High impact entrepreneurship
We are a group of experienced investors, entrepreneurs, and technologists that have successfully built and sold companies in southern California. Our expertise covers a range of key domains for early stage companies including: product concept and development, fundraising, business model development, sales and marketing, operations, mergers and acquisitions.
Amir is a successful entrepreneur whose work experience includes more 25 years product to market experience and 12 year of investing and advising startups.
His focus has always been identifying and developing future and emerging technologies that can impact society with special emphasis on machine learning, robotics, predictive business intelligence, knowledge sharing & education, and healthcare. He specializes in product strategy, pricing, business model, go-to-market, and fund raising.
Amir is currently a Board Member and former President of the Tech Coast Angels Orange County and actively involved with venture funds and angel investors to help continuous and sustained funding of startups.
As an active angel investor with a successful 25 year track record as a king/queen maker, Ray is committed to partnering with entrepreneurs to lead them to success. Working in tandem with these entrepreneurs, Ray loves sharing his passion and knowledge with the next class of game-changers. Ray has extensive experience within the tech startup industry. Ray is currently a member and Board Member of Tech Coast Angels and ACE Fund I and II Investment Committee. In 1985, he co-founded NetSoft, a leader in communications solutions between PCs, mainframes, and AS/400 systems. NetSoft was acquired by NetManage Inc (NETM).
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Robin Pimentel is an active investor and recently VP of Network Engineering at a recently acquired startup (Gaikai, a SCE Company). Robin's prior employers include Onlive, Facebook, Google and Yahoo; with experience designing large scale MPLS-TE, BGP, ISIS, Datacenter Networking and Load Balancing architectures.
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Steve Block has more than 40 years of broad, legal, management and executive experience at Fortune 500 corporations and a major New York law firm. Mr. Block has had extensive experience in domestic and international mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures. He serves on the Boards of Directors of both private and public companies including the Board of Directors of Senomyx, Inc. (NASDAQ:SNMX) and ChromaDex Corporation (OTC:CDXC.OB),
Chairman of the Board of Blue Pacific Flavors and Fragrances, Inc., and a director of Allylix, Inc., XSCapacity, Inc., Vigilistics, Inc. and Masher Media, Inc. (of which he is co-founder). Mr. Block holds a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude from Yale University.
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Elim Kay is an entrepreneur and active angel investor, currently Co-Founder and COO of Zaka, Inc., a mobile software early-stage venture, and Managing Member of Insepin, LLC, a private holding company for technology investments. He has been involved in startup ventures since 2002. He received his BA from Chapman University. He currently serves on a number of non-profit boards and is a strong supporter of information age innovation, particularly in education and healthcare
JASON THANH LA
Jason La is a serial entrepreneur with twenty years of entrepreneurial, management, and consulting experience in information technology. He has co-founded and led Merchant Service Group LLC, a multilingual payment company that has grown from a three-person startup to a 300-network organization serving merchants in 48 states.. Prior to Merchant Service Group LLC, Jason was a consultant at Internet start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. He has delivered custom application development and large scale integration projects for clients such as CNF’s Con-way, Emery Worldwide, and DirecTV.
Jason is an alumnus of Harvard Business School and MBA graduate of Cornell University. He has recently been named to the OC Register Metro's 2014 “Forty under 40” list of top young executives, entrepreneurs, and professionals
Entrepreneur - Investor. Experience in product development and scaling hardware & media ventures. Specialties include product development, business planning, and new venture assessment. Beginning in the motion-picture and television industry, Stijn worked in different technical roles and consequently started and sold several business in that arena. His last venture FX-Motion Inc, an industry leader in the field of robotic and remote-controlled camera systems for the broadcast and motion picture industry was acquired by Ross Video in 2011. Before founding FX-Motion, Stijn worked as an Assistant Cameraman and Cinematographer on feature films, advertising and music videos. Stijn holds degrees in Electronic Engineering, Film and Television technology, Product Development and Business Administration. In 2003, he was under consideration for a Scientific Academy Award (OSCAR). He is fluent in Dutch, English, and French.
