The Local Startup World is Growing – Digital LA’s ‘Digital Women: VCs and Angels’


My friend, Summers McKay, and I at Digital LA event

On Wednesday night I was the guest of my friend, Summers, at the first all-women Venture Capital/Angel panel in Los Angeles, hosted by Digital LA. The event was at the former Google offices on Arizona and 8th in Santa Monica, which is now ROC (Real Office Centers) a coworking/flex office space. The place was packed – there were probably 150+ people there, about 90% women, with a range of ages, backgrounds, etc. A summary of the night, including pictures and some of the best tweets, is on Digital LA’s Facebook page

The Speakers

–       Renee LaBran, Rustic Canyon co-founder, Fortis Ventures

–       Esther Nordlinger, CAA Ventures

–       Eva Ho, Factual; angel investor

–       Alexa Fischer, Correlation VC

–       Moderator: Shira Lazar, What’s Trending

Interesting Views by the Speakers

Renee LaBran worked in digital media for LA Times before moving on to VC, so she shared a lot of knowledge and experiences about the cyclical nature of things. A few things she said that I found to be interesting:

–    On the question of what’s overplayed: Incubators/Accelerators –  there are many popping up, and there may be an imbalance of really good ideas and the number of groups trying to house/nurture them.

–     On the question of content creation/distribution: Those who hold the power are those that control access to content, not the ones creating the content. I’ve been reading a lot the last few weeks about the power the cable companies have right now in the US (including this article from Susan Crawford). Certainly creation, access to, and distribution of media is changing, including a desire to participate that is embodied in the quick rise and proliferation of the Harlem Shake. Who will hold the power to control access in the future – YouTube (Google) and Apple?

I also enjoyed what Eva Ho had to say – she is now VP of Marketing/Ops at, used to work at Google, and has been angel investing and serving as an advisor for startups the past few years. Some of my favorites from her:

–     On the question of due diligence: As an angel investor, she has a bench of people to help her with due diligence and fast decision making. No one person can know all the information, but you must get to the important information quickly.

–     On raising your initial funds: Create a $50K raise that 5 people can put $10K each toward first, so that you have advocates and people who have supported you, before going after the bigger $500K+ raise.


Digital LA

Though I’m not specifically working on or in the ‘digital’ and ‘entertainment’ industries here in LA, I’m excited about the number of people, interest, and community that is building around me.

Share your Event Experience

Have you attended any event recently? Please share your thoughts and views with me and my readers.

About Tamra Johnson

I’m an entrepreneur and a recent MBA graduate from UCLA Anderson. I have 10 years of experience in IT Management and Systems Engineering. I love learning, helping others, exploring the world around me, running at the beach, going to concerts, and visiting family and friends. I grew up in Helotes, Texas, went to undergrad in Cambridge, MA, and now live in Venice, CA.
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