NextGen 10

NextGen10: Innovation & Technology [2018]

From venture capital and kombucha to bras, AR, VR, and edtech, our 2018 crop of under-40 up-and -coming movers and shakers represent the bright future of Los Angeles

With each turning of the page (calendar and magazine alike), the community of NextGen leaders we honor, recognize, and bring together grows. In welcoming the 2018 class to the community, we gain 15(!) new dynamic investors, founders, disruptors, and dreamers. This year’s class is diverse in age (26 to 39), industry (venture capital and Kombucha, e-Commerce and coworking real estate), and 2018 goals (from “sell more bras” to “launch the first VR, AR, & AI educational platform”). Though they are diverse in many ways, they are very much the same as well – together, these 15 individuals from 10 companies represent the bright future of Los Angeles we, collectively, are excited about – a clear-eyed, full-hearted belief that they can, and will, shape the future for the better.

Principal, Founding Member
Fika Ventures

A seed fund dedicated to serving entrepreneurs who are building enduring solutions to solve deep systemic problems

Residence West Hollywood
Education University of Arizona
Industry Venture capital
Company HQ West LA
Founded 2016
Awards & Honors Forbes 30 Under 30, U of A Young Alumni Professional Achievement Award
On LA Tech LA is the intersection of multiple massive industries combined with a vibrant enough tech community to take advantage of what those have to offer.
Advice Climb the mountain to see the world, not so the world can see you. // Only the paranoid survive.
Success Being true to myself
Mentors Many
Local Companies Admired ChowNow, SpaceX, Tala
App I Can’t Live Without Captio
In the Morning Try to read (a book, not an article)
Before Bed Mindless social media
2018 Become a trained counselor for the Crisis Text Line

Jane Fisher and Jenna Kerner from Harper Wilde

Co-founders & Co-CEOs
Harper Wilde

The Warby Parker for bras—order online, try on at home, keep what you want, return the rest

Residence Venice; Santa Monica
Education Emory University (B.A.), Wharton M.B.A.; Cornell University (B.A.), Wharton M.B.A.
Industry Retail e-Commerce
Company HQ Santa Monica
Founded 2017
$ Raised $620K. Currently seeking seed funding.
Awards & Honors Forbes 30 Under 30 Finalist, Uber Pitch ­Finalist, Rent the Runway Project Entrepreneur, ­Wharton Innovation Fund, Wharton Startup Competition Finalists
On LA Tech “The community. The level of support we’ve seen from other founders and investors has been inspiring.” (Jane); “The tight-knit community and its hunger to cement LA’s position on the map for tech startups.” (Jenna)
Advice “Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. When first starting Harper Wilde, we were told by many people in the retail space that bras were one of the hardest garments to produce and we shouldn’t do it. We instead decided to listen to the advice of others and our own instincts, persevering in the end.” (Jane); “Be authentic.” (Jenna)
Success Happiness (Jane); Achieving one’s full potential (Jenna)
Mentors Joanna Coles (CCO, Hearst Magazine), Adam Grant (investor, Wharton professor), Patrick Fitzgerald (Wharton e-ship professor), Hope Taitz (CEO, ELY Capital) (Jane); Joanna Coles , Hope Taitz (Jenna)
Local Companies Admired Coolhaus, Flex Company, Lumi, Lunya, Parachute Home (Jane); Reformation, Lumi, Flex Company (Jenna)
App I Can’t Live Without ­Spotify (Jane); Apple Podcast app (Jenna)
In the Morning “Check emails and the news.” (Jane); “Quartz, theSkimm, coffee.” (Jenna)
Before Bed “I typically read a book or watch an episode of TV to free my mind from the day.” (Jane); “Set six alarms, 5 minutes apart. I’m not great at jumping out of bed.” (Jenna)
2018 “Sell lots of bras and empower more women while exploring more of Los Angeles.” (Jane); “Focus more on self care.” (Jenna)

Taylor Freeman from Upload

Co-founder & CEO

Multi-faceted company focused on accelerating the growth of the AR/VR industry

Residence Marina del Rey
Industry VR, AR, AI
Company HQ Marina del Rey
Founded 2014
$ Raised $7M
Awards & Honors Forbes 30 Under 30, #3 Most Influential VR Company (Onalytica)
On LA Tech I’m excited about the convergence of technology, art, and business.
Advice Treat everyone you meet as though they could be a friend for life.
Success Happiness, freedom, and the ability to help others.
Local Companies Admired Kernel
App I Can’t Live Without Tilt Brush
In the Morning Make my bed, stay off email
Before Bed Full mental recap of the day
2018 Launch first-generation Upload spatial learning platform (combining VR, AR, and AI)

Jesse Genet from Lumi

Co-Founder & CEO

The one stop shop for e-commerce brands packaging, from custom boxes to envelopes and rubber stamps

