Author Archives: Heidi

SA&M Preccelerator Managing Director Len Lanzi Featured as Keynote Speaker for ASU Innovation Open Finals

SA&M Preccelerator Program Managing Director, Len Lanzi will be featured as the keynote speaker at  (ASU) Arizona State University’s Innovation Open Finals. Attend to watch university students compete for a chance to win up to $300,000 in price funding. The event will also feature venture pitches and networking along with keynote speech from Len Lanzi.

The ASU competition is designed to challenge and advance university student innovators who aim to develop hard tech ventures. They provide critical venture mentorship and funding for student competitors who are launching a hardware enterprise within a wide variety of cutting-edge marketplaces including but not limited to hardware solutions, IoT and social enterprises with a focus on conscious capitalism.

Companies pitching to win the top prize include Frost Control Systems, Acoustic Wells, SmartRest, NeXST Rehab, Showcase, Kiri, PreOv, Feros Freight, AlgenAir, Contraire, Sensagrate, Insanirator, Ocular Technologies, KnoNap and more. To check out all the participants visit here. 

To find out more about ASU’s Innovation Open Finals and to register :

1:00 pm Competition Kick-Off

San Tan Club (300 Level East)

1:30 pm Innovation Open LIVE Experience
San Tan Club (300 Level East)

2:00 pm ASUio Keynote (Len Lanzi) + Q+A
San Tan Club (300 Level East)

2:30 pm Finalist + Winner Announcements, Laureate Presentations, and Q+A
San Tan Club (300 Level East)

3:30 pm Closing Remarks
San Tan Club (300 Level East)

3:45 pm Semi-Finalist / Showcase Demos + Networking
San Tan Club (300 Level East)

About Len Lanzi
Leonard M. Lanzi has over 30 years of organization management and fund development experience. He has been serving as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Venture Association since 2007. In his capacity at LAVA, Len works with the LAVA board of directors to direct the strategic plan and organize educational and informational programs within the venture-funded startup ecosystem in the greater Los Angeles region.

Len brings a well-rounded knowledge from such diverse human service organizations as the Community Kitchen of Santa Barbara, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Junior Achievement of Southern California and the Boy Scouts of America. To view Len’s full bio, visit here. 

SA&M Preccelerator Alumni Napkin Finance Featured in The New York Times

Preccelerator alumni company Napkin Finance and founder Tina Hay were featured this past week in The New York Times. The interview discusses her new book by the same name “Napkin Finance:  Build Your Wealth in 30 Seconds or Less.”  Ms. Hay, a Harvard M.B.A., covers things as diverse as investing and saving for retirement and cryptocurrencies, digital money that can be sent electronically.

To read the full article in the New York times, visit here.

About Napkin Finance 
Napkin Finance empowers readers by educating them about their money in a fun, engaging, visual way. We create unique content—including images, infographics, videos, and articles—that breaks complex financial topics down into simple, easy, bite-sized lessons.
Their content reaches more than 80 million households worldwide through their partnerships with global financial institutions such as JP Morgan Chase and UBS. (Learn about working with us.) They also engage with readers directly through their website, print publications, and social media channels.
A core part of their mission is to make high-quality educational content available to those who need it most, which is why they donate a portion of our creative resources to nonprofits, schools, and other organizations. Napkin Finance has worked with Michelle Obama’s Better Make Room initiative, the US Olympic Committee, and others to bring their educational content to financially underserved populations.

SA&M Preccelerator Company Auxxit Featured on Built in Colorado’s “50 Startups to Watch in 2020” List

SA&M Preccelerator company Auxxit, a next-generation group chat mobile app that connects like-minded members in close-knit online communities where they can participate in games, discussion and event style auctions of their favorite things, was featured on Built in Colorado’s 50 Startups to Watch in 2020 list. Communities are rooted in building connections based on shared interests. That’s also the key to creating a successful social media platform. Auxxit is elevating these concepts by making it easy for social media users to buy and sell goods attached to their interests. Want to build out a comic book collection? Join the comic book group. Interested in auto repair? There’s a group for that, too. In 2019, Auxxit launched a beta version of its app and was selected to join the Preccelerator Program, an accelerator for early-stage startups based in Southern California.