Kai Tao is an experienced consumer and technology investor through Park One Capital, his family office, which invests in both private and public equities utilizing a variety of capital structures. Currently, he is the Chairman of Phluant Mobile, a leader in mobile rich media advertising and analytics, as well as Lifetopia Corp, a provider of housing management solutions for Colleges and Universities. Previously, he was the President and Chief Investment Officer of Watson Asset Management, a hedge fund with peak assets of $300 million, specializing in long short US Equities. He holds a BS in Engineering from MIT.
Ryan Breed is a versatile executive, passionate about new businesses, new technologies and startups. He has liberal arts, electrical engineering, and business degrees from Occidental College, Caltech, and the Anderson School of Management. His career has been focused on working with high-power teams to realize the potential of new ideas and technologies across a variety of industries. For the last 5 yeas he's been dedicated to the executive team at Gaikai, recently purchased by Sony Computer Entertainment, developing the foundational game-streaming technology behind their highly successful PlayStation Now game streaming service, the "Netflix of video games". He currently leads their Business Intelligence and Cloud Engineering teams.
Prior to Gaikai he was the founding partner in a hedge fund focused on automated trading strategies within the options markets. Prior to that the President of Automotive Technologies International, focused on future safety technologies such as collision anticipation and avoidance, self-driving cars, and occupant sensing. Ryan's teams have worked with a wide variety of technologies, including: embedded systems, pattern recognition, materials science, networking, high frequency radar, large-scale SAAS platforms, and many others.
A twenty-year telecommunications entrepreneur and founder of Office Telephone Management (OTM) in 1983, a shared-service provider of integrated voice and data communications products and services to tenants of multi-tenant office buildings in Southern California. Sold business to Intermedia Communications (later acquired by Worldcom) in 1995. Since then, involved in an assortment of domestic and international telecommunications consulting engagements, mentoring activities, and investment opportunities involving local telecom and other startup companies. A member of both the Orange County chapter of the Tech Coast Angels and Investors Circle, Chairman of the the advisory board of the Venture Finance Institute of the Claremont Graduate University, founding partner of the LA Chapter of Social Venture Partners, and board member of the Social Enterprise Institute.
Hans Imhof holds an Electrical Engineering Degree from the University of in Zurich in Switzerland. Mr. Imhof rose through the ranks at Borg Warner Corporation in the 1960’s to become the Chief Engineer of their Electronics Division in Southern California. Following this, he formed Electrical Power Engineering, EPE, which he successfully grew to become the third largest manufacturer of Uninterruptible Power Supplies in the world. EPE was sold to the Merlin Gerin division of Group Schneider of Paris, France in 1990. Following the successful sale of EPE, Mr. Imhof has continued to be actively involved in a number of successful startup businesses including NetBrowser Communications, and others.
Entrepreneurs in Residence
Donna is an entrepreneur with experiences in management, investor fundraising, and corporate law. She was the founder and CEO of recently acquired MascotSecret, a startup based on enhancing the in-game experience for fans. Prior to MascotSecret, Donna was a tax lawyer advising numerous Fortune 500 clients on corporate structuring and international tax law.
Gunther is a world-renowned speaker on digital convergence and the power of modern storytelling, having keynoted alongside the likes of Sir Richard Branson, Guy Kawasaki, Arianna Huffington and Jonathan Harris. He is currently co-writing a new book entitled The Big Pivot, a guidepost for companies looking to build emerging market opportunities in an era of deep cultural acceleration
As a creative entrepreneur, Gunther has spent the majority of his 20-year career building leading-edge content and analytics systems within the entertainment, brand and corporate spaces, including a dozen proprietary platforms and a host of digital and social media tools. In product and marketing roles, Gunther is an advisor to several disruptive companies, including Coincident TV (David Kaiser, CEO; creator of Flash/Macromedia, co-Founder of Navisoft; several exits, ex NASA engineer), TruEffect (helped raise $8mm in cash and lines from Goldman Sachs; Martin Smith, CTO, ex Senior Apple engineer), MomentFeed (recently helped raise strategic investment from Location 3 in a $1.3mm seed round), Liquify Digital (Greg Martin, CEO, ex Disney exec) and Glome (Timo Ronkainen, Chairman, MD of Carat-Isobar Finland).
More than 60 mentors currently partner with K5 Ventures to provide cutting edge and pragmatic advice and support. Training provided to startups include product development, revenue model, customer development, sales and marketing.