LA Tech Series


Hear pioneers of the LA pre-seed scene at Splash LA

Meet and listen to founders of LA's studio/incubator model - Bill Gross and Mike Jones

Innovation series by Steven Loeb
September 30, 2014
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Can you believe that Vator Splash LA is just two days away? Have you bought your tickets yet? If not, then make sure to buy your tickets here! They go up on Thursday.

We have an exciting list of speakers and panelist this time around, including  Jessica Alba and Brian Lee, the co-founders of The Honest CompanyScott Painter, the founder  and CEO of TrueCarAaron Hischhorn, the founder and CEO of DogVacay, winner of Vator Splash 2012.  

But the LA tech scene has really been shaped by pre-seed and seed investors. Among the most iconic in LA is Bill Gross, who founded Idealab, one of the first, if not the first startup incubator, well before Y Combinator and TechStars stormed into existence. Idealab was formed in 1996. Its model is incubator-esque in that it also creates its own companies within. One of the first success stories out of Idealab was Overture, which was bought by Yahoo, and was the company that introduced paid search, the business model that Google has dominated. 

The Pasadena-based incubator has created more than 75 companies, 30 of which have exited. Some of Idealab's other notable alumni include Tickets.comPicasaInternet, and

Prior to the founding of Idealab in 1996, Gross also founded a series of companies, including audio equipment manufacturer GNP Loudspeakers; GNP Development, which was acquired by Lotus Software; and Knowledge Adventure, which was acquired by Cendant.

We're super stoked to have Gross kick off the event with advice on how to build sustainable companies. 

Then there's Mike Jones, the founder of Science. If Gross pioneered the incubator/studio model early on, Jones has re-created it with his own style. After a stint as CEO of MySpace, Jones founded Science shortly after he left the company in November 2011. Science is based in Santa Monica and is the only incubator model, save Idealab. 

Science is a new kind of accelerator model, as it is a mix of both incubator and accelerator. It helps create, as well as develop, its own business ideas in-house, as well as acquiring other Internet startups with the aim of scaling them. But it has no set timeline regarding exits or releases. 

Science has received funding from Rustic Canyon, White Star Capital, The Social+Capital Partnership, Tomorrow Ventures, Siemer Ventures, Philippe Camus, Jean-Marie Messier, Jonathan Miller and Dennis Phelps, who put  $10 million into it collectively. 

Some of its alumni include EverySignalHelloSociety and Marigold Media.

Jones will join Bambi Francisco, Founder & CEO of Vator, on stage right after the first round of five startup pitches. He'll be on hand to share his advice on how to present and how to fundraise. Get ready for your questions!

Be sure to catch them, as well as other VC founders, from Erik Rannala, founder of Mucker Capital, rated by CB Insights as the No. 2 most prolific early-stage VC in LA, Paul Bricault, founder of a digital media accelerator; Dana Settle, who co-founded Greycroft about a decade ago. Settle is also an early investor in Maker Studios, which was bought by Disney, for about $1 billion earlier this year; Eric Manlunas (Founding Partner, Wavemaker Partners, formerly Siemer Ventures - one of the most active early-stage VCs in LA); Bill Woodward, founder of Anthem Venture Partners, a longstanding LA-based VC firm, which is counted as one of the most active late-stage VCs in La.

Here's a list of investor firms registered to attend: Anthem Venture Partners,AmplifyBaroda Capital  
Bullpen CapitalCAA VenturesComcast VenturesCore Innovation CapitalCrosscut Ventures
GreycroftIdealabJavelin Venture PartnersStructure VCWavemaker PartnersPlus CapitalScience,
Mucker CapitalWarner Bros.Disney TechStarsThe Pritzker Group, Upfront VenturesTech Coast  AngelsHBS AngelsUTAWhite Star CapitalShasta VenturesSusa VenturesRustic Canyon
WME VenturesVenture51,Epic Ventures and many more including active angels.  

Don't forget to REGISTER before prices jump at the door!

Related companies, investors and entrepreneurs

Description: Name of the company
The Honest Company
Description: The Honest Company (, founded by Jessica Alba, Christopher Gavigan, Brian Lee and Sean Kane, was created to ensure that pa...
Description: is a community marketplace that addresses the $5B market for dog-boarding and pet-sitting. Instead of paying for a crow...
Description: Idealab starts and operates successful companies that change the way people think, live and work.
Description: An online service for parents and sitters to connect through people they know, UrbanSitter makes booking a trusted babysitter as easy as ...
Angel group/VC
Description: Amplify is a hands-on startup accelerator and multi-faceted entrepreneurial campusin Los Angeles.
TrueCar Inc
Description: TrueCar, Inc. is an online automotive information and communications platform focused on creating a better car buying experience for deal...
Description: Name of the company
Bio: Third time entrepreneur. Co-founder of UrbanSitter. Previous start up experience at and Finance/dev...
Bio: ex media guy turned angel/venture investor and accelerator founder
Bio: Scott Painter has started nearly 40 companies – the majority in the automotive industry and has raised over one billion dollars...
Bio: Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Mucker Capital

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