Team

John Diep

Founder, Editor-in-Chief

A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine) for the co-founder of Activision. Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi Consulting, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen of local LA startups.

Saphira Howell

Managing Editor

Saphira has a combined social following of 150,000+ followers; experience in digital marketing, brand development, and business consulting. She is all about learning: reading 50 books a year, independently learning languages and computer programming. Completing her degree at Loyola Marymount University’s Hilton School of Business.

Katie Garcia

Editor, Lifestyle

I have an entrepreneurial spirit and I have a passion for helping startups tell their stories! I’ve been writing non-stop since my days in journalism school and have written on topics ranging from college athletics to hairspray sales.

Running and coffee are what keep me going each and every day! In addition to story ideas, send me your favorite coffee blends and running trail ideas.

Todd Bartlett

Contributor, Technology

A native New Yorker graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; moved to Los Angeles for the awesome weather. Todd worked for major agencies like 72andSunny and Deutsch. Currently consulting at SnapChat (Snap, Inc.) in Santa Monica, Venice, CA.

Kevin Au

Contributor, Lifestyle

Born and raised in LA, Kevin is all about Los Angeles. Graduated from USC in Business Administration focusing on Information Systems and Finance. Worked for major corps like HP, Hitachi, Toyota, Capital Group, GreenDot, and Consilio. Kevin knows a thing or two about building, managing and launching quality products.

Julian Espinosa

Content Growth Manager

Julian has over 10 years of strong strategic thinking and executional skills, and the ability to generate credibility with and respect from customer at all levels. At LAStartups.com, he is leading the development of marketing & communication plans and tactics (through a test and learn approach) that will drive user acquisition.

Alessandro Fard

Contributor, UX/UI Design

Alessandro is a published UX/UI designer with a passion for amazing design and intelligent user experience. He has over 14 years of experience in web with a special focus in UI/UX.

Alessandro has worked directly with brands such as Facebook, American Express, Bank of America, eBay, Sony, Yahoo, TrueCar, and many more.

Chad Hahn

Contributor, Blockchain

Chad Hahn is a partner overseeing the digital & technology practice at Optimity Advisors. He is an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in strategy, business development, operations, and technology, and has started and sold two successful service businesses. 

He has a strong background in software engineering and enterprise architecture, with deep expertise in both traditional and emerging technologies.

Harprit Bhui

UCLA Startup Mentor

Harprit is a recognized leader with 18 years of proven experience in the management of strategic business and IT implementations. She started her career at KPMG, where she earned her CPA in the Audit & Tax practice, then quickly moved on to Technology consulting.

Seasoned Leader providing direction for new venture in the Google Apps & Telephony space gUnify acquired by Vonage 2015

Meg Seitz

Contributor, Culture

Meg Seitz is the Founder and Chief Creative Officier at toth shop, a brand management agency committed to content, creativity, and strategy. She utilizes a unique skill set that is a fusion of her English degree and her M.B.A. as well as her teaching experience, writing philosophy, and hybrid thinking approach.

She serves as an Adjunct Professor with Queens University of Charlotte and Founding Partner of the educational platform and children’s book series, “Bea is for Business” designed to teach children ages 5-9 entrepreneurial thinking. 

Michael Morgan

Contributor, Tech, eSports

Michael was formerly a globally ranked eSports player for Super Smash Bros., Battlefield 2, and Dance Dance Revolution. He then became Innovator in Residence at the Annenberg Innovation Lab after he served as CEO of Newquill, Inc with the support of DreamIt Ventures in New York City. A former partner at Milestones, Inc. in Santa Monica, he currently serves as the Chief Strategic Officer of the Del York Creative Academy.

He spends his time engaging with the Los Angeles renaissance in a variety of ways and has a passion for futuristic healthcare and eSports.

Jason Stomel

Contributor, Hiring

Jason is the founder and CEO of Cadre; a talent agency, recruiting software incubator and Angel Investor.

He has been recruiting in LA for 12 years across a portfolio of startups ranging from Pre-Series A to publicly traded tech companies and Venture Capitalists.

Kevin Diamond

Advisor, FOREVER21

Kevin is a seasoned technology executive, with more than a decade of experience leading technology development and infrastructure management with multiple startup and mid-phase companies. 

Currently, Jason is Head of Global eCommerce at FOREVER21, an American-only fast fashion retailer headquartered in Los Angeles, California.

Formerly, the Chief Technology Officer at The Black Tux, revolutionizing how men rent suits and tuxedos, and formerly CTO and co-founder of Nordstromrack.com and HauteLook, two e-commerce sites offering the top brands in women’s and men’s fashion, part of the Nordstrom family since 2011.

James Bottom

Advisor, USC

Program Director at Blackstone LaunchPad USC / IncubateUSC – James’ expertise is in startups, incubators, mentors, crowdfunding an crowdsourcing.

James is also a founder of IncubatriX, a premier Trojan Incubator that works to develop and enhance ecosystems at USC. IncubateUSC is the definitive online portal of the USC Startup Ecosystem.

James brings together Trojan entrepreneurs across campus to work, play, and build great companies together.

Alex Chen

General Counsel

Alex’s practice focuses on general counsel services, with an emphasis on equity and debt financings, mergers and acquisitions, entertainment transactions, corporate formations, joint ventures, corporate governance and business counseling, licensing and commercial agreements, international transactions, and other general corporate representation.

Alex has represented a wide variety of companies ranging from start-ups to mature public companies in various industries including technology, retail, and entertainment. Alex holds a JD from UCLA School of Law, where he graduated with honors.

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