ChowNow Launches a Simple Food Ordering & Marketing System for Restaurant

ChowNow Offers Local Restaurant a Simple Food Ordering & Marketing System

Having a brick and mortar restaurant doesn’t excuse you from the necessity of engaging customers through the Internet. That means you need your own website, plus your own Facebook page. You may have listed your restaurant and your site at some 3rd party online platform. But all your other competitors have the same things. To have an edge, you can partner up with ChowNow instead.

ChowNow streamlines how your customers can access your business so that you can enjoy their patronage much more efficiently and smoothly. ChowNow can provide you branded custom-built ordering apps for iPhones and Android smartphones. These mobile apps can feature your own logo and your own food which your customers can then pick from. These apps have the Apple Pay and Android Pay already built-in.

Your customers can also order from your website, so they won’t have to go to a 3rd party website where they can also see other competing restaurants. You won’t have to pay commission to that site either. You can get your orders directly from sites like your pages at Facebook, Google Search Listing, Yelp, and Zagat.

There’s the ChowNow tablet that your staff people can use, where an unlimited number of prepaid orders can come in in real time. This means you won’t have to suffer from inaccurate or missed orders. There’s also the ChowNow Dashboard, which allows you to customize your menu and to get reports regarding the top spenders. With every order that comes in, you obtain marketing data that you can use to improve your business.

ChowNow is a veritable font of marketing services, and the apps and other services you obtain can increase the frequency of customer visits. ChowNow is great for increasing sales and enhancing customer engagement, which is why more than 6,500 restaurants have signed up with them since their launch in 2010.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

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Brands Are Built With These Four Components

Brands Are Built With These Four Components

We could really run the gamut when it comes to branding. There are a million big pictures and small details to consider. So much so that we’re often frozen-intimidated as to how or where to start when we’re building a brand.

But, before we get into that, let’s back it up a bit.

  • Brands. What am I talking about?
  • Are you ready for the answer?
  • Anything. Anything and everything.  

Yes, anything and everything is a brand and can BE a brand. That startup venture where you’ve raised $100,000? Brand. That startup venture that’s raised zilch? Brand. That company that’s been around for 100 years? That idea you had on your morning run? Brand. You? Brand.

They’re all brands. Because they’re all things we want to be a part off of things and/or we want others to be a part of with us.

Which is why, when we’re talking about branding anything, it really comes down to these four components.

Language

Imagery

Experiences

Humans

When starting to build these or even build some thoughts about what they mean in the context of your idea, company, startup, you, it’s best to start with some quick questions. I call these elevator questions. Because, just like your elevator pitch, I want you to hear this question, and trust your gut; what’s your answer to these q’s in the time it takes you to ride the elevator to your destination. (Life hint: This is really about what your gut is telling you.)

1 Language

What keywords, phrases, taglines, copy do you want someone else to read, feel, experience when they read your website, sales brochures, or social media?

2 Imagery

What’s your photographic style? Airy, dream, soft, cozy? Bold and bright with sharp lines? This should be more about vibe – what do your brand’s pictures, graphics, fonts, images feel like?

3 Experiences

What’s it like to experience – be with, talk to, partner with – you and your brand? Is the experience personal and unique? Does it make someone else feel special? Is it easy and fun?

4 Humans

Who’s on your team and who are customers interacting with? Are your team members in-line with you and how you want to run this business? Are they responsible, reliable, fun, and easy to work with? Do they make your life easier?

An easy next step you can do between conference calls today: Take 30 minutes uninterrupted to think through these q’s or write down what might have occurred to you if you did, in fact, think these through on the elevator. Make some quick notes to yourself with answers to your q’s; also, don’t ever be afraid to talk through these q’s WITH your team. They might see things or experience things differently, and their two-cents can make this process more efficient – and more fun. (Who’s ever going to argue with that?)

Now, I want to harken back to something I mentioned maybe 30 seconds ago – what your gut is telling you. This is clutch. Because the day we start making decisions and building brands that contradict our gut instinct, we’re building something that’s not true or authentic. And people always want to be a part of something that’s true or authentic. People can smell that out, you know? You do; don’t you think your followers – or prospective followers – will, too?

