NextGen10: Innovation & Technology [2016]

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

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
Stasis 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

REEF 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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