Announcing the Splash LA judges, and Founders' Bundle

Kristin Karaoglu · April 15, 2013 · Short URL:

Judges from Amplify, Idealab, Lowercase, Lightbank, Science, Rustic, Javelin, DFJ and more

Splash LA is just about six weeks away. That means there's just one month left to apply to the Splash LA competition and get in front of some esteemed judges, an audience of some 400 high-tech influencers, and win some cool prizes. 

Also, if you're a startup founder, we've got a special "bundle" called the Founders' Bundle. You can get a ticket for $75 (basically 50% off) if you're a founder of a startup. You must sign up with three other founders to get this deal. You can get those tickets here.

Join the ranks of our past winners, such as Getable, Thumbtack, Udemy, DogVacay, Pokitdok, Apartment List and more. It's free to enter and there's some cool prizes to win, such as $24,000 in free services from Rackspace, two-hours of legal consultation from Wilson Sonsini, two-hours accounting consultation from KPMG, an Apple iPad Mini, free services from Backops, discounted tickets to future Splash events, wine from Manifesto, and more. Importantly, our winners - judges' winner and the People's Choice - will win sit-down meetings with Javelin Venture Partners, Rustic Canyon, DFJ and Crosscut Ventures (more to be announced). 

So who will we put you in front of? Here are the judges:

Ethan Applen, Executive Director, Warner Bros. (Media Camp)

Ethan is an Executive Director at Warner Bros. within the Warner Bros. Technical Operations division and leads Technology and Business Strategy within the Worldwide Corporate Anti-Piracy group. Ethan spearheads several internal- and external-facing innovation initiatives within Warner Bros., focusing on ways to fast-track new and disruptive business models and technologies to prototyping and implementation.

In his Anti-Piracy role, Ethan oversees Warner Bros.’ efforts examining user behaviors online, particularly as they relate to the consumption of Warner Bros.’ content outside of legitimate channels.

Ethan has nearly 20 years of experience in the technology and entertainment space, having worked at multiple start-ups including imeem,, and The Lightspan Partnership, as well as at Fox and Touchstone Television.

David Carter, Co-founder and Strategic Advisor, Amplify. LA

David is a serial entrepreneur and investor. He was Founder, President and CEO of Vertical Technologies, Thoughtstar, and S5 as well as an angel investor in more than a dozen companies.


Noah Doyle, Managing Director, Javelin Venture Partners

Noah Doyle has founded, launched and grown dozens of high technology products and companies in 20 years of entrepreneurship and management of innovation. Noah most recently directed the enterprise product line for Google's geospatial products, Google Earth and Google Maps. Prior to Google, Noah managed the Marketing Strategy and Corporate Development functions at Keyhole, Inc., the venture capital backed company that created the first Web-hosted digital earth model and was acquired by Google in 2004. Prior to Keyhole, Noah helped establish the Internet loyalty rewards marketplace as a co-founder of, the largest Internet loyalty program with over 6 million active members, where he led product management and business development functions from the company's inception through an initial public offering and subsequent acquisition by United Airlines.

As an angel investor prior to forming Javelin Venture Partners, Noah has supported over a dozen start-ups. Noah's board memberships include Nexenta, Queplix, Sociable Labs, Rixty and Nuvon.


Neal Hansch, Partner, Rustic Canyon Partners

Neal Hansch brings over fifteen years of experience in venture capital, technology operations and investment banking. Before joining Rustic Canyon in 2005, Neal worked in the Corporate Development group at Macromedia, where he was responsible for executing worldwide M&A transactions and strategic equity investments.

Prior to Macromedia, Neal was at Technology Crossover Ventures, where he focused on investments in the software, networking infrastructure and e-commerce industries. He has also worked in Product Marketing at webMethods (Nasdaq: WEBM), a leading enterprise application integration company, and co-founded, a start-up that provides popular software extensions for Web development tools. Neal began his career as a financial analyst in the Software Group at Robertson Stephens, where he worked with clients such as BEA, BroadVision, HNC, Hyperion, Informatica and Intuit.


