Expert DOJO October Investor Festival breakdown and Agenda

The Expert Dojo Investor Festival is upon us all once again. This time it is going to be bigger and better than it has ever been. Over the course of 5 days over 80 of the top investors from around the world will be at Expert Dojo to hear 200 academy member pitch your mission and how your startup is going to change the world. What makes this event different from all other conferences in the world is its objective. It’s not about competing for a random competition or listening to successful people tell you how well they did in life. It’s about giving you the best chance possible of getting funded by facilitating over 750 pitches to over 80 of the top active investors in LA, San Francisco and New York. All 5 days are dedicated to helping the entrepreneur community by connecting you with the top investors in the world as well as investment advice from successful entrepreneurs who have exited for millions.

The last Investor Festival was headlined by amazing companies such as Richard Branson’s Extreme Tech Challenge, the X prize, Samsung Ventures, and Singularity. This time, it is even better. From October 24th to the 28th you should prepare for the largest pitch event in the United States powered by Expert Dojo.

We kick off the festival Monday October 24th. We have a full day dedicated to learning how to raise money from those who have already done it. We have some of the biggest communication and pitch coaches in LA along with the SBDC committed to training every startup on how to raise capital. Finishing the day we have 8200 coming in all the way from Israel. This accelerator has the highest success rate for entrepreneurs in the world at around 70 percent. They will be leading a 3-hour workshop to end the day and get you ready to succeed the rest of the week. You don’t want to miss this.

Tuesday is completely dedicated to Female Founders and Female Investors. This day only is free to attend for all female entrepreneur. We start off the day with one of the most influential entrepreneurs in the city, Nellie Akalp. Nellie is an exited entrepreneur who sold her last company for over 20 million – CASH. My good friend Jenny Q follows with a advice about how women can use influence and local fame to your benefit. Afterward we have Erika Dobrin with B-17 entertainment. Erika produces the startup reality show “APP WARS”. She will be giving you tips on how to make it on shows like hers and will be helping you build the best case for your company.

Then that afternoon our pitches begin. We have assembled top female investors from around the country to come and see our Female Entrepreneurs. We have women investors from Lightspeed Ventures, one of the largest ventures firms with hundreds of millions invested in companies. We also have Silicon Valley Bank, Space Angels Network, March Capital and an additional 4 Female VCs just to hear your pitches.

Wednesday is the day all the early stage folks are looking forward to. This is the largest face to face pitch day in the country. Wednesday is completely dedicated to seed and early stage entrepreneurs. We have over 30 investors coming in over the course of 4 hours!! The morning starts at 10 am when we have a group of 10 investors listening to pitches. These investors include major VC firms and some the most active angel investors from around the world such as Machine Shop Ventures, (rock band Linkin Park’s venture firm), Upfront Ventures, one of the most active VC firms in all of LA, Crosscut Ventures, with dozens of active investments, IOC Ventures, an early stage focused venture firm in Orange County, K5 Ventures, a firm that focuses on technology and unique products, TenOneTen Ventures, a venture firm focused on disruptive companies with several active investments, and OWL Tree Capital. We also have amazing Angel Investors such as Vince Thompson, Jeremy Stephan, and Asher Leids. This is just the morning session………

That is followed by another session with top accelerators and Incubators from all around LA. Then we move to the last session which is another group of ten investors coming to here pitches. We have another group of amazing investors including Canyon Creek Capital, an extremely active firm focused early stage entrepreneurs, LH Ventures, focused on early stage startups in a flexible industry, Luma Ventures, an active venture firm here in LA, NoName ventures, a local firm focused on helping entrepreneurs, and Scopus Ventures, which focuses on developing technology products end to end.

Thursday is dedicated to later stage companies with only later stage venture firms. We have companies such Goldman Sachs, Harvard Angels Network, Harper Partners, Blarney Ventures, Correlation VC, and Lightspeed Ventures. Then we have another session with great crowdfunding agencies coming in to give tips of Equity crowdfunding including WeFunder, StartEngine, and Crowdfunder.

We finish the week long mayhem with the wildest day of all on Friday. We have a new group of 10 investors coming in every 2 hours to listen to pitches 1 on 1 for 10 minutes each. This is your time to leave a lasting impression on the top firms in the country and get investment for your product. There are dozens of top Angel Investors and VC firms attending on Friday. We have the schedule posted on

This festival will be the best pitch competition of the year. We want you to be part of it and get your company seen. No matter whether you are entrepreneur, investor or local company be part of our tribe and come to Expert Dojo.

