An all-day forum this Friday in Santa Monica will bring together all kinds of business people – entrepreneurs, crowdfunding experts, investors – from 10 countries all over the world. It was all put together by a 35-year-old Russian immigrant who confesses that she feels most comfortable working with numbers. “Numbers don’t have accents,” joked Victoria Silchenko, who assembled the 26 speakers for the event, Next Generation Entrepreneurship and Global Crowdfunding.
Actually, it was her work with numbers that led her to Los Angeles. After getting her doctorate in economics in Moscow, she enrolled in a student program in San Diego in 2000 and then went to work for economist Arthur Laffer of Laffer Curve fame. That was followed by a move to Los Angeles to work for the Milken Institute. She now is chief executive of Metropole Capital Group, a Century City consultant to small businesses.
Although there will be plenty of numbers at the forum, the real point is to get people together – investors and entrepreneurs, mainly – to explore the latest capital-raising techniques.
“The goal is to connect people who are connectors,” she said.
Doing It With ‘Style’
You couldn’t blame Jennifer Chang and her co-workers at Perfect Market if they’ve been feeling like one-trick-ponies lately.
When a former co-worker of Chang’s asked if the Pasadena startup wanted to be part of a tech parody of the South Korean pop hit “Gangnam Style,” they were more than ready. That’s because Perfect Market’s staffers had by coincidence already been perfecting the video’s equestrian-bouncing, pelvic-thrusting moves for an officewide Halloween party.
One of the engineers at Perfect Market is a professional ballroom dance teacher who served as captain for the performance. And Chang is Korean American, with family that lives in the ritzy eponymous Seoul neighborhood the song immortalizes. (Despite the implications from the song’s video, she said there are few horses in Gangnam.)
“As a startup, it’s all about leveraging the resources you have to make something happen,” she said.
The video, which already has 12,000 hits, drops references to the staples of startup culture: coding, biking and table tennis.
Perfect Market’s foray into K-pop ministardom has provided a chance to meet people at other companies.
“Startups are looking for as many networking opportunities you can find,” Chang said. “We’ve been tweeting and retweeting each other since the video came out.”
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