From The Trenches

The mission of 'From The Trenches' is to introduce our readers to doers and thinkers whose ideas and stories are so powerful that just reading them will change you. We want to show our readers that the best way to grow is to learn from a mix of smart people who are willing to share their expertise and experiences. We want to encourage YOU to have a mission, not just a startup, not just a company, but a calling.

From The Trenches: Interview with Howard Brown, CEO at ringDNA

Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Los Angeles, ringDNA is is an AI-powered sales enablement platform.  Through their proprietary algorithm, they assist in businesses’ efforts in scaling growth with the help of AI, enabled over a billion customer interactions for customers like Twilio, AWS, and HPE.  They offer different solutions based on the industry and segment and they also provide services based on functions and need. As its name might...

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From The Trenches: Interview with Diana Jarrar-Solomon, CEO of MAGICdATES

Hearing the name MAGICdATES might conjure up images of candle-lit dinners that may result in finding your soulmate. While that’s a seductive idea, the “date” we’re referring to here is the sweet and ancient fruit that grows on palm trees. We caught up with Diana Jarrar-Solomon, the founder of MAGICdATES and she confirmed that this association was ubiquitous and especially fun around Valentine’s Day. Diana is the maker of this...

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From The Trenches: Interview with Rachel Trindade, CMO at 3PL Central

Everyone in the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in one way or another. The effects have changed your personal life and the way businesses operate in huge ways. As people are working from home (WFH) and businesses have adapted to the ever-changing rules, consumers have also changed their behavior. This has resulted in a rapidly evolving business environment where decisions are made by the day or week....

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From The Trenches: Interview with Shamin Walsh, Managing Director at BAM Ventures

There is no playbook. That’s the sober observation of Shamin Rostami Walsh in this age of COVID-19. No matter who you are or what your experience is, there’s little that can prepare you for a full-blown global pandemic.  The same might be said for starting a business from scratch. Sure, there is a myriad of resources you can tap into for entrepreneurial advice, but at the end of the day,...

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From The Trenches: Interview with Alison Diamond, CEO of Jybe

Talk about a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG for those of you who love biz acronyms): Alison Diamond, CEO of Jybe, wants to help solve the single-use plastic crisis by encouraging consumers to order from restaurants using eco-friendly packaging. Is this even a problem, you ask?  Our single-use plastic addiction is literally burying us in harmful waste - like in the movie Wall*E. Each year, 11 million tons of plastic...

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From The Trenches: Inside Scoop on Swoop’s $3.2 Million VC Raise

From the Trenches interviewed Ruben Schwartz, cofounder of Swoop, back in June here. Since then, his company has secured a $3.2 million VC Raise led by Signia Ventures. This is pretty awesome stuff for an idea that literally started in a garage with other founders Peter Evenson and Amir Ghorbani.  So we thought we’d check-in and see what the journey was like, and what advice Ruben has for people looking...

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From The Trenches: Interview with Suze Yalof Schwartz, CEO at Unplug

Just breathe. In these challenging times, sometimes you just have to hit ‘pause’, take a moment to reflect, and inhale deeply. Something as simple as this could be the difference between success and failure.  In 2012, Suze Yalof Schwartz learned a three-minute breathing exercise that sent her on the journey of a lifetime. It was the ‘A-Ha’ moment that inspired her to start Unplug, a meditation studio for the rest...

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From The Trenches: Interview with Lena Strothe, CEO at Wrangle

We’ve all worked a gig we didn’t like or burned the midnight oil for something we didn’t truly believe in.  We’ve cashed paychecks without passion, keeping our eyes open for a way out. For some of us, if we’re not careful, this becomes a way of life.  Others get up one morning and say ‘enough is enough’.  It’s that moment of giving into inspiration, to think new ideas, and to...

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From The Trenches: Interview with Alex Canter, CEO at OrderMark

The unprecedented of a global pandemic has left people scared. It seems like the whole world has been brought to its knees, from the rapid and destructive spread of the COVID-19 to the recent protests in response to the murders of George Floyd. The food industry isn't exempt. So as things develop, we've asked service providers in the food industry, to share how they've been affected, and how they're responding. ...

