: Mophie, eSpotting, MergerMarket, Steak Digital, Sakti3, amongst others. Jeff has also been an active angel investor with several successful exits, with the most notable as one of two angels in Duo Security (acquired by Cisco for $2.4 Billion).

Jeff earned undergraduate and MBA degrees from University of Notre Dame and the University of Virginia, respectively. He & his wife have four kids.

J.C. Ruffalo

Venture Partner The Cove Fund

JC Ruffalo is a Venture Fund Partner at The Cove Fund, a dynamic Seed Stage Venture Fund that is instrumental in fostering the growth of promising new ventures across Southern California. With a robust background in Venture Capital, JC has actively championed community engagement, serving as a mentor and advisor to numerous aspiring entrepreneurs and startups in the region. His efforts have been instrumental in nurturing a culture of innovation and collaboration within the local startup and business community. Known for his meticulous due diligence process concerning emerging Tech and MedTech innovations, JC adeptly translates their business value into compelling investor presentations and lucrative funding opportunities.

Drawing on his previous role as the Director of the LaunchPad accelerator program at Octane OC, JC’s strategic, well-organized, and aggressively entrepreneurial approach has led to remarkable results. Under his guidance, numerous Southern California companies secured over $2 billion in funding and facilitated M&A deals worth $2.6 billion, resulting in the creation of over ten thousand high-paying technology jobs. Notable success stories under his leadership include renowned companies such as Hyperice, Bonti, EV Connect, AtaCor Medical, and Enevate.

Embraced as a vibrant, young entrepreneur with a fervor for innovation, JC co-founded three startups before joining Octane. He firmly believes in the transformative power of fostering enduring relationships between entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors, which forms the cornerstone of successful venture partnerships.

JC graduated from Chapman University Argyros School of Business in 2011, where he earned a degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Entrepreneurship and Finance, along with a Minor in Economics.

Josh Resnick

Co-Founder & General Partner, OpenSky Ventures; Angel Investor Founder and CEO, Sugarfina and Pure Imagination Brands

Josh is a seasoned entrepreneur and experienced investor who enjoys backing talented teams and innovative ideas with the capital and support to realize their full potential. Currently, Josh is Co-Founder & General Partner at OpenSky Ventures, an LA based early-stage VC with a mission to fund the most disruptive new startups in the future of commerce. He also manages a personal portfolio of 50+ companies in Consumer, Food & Bev and Commerce Tools through his family office, Pure Imagination Brands.

Previously, Josh was a two-time successful founder. In 2012, he launched Sugarfina, a luxury confections brand that was named to Fast Company’s “World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies” and “World’s 10 Most Innovative Retailers”. In 1998, he co-founded iconic video game developer, Pandemic Studios, which sold to Electronic Arts for $860m.

Josh has been named to Fast company’s “100 Most Creative People”, Goldman Sachs’ “100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs”, and dot.LA’s Top LA Angels. He is a panel judge for Wharton’s Venture Lab, a Venture Advisor with the Alliance for Southern California Innovation and serves as an advisor to more than a dozen start-ups.

Josh earned a BA with Honors in International Relations at Pomona College, and an MBA at the Wharton School of Finance.

Yash Chopra

Partner Plassa Capital

Yash Chopra is a partner at Plassa Capital, an LA-based venture capital firm focused on early-stage investments across the global crypto ecosystem. Previously, he held investing roles at early stage and growth stage firms such as Morpheus Ventures, Cobalt Capital, and Evolution Media. He started his career at Creative Artists Agency.

He holds a Masters in Business Administration from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from the Olin Business School at Washington University of St. Louis.

Mike Panesis

Executive Director; Angel Investor Steven Dorfman Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Cal Lutheran

Mike Panesis is the Steven Dorfman Professor of Practice and Executive Director of the Steven Dorfman Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Cal Lutheran. He teaches innovation and entrepreneurship in Cal Lutheran’s undergraduate, MBA and Executive MBA in Europe programs. He also organizes Cal Lutheran’s New Venture Competition.

Mike is a startup community leader in the Conejo Valley and Ventura County, to the north of Los Angeles. He leads the operation of Hub101, Cal Lutheran’s community coworking space, and is a frequent speaker on entrepreneurship and early-stage investing.

Mike advises startups on funding, operations, and business model strategies. An experienced angel investor, Mike is Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Governors of Tech Coast Angels (TCA) and was a founding member of the Santa Barbara Angel Alliance. He sits on the Boards of Elite Robotics, Sensor Industries and the Kingsmen Shakespeare Company.

Mike has an MBA Marketing from Rutgers University and a BS in Computer Science for Business from the DeVry Institute of Technology. He lives in Camarillo.

Kei Morita

Partner HCVT

Kei Morita, CPA, began his career in public accounting at HCVT in 2005. He focuses primarily on technology clients, including SaaS, FinTech, and software companies, helping to address complex accounting issues such as stock-based compensation, debt and equity transactions, and revenue recognition under ASC 606 relating to software and non-software elements in license and SaaS arrangements. A native Japanese speaker, Kei not only assists in translating audit and tax client matters but also offers a unique opportunity to help bridge the divide between Japanese technology companies and U.S. accounting and business practices.

In addition to technology, Kei has also provided audit and assurance services to closely held private companies and professional services organizations and served clients in the hospitality industry, including hotels and restaurants. His published articles on accounting topics are often cited in other media.

Kei also co-leads HCVT’s technology industry and Asia-Pacific-focused groups. HCVT partners with the Alliance for SoCal Innovation (“Alliance”) and is a supporting sponsor of the SoCal Venture Pipeline Program, which connects the most promising early-stage startups with venture capital across the SoCal region, and Kei serves as the firm’s representative in the Alliance.

Kei earned a BS in accountancy at California State University, Northridge. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

Scott Witt

Startup Advisor

A serial cofounder and startup adviser with two decades of experience working in the trenches with early-stage founders. His fractal career spans a diverse set of industries, including health-tech, clean-tech, and transit-tech, and many market-facing and operational roles. He’s “the COO who’s mistaken for the CMO.” — Scott is an active mentor and educator in the startup community. His focus is helping founders to think strategically about their markets and to recognize and prevent common startup failure modes. — He has an MBA in ‘market strategy’ from UCLA Anderson, a BS in Computer & Biomedical Engineering from UW-Madison, and a background in the arts. He’s an avid sailor and bicyclist and has too many books.

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