Also, remember – branding is meant to be an inspiring conversation you look forward to; if it’s not, there might be something deeper going on in the business. And this just might be the time to think through that, too.

Toth + Fay recently launched an online academy – The School of Brand Confidence – that will walk you through branding basics – from copywriting to visual strategy to believing in yourself – to support your brand building. Learn more about it here.

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How did a blonde from Pittsburgh + a brunette from the Carolinas meet and create a business together? 🤔 Short+sweet version : Meg joined @hyggeclt the first week it opened back in November 2015 when it was literally just @garretttichy sitting at a card table. (Literally. 😂) Two years later, in walked Julia who wanted to see what the co working buzz was about. 🙃 In 2017, they teamed up to write about and photograph members of the Hygge community that year; now – they’ve written close to 90. When they reach 100, they think it’s fair to ask for a cake (@SuarezBakery, Garrett.) 👯‍♀️ After partnering together through different projects with their own clients and teaching four successful in person branding workshops, they decided to BRAND themselves and create @tothandfay. 💛 So needless to say, the first handshake and collaboration would’ve probably never happened if it wasn’t for @hyggeclt and for that they are grateful 💛

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You may also like: How to maximize your digital marketing budget in 2019

Meg Seitz
Contributor
toth shop, inc.
Meg Seitz is the Founder and Managing Creative Partner of toth shop, a Charlotte-based agency with one goal: Elevate your brand’s content through powerful writing, creativity, and strategy. She utilizes a unique skill set that is a fusion of her English major and MBA, brand strategist role and teaching experience, writing philosophy and hybrid thinking approach. As well, she serves as an Adjunct Professor with Queens University’s Vandiver Center for Career Development and Founding Partner of the educational platform and children’s book series, “Bea is for Business” designed to teach children ages 5-9 business principles.
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Meg Seitz
toth shop, inc.
Meg Seitz is the Founder and Managing Creative Partner of toth shop, a Charlotte-based agency with one goal: Elevate your brand’s content through powerful writing, creativity, and strategy. She utilizes a unique skill set that is a fusion of her English major and MBA, brand strategist role and teaching experience, writing philosophy and hybrid thinking approach. As well, she serves as an Adjunct Professor with Queens University’s Vandiver Center for Career Development and Founding Partner of the educational platform and children’s book series, “Bea is for Business” designed to teach children ages 5-9 business principles.

How the Stock Market Affects the Job Market

  • Cadre Talent is a quality over quantity boutique recruiting shop specializing in all things software engineering in LA
How the Stock Market Affects the Job Market

The recent stock market plummet has sent many people into wondering if the job market will follow suit, affecting their careers and livelihoods.

The good news is, even though the health of the stock market does have an impact on the job market, it’s often not a one-to-one correlation.

The Stock Market As an Indicator of Shareholder Confidence

The stock market reflects not only the strength of the economy at the moment but also the confidence that investors and corporations have in the future of the market.

If shareholders believe that a company is going to make more profits, then the stock price will bounce back and the organization will have more resources to expand and hire employees. If the market feels that a company’s earnings will remain stagnant or decline, then the stock price will drop and the organization will likely have to tighten its belt.

As such, how investors evaluate the economy will impact corporations’ resource allocation and hiring decisions.

Keep in mind that the stock market is a leading indicator while the job market is a lagging indicator. A single fluctuation in the stock market is unlikely to impact the job market significantly in the short run.

However, if the downward trend continues in the stock market and shareholder confidence starts to erode, the job market will likely suffer since a company’s stock value is based on investors’ projection of its future earnings.

One major reason that a bull market typically creates more jobs is the increased M&A activities. Larger companies have more cash and tend to expand more aggressively. On the other hand, M&A activities tend to slow down in a sustained bear market.

Also, VC money tends to drop off in a sustained bear market, which often results in a tight market, as well as a contraction in seed and Series A rounds. This, in turn, affects the hiring prognosis for startups while more candidates are holding onto their jobs at bigger shops. Such candidate-favored market could deter smaller companies from hiring.

How the Stock Market Affects the Job Market

How the Stock Market and Job Market Affect Each Other

Many factors, such as the global economy, political climate, and investor confidence can impact how the stock market and the job market affect each other as they’re intertwined in nuanced ways.