Paul Lee, Partner, Lightbank

Paul Lee joined Lightbank as a Partner in February 2011. At Lightbank, Paul led the firm’s investments in BabbaCo (board member), Beachmint (board observer), Cleversense (acquired by Google), Contently (board member), DoubleDutch, ElaCarte (board observer), EventUp (board member), Needle, OnSwipe, SkyVu Entertainment(board member), and Udemy (board member). In addition, he is also an independent board director for Lifeway Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ: LWAY). 

Paul received a dual undergraduate degree in Mathematical Methods in Social Sciences (MMSS) and Economics from Northwestern University.  


Matthew Mazzeo, Partner, Lowercase Capital

Matt Mazeo is Chris Sacca’s partner at Lowercase Capital. He was previously an agent at Creative Artists Agency.

Peter Pham, Partner, Science

Peter is a passionate entrepreneur with roots in Southern California starting his career with 8 years in the enterprise hardware and software space. Having success in building companies ranging from solid state storage to SAS businesses Peter then focused his time in the consumer internet space, moving to Silicon Valley in 2005 building companies like Photobucket. As Vice President of Business Development at Photobucket he was the 5th employee and was responsible for driving growth to 61M users and leading its $300M acquisition in 2007 to Fox Interactive Media, a division of News Corporation. Peter then turned his energy in helping people save money as CEO of BillShrink from inception to their 1st Million users in a little over a year. BillShrink became TruAxis which was acquired by MasterCard in 2012.

Continuing the journey of building early stage companies Peter was the Co-Founder & President of Color exploring the future of mobile and social interactions through proximity. Most recently he spent time as a 2nd time Entrepreneur In Residence at Trinity Ventures.


Erik Rannala, Founder, MuckerLab

Prior to founding MuckerLab, Erik was most recently at Harrison Metal Capital where he and partner Michael Dearing led one of the first seed-stage focused "Micro VC" firms in Silicon Valley.  Since 2008, Harrison Metal has invested in over 40 companies, including Aardvark (GOOG), DocVerse (GOOG), Heroku (CRM), Manymoon (CRM), MixerLab (Twitter) and ZipZapPlay (ERTS).

Before Harrison Metal, Erik served as global vice president of product management and strategy at TripAdvisor, the largest travel community site on the Web. In that role, he led product strategy and development for TripAdvisor sites in the US, UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain, as well distributed applications and syndicated content on partner sites like Facebook.


Bambi Francisco Roizen, Founder and CEO, Vator

Bambi Francisco Roizen is founder and CEO of Vator, one of the largest business networks dedicated to high-tech entrepreneurs, and VatorNews, which provides news and information on innovation and entrepreneurship. Prior to Vator, Bambi was an award-winning journalist at Dow Jones MarketWatch where she was the lead columnist/correspondent focusing on Internet trends and investments, appearing online and on TV.

She was a morning business anchor for KPIX, the CBS affiliate in San Francisco and made frequent appearances as an expert on technology on CNBC, Fox Business News, and CBS.


Ezra Roizen, Digital Media Investment Banker, Ackrell Capital 

Ezra Roizen is a digital media investment banker with Ackrell Capital,  a boutique investment bank. He is also an advisor and commenter on emerging ventures. He focuses on digital media, e-commerce and mobile companies. Prior to banking, Ezra co-founded and was CEO of Montclare Technologies Inc. He also co-founded and was director of business development for Convoy, which is now part of Sybase. Ezra is the Chair of the UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business Alumni Council.


Heidi Roizen, Venture Parnter, DFJ

Heidi Roizen has spent her life immersed in the Silicon Valley ecosystem – as an entrepreneur, corporate executive, venture capitalist, educator and member of the boards of directors of private and public companies, trade associations and nonprofit institutions.  After receiving her undergraduate and MBA degrees from Stanford University, Heidi co-founded T/Maker Company (an early personal computer software company) in 1983, where she served as CEO from inception through its acquisition by Deluxe Corporation in 1994.  In 1996, Heidi joined Apple as Vice President of Worldwide Developer Relations. From there, Heidi entered the venture capital world, serving as a Managing Director for Mobius Venture Capital from 1999 to 2007.