To join Expert DOJO and be a part of the Investor Festival register here – HERE

The current list of Investors attending is below.  To schedule these one on one meetings or ask any questions about the event email with your requests.


Monday- 10-11 11:30-1 1:30-2 2-5
Brian Mac Mahon Intro to festival Ryan Foland And Mike Weeks Andrew SBDC 8200 Accellerator
Tuesday 10-10:30 – WOMEN ONLY 1-3pm Women only Pitching  
Nellie Akalp-Corpnet Lightspeed Ventures
10:30-11 Olivia Tong
Jenny Q Ta Space Angels Network
11-11:30 Silicon Valley Bank
Erika Dobrin Nima Elyassi-Rad
11:30-12 NewGen Ventures
Lisa Tsou NewGen Ventures
March Capital
Wednesday 10-12 – Early stage pitch 3-5 Early Stage pitch
Jeremy Stephan – Angel Canyon Creek
Crosscut VC LH Ventures
OWL Tree Capital NoName Ventures
TenOneTen Ventures Luma Launch
Vince Thompson- Angel investor Scopus Ventures
IOC Ventures Blarney Ventures
Upfront Ventures App Wars TV Shark Tank
K5 Ventures Morpheus Ventures
Machine Shop Ventures Chris Calder-EPIC Ventures
Thursday 10-12 – Series A & B Pitch 1-3 Equity Crowdfunding 
Goldman Sachs Wefunder
Lightspeed Ventures Startengine
Harvard Angels Crowdfunder
Harper Partners
Correlation VC
Blarney Ventures
Friday 10-12 – one on one meet 12:30-2:30 –one on one meet 3-5 – one on one meet
Luma Ventures Jeremy Stephan Gastronome Ventures
Brad Yasar Tech Coast Ventures John Lasko
Asher Leids Fast Pay Correlation VC
Tom Schreiber Pasadena Angels
Owl Tree Capital Bam VC
Jack Tsai Noname Ventures
Nicholas Cannone-Fairmount Financial Luis Bitencourt-Emilio
Jim Brandt Syft Ventures
Hillcrest Venture Partners
End Of Festival

Learn from Expert DOJO member, Swell, how to build 100,000 users in just 4 weeks.

How multi platform-thinking helped us to reach 100k bot users within 1 month

Swell is now part of the bot game for one month

The moment I’m writing this we have 33,349 daily active users sending 533,176 messages to our bot Swelly.

Continue reading if you want to learn why we’re building this, how we started as well as the main benefits of each platform (Facebook Messenger, kik & Telegram).

It was about 2 months ago when we first thought that bots could be an interesting space for us. We always thought of Swell as a Multi-Platform Social Network that needs to be accessible wherever the user needs help with decisions.

Our long term vision is creating technology to empower people to make better decisions. May it be finding the perfect outfit for the day, a restaurant for a date, a rental car in your area that matches your needs or help deciding which app logo is better for your product.  Swell makes decisions fast & fun!

The Swell community answers any questions within seconds and let’s you ask your friends, a public community of educated users or community experts, depending on your current needs.

If your Swell get’s featured you can currently get 10k votes within 24h.

10.000+ votes within 11h 😉

The story behind Swell

I came up with the idea while I was operating fashion stores back home in Austria with my co-founder Fred.

A lot of people left our stores without buying so as a store owner I needed to find out the reasons for that.

Turns out the number one reason for people to leave a store without buying is being indecisive. 40% of the people (mostly teenagers and people in their early 20ies) told us they couldn’t decide and also they don’t trust the opinion of a shop keeper as she is most likely biased.  With the Swell App we created the simplest possible experience to solve this problem faster then current solutions like messaging apps.  We launched the Swell App 6 months ago on ProductHunt:

Get the Swell app here:

Bots for User Acquisition?
However, since we were in the app-game and worked 5 months on growing an audience for our native apps we first thought of bots as a new marketing/user acquisition channel.

Here are our thoughts we had back then:

So we built Swelly for Facebook Messenger and launched it on ProductHunt ( with the idea to get free traffic to the bot and do as much as we can to convert bot users to app users.

We put a lot of effort like ‘download app’ buttons and questions about which smart phones the users have. Problem is, this kind of destroyed our smooth experience. Swelly had some nice early traction and we soon realized, that our bot can be a fully functional — stand alone — platform connected with the app-community, but definitely more then just a user acquisition channel.

So where can I find the bots?