To see the full list of 50 Startups to Watch on Built in Colorado and learn more about Auxxit, click here.

Applications are now open for the next class of the Preccelerator ® Program, an early-stage start-up accelerator focused on the technology and digital media space! Apply today.

SA&M Preccelerator Company nēdl Featured on Built in LA’s “50 Startups to Watch in 2020” List

SA&M Preccelerator alumni company nēdl, an app that allows radio listeners to use speech recognition to eliminate the need to go station-to-station to find specific news, sports, talk, and music, was featured on Built in LA’s 50 Startups to Watch in 2020 list. As a member of the team that developed the original iHeartRadio app, Ayinde Alakoye knows a bit about the radio business. His startup, nēdl, is an app that lets users search live radio broadcasts and podcasts for specific songs and subjects using keywords. In addition to its search function, nēdl also lets users “go live” and create their own stations

To read the full article on Built In LA and learn more about nēdl, click here.

Applications are now open for the next class of the Preccelerator ® Program, an early-stage start-up accelerator focused on the technology and digital media space! Apply today.

Understanding the Relationship Between Marketing and Sales

We hear it all the time. We meet with a prospective client and we ask our most important question, “What are your marketing goals?” to which she responds, “Sales.”

Increasing sales is a great goal, but it isn’t a marketing goal. Marketing brings bodies to the store, but it can’t guarantee a purchase. To be frank, any marketing agency that promises an increase in sales is making false promises.

In recent years, the trend has been to synergize marketing and sales, to bring the two departments closer together. And it’s a good idea. They’re meant for one another, but the marriage between the two has caused confusion about their critical differences.

The differences between sales and marketing


To illustrate the point, let’s look at a timeless institution: the lemonade stand. You can’t sell lemonade if no one knows to come to your yard. And you definitely shouldn’t tell people to come to your yard if you have a poor product or service pitch. You can’t have sales without marketing, and you shouldn’t have marketing without a product or service to sell.

Although the metaphor gives you a general idea, the differences between the two strategies are a little more nuanced than that. You also have to take into account the type of relationship you have with your audience, time spent per customer, communication channels and how to handle your audience’s needs.

Audience Relationship


Sales is transactional. Marketing is relational. In sales, you provide a product or service and a customer provides compensation. Two dollars gets you one cup of lemonade. Sure, there’s also an exchange in marketing (you provide a value proposition and a customer provides their attention) but it’s more about the relationship. The sale is professional, and the marketing is friendly. The sale satisfies self-interest, and the marketing satisfies mutual interest. You get to know the customer through research, social media management, email marketing, etc., and the customer provides valuable data. Ideally, that data answers the tough questions, such as, “Who is our target?” and, “How and when do they want to hear about us?”

If you’re trying to sell lemonade in a neighborhood of tea aficionados, you won’t be very successful. And if you aren’t aware that your customers prefer low sugar, you may have to process a lot of refund requests for super-sweet lemonade. The answers from your marketing efforts then inform future decisions about how to get to know the customer even better. It’s a symbiosis.

Time Spent


Sales is short term. Marketing is long term. A sales team sets its sights on the short term, completing a series of one-off transactions with customers who are ready to take action. That doesn’t mean it’s easy—it simply means it isn’t as time-intensive. Marketing is a long game. Over time, a marketing team has to generate awareness, interest and, ultimately, loyalty. How long does it take? An SDL survey found that it takes two years for a brand to truly capture a customer’s trust. This means it could theoretically take up to two years’ of marketing efforts to convert a consumer to a customer. Building a relationship takes time. There are a lot of lemonades out there, so why would consumers choose you right out the gate?

