Photo by Kevin Erdvig on Unsplash

After more than a year of planning, our first CEO Summit is happening this February in collaboration with six venture firms who care about founder wellness.

The idea for the summit started when we saw some of our portfolio companies stumble with issues that were neglected during the startup’s early days. As Brian Garrett (Crosscut) recently wrote, “many founders don’t address self-care until their ambition or their idea is affecting their health and well-being in real, sometimes irreversible ways.” It’s easy to procrastinate when you are pushing so hard for growth and your Series A. …

In 2015, we launched a four-month accelerator program called Make in LA to identify and support high-potential companies at the intersection of technology and manufacturing/supply chain.

From left to right, Make in LA was led by the heroic efforts of Noramay Cadena, Shaun Arora, and Carmen Palafox.

Someone has to clean up the mess made by vaping. Smoking was on the decline in high schools until Vaping not only rejuvenated the tobacco industry early adopters but extended their reach into middle schools. With Altria’s marketing muscle and much bigger retail footprint, says Gottlieb, Juul adoption could well erase a generation of gains in the fight against nicotine addiction. One in five people under 30 in the U.S. now vapes occasionally, and a growing percentage of those users are teenagers. We’ve heard from school administrators that students as young as 10 are having a hard time concentrating…

The MiLA team has nearly three decades of combined manufacturing experience touching satellites, rockets, lighting controls, passenger planes, and more. And in the past four years, we have had the joy to share our experience with hundreds founders on their first hardware journey.

One thing that founders keep asking us for is a simple roadmap or checklist so that they are not forgetting anything important. And for years we pushed back. We didn’t think that we could create one. The NEO Tech checklist is nearly 20 pages! Something that long may be appropriate for an X-Band Precision Approach Radar but…

Hint: A trail blazing founder with a game changing product helps.

Thesis Couture is building a fashion house with deep capabilities in design, engineering, and manufacturing without sacrificing style. The founder Dolly Singh is a strong, confident, intelligent leader. Over several meetings, conversations and through due diligence we discovered that she embodies the qualities we look for in an entrepreneur (e.g. curious, principled, creative, etc.). And that Thesis has the potential to realize their vision of becoming the “Nike” for Women.

#FounderFriday — Meet Will Blanchard, CEO & Co-Founder of CyberPowered Home, that builds smart energy management systems for seamless energy savings and actionable appliance use analytics.

Will’s role, as he describes it, is to “build strategy and product vision while leading business execution (hiring, fundraising, customer discovery, etc.).”

Will Blanchard


What did you think you wanted to be when you were in HS?

I had no idea. I had some great science teachers and enjoyed math, but didn’t want to do research. Near the end of high school, I started considering engineering management and perhaps eventually entrepreneurship.

What did you…

#FounderFriday — Meet Minh Chau, Co-Founder/CEO of Radii Robotics, a Los Angeles based aerial robotics platform for the structural inspection of high altitude commercial assets applicable to industries such as aviation, petrochemical, commercial shipping, and wind energy.

Minh’s role, as he describes it, is to “be our team’s head coach, quarterback, cheerleader, and occasional mascot when needed. “

Minh Chau


What did you think you wanted to be when you were in HS?

As a sophomore in high school, I read “Liars Poker” by Michael Lewis and knew I wanted to pursue a career on Wall Street.

What did you…

#FounderFriday — Meet Allen Nikka, Co-Founder and CTO of CyberPowered Home, a St. Louis, MO, based company building a predictive contextual model that automatically controls devices in the home to reduce wasted energy use.

As he describes it, Allen’s role is to oversee engineering design (hardware, embedded software, and server side software), pitching to investors, fundraising, and business development. In a nutshell, basically everything.

Allen Nikka


What did you think you wanted to be when you were in HS?

I really didn’t know, but was undoubtedly toying with the idea of being a doctor. I thought that it would be…

#FounderFriday — Meet Richard Hamilton, CEO of Prosper eDNA, a Los Angeles, CA based company providing science-based lifestyle solutions to help people live stronger, longer lives.

As he describes it, Richard’s role is as a husband, father, and entrepreneur.

Rich Hamilton


What did you think you wanted to be when you were in HS?

A veterinarian

What did you study in college and what was your first job?

Biology and chemistry.

First job was as a horse drawn carriage driver in Lake George, NY.

What did you do in your previous life, prior to founding Prosper?

Student, investor, entrepreneur.


#FounderFriday — Meet Anshuo (Ash) Liu, Cofounder & CTO of Radii Robotics, helping turn the concept of autonomous inspection through aerial robotics into reality.


What did you think you wanted to be when you were in HS?

Pilot, Engineer, Historian, Soccer star.

MiLA Capital

The SoCal epicenter of hardware entrepreneurship and innovation. Partnered w/ @ToolboxLA @NEOSolves #CSUN and @1111_ACC.

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