?Swelly for Facebook Messenger:

?Swelly for kik:

?Swelly for Telegram:

Now after the first month, I want to share some numbers with you (provided by BotMetrics):

  • new users: 101.539
  • current DAU: 33.454
  • Average daily new users: 1259
  • Total Messages: 1.826.741

last week:

  • new users: 50.406
  • Average DAU: 7909
  • Average daily news users: 7200
  • Total Messages: 1.067.245


  • new users: 31.101
  • Average DAU: 33.477
  • Total Messages: 536.009

Now Let’s compare the platforms

Facebook Messenger — Massive Audience, weak explore function, a lot of data!

The great thing at Facebook is the massive audience it potentially provides. The downside here really is, that it’s not so easy to explore bots within the Facebook Messenger.

It took as 3 weeks to make it to the top results on Messengers Search function. Since we hit that, it drives some really nice traffic (1000–3000 new organic users per day)

Facebook Messenger with Swelly in trending Search

The best thing about Facebook Messenger is the data you can collect. Messenger gives you the users name, profile pic, gender, location, time-zone, etc.

Besides the obvious benefits of getting more data this let’s us make our feed more personalized and helps us to send smarter notification-like messages to remind users to come back.

Kik — great explore function, weak on data, perfect audience for Swelly

Kik and it’s Bot Shop makes it easy to explore new bots and helped us from day 1 to build an audience. Right now we are #4 in the Entertainment category so every kik users see’s us first when opening the Bot Shop.

The kik bot shop

Another great thing about kik is their team. They are very accessible, super responsive and help as much as they can when it comes to technical problems or even just to chat about how to build a perfect user experience.

I also like their Chat-Interface better then the one on Facebook, it let’s you do beautiful things like putting buttons in the text field.

The only problem with kik is that it only gives you very little data like username and profile picture. Pretty much all the rest needs to be collected later with smart questioning.

Cool thing here is it’s young audience, for us teenagers and users in their early tweenties are perfect, also they are eager to provide data to get a better feed.

Telegram has a great interface, doesn’t give you a lot of data and also it’s not really a good match for us in terms of their target audience.

Thanks for reading this, shoot me an e-mail to if you have any questions and have a ?Swell day,


How Expert DOJO Is Impacting the Startup World

Our principles

We decided when we opened our doors to not go with the herd and we publicly opposed lean Startup as a methodology.  The startup failure rate is not acceptable to us so we created our own system called “Agile Foundation” to build you a better machine. This machine combines the right community with strong strategic planning and at the core of everything is human centric design.  Our training is now a fixture at virtually every major conference in California, our investor Festivals are the biggest in SoCal and our Academy members are more successful that those who are not.

Success rate

 At the recent Ideas Festival two of our companies won the main prizes and we could not be happier for Healora and PopChest.  Both are great companies with funding and acceleration being rightly offered to them.

Of our other members we have had everything from 500% revenue increases to successful launches.  We don’t always get it right we we always give 100% and our success rate against objectives is at 26% verses 5% outside Expert DOJO.  We have also never failed in a crowdfunding campaign and we are very proud of our latest VeggiDome project.  With the communities support we will continue to make sure our only mission is to leave no startup behind

Why we did not take any outside investment to build Expert DOJO

Our message to you is that you should build a great business and make it revenue sustaining or user validated so you can then get the right investment only if it makes sense.  We leased our space thanks to our partnership with Santa Monica Place, Got our furniture thanks to Cort, built our platform thanks to the incredible web dev firm, Enki and built our brand thanks to the best brander we know Tatyana Luethi.  We took no money from outside and committed to you that this will remain the case for our first two years.  We will always help early stage startup and we will always practice what we preach.


Not only are we bringing the investment market closer to our Expert DOJO members but we are also working with multiple city officials and large private companies to make sure that every resource available is in place to increase success in Santa Monica.  Most recently the SBDC decided to come back to Santa Monica and make Expert DOJO there home.  This is all for you.

Training and startup program

We don’t believe in startup training courses and never have.  Being a startup is not a straight line from A to Z.  Our belief is that we have to use peer to peer support and training in a very structured way.  Our 12 step program covers, market validation, Branding, Business foundation, Business Planning, Development and Design, Team Building, Culture and Leadership, Acquiring users, Securing Investment, corporate culture and how to exit gracefully.  As an academy member check out our detailed marketing course, our market validation course and our success planning courses.  All are to help you succeed in business

Whats next.

Why you want to join Expert DOJO now 

Up to this point we have allowed our space to be used by everyone but with our growth in members we are finding that there is just not enough space for them.  We are also incorporating more funding opportunities and more coaching so, within the next month or so, we will have an annual subscription only for all new members.  It will be loaded with value but anyone who is on monthly membership prior to this will be able to keep this flexibility and get all the same value.  

