As they say, you can please some of the people all of the time… We’re not a big fan of lists here at PandoDaily, but we love a good discussion. That’s why we couldn’t fault the results of yesterday’s guest post titled “Ten Tech Entrepreneurs Who Are Putting LA on the Map”.
The list, compiled by StartEngine co-founder and former Activision CEO Howard Marks, was a good one, if a little safe. That is to say that, for the most part, Marks focused on known successes and entrepreneurs who have already arrived.
While it’s hard to argue with any of his choices, the community was quick to get in a tug-of-war with us over it and suggested some fresher faces to be added. We love this because its the mark of an involved, passionate, and increasingly successful market, when observers cannot agree on its leaders and greatest success stories.
We reached out to the community on Twitter and asked for suggestions of who they’d like to see recognized. Below are the top ten nominees along with a brief description of their accomplishments.
1. Allen Debevoise, co-founder and CEO of Machinima — Machinima is an online video network for the gaming audience that is said to be valued at more than $250 million. The network has been growing rapidly and recently crossed an astonishing 2 billion monthly video views. Debevoise is an experienced entertainment and technology executive who is leading the rapidly growing online video sector in Los Angeles. Machinima has raised $49 million in outside financing from the likes of Google, Redpoint Ventures, and MK Capital. Nominated by @GSRubenstein
2. Sophia Amoruso, founder and CEO of Nasty Gal — Nasty Gal is an edgy, fashion ecommerce business that has defied all the rules in its climb to the top. Amoruso started the business on eBay as a way to finance her college education and now six years later is on pace to generate $128 million in revenue in 2012. After bootstrapping for the first four years, the company has now raised $49 million from Index Ventures over two rounds of financing. Nominated by @sarahcuda
3. Keith Richman, co-founder and CEO of Break Media — Break Media is one of the largest male-focused online entertainment and advertising platforms, comprised of over 95 member sites. The ten-year-old company reaches more than 60 million men worldwide each month. Break has raised $24 million in outside financing from Lionsgate. Nominated by @mcarney
4. Diego Berdakin, co-founder and president of Beachmint — BeachMint is a celebrity driven subscription ecommerce business that reaches the sectors of fashion, accessories, jewelry, and housewares. Berdakin co-founded the business in 2010 with MySpace co-founder Josh Berman, and together they’ve raised $73.5 million in outside financing to date. While Berman may have more prestige, it’s Berdakin who is the face of Beachmint and who is also an active angel investor and entrepreneurial mentor in Los Angeles. Nominated by @bragiel
5. Zach James, co-founder of ZEFR (formerly MovieClips) — ZEFR is a YouTube-hosted entertainment network that serves short clips of premium Hollywood studio content. The company has exclusive partnerships with the six largest Hollywood studios and provides content tracking and management services to these clients. The company recently announced that had rocketed past 600 million monthly video views. ZEFR has raised $28.5 million outside financing from U.S. Venture Partners, MK Capital, Shasta Ventures, SoftTech VC, First Round Capital, and Richmond Park Partners. Nominated by @denacook
6. Mark Douglas, founder and CEO of Steelhouse — Steelhouse is an online behavior advertising company specializing in ad-targeting and real-time offers. The company has grown at an exceptional rate over the last three years, winning numerous awards in its category. Douglas was previously the VP of engineering at the Rubicon Project and VP of technology at eHarmony. Steelhouse has raised $14.6 million from Qualcomm Ventures, Greycroft Partners, Baroda Ventures, Rincon Venture Partners, SV Angel, and Daher Capital. Nominated by @mcarney
7. Clark Landry, co-founder and chairman of Graph Effect — GraphEffect is an online collaboration platform for social marketers that offers functionality from planning, content creation, analysis, and social advertising. Landry is a seasoned ad-tech entrepreneur and a highly active angel investors with roles in Adconion, Traffic Marketplace, Burst.ly, EcoMom, Scopely, and other well known companies. Nominated by @mcarney
8. Chris Ovitz, Co-founder and head of business development of Viddy — Viddy is the much hyped social video network that grew out of nowhere in early 2012, thanks to an injection of virality from the Facebook open graph. The service that allows users to create and share 15-second video clips raised an astonishing $30 million round in April at a reported $370 million valuation. Ovitz joined Viddy co-founders Brett O’Brien and JJ Aguhob shortly after launch, but many in Los Angeles credit Chris and his Hollywood and Silicon Valley networks – his father co-founded talent agency CAA – for much of the company’s popularity and fundraising success. Nominated by @samrogoway
9. Aber Whitcomb, co-founder and CTO of SGN — SGN (or Social Gaming Network, formerly MindJolt) is a developer and publisher of mobile and social games. The company was co-founded by Whitcomb along with former MySpace co-founders Chris DeWolf and Collin Digiaro – Whitcomb was previously CTO of MySpace. SGN has raised $17.1 million in financing from a number of firms including Tomorrow Ventures, Founder’s Fund, and Columbia Capital. In addition to his role with SGN, Whitcomb co-founded entertainment accelerator and co-working space io/LA and is an active angel investor. Nominated by @bragiel
10. Brian Norgard, co-founder of Chill — Chill is a social video discovery and curation platform that focuses on premium content found across the web. The site has partnerships with TMZ Jimmy Kimmel Live, PUMA, and others. Norgard founded Chill with Daniel Gould, with whom he previously co-founded Ad.ly. Chill has raised $8 million in outside capital from Kleiner Perkins, William Morris Entertainment, and others. Nominated by @bragiel