LA Venture Podcast: Rob Dyrdek's Adrenaline-Fueled Approach to Venture Capital

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
Rob Dyrdek

On this week's L.A. Venture podcast, I sat down with Rob Dyrdek, the founder and CEO of the Dyrdek Machine. Dyrdek is a pro-skateboarding legend, holder of multiple world records, an MTV star, adrenaline junkie, successful serial entrepreneur and a venture capitalist.


Dyrdek dropped out of high school to pursue a very successful skateboarding career. After he got off the board, he built up a reputation as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist from the ground up. He has produced a number of films and started seven businesses. His most recent is the Dyrdek Machine, a venture firm that helps new businesses grow from inception to exit and helps founders build and scale their companies, with the intent to sell.

His work at the Dyrdek Machine has been very fruitful; the fund has built 14 brands and had $450 million in exits. Dyrdek's vision for the company is a venture creation studio that brings expertise and funds to "do or die entrepreneurs." His partners are gritty, committed and aligned with Dyrdek on their overall goals. He also views himself as a creative, which is is an important arm of the Dyrdek Machine.

Because Dyrdek is not only a self-starter, but also self-taught, he has a different perspective than other venture capitalists. For one, his venture fund comes with a large team that aims to help entrepreneurs build out their brand. It also comes with a $200- $300K seed fund, and up to $2 million in follow-on funding. He also encourages his brands to look for outside funding from traditional VCs.

In this episode, hear from Dyrdek about how he survived a shark attack and created three hit TV shows. He also talks about his MTV career, his perspective on business, his personal philosophy and the unwavering bond he builds with his partners.

"I look at my companies as wine vintages almost, right? It's like every year you learn so much more." —Rob Dyrdek

Rob Dyrdek is the founder and CEO of the Dyrdek Machine.

dot.LA Engagement Intern Colleen Tufts contributed to this post.

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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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Motional Links With Uber to Make Robotaxis a Reality

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Motional
Image courtesy of Motional

Motional, a self-driving taxi startup backed by Hyundai, will partner with Uber to bring its robotic taxis to cities throughout the United States within the next decade as part of its push to get people more comfortable with the concept of taking a ride in a driverless electric vehicle.

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