Communication Channels


Sales is one-to-one. Marketing is one-to-many. Marketing is becoming more and more personalized, especially in start-ups and small businesses, but it’s still ultimately a one-to-many effort. Take a look at the marketing funnel. Marketers cast a wide net to generate awareness. As a lemonade entrepreneur, you’d put up posters in the neighborhood and sample your lemonade at community events. Of those who become aware of the brand, 1-2% will develop interest. From there, 1-2% of those consumers develop desire, and then another 1-2% of those consumers take action. Marketing communicates to the many in order to generate individual leads. It’s then up to the sales team to convert the leads to loyal customers in one-on-one interactions.

Audience Needs


Sales satisfies needs. Marketing identifies and nurtures needs. Salespeople interact with each customer to provide the lemonade, whereas marketers tell the right person that she’s thirsty—and that their company has the tastiest solution. It’s a marketer’s duty to discover the correct audiences and then to find out what they want, when they want it and how. Then the marketer executes messaging across multiple channels that answers the consumer’s questions and nurtures their need for their product or service. Basically, a marketer brings in the parched masses so a salesperson can quench their thirst.

How to choose your marketing goals


Sales can be a result of effective marketing, but the two aren’t married. Each has its own job and goal. Marketers can bring thirsty customers to the lemonade stand, but it’s up to the sales team to facilitate the transaction. All the marketing in the world won’t bring your business success if there are irredeemable issues with the sales process—or with your lemonade.

Besides, lead generation isn’t even the only possible marketing goal. Goals vary by business and can include building brand awareness, increasing brand engagement, establishing thought leadership or expanding into new markets. There are plenty of great answers to the question, “What are your marketing goals?” but “sales” isn’t one of them.

Once you understand the relationship between sales and marketing, you can set SMART goals for each one and create greater synergy between the two.



Founder & CEO
Elevate My Brand

*Digital marketing, marketing strategy, business development, social media marketing

With a background and education in business and law from Rutgers University, and a passion for food, wine and lifestyle brands, Laurel’s expertise in marketing has been built and solidified through her work with prestigious restaurateurs and major brands across the nation.

Laurel established her influence as a creative marketing expert in the city of Brotherly Love. She was responsible for the production and promotion of high-profile, buzz-generating special events for Le Bec Fin, Philadelphia’s only restaurant with five stars from Mobil and a three-star Michelin rated restaurant. She developed Public House Restaurant Group’s flagship restaurant and managed the execution of their national marketing campaign strategy.

Upon returning to her native Los Angeles, Laurel took on the role of Executive Vice President and In-House Counsel for Bassett, and subsequently began consulting for beauty, food, beverage and consumer brands. Inspired by the success she found bringing her fresh approach to marketing to a wider group of clients, she founded Elevate My Brand in 2009. She now sits on the board of directors for the American Heart Association, the Fender Music Foundation, One With The Water, Ten X, and the British American Business Counsel. Laurel is also on the Social Committee for the Network of Executive Women, a Recipient of the Los Angeles Business Journal Women Making A Difference Award 2014, Keynote speaker for the Women and Business Enterprise Conference 2014, and runs her own exclusive networking group, ”The Taste Salon.” She is regularly featured in Inc. Magazine, where she has her own column, “On Brand.”

Laurel lives in Los Angeles, California, where she steers our digital marketing and event planning efforts.

Preccelerator Managing Director Len Lanzi Featured on Biz Journal’s “People on the Move”

The Preccelerator’s new Managing Director, Len Lanzi was featured on LA Biz Journals People on the Move. Len leads the day to day program management, investor relationships, and investment screening of the Preccelerator Program. The Los Angeles Business Journal is a weekly newspaper and online news source that provides coverage of local business news.

To view the full post visit here.

About Len Lanzi

Leonard M. Lanzi has over 30 years of organization management and fund development experience. He has been serving as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Venture Association since 2007. In his capacity at LAVA, Len works with the LAVA board of directors to direct the strategic plan and organize educational and informational programs within the venture-funded startup ecosystem in the greater Los Angeles region.

