Eight Repeat Entrepreneurs To Watch In SoCal

One complaint we sometimes hear from venture capitalists visiting Southern California for the first time, is the difficulty of finding experienced entrepreneurs and executives. has mined its proprietary database of high tech companies and entrepreneurs and identified just a few of the repeat entrepreneurs to watch in the region. Here are eight Southern California companies and the experienced, successful entrepreneurs heading up their efforts, who haven't had any problems finding investors--or customers--for their firms.


1. Demand Media / Richard Rosenblatt / Los Angeles - Rosenblatt's last big win: MySpace, where he was Chairman, brokering its sale to News Corp. Getting lots of notice--and controversy--at Demand Media for its use of writers to create content specifically to attract web traffic. Less known--a healthy domain name registration business. Rumored to be prepping for an IPO, just inked a deal to launch a new beauty and fashion site with Tyra Banks. Profile


2. Row 44 / John Guidon / Westlake Village - Guidon sold his last firm--Comcore Semiconductor--back in 1998 to National Semiconductor, for a substantial gain. His latest startup, Row 44, is providing hardware to Southwest Airlines and other airlines for wireless access, and has a number of announced wins. Profile


3. Confident Technologies / Curtis Staker / San Diego - Staker is the former President of Websense, and has pulled together an experienced team with a depth of experience from the firm. They've acquired CAPTCHA security tools originally developed by Vidoop, and are looking to market that technology to e-commerce web sites, social networking sites, and others looking to reduce spam and fraud. Profile


4. / Robin Richards / Los Angeles - Richards most recently sold The NTI Group to Blackboard, was founding president and COO at, and was CEO of Vivendi Universal Net USA. His team--which has followed him from his past firms--has a number of successes under their belt. Profile


5. Factual / Gil Elbaz / Santa Monica - For the amount of success in his last startup, few people seem to know that Elbaz is behind Google's immensely successful Google AdSense product--originally known as Applied Semantics' AdSense. Elbaz sold Applied Semantics to Google in 2003, for pre-IPO stock, reaping first round investors more than a 100x return on their investment. His latest startup, Factual, is aimed at the data mashup and open data market. Profile


6. OpenCandy / Darrius Thompson / San Diego - Thompson and a team with roots at DivX is taking on the open source software recommendation market with OpenCandy, which helps software developers monetize their open source, and also connects advertisers with users of relevant products. The firm has backing from such investors as Google Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, and O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. Profile


7. Mahalo / Jason Calacanis / Santa Monica - Calacanis, often known better in Silicon Valley than Southern California, had his last success in Weblogs, Inc., which he sold to AOL. His new site, Mahalo, is focused on people-based, online search, with backing from Seuqoia Capital and Elon Musk, among others. Profile


8. Blackline / Therese Tucker / Calabasas - Tucker was CTO at SunGard Treasury Systems, and knows her customers--finance folks at enterprise firms--well. Blackline is signing up customers who need the firm's financial close software to streamline their end of quarter closing processes. Profile


(Have we missed a repeat entrepreneur or company you think ought to be watched? Let us know in the comments below!)