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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Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups
Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash

The Inflation Reduction Act contains almost $400 billion in funding for clean energy initiatives. There’s $250 billion for energy projects. $23 billion for transportation and EVs. $46 billion for environment. $21 billion for agriculture, and so on. With so much cash flowing into the sector, the possibilities for investment and growth are gigantic.

These investment opportunities, however, have typically been inaccessible for everyday retail investors until much later in a company’s development–after an IPO, usually. Meaning that the best returns are likely to be captured by banks and other institutions who have the capital and financing to invest large sums of money earlier in the process.

That’s where Pasadena-based Energy Shares comes in. The company wants to help democratize access to these investment opportunities and simultaneously give early-stage utility-scale energy projects another revenue stream.

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How These Ukranian Entrepreneurs Relocated Their Startups to LA and Found Success

Aisha Counts
Aisha Counts is a business reporter covering the technology industry. She has written extensively about tech giants, emerging technologies, startups and venture capital. Before becoming a journalist she spent several years as a management consultant at Ernst & Young.
How These Ukranian Entrepreneurs Relocated Their Startups to LA and Found Success
Joey Mota

Fleeing war and chasing new opportunities, more than a dozen Ukrainian entrepreneurs have landed in Los Angeles, finding an unexpected community in the city of dreams. These entrepreneurs have started companies that are collectively worth more than $300 million, in industries ranging from electric vehicle charging stations to audience monetization platforms to social networks.

Dot.LA spent an evening with this group of Ukrainian citizens, learning what it was like to build startups in Ukraine, to cope with the unimaginable fear of fleeing war, and to garner the resilience to rebuild.

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