Back in 2002, when I was in college, I joined MySpace for its intended use: to meet girls. The chatting, the music downloads, the photo sharing…I was all over it. Fast forward 17 years, and its co-founder, Chris DeWolfe has me addicted to another digital sensation: Panda Pop, the wildly popular mobile video game his company Jam City created that has users strategically popping their way to saving pandas. I was never into video games as a kid growing up, but after catching up with DeWolfe in his new Culver City offices and seeing how the game has taken off across continents, I had to see for myself what the fuss was about. I get it. My wife gets it. We’re all hooked. And it’s obvious why this company is now worth billions. I’m excited to share DeWolfe’s profile on page 62, so you can read more about why he deserves to be this year’s Visionary of the Year for Innovation & Technology.
DeWolfe shares the cover with our NextGen of the Year, Payal Kadakia, Co-founder of New York–headquartered ClassPass, the ingenious app that allows users to book classes at a variety of health clubs and wellness studios with a single membership. Kadakia is well known, well liked, and as the executive chairman of a company now worth an estimated $600M, she’s killing it. Read all about her on page 58.
DeWolfe and Kadakia are just some of the amazing talent profiled in this Innovation & Technology issue, which highlights disruptors and inventors in fields ranging from health care to fashion. When we first started doing this issue theme in 2012, the intention was to highlight Los Angeles as a leading center for VC funding, based on the access to capital and amount of entrepreneurial talent flocking to the city. Back then, we profiled Elon Musk and his companies SpaceX and Tesla, still in their earlier days. Now, just a handful of years later, Musk has a plan for sending people to Mars and it seems as though every other car driving down Sunset Boulevard is a Deep Blue Metallic Model S. Technology is moving quickly, and we hope you enjoy this issue as it profiles the people and companies leading the way, whether they’re changing the face of everyday household goods (see page 57 for the profile on Sarah Kauss) or taking on the next frontier of social networking (read about Steve Gatena on page 54).
In addition to featuring those leading entrepreneurially, we share with you the necessary advisors to help with everything from structure and implementation to accounting and investment banking. Catch advice from business services leaders in this edition’s C-Suite Advisors™ section, which includes insights on how to “Build a Company of Innovation” (page 80) and investor advice on “Buying the Next Unicorn” (page 90).
I’m thrilled to be sharing the stories of those breaking the mold to change the future and connecting them though the CSQ platform to effect even greater progress.
David L. Wurth
Founder & Publisher