For example, the economy doesn’t have to decline to put CEOs under pressure. If shareholders start losing confidence for any reason and executives are forced to put a hold on spending, the job market could be affected.

Alternatively, when job seekers see signs of uncertainty in the market, they’re likely to stay at their current jobs and start banking more money instead of taking more risks or increase their spending. This will reduce their disposable income, impact the economy, reduce corporate earnings, and eventually affect the stock market.

There are other factors that will affect the confidence of the market and the outlook of investors in response to a plummet in stock prices, which can have a major impact on the job market.

For example, if investors are pessimistic about the political climate and the Fed responds by increasing the interest rates, global stock and bond market will continue to drop. Companies will be under pressure to tighten their spending by pausing their hiring or even laying off employees.

However, if the political climate instills an optimistic mood in corporate America (e.g., through deregulation and tax breaks,) stockholder confidence can stay high despite a momentary drop in stock prices. Businesses will feel empowered and continue to expand and hire more employees.

Last but not least, wild swings in stock prices could impact market confidence more significantly. As a result, the fluctuation is likely to be more destabilizing for the job market.


 

Cadre is a quality over quantity boutique recruiting shop specializing in all things software engineering, robotics, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles. Cadre is building a talent network utilizing AI and Machine Learning to help solve the tech talent crisis across their portfolio of 85 startups throughout California, Seattle, and Austin.

 

Jason Stomel
Contributor
Cadre Talent, Santa Monica, CA
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.
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Jason Stomel
Cadre Talent, Santa Monica, CA
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.

Blockchain: Trust Is Not A Binary Option

Blockchain: Trust Is Not A Binary Option

Trust doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition when it comes to Blockchain

Blockchain’s primary value proposition is decentralization, the idea that the “truth” can be validated without 3rd party intervention in a trustless environment.  As technology has proliferated over the last several years, we have seen the infrastructure incorporate many different types of protocols:

  • Public  – Fully open blockchains with no barrier to participating (eg, Bitcoin, Ethereum)
  • Permission – Private blockchains where a central entity controls access (eg, Orderers in Hyperledger Fabric)
  • Federated – A consortium of entities controlling the blockchain (R3 comes to mind)

Each of these options has a different take on “trust.”  There are some in the crypto space who feel the only groundbreaking solutions are the public, or “permissionless,” solutions.  Their argument is that a protocol is only decentralized when it is fully public, and only then can it reach the full potential of the blockchain.

It’s a fair point, to be sure.  How can you be decentralized if one or more entities are entrusted control access to the blockchain?  However, it occurs to me that this is a very binary view of trust – in reality, trust is more nuanced and multi-layered, like a set of qubits more than a simple 0/1 representation.

Every single day we maintain simultaneous levels of trust at the same time.  I trust my wife implicitly (I hope that is wise), while I have much less trust in the Lakers’ ability to win a title without LeBron.   I have varying degrees of trust in my employees based on past performance, while I have no trust in the cars speeding along my neighborhood street when I walk the kids to school.

Our entire day is defined by a cascading array of trust, depending on our situation.  We understand and accept this because trust is a tool we use to maximize our benefit in specific situations.  I’m not going into a conversation with my wife about whether to have a 4th child (spoiler alert – not happening) from a lack of trust, because the conversation would be utterly pointless.  Conversely, I’m not going into a startup pitch from a place of trust, because it would eliminate the healthy skepticism I’ll need to evaluate the opportunity.

Why wouldn’t the same concept apply to blockchain?  Does every system need to be fully permissionless to add value?  The security and decentralized nature of Bitcoin works great for payments between people who don’t know each other, but in certain environments, organizations can still benefit from blockchain with a degree of centralization, provided there is a healthy level of trust.  For a tight supply chain of organizations with the right incentives to work together, a federated or permission solution would do just fine.

Ripple uses roles to establish specific participants to act as transaction validators

I’ve heard the argument that blockchain technology isn’t needed in situations where a centralized approach is acceptable – a central database would do just fine.  Sure it may be fine, but why not use blockchain when the technology provides other value propositions out of the box – namely, transparency and immutability?

My point is this: because trust is a multi-layered concept in our daily lives, and blockchain can handle trust in many different ways, we should embrace its implementation to support more than just the no-trust situations.  Let’s not limit blockchain’s potential while we still shaping this exciting new technology.

