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

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry 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, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

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

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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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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