Len brings a well-rounded knowledge from such diverse human service organizations as the Community Kitchen of Santa Barbara, Court Appointed Special Advocates, Junior Achievement of Southern California and the Boy Scouts of America.

Leonard graduated from the University of Rochester with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He has professional certification from Pepperdine University on Private Capital Markets. He is an active member of the Rotary Club of Santa Monica where he served on its Board of Directors as VP Programs. Leonard also serves as Board Chair for Meals on Wheels West, as a director for Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention, Board Treasurer for the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Governors for StartOut, a nationwide entrepreneurial organization for the LGBT community.

About the Preccelerator
The Preccelerator® Program is an accelerator for early-stage startups offered to select companies out of the Santa Monica office of Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP that provides initial capital, sophisticated legal services, interim office space, mentorship, a targeted curriculum, investment strategy counseling and access to a strategic perks portfolio with the objective of helping grow founders’ ideas from business concept to funded startup.


Preccelerator Company Checkplis Featured on SuperbCrew

Preccelerator company Checkplis and founder & CEO Abner Flores were featured this past week on SuperbCrew, a tech news website covering innovative companies – sharing news, experience and knowledge from the tech and business world. The interview covers Checkplis’s features and suite of applications for things like repair, maintenance, and vendor orders as well as the company’s goals and plans for the future. Checkplis and founder Abner Flores are part of Class 10 of the Preccelerator.

To view Abner’s interview visit here. 

About Checkplis
Checkplis is a suite of restaurant-specific apps developed to help restaurant operators spend less time on the managerial “side work” and more time on preparing great food and providing customer experience. Visit




SA&M Preccelerator® Announces Addition of Len Lanzi as Managing Director

Len Lanzi, former Executive Director of the Los Angeles Venture Association (LAVA) Joins Preccelerator team as Managing Director, effective January 1, 2020.

LOS ANGELES, Calif., January 13, 2020  – The Preccelerator® Program, a Santa Monica, California-based early-stage startup accelerator focused on technology and digital media startup companies, announced today that it has hired Len Lanzi, former Executive Director of the Los Angeles Venture Association, as its new Managing Director. The addition of Mr. Lanzi to the Preccelerator team will broaden the network and continue to strengthen its resources and commitment to the Southern California tech community that it has become well known for.

Len said the following in connection with his new opportunity, “I am looking forward to this new challenge as the Managing Director of the Stubbs Alderton and Markiles’ Preccelerator® Program. My world got smaller and bigger at the same time. I will be focusing on specific startups that are part of the Preccelerator® and my contacts and friends remain as relevant or more so in this new role.”

In 2018, Stubbs Alderton & Markiles expanded the Preccelerator office into a new space located at 1316 3rd Street Promenade, which both increased the co-working space for the in-house companies and increased the event space. That same year, the Preccelerator and Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP announced a change in the program, adding an investment of $50,000 into Preccelerator cohort companies.

In 2012 Stubbs Alderton & Markiles launched the first-of-its-kind Preccelerator® Program to provide select start-ups with co-working space, mentorship, sophisticated legal services, curriculum and access to a strategic perks portfolio with the objective of helping grow a founder’s idea from business concept to a funded company. Over the past seven years, 46 diverse companies have graduated the Program, and most have received funding, with over $16M invested in Preccelerator companies in the aggregate.

Scott Alderton, Managing Partner of Stubbs Alderton & Markiles and Chairman of the Preccelerator commented, “I have known Len for nearly 15 years, and worked alongside him on the Board of LAVA as he transformed that organization into the significant force within the technology ecosystem that it is today. The Preccelerator has reached an inflection point where it is now much more than a project of the law firm, it is a business of its own, and a meaningful contributor to the Southern California tech community. When we decided to hire a dedicated leader for the Preccelerator, I couldn’t think of any greater candidate for Managing Director than Len. He was our first and only choice for the job, and we are thrilled to be working with him.”

About Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP
Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP is a Southern California-based business law firm with robust corporate, public securities, mergers and acquisitions, entertainment, intellectual property and business litigation practice groups focusing on the representation of, among others, venture-backed emerging growth companies, middle-market public companies, large technology companies, entertainment, and digital media companies, investors, venture capital funds, investment bankers and underwriters. The firm’s clients represent a broad range of industries with a concentration in the technology, entertainment, videogame, apparel, and medical device sectors. The firm’s mission is to provide technically excellent legal services in a consistent, highly-responsive and service-oriented manner with an entrepreneurial and practical business perspective. These principles are the hallmarks of the firm. For more information, visit

About the Preccelerator® Program 
The Preccelerator® is a novel platform offered to select start-up companies out of
the Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP Santa Monica office that provides interim office space, sophisticated legal services, education, networking, mentorship and $500,000 in usable perks from Google Cloud for Startups, Amazon Web Services, and HubSpot among others, with the objective of helping grow a founder’s idea from business concept to funded startup. The program also retains more than 100 active strategic mentors providing free office hours and discounted services, and provides over 75-plus educational workshops and networking events each year. The Program expanded in 2017 to accept a greater number of companies in more formalized classes, depending upon where the companies are in their evolutionary growth and expanded benefits to accepted companies. To view Len’s full bio visit here. To apply to the Preccelerator, visit

Heidi Hubbeling
Chief Marketing Officer,
Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP

How a Company Not Using PR Consultants Can Best Handle Its Own Public Relations

Public RelationsIn strategizing effective communications, what you say is as important as what you don’t say. The message must be strategically planned to achieve the purpose you desire, to target the markets you want to saturate. What you communicate is the most important. Your approach is more valuable than your contacts in achieving positive results.

Once you have made a commitment to an ongoing public relations campaign, compile a list of all the techniques available and avenues open to your type of business. Then prioritize them. They may include:

  1. Active participation in trade associations, Chambers of Commerce, or other business organizations;
  2. Exhibition at conventions and trade shows;
  3. Speaking engagements;
  4. Sponsorship of major events or planning your own;
  5. Press conferences and press previews;
  6. Placement of by-lined articles in key publications;
  7. Preparation of new product and/or personnel releases for trade publications;
  8. Capitalizing on a trend or newsworthy occurrence (or creating one) to target major business or general-interest magazines as well as major metropolitan daily and local weekly suburban newspapers, and radio and television news and talk shows;
  9. Submitting PSAs to radio and television to garner “free” air time;
  10. Design and implementation of a financial and investor relations program;
  11. Development of a direct mail campaign and other collateral (brochures, etc.) materials;
  12. Having and maintaining a website;
  13. Social media campaign; and
  14. Government relations, i.e. lobbying.

Keep all of these avenues in mind as you contemplate and prioritize the possibilities. And, to borrow a phrase from one motivational speaker, “plan your work, then work your plan.”

Now that you’ve determined what you are going to do, who is going to do it?

Some of the most effective early-stage public relations campaigns I’m aware of have been handled by the president’s assistant or secretary. He or she is someone who knows the company, its customers and goals and has regular access to you. And, if that person is also articulate and writes well, it is logical for some public relations activities to be added to his or her job description. In fact, this may be the only way a new business can afford a public relations effort early on. However, it is important to realize that with limited staff available only part time for communications tasks, the targeted outlets and the anticipated outcome must be minimized. Implementing a public relations campaign requires an extraordinary amount of time. Gear your expectations accordingly. And, in a situation such as the above, prioritization is particularly critical. Then too, assuming your assistant or secretary has no professional public relations background, he or she will need to acquire some media “savvy.” This includes:

  1. Developing a broad-based knowledge of business hot topics;
  2. Framing a story in terms of the trend it represents;
  3. Understanding both the targeted outlet and your market;
  4. Knowing how to pitch the piece in several different ways;
  5. Offering exclusives;
    6. Being aware of conflicts;
  6. Persevering, even after several rejections, while accepting “no” gracefully;
  7. Providing other story resources;
  8. Following AP style and double-checking facts, phone numbers, etc;
  9. Knowing what is and what is not generally accepted practice;
  10. Following through on commitments in a timely fashion; and
  11. Establishing a reputation for credibility and honesty and much more.

