2016 Innovation & Technology NextGen 10

This year’s Innovation & Technology NextGen 10 are as eclectic as the innovation space they encompass.

January 5, 2016

This year’s Innovation & Technology NextGen 10 are as eclectic as the innovation space they encompass. Varying in age and industry, they are unified by a common passion: to grow their brand, shape their industry, and change our lives through innovation. Within this year’s list are CleanTech companies, USC StartUp Garage success stories, and a young lady who recently sold to Time, Inc. May you find inspiration from them, the way they have found it from others.

NG-10---Aram

Max Aram
Co-founder & CEO, Pick My Solar

Age
30
Education
CSUN
Residence
Los Angeles
Company You Most Admire
TrueCar
Mentors
Dr. Helen Cox, Erik Steeb, Andy Shrader, Romel Pascual, and my advisors at the LA CleanTech Incubator
Greatest Lesson Learned
Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.
What Motivates You
I believe distributed clean energy is essential for a healthier, sustainable future and a driving force of democracy and freedom.
Best Advice You Received
This journey of being an entrepreneur will be painful. You’d better enjoy the pain!
2016 Goals
Help homeowners with the adoption of 10,000 solar systems, 1000 EVs, and 100 home storage units.

NG10---Delaney

Katie Delaney
Wine Director, Club W

Age
28
Education
University of Arizona, University of Adelaide, South Australia, WSET, Level III Advanced Sommelier
Residence
Culver City
Company You Most Admire
Art of Elysium
Mentors
The first winemaker I worked for in Napa, Nate Weiss, and my current boss, Brian Smith.
Greatest Lesson Learned
Professionally: There are no stupid questions. The “stupid” part comes in when you don’t ask the question and then continue not to know the answer. Personally: Great risks equal great rewards. Do your thing, and do it unapologetically.
Best Advice You Received
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, create it yourself.
2016 Goals
To have more zen in my life. Working in a fast-paced environment can get overwhelming, and I need to figure out how to be centered, or to find my third eye (whatever that means).

NG-10---Munson

Matt Munson
Founder & CEO,  Twenty20

Age
35
Education
MBA, Insead
Residence
Los Angeles
Company You Most Admire
Etsy
Mentors
Yanda David, Jerry Colonna
Greatest Lesson Learned
Your team [members] aren’t a means to the end. They are the end. The journey, and the fellow journeyers, are the whole damn thing.
What Motivates You
Building a company is about getting to craft a corner of the universe where life is more the way it should be (for my employees, customers, and myself).
Best Advice You Received
Don’t try to show up at the office being Steve Jobs. Show up at the office being Matt Munson.
2016 Goals
Finish filling out the strongest leadership team in Los Angeles.

NG-10---Rossi

Sophia Rossi
CEO, hellogiggles

Age
34
Education
High School
Residence
Los Angeles
Company You Most Admire
WhoWhatWear
Mentors
My mom, Katherine Power, Kelly Sawyer, Zooey Deschanel
Greatest Lesson Learned
Not knowing the Web world sometimes helps more than I thought.
What Motivates You
Friends, travel, and community
Best Advice You Received
Do your best even when you feel your worst.
2016 Goals
Sleep.

NG10---Scharf

Cosmo Scharf
Co-founder, VRLA

Age
20
Education
USC
Residence
Los Angeles
Company You Most Admire
Apple
Mentors
My co-founders at VRLA and Visionary VR, my former USC teachers, my parents
Greatest Lesson Learned
Tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present, since it is in the present and only in the present that you live.
What Motivates You
The opportunity to play a small role in helping virtual reality succeed by organizing events that bring people together and inspire them to be more creative.
Best Advice You Received
Smile more.
2016 Goals
Launch my first product, meet one CXO per month, and read every day.