Education Art Center College of Design
Residence Downtown LA
Industry Packaging
Company HQ Vernon
Founded 2015
$ Raised $12M
Awards & Honors Y Combinator (Winner 2015)
On LA Tech Diversity excites me. Seeing founders of every background start companies based on their expertise and passion, not just market size or trends.
Advice Define yourself by how fast you learn. The skills that got you to this milestone won’t be the ones you need to accomplish the next one.
Success Making something people need
Mentor My co-founder, Stephan. Together we’ve been building things for nearly a decade. Our greatest accomplishment is our friendship.
Local Companies Admired FabFitFun, Figs, Parachute Home
App I Can’t Live Without Apple Activity
In the Morning Hug it out with my rescue pup, make pour over coffee, head to work from my airstream trailer near DTLA.
Before Bed Read more than 50 pages in a novel (usually a classic) to unwind. I’ve read “Gone with the Wind” three times.
2018 Make it easier than ever before to launch and scale an e-commerce company by solving a historically hairy element of that journey – packaging.

Jon Goss from Neue House

Chief Commercial Officer

A private community of professionals and entrepreneurs with dedicated workspaces, thought-provoking events, and personalized services

Residence Hancock Park
Education Birmingham University, BPP Law School
Industry Coworking; events
Founded 2013
$ Raised $25M
Awards & Honors Forbes Best 2017, SJ Berwin Scholar (2006), Chambers Young Lawyers to Watch (2009)
On LA Tech I’m excited about seeing VR integrated into live venues.
Advice Always do your best
Success Being great at what you love doing and inspiring others
Local Companies Admired CAA, Flywheel, Groundwork, Kairos Society, Platform LA, Rapha, Sunset Tower, Trois Mec
App I Can’t Live Without Twitter
In the Morning Coffee!
Before Bed Read The Times of London
2018 Take NeueHouse to three new cities, exercise, be a good husband and father.

Lauren Hayes Kleinman from Ritual

Founding Team, VP

A vitamin company committed to creating the purest, most effective vitamin formulations while sharing every ingredient, source, and scientist that made their vitamin a reality

Residence Venice
Education USC
Industry Consumer goods; e-Commerce
Company HQ Culver City
Founded 2015
$ Raised $15.5M
On LA Tech The best talent from around the world is converging here. It’s one of the most exciting places to be right now for innovation. Startups and big companies alike are making huge investments in new technologies and opportunities.
Advice Since I was a child, my father always told me – “If you’re going to do something, do it right the first time.” I think this has turned into a permanent way of thinking for me now. I try not to half-ass things or take shortcuts. I find it can be more painful in the short-term, but with age I’ve realized your efforts and passion rarely go overlooked by your peers. In the long run, you always come out on top.
Success Having the freedom to pursue a passion, surrounded by those you love, inspiring others to do the same along the way.
Mentors My husband has pushed me every step of my career, all of my coworkers who teach me something new every day, and my mom who instilled an entrepreneurial spirit in me at a very young age.
Local Companies Admired Hawke Media, LOOM, Parachute Home, Revolve, SpaceX, Wonder
App I Can’t Live Without I would probably be better off without all of them but if I had to give an answer, I’d give two. The boring answer is Gmail. The real answer is Classpass, which helps me balance my life outside the home and office.
In the Morning Kiss my newborn son, say good morning to my husband, then check email
2018 Build one of the most meaningful health companies that has an impact on women everywhere

Sophia Parsa from Toot App, Inc.


Shakib Zabihian from Toot App, Inc.


Co-founder & CEO; Co-founder & CTO
Toot App, Inc.

Instant homework help from expert tutors via text message

Residence Century City; Santa Monica
Education LMU; Bahåi Institute for Higher Education
Industry Education technology
Company HQ Santa Monica
Founded 2015
$ Raised $750K
Awards & Honors Forbes 30 Under 30, LABJ 20 in their 20s, TechWeek 100
On LA Tech “As an LA native, I’m biased, but this city is ­diverse, full of opportunity, and creatives. I don’t think the bay can lead the future of entertainment tech. More and more resources are becoming available in our city and if needed, Palo Alto is only 45 minutes away. Investors seem to be more and more interested in finding out what’s going on here. I love that the city I was raised in is becoming recognized as a major hub.” (Sophia); “The fast growth rate.” (Shakib)
Advice “Focus on cash flow and growth before raising big capital.” (Sophia); “Keep one foot out of your comfort zone” (Shakib)
Success “Balance” (Sophia); “Happiness (which for me is feeling accomplished)” (Shakib)
Mentors Sabrina Kay (Sophia); Mike Jones (Shakib)
Local Companies Admired Dollar Shave Club, FabFitFun, Riot Games, SpaceX, Tesla (Sophia); FabFitFun, SpaceX, Tesla (Shakib)
App I Can’t Live Without Homework Helper (by toot!)
In the Morning Workout
Before Bed “Plan the next day” (Shakib)
2018 Goals “Maintain a healthy business and lifestyle” (Sophia); Get into amazing shape and do more public speaking (Shakib)