The next step is to add an experienced full-time public relations staff person or persons, retain an outside agency, or both.

A number of factors should be considered in the equation. Here are several possible scenarios:

  1. If trade publications are the only media important to you, one professional who has specialized in your industry and knows the editors are your best bet. Then too, his or her specialized knowledge will be useful in writing brochures, collateral material, and other content, etc.
  2. If penetrating one marketplace is critical to your success, whether it be the hospitality industry, the entrepreneur, etc. who has the proven expertise to do the job? This could be an individual or an agency.
  3. If a mix of trade and general-interest publications plus financial public relations and investor relations is required, is there any singular person who can provide the diverse support you need? And, if so, can you afford him or her?

About the Author
Devon Blaine is experienced in all facets of the communications industry. Formerly an actress, model, and stunt driver, she founded the agency in 1975. Besides designing communications campaigns that help businesses maximize their success, she has long been active in numerous entrepreneurial organizations, thus earning a reputation as “the entrepreneur’s entrepreneur.” She has incorporated the knowledge gained from these ventures into the philosophy of The Blaine Group. The agency has an award-winning track record in serving the public relations needs of fast-track emerging-growth companies and major corporations alike.

She was three times president of the Los Angeles Venture Association (LAVA), a founding board member and a past president of the Los Angeles chapter of (NAWBO) National Association of Women Business Owners. Devon also serves as a mentor for the Stubbs Alderton & Markiles Precelerator, the South Bay Entrepreneurial Center, and the Innovation Incubator at Cal State University Dominguez Hills.

About The Blaine Group, Inc.
The Blaine Group specializes in developing and implementing public relations campaigns and marketing strategies as comprehensive communications campaigns or as stand-alone entities.  The firm represents many authors and fast-track, emerging-growth companies.  It also handles investor relations and financial public relations activities for its publicly-traded clients.  The Blaine Group is located at 8665 Wilshire Blvd., Suite #301, Beverly Hills, CA 90211.  The telephone number is 310.360.1499 Visit

Preccelerator Workshop: Driving with Data w/ Sari M. Kern

“Driving Data”
Presented Sari Kern

All companies generate information from the day-to-day operations. The question is: how can businesses organize and use this data to drive success? This workshop will walk you through the steps of how to use data to inform strategy and make decisions.

This workshop will walk you through the steps of how to use data to inform strategy and make decisions.


Tuesday, January 14th, 2020
12:00PM – 1:30PM


Sari Kern

Sari is the founder and CEO of S Kern Consulting, a business strategy consulting firm which focuses on using data to drive business decision-making. Her diversified career as an entrepreneurial and strategic operations executive has touched various industries and markets such as healthcare, health-tech, clinical research, strategic consulting, nursing, leadership, visual arts, scuba diving and poker. Sari’s experience and approach give her an edge when it comes to discovering and interpreting information to develop comprehensive and evidence-based strategic business plans.

In addition to her consulting experience, Sari has worked on the corporate side of companies of various growth stages and industries, developing strategic corporate plans, financial projection models for boards and investors, and developing and growing new verticals.

​Sari earned her MBA from the Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University. While pursuing her degree and since, she has delivered impressive tangible and measurable results for various companies in competitive markets focused on strategy, finance, budgeting, marketing, change management, and competitive landscape analysis.

SAM Preccelerator
1316 3rd Street Promenade, Suite 107
Santa Monica CA 90401

*You must register with your name & email to attend this event.