NG-10---Sumakutry

Dinesh Seemakurty
CEO, Statis Labs

Age
22
Education
USC
Residence
Los Angeles
Company You Most Admire
Tesla
Mentors
Ashish Soni, Bill Barnett, Kelly Kimball, Shishir Shah
Greatest Lesson Learned
Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
What Motivates You
I aspire to create sustainable change in the world around me. It’s easy to make hasty decisions that seem like they are impacting the world, but unless that change is self-sustaining, it really doesn’t matter.
Best Advice You Received
If you are looking for signs to start, you will always be waiting.
2016 Goals
Provide optimized healthcare to at least ten hospitals in emerging markets.

NG-10---Shaffner

Reed Shaffner
Founder & Co-CEO, Workpop

Age
30
Education
Duke
Residence
West Los Angeles
Company You Most Admire
Google
Mentors
Dan Scholnick (Trinity Ventures), Mark Pincus (Zynga)
Greatest Lesson Learned
With enough smart people and time, eventually you will win. It’s been amazing to watch people that were struggling so much just absolutely kill it in the long run, because they never gave up.
What Motivates You
Our customers. Every time someone gets a job or hires because of Workpop it reminds me of the importance of our work.
Best Advice You Received
Finding people you can have honest conversations with is incredibly important.
2016 Goals
Release our analytics platform built to help job seekers learn what it takes to get the jobs they are applying to. Hire more great people, expand nationwide, and keep having fun.

NG-10---Shah

Chirag Shah
Vice President, Finance & Strategy, Cornerstone OnDemand

Age
31
Education
Georgetown
Residence
Marina del Rey
Company You Most Admire
SalesForce
Mentors
My parents, my grandfather, Adam Miller, the Cornerstone OnDemand team
Greatest Lesson Learned
In 2009 I decided to pursue my passion for technology by taking a chance on a then little-known startup (Cornerstone) and it taught me the importance of passion and a willingness to take risks in every endeavor.
What Motivates You
My incredible team. Feeling invested in my work and defying the odds to achieve success. Thinking outside-of-the-box to develop innovative new ideas that drive differentiation.
Best Advice You Received
On the last day of his class, my favorite professor at Georgetown left us by saying that “success is built from every decision you make, so always remember to play the long game.”
2016 Goals
Helping Cornerstone reach new heights while having fun and learning more each day and committing more of my time to social impact.

NG-10---Stokes

Kabira Stokes
Founder & CEO, Isidore Electronics Recycling

Age
37
Education
Vassar College, USC
Residence
Los Angeles
Company You Most Admire
Thinx
Mentors
The LA CleanTech Incubator, Van Jones, Tracy Gray, Omar Brownson, Beth Broderick
Greatest Lesson Learned
When you run a small business, so many people tell you that it’s not going to work; that it’s not “real.” I’ve learned not to believe them.
What Motivates You
My employees at Isidore are my greatest inspiration. To see how people can rise up and flourish when just given the chance to is a powerful, motivating thing.
Best Advice You Received
Buy insurance. Stay true to your moral compass, even amongst the business sharks. Floss.
2016 Goals
To raise growth capital, expand our data destruction services, make our customer service better and better and, ultimately, bring in more e-waste through our doors, creating more jobs as we do it!

NG-10---Wu

Frank Wu
CEO, BEZALEL

Age
30
Education
USC
Residence
Los Angeles
Company You Most Admire
Apple
Mentors
I’m guided by Steve Jobs and his quote, “The only way to be truly satisfied is to do great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
Greatest Lesson Learned
How a user experiences your product is much more important than your product’s specifications.
What Motivates You
Wireless charging is the future, and it’s poised to solve the most common problem with today’s power-hungry mobile devices. I’m focused on making wireless charging available to everyone, both at home and on the go.
Best Advice You Received
Engaging with customers isn’t just about selling them a product; it’s about inviting them to become part of a movement.
2016 Goals
Expand BEZALEL’s line of products and make our wireless charging solutions more widely available to users at home, at work, in vehicles, and in a range of public places.

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