Vanessa Dew from Health-Ade Kombucha


Daina Trout from Health-Ade Kombucha


Justin Trout from Health-Ade Kombucha


Co-founders, CSO, CEO, COO
Health-Ade Kombucha

High-quality glass-bottle ­fermented kombucha

Residence Downtown Los Angeles; Mar Vista
Education UCSD, USC Marshall; Georgetown (B.S.), Tufts (M.S. & M.P.H.); Berklee College of Music
Industry CPG Beverages
Company HQ Torrance
Founded 2012
Awards & Honors USC Guest Lecturer (Vanessa); Best Packaging (Dieline 2013), BevNET Best New Product (2013), BevNET Rising Star (2014), Forbes #1 Health Drink on the Market (2017), Food & Wine Most Innovative Woman of the Year (2017), Create&Cultivate Top 100 Women of the Year (2017) (Daina); Winner, BevNET Live New Beverage Showdown (Justin)
On LA Tech “Technology is how we make our business more efficient. Having an organization that champions that in our backyard is exciting.” (Daina); “My answer isn’t pertinent to tech but is pertinent to what we do … I am excited about the growth of real food in Los Angeles. It’s a fantastic time in our city if you’re interested in authentic food.” (Justin)
Advice “Now That I Know Better, I Do Better” – Maya Angelou (Vanessa); “Managing your own stress is a responsibility as a CEO. Don’t look at it as a luxury. Eat right, sleep right, take care of yourself, and exercise. Your business depends on it and will success more as a result” (Daina); “If you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything” – Doc Brown (Justin)
Success “Providing a great quality of life for me, my family and friends, and employees while giving back to the community.” (Vanessa); “Creating and leading an important and powerful company with a great cultures that is aligned with my values and being a good mom, wife, friend, and family member. Being able to do what I love and want to do for leisure. Being the best version of myself.” (Daina); “Freedom is the most important thing there is. It’s defined by the beholder. So, being free is being successful, and you are free to design it as you wish.” (Justin)
Mentors Tom First and Rohan Oza (Daina); Rich Mendelson (Justin)
Local Companies Admired MADE by DWC, MedMen, Wag (Vannessa); Califia, Carbon38, Hedley & Bennett, Juice Served Here, TOMs, True Food (Daina); Pressed Juicery (Justin)
App I Can’t Live Without Email (Vanessa); Sonos, Spotify (Daina); Waze (Justin)
In the Morning “Say good morning to my dog and – of course – scratch his belly.” (Vanessa); “Coffee.” (Daina and Justin)
Before Bed “Wikipedia a historical topic or person.” (Vanessa); “Kiss my husband.” (Daina)
2018 “Professionally, break out from the pack. ­Personally, complete a Spartan Race or Tough Mudder.” (Vanessa); “Growth!” (Justin)

Andrew Meyer from Swell Energy


Matt Rising from Swell Energy


Managing Partners
Swell Energy

The world’s first off-grid energy plan, starting at just $1 a day

Residence Venice
Education Duke (B.A.), UCLA (J.D.)
Industry Clean energy
Company HQ Palms
Founded 2014
$ Raised $3.8M
On LA Tech The tight community of people who are paving their own paths outside of the Northern California tech space
Advice No greater prize in life than to work hard at work worth doing
Success Leaving things much better than you found them
Mentors Charlie Jones, Patrick Maloney, Jon Neman, Nate Ru, Nic Jammet, Nelson and Chris Rising
Local Companies Admired Cypress Creek Renewables, Greenspire, Inspire Energy, Sweetgreen
App I Can’t Live Without Wave (Swell’s software platform)
In the Morning Kapalabhati breathing and a cold shower.
Before Bed Reading for ­pleasure.
2018 Build out the largest residential virtual power plant in the world.

Taylor Timmer from Titeg

Co-founder, PatientPop & Chief of Staff

Residence Brentwood
Education USC
Company HQ Santa Monica
Founded 2014
Awards & Honors  50 LA Female Founders You Should Know (Built in LA)
On LA Tech It’s refreshing to see how many young, talented women are breaking down barriers as they enter the tech scene.
Advice Hire a diverse team to bring different perspectives and ways of thinking to the table.
Success Creating challenging work for myself, adding value to the companies I work with, giving back to my community, raising a kind and confident daughter.
Mentors My father, Robin Richards
Local Companies Admired CareerArc, H Code Media, Headspace
App I Can’t Live Without Cliché mom answer – TinyBeans (Instagram for baby photos)
In the Morning Exercise (most days) and coffee
Before Bed Unwind, unplug, and talk about the day with my husband.
2018 Grow my Product & Operations consulting business. Find a kid-centric philanthropic cause to support.