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BeGreat Manager Partner Lin Miao gave a check for $25,000 to Pencils of Promise.
Photo by Jeff Hall
BeGreat Manager Partner Lin Miao gave a check for $25,000 to Pencils of Promise.

News, Business, Santa Monica, Technology

The Temperature Is Rising In Silicon Beach

Ronen Olshansky, Burton Goldfield, and Eric Sikola.
Photo by Jeff Hall
Ronen Olshansky, Burton Goldfield, and Eric Sikola.

Posted Oct. 24, 2013, 8:06 am

Special To The Mirror

By Jeff Hall

The digital startup movement in Los Angeles continues at a brisk pace.  

Last month, BeGreatPartners announced it was opening nine accelerator facilities across Los Angeles and would be investing up to $6 million in local startups. BeGreat hosted a recent event at which Managing Partner Lin Miao gave a check for $25,000 to Pencils of Promise, a group that invests in educational initiatives.  

At this event, Manish Goyal from Brentwood presented “FriendBuy,” a social media-based e-commerce concept.  

At Cross Campus in Santa Monica (8th and Broadway), a recent forum on venture capital was moderated by Andrew Roman, author of “The Entrepreneurial Bible to Venture Capital.”  

Fellow panelists included Jon Kraft, a co-founder at Pandora Media, Lou Kerner of the Social Internet Fund, Mohanjit Jolly of DFJ and Paul Bricault of Greycroft.

Finding capital is like dating, suggested Lou Kerner. You can only push so fast and so hard, one needs to take the time to forge a relationship.   

“It’s a process,” added Jon Kraft. “You have to see lots of people and face lots of rejection.”

Moh Jolly said it’s important to “think big, think change the world.”  

He said many pitches he sees these days are more about features than real companies.   Building an advisory board is key, added Romans.  

The quality and energy of LA startups is “striking,” everyone agreed. The quantity of startups is apparent as well; the room was filled with wall-to-wall entrepreneurs, hungry for tidbits (and the ample food, wine and beer available).  

Another Cross Campus event, on how to create value in a company (and achieve a good selling price), focused once again on the importance of working with the right people who share the same passion and values. Burton Goldfield of TriNet and Eric Sikola of ExpenseCloud (which was just sold to TriNet) were featured speakers; Ronen Olshansky of Cross Campus moderated. Cross Campus provides co-working space and hosts events.  To learn more, go to

Digital Hollywood returns to the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey Oct. 21-24. This is where technology, money, and show biz converge. Panelists go over new technologies, new developments and trends in getting companies financed, with a big emphasis on the entertainment business.

Digital Hollywood is a huge event; it’s easy to feel exhausted after hanging out there for several days because it’s just

so comprehensive. It is, as the old saying goes, like drinking water out of a fire hose. For more information, visit

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Jun. 24, 2014, 11:34:52 am

Bob McCumbers said...

Lin Miao found to be a crook...he owes the FTC $150 million...he is anorganized criminal.... An entrepreneur makes millions from unsuspecting victims in a mobile-phone scam. He drives a Bentley, jet-sets between his multiple homes, and collects jewels. But he is found out, and justice is served. This isn't a movie plot. A Los Angeles-based entrepreneur will hand over more than $10 million in cash, real estate, and luxury cars to settle a lawsuit with the Federal Trade Commission for billing unknowing consumers millions of dollars on their mobile-phone bills, the consumer protection agency announced Friday. According to an FTC statement, Lin Miao and a handful of Los Angeles-based companies made millions by sending text messages to consumers offering "love tips," "fun facts," and celebrity gossip. Little did the consumers know, they were charged as much as $9.99 per month for these services—a practice commonly known as "mobile cramming." "Cramming unauthorized charges on consumers' phone bills is unlawful, and this settlement shows the FTC is committed to making sure that anyone who does it won't be able to keep their ill-gotten gains," Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. "Consumers have the right to know what they are being charged." The charges were often unnoticed because they appeared on the bills in a vague or confusing form, according to the FTC's lawsuit. Customers who noticed the charges and asked for refunds never got them, according to the statement. Miao and the other defendants are surrendering all of their assets because they cannot pay the full settlement price of more than $150 million. The full list of assets include the cash in 14 bank accounts, five luxury cars (including a Bentley and a Mercedes), five properties in Chicago and Los Angeles, and Tiffany jewelery. The FTC filed a complaint against Miao last year. The lawsuit is part of the FTC's crackdown on mobile cramming.

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