Is Blockchain Truly Decentralized?

Chad Hahn
Contributor
Optimity Advisors, Inc.
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.
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Chad Hahn
Optimity Advisors, Inc.
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.

9 Best Restaurants To Eat In Marina Del Rey

9 Best Restaurants To Eat In Marina Del Rey

Despite this neighborhood’s really small size, there are still tons of great food options around. Discover some of our top picks here.

For some people, Marina del Rey is a magnificent food destination. With the enclave sitting by the water and the number of restaurants in the area, it can certainly be a good place to hit if you’re after a nice dining experience.

Others, however, think that the area is too cheesy with bland dining options. They definitely have a reason to believe so but a number of good eateries found here can change your mind. It’s just a matter of finding the right diner to visit if you’ll ask us.

And since we’re already on this topic, we’re sharing with you some of our favorite dining destinations in the neighborhood:

Brennan’s

Location:  4089 Lincoln Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

In a culturally diverse city such as L.A., it can be quite a challenge to be considered unique. But Brennan’s continue to be considered as such over the years, mostly because of its legendary turtle races held every Thursday. Nowadays, though, it’s also becoming a great date spot, thanks to the upgrade it got after changing operators.

With the facelift came more space for various kinds of fun activities that can make a date more exciting and a menu update. They now offer a full bar run by the Simms Restaurant Group, so you can definitely opt to eat there, too.

What to order:

  • Shrimp Cocktail
  • Pizza
  • Fried Chickpeas
  • Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich

Salt

Location: 13534 Bali Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Most folks visit Salt for its amazing views of the marina but its food is also drawing diners in. Put together, it’s a great place for celebrations or when out-of-towners come to visit.

What a lot of people don’t know about this place, however, is that it offers amazing happy hour deals. It runs from 4 to 6 PM during the weekdays and will let you enjoy very affordable apps and drinks and get the best seats in the house.

What to order:

  • Maine Lobster Pasta
  • Fish and Chips
  • Fried Alaskan Cod Tacos
  • Fried Chicken Bucket

Morfia’s Ribs And Pies

Location: 4077 Lincoln Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Morfia’s Ribs and Pies is one of those places that are easy to miss since its pretty small and sits in between a bar and a carwash. However, you should still keep your eyes peeled for it, especially if you’re craving for some Texas BBQ because they offer authentic ones. People rave about their juicy sauce-drenched ribs and generous servings.

Unfortunately, the place is small with only 5 tables. You can grab them to go, though, so you can always just enjoy them at home.

What to order:

  • Texas Brisket
  • Baklava Cheesecake
  • Peach Cobbler Pie

Mendocino Farms

Location: 4724 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Mendocino Farms may have other locations around L.A. but their MDR outpost is still worth mentioning for obvious reasons. If you haven’t tried this place yet, you should correct that right away, especially if you love amazing sandwiches.

Just like all the other Mendo’s around the city, their food is fresh, generous, and flavorful. As they’re also very convenient to eat, they’re also perfect for picnics by the marina. Just remember to order online in advance so you can skip the long lines in the store.

What to order:

  • A Study of Heat
  • Kurobuta Pork Banh Mi
  • Chef’s Picks
  • Secret Menu items

C&O Trattoria

Location: 31 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Deemed as an institution in the area, the C&O Trattoria continue to draw in people for its generosity and beautiful location. It sits near the water so it’s a must to grab a table outside and they have enormous servings that are already great for sharing. On top of these, they’ll also give you unlimited Garlic Knots which can already be filling in itself.

Aside from the food, the place itself is always lively. There are nightly sing-a-longs, so if you love to dine in restaurants with boisterous atmospheres, this place would be a great choice for you.

What to order:

  • Penne Arrabiata
  • Fettucine Sun-Dried Tomato
  • Linguini Mare
  • Shrimp Ravioli

Irori Sushi

Location: 4371 Glencoe Ave B4, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

A go-to date spot in MDR, Irori Sushi has this rule that you have to remove your shoes at the door. It can be quite weird because it’s one of those well-loved strip mall sushi places, but since the food is good, taking off your footwear is just a tiny setback.