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From The Trenches: Interview with Jeff Ponchick, VP at SoundCloud

When Billie Eilish uploaded her song ‘Ocean Eyes’ to SoundCloud at the ripe old age of 13, she had no idea it would ignite her career. Now, she sits atop the charts and is considered music royalty.  But as Jeff Ponchick, VP and Head of Repost at SoundCloud will tell you, the service is more than just another uploading platform. With a mission to help artists quit their day jobs...

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From The Trenches: How this Startup Dad is Teaching his Kids About Entrepreneurship this Summer 

Summer 2020 is going to be different for most of us and, most importantly, our kids. Most IRL (in real life) activities are canceled or have gone virtual. Your kids won’t be hitting up the public pool, going to the library, or packing their bags for summer camp. Instead, they will be camping in your backyard, shooting hoops in the driveaway, and, hopefully, not spending every waking moment on their...

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From The Trenches: Interview with Erik Huberman, CEO at Hawke Media

Erik Huberman is sick of your bullshit. If you’re one of those guys taking selfies in front of a Bentley, or posing on the beach somewhere, he doesn’t want to hear it. Because, chances are, you’re not going to last.  What lasts is providing value. Day in and day out. Year after year. Through dips in the market, changes in innovation, even through global pandemics. Because if you provide value,...

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From The Trenches: Interview with Dave Herman, Former Director of Data at, Carey Ransom from OC4 Venture Studio

Don’t be a sucker for dumb money. Dumb money will eat your startup alive.  What is dumb money? Dumb money tends to be solely transactional. You provide equity, and the dumb money provides the cash. The deal is done.  Smart money is relational. Smart money provides value beyond just the dollars and cents. You want to find a venture partner that will provide a cash investment, of course. But you...

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From The Trenches: Interview With Ruben Schultz, Co-Founder of Swoop

All companies face challenges. But when your company is built upon the premise of putting large groups of people together in small spaces, the challenges become even greater in the age of COVID-19.  But Ruben Schultz, co-founder of Swoop, appears more than up for the challenge. Swoop is an online platform for group transportation.  For vehicle operators, which are mainly small mom and pop shops, Swoop makes it easy to...

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From The Trenches: Interview with Greg Kim, CMO at Slickdeals

Slickdeals has the audacious mission of ‘Helping Shoppers Win Everywhere’. The company describes itself as the largest and most trusted deal-sharing community on the planet, and with over 25 million users, who can argue?  Founded in 1999 by VanTrac, Slickdeals has helped members save almost $7 billion dollars to date. That’s an impressive number and the company has seen tremendous growth in the last decade. But challenges remain: how do...

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From The Trenches: Interview with Shai Rambod, CEO at MyChon, a 23andMe for Cellular Health

For the better part of the last decade, through the rise of wearable devices, genetic testing, and data-driven technologies, individuals now have more information than ever about their own health, encouraging health education and literacy. This can translate to better decision making and ultimately improved well-being. Health startups are at the forefront of developing innovative solutions for promoting measurable lifestyle actions that correlate how lifestyle, diet and nutrition choices affect...

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From The Trenches: Interview With Global Learning XPRIZE Finalist, Pubbly

Recently, LA Startups had the opportunity to sit down with Josh Powe, the lead advisor for Pubbly, a division of Curriculum Concepts International (CCI), to discuss how the Pubbly team put to work its $1 million Global Learning XPRIZE award and what its plans are for the future. First a bit of background; Pubbly is a digital learning platform startup whose mission is to improve access to education through innovative...

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What Does It Take To Win Over An Investor? An Interview With CEO of Monday Motorbikes

What Does It Take To Win Over An Investor For Your Startup? Is it timing, expertise, personal interest or ROI? Why, when you feel that you are sitting on a gold mine, is it seemingly impossible to get investors to see the potential? I sat down with Josh Rasmussen, CEO of Monday Motorbikes, to chat and discuss some hurdles his company is facing in securing their next funding round. Your...

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