Today, Heidi is a Venture Partner at leading global venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ).  She is also a Fenwick and West Entrepreneurship Educator in the Department of Engineering at Stanford University, where she teaches the course Spirit of Entrepreneurship.


Rick Smith, Co-founder and Managing Director, Crosscut Ventures 

Rick Smith has been a leader across a broad spectrum of private equity in Southern California since 1987. His professional highlights include:

  -  Co-founded the leading seed fund based in LA (Crosscut Ventures)
  - Advised the leading talent agency in the world (Creative Artists Agency) on the convergence of technology, media and entertainment
 -   Established two of the largest venture firms in Southern California (SunAmerica Ventures and Palomar)
   - Worked for several years with the most successful entrepreneur in LA (Eli Broad), helping sell SunAmerica for $19 billion
  -  Co-founded a merchant bank that bought Steinway Piano Company and Selmer Instruments (NYSE:LVB)
   - Helped establish the Los Angeles office of a Wall Street law firm (Milbank, Tweed).


David Travers, Partner, Rustic Canyon Partners 

 David Travers grew up working every odd job in his family’s business. His admiration for business creators began with his Dad and has grown into a passion for providing entrepreneurs with the capital and support to help them succeed. David’s technology and media experience are instrumental to his investment and advisory work at Rustic Canyon.

Prior to joining Rustic Canyon in 2005, David served as Executive Assistant to the National Security Advisor in the White House and was awarded the Secretary of Defense’s Award for Outstanding Public Service. Previously, David worked on corporate strategy at The Walt Disney Company and helped launch Disney’s credit card business.


Pete Vlastelica, SVP Digital, Fox Sports

Internet entrepreneur and new media executive with a focus on digital business models, customer development, new product development, user experience, lean startup methodology, and social media.

Specialties:Strategy, team building, deal making, and doing whatever it takes to win.


Martin Waters, Partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Martin Waters is a corporate and securities partner in the San Diego office and a former member of the firm's Policy Committee. He is a founding partner of the firm's San Diego office and Southern California corporate practice. He was a partner in the Palo Alto office until opening the San Diego office in 2004.

Marty is a proven company builder with nearly 20 years of experience providing corporate and securities counsel. He has been instrumental in starting, building, and shepherding through initial public offering or sale numerous emerging growth companies in a broad range of industries, including biotech, clean technology, cloud computing, e-commerce, medical device, new and traditional media, SaaS, semiconductors, social networking, and telecommunications.

Marty's practice is international in reach, but he concentrates on leading the firm's efforts in representing public and private growth companies in San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles. He handles a wide variety of complex commercial transactions for clients, including public offerings of equity and debt securities; mergers, acquisitions and divestitures; venture capital financings; and formation and governance of partnerships, strategic alliances, and joint ventures.


Sharon Wienbar, Partner, Scale Venture Partners 

Sharon Wienbar invests in Mobile and Internet companies at ScaleVP. She sits on the boards of Actiance, BeachMint, Everyday Health, PlayPhone, and uTest.

Prior to ScaleVP in 2001, Sharon was Vice President, Marketing for Critical Path and Amplitude Software. She spent most of the 1990’s at Adobe Systems, starting as Product Manager for Asian Products and later led marketing for many of Adobe’s applications, and spearheaded numerous cross-product initiatives. Before her technology line experience, Sharon practiced strategy consulting at Bain & Company for nearly five years.


Michelle Wroan, Partner, KPMG

Michelle is an audit partner in KPMG LLP’s Media and Entertainment practice based in the Los Angeles office. Michelle has extensive experience with media and entertainment businesses and completed a three-year rotation in the Firm’s Department of Professional Practice in New York. Michelle currently serves as an engagement partner on a number of media clients including NBC/Universal, The Anschutz Entertainment Group, Ascent Media Group, and Game Show Network. Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree from University of California at Los Angeles.