In exchange, you’ll get to enjoy really fresh fish prepared in many different ways. They have a creative range of sashimis and sushi, so you’re in for a unique dining experience when you visit.

What to order:

  • Toro Trio
  • Chef Special Rolls
  • Urchin
  • Salmon Blue Crab

Settebello

Location: 13455 Maxella Ave #250, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Settebello might be another casual chain that you can find elsewhere but it doesn’t mean that the one in MDR doesn’t deserve to be appreciated. Besides, they still offer the same amazing pizzas, so there’s really no reason to give it the snub.

The most special thing about this joint is that they have some of the most legit Neapolitan pizzas around. The flour used in their pizza dough and the other ingredients they use are imported from Italy to really achieve their food’s authenticity. This results to a unique mouthfeel for their pies that, when combined with their tasty recipes, can really have you coming back for more.

What to order:

  • Margherita DOC pie
  • Settebello
  • Specials

Cafe del Rey

Location: 4451 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

To be very honest, a lot of people come to Cafe del Rey for its views. It sits right on the marina so you’ll get to watch the yachts parked outside. The place itself is pretty upscale so expect to see corporate types.

The Wednesday bottomless brunch offers a great reason to visit, though. Not only is it reasonably priced but the menu is quite spectacular, too.

What to order:

  • Kobe Burger
  • Cured Salmon Toast

Tender Greens

Location: 13455 Maxella Ave, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Considered as the pioneers of the build-your-own-salad movement, Tender Greens is now a chain restaurant with new locations around L.A. This isn’t a bad thing, though, especially since this place has seen lines that go around blocks during its early days. The atmosphere now is more relaxed so you can better enjoy your healthy meal in peace.

What to order:

  • Tuna Nicoise
  • Endless Summer Bowl
  • Your own customized plate
Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
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). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
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LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
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). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

Top 4 Reasons to Order Room Service Breakfast When on Business Trips

Top 4 Reasons to Order Room Service Breakfast When on Business Trips

So you’re on a business trip. You’ve done that quite a bit, have you? If that’s the case, then you must have some sort of routine that you do when you’re in a hotel. Part of that routine is that when you’re having breakfast, you just need to order room service for it. While a room service breakfast may seem overly luxurious and indolent, there are actually very good reasons for such a move:

1.   It Works as an Extremely Effective Alarm Clock

Sure, we all have alarm clocks with our indispensable smartphones these days. But there’s always a reason to dawdle and delay in your foggy little brain in the morning, which is why the snooze button is evil.

But when you’ve scheduled breakfast to arrive at 7:30 AM on the dot, you can’t just press the snooze button and take a few more minutes of zzzs. The reason is simple. Very few people—men as well as women—have enough chutzpah to actually deal with room service delivery without being decently dressed. Lots of men really don’t want to get their breakfast in their ratty boxer shorts, while quite a few women would prefer to have at least brushed their hair.

Since your breakfast arrives at 7:30 AM, you have to wake up beforehand with enough time to get a shower and to look somewhat more presentable. It forces you to wake up and you’re able to start your morning without being rushed.

2.   You’re Actually Able to Eat Breakfast

If you don’t order room service breakfast, there’s a very good chance that you may just skip this important meal. That’s because you didn’t wake up at the right time, or you don’t want to bother finding a place that serves breakfast.

But now you have food and coffee, and you get to eat after more than 8 hours of not eating overnight. You get the fuel you need for your morning activities.

3.   You Can Avoid People If You’re Not a Morning Person

Lots of us aren’t at our best behavior in the morning. So when you head on out the door looking for a breakfast deli, you run the risk of offending people with your surly morning demeanor. These may be other people in the conference you’re attending or the members of your own team, and you may alienate them.

You can try to act nicely, but it can be frustrating. That’s especially true when they insist on coming with you to find breakfast when you’d rather be alone. Then they may even sit with you at the breakfast table and try to chat while you just want to eat, have coffee and read the newspaper.

So order room service breakfast, and enjoy it in peace.

4.   You Can Even Get Some Early Work Done

No one’s stopping you from checking on with your work through your laptop when you’re in your own hotel room. You don’t have to worry about people looking over your shoulder either.

So go ahead and order room service breakfast. It doesn’t cost much, but the rewards are worth more than what you pay for it!

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
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). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
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LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
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). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.