dot.LA Summit: What to Expect When Breaking Into Tech Startups

Decerry Donato
Decerry Donato is an editorial intern at dot.LA. She received her bachelor’s degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, Decerry can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

There is no one secret to breaking into the tech industry, but one thing helps, a strong support system of colleagues and believing in yourself.

A group of powerhouse tech veterans talked about the roadblocks faced when starting out. Grace Kangdani, senior vice president market manager at Bank of America moderated a discussion on the pitfalls of coming up in a fast-paced industry. BallerTV Chief Technology Officer Kavodel Ohiomoba, Zella Life CEO Remy Meraz and Supernatural's Vice President of People Operations Lynnette Scarratt and Elisabeth Tuttass, head of community at Grid110 all agreed that there's no one path to success.


Finding success is oftentimes a matter of seeking out the right people to help you.

"At the end of the day people are genuinely wanting to help people," said Meraz who runs the life coaching platform. "And I guarantee you within two degrees of separation, there's a connection and people are really willing to make introductions and help in any way they can."

It's not uncommon for even accomplished people to feel as if they aren't competent.

Meraz said when she received a call from her partners regarding her startup, her immediate thought was "they would break up with me." To her surprise, they notified her customer acquisitions had soared under her leadership.

"My experiences throughout my life led me to building this. And so when you're living in that space of purpose, where your passion and your skills coincide with a way to make money, then it feels like Christmas every day. Literally," Meraz said about her business.

On the flip side, she and others have encountered those with experience who just don't work out.

"I brought people on that had potential and that were really excited but at the end of the day hadn't done it before. And that affected our progress and our speed to market," Meraz said.

Working on something that gives you purpose helps you succeed.

"You get a different challenge every day. But I think it's a part of the entrepreneurial brain that loves that, that loves that stimulus, that loves surmounting an obstacle and seeing the next one in front of you and putting together a team to solve that next obstacle," Ohiomoba said.

"One practical tip that has helped me is I actually keep a little note section on my phone," Tuttass shared. "Anytime I get any kind of compliment or recognition at work or I did a project that I did really well, I put it down immediately."

Note: Bank of America is a sponsor of the Summit.

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Harrison Weber

Do you know something we should know about L.A. tech or venture capital? Reach out securely via Signal: +1 917 434 4978.

Harrison is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. They previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find them on Twitter: @harrisonweber. Send tips on L.A. deals to harrison@dot.la. Pronouns: they/them.

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Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Samson is also a proud member of the Transgender Journalists Association. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter at @Samsonamore. Pronouns: he/him

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Emma Betuel is a science and health reporter. Her work has appeared in Inverse, Future Human, and Texas Monthly, among others publications.

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