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Mobile LAVA - Startup Stories: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
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Mobile LAVA Event - The periodic group meeting which will feature experts, journalists, executives, founders and entrepreneurs who are creating the mobile-enabled future.

When: Tuesday, March 3, 2015
6:30 PM until 9:00 PM
Where: ROC (Real Office Center) - Santa Monica
604 Arizona Ave.
ROC - Santa Monica, California  90401
United States
Presenter: Andre Stokes, Richard Wolpert, Louis A. Wharton, Rich Abronson
Contact: Rich Abronson

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Start-Up Stories:  The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Free for LAVA members, $35 for non-members


In this next installment of Mobile LAVA we are are going to tell war stories about start-up life in the trenches.  We’ll hear about triumphs, defeats, and the inevitable slog through the muck that every entrepreneur must face in order to realize their business goals without losing all the money. 

Of course, those with the best front row seat to these start-up dramas are the lawyers who hold our hands, dispense advice, and do their best to keep entrepreneurs from getting totally screwed (or—more accurately—keep entrepreneurs from screwing themselves).  

Of course, we can’t have a panel composed entirely of attorneys so we’ve invited a local venture capitalist and a couple of CEOfounders to expand the storytelling.  Through their experience we’ll learn a little about the inevitably unexpected along with the legal, emotional, and practical concerns:


  • Handling management and board conflicts
  • Negotiating term sheets
  • Dealing with lawsuits
  • Wrangling noisy investors
  • Managing disgruntled employees
  • Taking the money (and sometimes losing it)
  • Navigating exit events

Our Moderator


Andre StokesAndre Stokes

Managing Partner at Trident Holding Group


Mr. Stokes has over 20 years of business, finance and leadership experience, including investment banking, management consulting, private equity and the U.S. Navy. Prior to founding THG, he was a Managing Director at Calabasas Capital, a Los Angeles-based boutique investment banking advisory firm focused on M&A and capital raising in the lower middle market. Andre was also a Director at Expense Reduction Analysts, a management consulting firm focused on improving operating costs through strategic sourcing.

Previously, Mr. Stokes was an investment banker at Credit Suisse and Bear Stearns in New York and London where he advised clients on a number of debt and equity financings and M&A transactions. At Bear Stearns, he was a member of the M&A group focused on identifying LBO opportunities with financial sponsors. He has advised clients on over $8 billion in transactions, including leveraged buyouts, IPOs, follow-on equity, bank debt and high yield debt offerings.

Our Panelists


Richard WolpertRichard Wolpert

CEO of Hellotech, Managing Partner at, Venture Advisor at Accel Partners


A pioneer in the fields of technology, consumer digital media and entertainment for more than 25 years. Extensive experience as an executive, entrepreneur and as an investor.

Responsible for many “firsts” throughout his career including: conceiving of and teaching the first Macintosh Programming Class at Stanford University (CS 193C), the first multi-user address book for the Macintosh (TouchBase), the first kids internet subscription service (Disney’s Daily Blast), the first Tivo-like product for the Internet Radio (BitBop Tuner), the first legitimate music subscription service for the Internet (MusicNet), and the first legitimate online movie subscription service (Starz! On Demand). Successfully negotiated ground breaking deals with several of the major media companies whose content became the basis for many of these products

As an investor, managed personal investment fund, Chance Technologies (1995 to Present), served as an advisor to Accel Partners (2006 to Present), served as a partner at the Yucaipa Companies (1998 to 2000), and served as the Managing Director or the Mail Room Fund (2008 to 2010). Invested in more than 30 companies, a large percentage of which have had successful exits or continue on as successful companies, including: AdECN, AMG, AndroMedia, AudioMill, Data Sage, GameFly, GameSpy, Kongregate,, People Support, Smilebox, Sometrics, Three Rings, Scopely, PlayDek, and Universal Audio.


Tina HayTina Hay
Founder and CEO of CardBlanc
is a seasoned entrepreneur with a diverse background encompassing film, technology and finance. She has successfully built businesses by identifying opportunities and building teams to manage their growth. Tina’s fascination and knowledge of the payments and financial industry combined with identifying a void in payment solutions for millennials led to the founding of CardBlanc. In addition to the payments platform, Tina developed a financial literacy program for her members called Napkin Finance - a quick and easy resource on everything you should know about money in 30 seconds or less:



Louis WhartonLouis A. Wharton

Partner, Stubbs, Alderton & Markiles, LLP


Louis’ practice focuses on advising startup, emerging growth and middle market companies across a spectrum of industries in securities compliance, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate matters.

He counsels clients in the technology, internet/e-commerce, pharmaceutical, apparel and entertainment industries, among others.


Louis’ work in the securities compliance area involves advising the Firm’s public clients on a variety of ’33 Act and ’34 Act work, including reviewing and filing registration statements and current, quarterly and annual reports.

His practice in the corporate finance area involves structuring and negotiating public offerings and private placements of both equity and debt securities, including PIPEs and angel and venture backed transactions, for the Firm’s private and public clients.

In addition, Louis’ mergers and acquisitions practice involves strategizing with and negotiating on behalf of the Firm’s clients on a variety of public and private mergers (including reverse mergers), strategic stock and asset acquisitions and divestitures, both buy- and sell-side.


Louis also counsels the Firm’s clients on other aspects of their business activities in his general corporate practice, including commercial transactions, incentive compensation and corporate governance.


Louis serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Venture Association (LAVA) and the San Fernando Valley Bar Association Board of Trustees, and is actively involved on the Executive Committee of the ProVisors Technology Industry Group.  Louis received his A.B., cum laude, from Harvard University and his J.D. from Stanford Law School. He is a member of the California Bar.


Ryan DetertRyan Detert

CEO, The Influential Network


Influential is a technology platform/network with all the top influencers on Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat (Over 500 Million followers). We activate them via our patent-pending app to run brand campaigns with 100% guaranteed impressions for a given demographic, and 100% brand-safe messaging.


Prior to the Influential Network, Ryan was head of the music division at Seambi and advisor to twtMob.



Stu LevyStu Levy
Producer, Director, Digital and Media Entrepreneur


Stu Levy is an international entrepreneur, producer, director and writer. Founder of the pioneering media company TOKYOPOP, Stu is known for establishing the manga market in North America.

Stu has been involved in digital media throughout his career, from building out social media sites to e-commerce and online content.  He is currently developing a mobile-based social and content platform for the manga community.

As a producer, Stu has a number of feature films and TV shows in various stages of development, including adaptations of the books Alex Unlimited, Riding Shotgun, Earthlight and Mail Order Ninja. He produced English adaptations of many anime series including the hits Initial D, GTO, and Rave Master. His first studio feature film as Executive Producer was Priest, released theatrically in 2011 through Sony Pictures.

Stu has directed two feature films (feature documentary Pray for Japan and award-winning feature debut Van Von Hunter), docu-reality series America’s Greatest Otaku, and several music videos. Stu created and wrote the chart-topping graphic novel Princess Ai with Courtney Love, as well as the novels Juror 13, Karma Club and Sailor Moon.

Fluent in Japanese and a licensed California attorney, Stu serves as chair of the Producers Guild of America’s International Committee, its Online Video Committee, and the PGA ProShow, and was previously a Board Member of its New Media Council. He actively oversees two YouTube Channels ( and and is developing a mobile platform for reading comics. His philanthropic activities have included Japan’s tsunami recovery, projects with Make-a-Wish Foundation, and literacy advocacy. Besides speaking at numerous industry events and guest lecturing, Stu’s an avid endurance athlete, an amateur composer, and a phototrigger-happy foodie.



Sponsored by:

Ernst & Young


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