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Mobile LAVA: Finding Talent and Building Teams
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What mobile and digital start-ups need to know about talent acquisition, retention, team management, and employee experience.

When: Thursday Evening, November 13
6:30pm - 9:00pm
Where: ROC (Real Office Center) - Santa Monica
604 Arizona Ave.
Santa Monica, California  90401
United States
Contact: Rich Abronson

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Finding Talent and Building Teams

What mobile and digital start-ups need to know about talent acquisition, retention, team management, and employee experience

Please note that the venue for this event has changed. The new venue is ROC located at 604 Arizona Ave. in Santa Monica

There are a plethora of technology and digital companies forming in Los Angeles supported by more seed and angel investors, incubators, and accelerators than there are Starbucks stores.  However, there is a downside to this flourishing start-up ecosystem:  A WAR FOR TALENT!

The problem is further described by Marc Andreessen's statement that "every company is a software company."  In other words, this war is escalating beyond the tech sector, and the marketplace effect of this dramatic increase in demand has created hyper-inflated pricing for talent and ever shorter average tenure in companies.

Taking this even further, smart investors are going to place great weight on the quality and reputation of your team.  Sure, you've got a great idea or innovation, but your business really hinges on the ability of your team to execute.

So if you thought that your biggest problem was responsive HTML5 design versus a native app or whether your marketing strategy should be based on SEM or Social Media -- you're dead wrong!  These are your bigger issues:

    • Acquisition and Conversion of Talent
      It has surpassed funding and revenue in your Maslow's Hierarchy of Need

    • Retention
      The "asset" goes home every night and the headhunters calls him or her all day

    • Employee Experience
      Your culture and employer brand matter more than your tech stack, product roadmap, or board deck

 Leading the discussion will be Jim Jonassen, one of the most prolific and successful leaders in the technology search and staffing industry.  Named three times to the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Top 25 People in High Technology, Mr. Jonassen, along with our panelists, will help attendees answer questions like:

  • Where and how do we source and attract the right talent?
  • How should entrepreneurs structure staff and management incentives?
  • What does a start-up need as a minimally viable human resources strategy and infrastructure?
  • What are VC’s and other capital providers looking for in a management team?
  • How should founders and managers handle challenging hiring (or firing)
  • What are the minimum team member requirements for a new mobile or tech
    startup, and who should be hired at a later date?


Our Moderator

Jim JonassenJim Jonassen
Jim Jonassen & Associates Venture Search

Jim Jonassen & Associates Venture Search, based in Santa Monica provides search and recruitment services for VC-backed tech & Internet companies, specializing in executing CxO and VP searches and building world-class Marketing, Sales, Business and Product Development teams. Jim has led >600 searches while also having founded and built two successful software companies. Founder of convening LA's Tech & Media entrepreneurs and investors.


Our Panelists

Bill Woodward Bill Woodward
Partner, Anthem Venture Partners

Bill is a successful entrepreneur and venture capital investor.  He has founded multiple businesses in the technology space with over $3BN of exits including Macromedia, Launch Media, MySpace, Nevenvision, Pulse and Cognet.  He has been an early/lead investor in a number of successful companies including Demand Media, Android, Spin Media, Beachmint, Blurb and various others.  He is the founder and Managing Director of Anthem Ventures.

His personal interests include spending time with his children, tennis, wine, movies, travel, and the entrepreneurial process. He is a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, U.S.C.Trojans, and the Oakland Raiders.

Rich Batista Rich Battista
CEO, Mandalay Sports Media

Rich Battista is a 24-year veteran of the entertainment, sports and media industries, with significant experience in launching, building and managing large-scale businesses across traditional and digital media platforms.

He currently serves as CEO of Mandalay Sports Media, a sports production and media company, investing in and acquiring sports media businesses and assets and creating high quality sports-themed content for all platforms.

Prior to Mandalay, Rich served over 18 years at the Fox/News Corp organization, playing an integral role in conceiving of, launching and building the company’s multi-billion dollar portfolio of cable networks.  Most recently, he was President of Fox’s national cable sports and entertainment networks, overseeing Fox’s nine nationally-distributed networks including FX, National Geographic Channel and Speed Channel. 

From 2004-2008, he served as the CEO of the publicly-traded company, Gemstar-TV Guide (partly owned by News Corp), leading the company’s turnaround and its successful $2.3 billion sale to Macrovision (now known as Rovi) in May 2008. 

Rich began his career in the Morgan Stanley investment banking analyst program. He graduated cum laude from Georgetown University and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.

Darren ClarkDarren Clark

Darren leads product management, engineering, and business development across YP’s product portfolio.

Darren joined YP as a veteran technologist with more than 15 years of experience in digital advertising. He was named CTO when YP spun-off from AT&T in May 2012. Prior to this role, he was CIO of AT&T Interactive, one of two AT&T business units that combined to form the new YP.

Before joining YP, Darren was Vice President of Product Management at SpotRunner, where he led the development of innovative marketing solutions that enabled SMBs to create TV marketing campaigns via the Web.

Before SpotRunner, he was Vice President of Partner Services for Yahoo!, joining the company as a result of its acquisition of Overture, the pioneer of paid search. Earlier in his career, Darren has also held positions at Idealab, Sprint, and Ernst & Young.

Darren currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.


Janette SahagunJanette Sahagun

Ms. Sahagun brings 19 years of human resources management and leadership experience to our panel.  WorklogicHR is a strategic partner to small businesses for Human Resource Management, Workers Compensation, Employe Benefits, Payroll, Human Resource Management Systems (HRIS), Risk Management & Safety, and Legal Representation.

Taking your small or medium size business to the next level is easy with WorklogicHR. From the solid foundation of a basic HRIS to comprehensive co-employment solutions, WorklogicHR helps increase your efficiency, and profitability while giving you more time to focus on your core competencies. With a wide choice of affordable, customizable HR management solutions, WorklogicHR provides everything your small business needs to become a bigger business.



Sponsored by:

Ernst & Young


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