She is a certified public accountant in California and New York and is member of the AICPA and the California Society of CPA’s.  Michelle is also a frequent instructor and panelist for audit and accounting courses, including executive education and media industry conferences.

Meet our online judges

Dan Dato, co-founder, Cross Campus 

Dan Dato is an experienced entrepreneur and veteran senior executive of several venture-backed digital businesses. His passion has always been working with startups. His expertise in digital business has taken him around the globe, living in China & Europe, and includes leading The Motley Fool’s European operations (internet content, community & advertising) and founding a digital marketing strategy firm. Dan has helped his companies raise more than $50 million in venture and corporate financing.

Jedd Gold, Founder, CEO, The Kive Company

The Kive Company most recently won the People's Choice Award at Splash SF.

Jedd Gold is a serial entrepreneur who turned to app development to solve a problem faced by nearly every parent with young kids – what to do with all that art they create.  Mr. Gold was previously co-founder and president of an education company, has held senior executive positions in the entertainment and interactive industries, received his MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Business, and is the father of two art-obsessed daughters.


Erin Hakansson, Investment Banker, Ackrell Capital 

Erin Hakansson is an early stage startup advisor with over 12-years experience in business and corporate development for internet brands including Travelocity, Epicurious,, Wired and Prior to joining Ackrell, she worked in M&A and corporate development for the online division of Condé Nast, where she sourced premium content, disruptive technologies and new monetization opportunities, vetted over 300 companies and worked on the acquisitions of Reddit, ArsTechnica, HotelChatter, Jaunted, HotWired and WebMonkey. Prior to Condé Nast, Håkansson spent four years at Travelocity, incubating and leading the business development efforts for the highly acclaimed activities product line. 


Lisa Maki, CEO & Co-Founder, PokitDok  

Lisa Maki started her technology career in 1989 at a plucky upstart where the dress code consisted of jeans and t-shirts and the employees were annoyingly happy about going to work every day. Thinking that sounded like something she could handle, she convinced them -- or they convinced her -- she could definitely learn how to turn on a computer and a career at Microsoft was born. After a successful stint as their Director of Program Management for Consumer Products she took a break to learn landscape design, teach snowboarding in Utah and co-found BeliefNetworks, a predictive analytics and semantic intelligence start up (sold to Benefitfocus in 2010). After recovering from a serious back injury, Lisa and her business partner Ted Tanner founded PokitDok, a social health marketplace where people can find information, share experiences, get recommendations and buy a treatment or service for a price they can live with. And along the way she did learn out how to turn the computer on.


Alex Roizen, Advisor, Ackrell Capital

Alex Roizen is an advisor to digital media, e-commerce and mobile companies in the areas of M&A, finance and strategy. He works for Ackrell Capital, a San Francisco based investment bank but lives in San Diego, splitting time accordingly.


Brian Sathianathan, Media Camp

Brian Sathianathan is an experienced entrepreneur and digital media executive with experience in products, technology and startups. Over the last fifteen years Brian has been working in startups and Fortune 500 companies to bring innovative consumer and enterprise products to market. At Turner, Brian is a part of the emerging technology team looking for startups in the Advanced TV, Advertising & Recommendation space.

Brian is passionate about startups and new products, and his mission is to impart this knowledge to the entrepreneurial community. He is an active advisor and an investor to several Valley startups.


Jules Walker, Director, KPMG

Jules Walker has been working in a  variety of business development roles in the Bay Area for close to 20 years.  With career stints in banking, consulting and recruiting, Jules has been an insider in the rise, fall and rise again of this great region we call Silicon Valley.

In his role as a Director in the Venture Practice of KPMG, Jules is tasked with identifying and assisting the next group of great companies to emerge from the incubators and seed rounds.  Prior to KPMG, Jules was a Principal with the Ravix Group providing part-time and interim help in finance and HR to young companies aspiring to reach the next level of success.

Jules received his MBA from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and his BS in Finance from the University of Connecticut.


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Kristin Karaoglu

Woman of many skills: Database System Engineer; SplashX event producer; Author of Startup Teams

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