Make sure you are an academy member.  Thats where all our love is  –

Want to know how a perfect crowdfunding campaign works – copy the veggidome

When Duncan and Eddie walked in the door of Expert DOJO I saw the potential for a product which the world sorely needs.  Their dream at the time was a special container for vegetable, which remarkably keeps them fresh for 4-6 days. This would solve the worlds biggest food waste problem – we throw out 30% of all the vegetables we buy and that adds up to 40 billion dolars of waste a year.  The problem is even bigger when you look at increasing obesity rates and a danger level increase in diabetes.  Enter the Veggidome, a cookie jar for the kitchen table, which keeps vegtables fresher than the fridge for longer.

The plan to start a crowdfunding campaign was an easy one but the logisitcs, platform and strategy was not.  Neither founder had been in this industry for long so their social influence was small, the veggidome was relatively new as a product and the vegan and vegatarian marketplace was not hat easy to enter.  What they did in the next 3 months though will blow your mind and help you build your roadmap to success,

Why we should treat an entrepreneur club the same way we need a Gym membership

Being an entrepreneur is a lonely and difficult life unless you have partners, mentors, coaches, friends and a roadmap to success.  If you have all these things it is the most rewarding experience you will ever have.  We created the Expert DOJO success club to be as important as your gym membership is for keeping you healthy.  We are with you all the way to help you be successful in your business venture no matter where you come from, what size you are or what your growth aspirations are.  We have created a value proposition worth over $3,000 per month, which you can have for only $100.

The below are just some of the benefits of being a member of the Expert DOJO Success Club.

  1. Matchmaking to be introduced to other company relevant to your needs
  2. VIP access to our events (all of them)
  3. Access to our member only chat room
  4. Monthly live stream coaching & mastermind session from our top advisors
  5. Start up booth and entry our conferences
  6. 15 minute mentor session 
  7. Training days once a month to help you grow your business
  8. Certain start ups will get to present to our Angel Group of investors

Join now and never look back –

The First Coworking Space Ever? Maybe, but Why?

Last Monday on the 31st of August 2015 I decided to offer our Expert DOJO 8,000 square foot workspace in the prime real estate area of Santa Monica to be used by the entrepreneur community at no charge.  For a long time I had resisted the notion of being called a coworking space because my deep belief was and is that coworking spaces do not improve an entrepreneurs chances of success, it just seems that way.  As a company dedicated to success coaching in the entrepreneur field I wanted us to be thought of as more than just a space, but last week I changed my mind and offered our coworking space at no charge to the entire entrepreneur community.  I hope my story will make you think differently about how you run your business.

New high tech companies fail at a rate of 98%.  That means that in every 1,000 person conference there are 20 people in the room who will make some money.  Most everyone else will lose.  When I compared this number to the Israel tech scene I saw that they have technology eco-systems with success ratios over 30%.  The reason for this is not just excellent coaching, tight partnerships between the private and the public sector, a close knit community and a better entrepreneurial education at an earlier age.  It’s something much more primal than that.  It’s how powerful a community can be when it believes that the sum of the parts are more than anything we can do alone.  It’s the highest form of conscious capitalism and here in America we have never needed it more than we do today.

When I formed our Expert DOJO Success Academy we went to one of the biggest property companies in LA and asked them to serve the community in a location where they would normally put a high priced restaurant.  They showed how much they cared for the community by providing us a location at a fair rent.  When we went to Cort Furniture and asked them provide furniture for our entrepreneurs they gave it to us without a thought for payment.  Now that we have the most beautiful coworking space anywhere in LA we are giving it to the community it was always destined for.  We make plenty of money from our coaching services ( because we are good at success coaching.  Cort sells and rents lots of furniture because they are good at what they do, and the Mall will stay as profitable as they have always been for the same reason.  Our other partners who care about this community are Microsoft, Enki, Benchmark email and so many more.

Our dream is that the entrepreneurs who use our space will help everyone they meet in our space and outside, so we can turn 20 successful entrepreneurs in a room into 100 and then into 200.  More importantly, as entrepreneurs, everyone of us can look ourselves in the mirror and our families in the face and know that we made a difference to our whole community.

For those of you out there who feel this is tree hugging nonsense you will be interested to know that our enquiries and sales for our coaching services spiked at an all time high the day we made this announcement to the community and you should also know that this is not a one off action in a far away place.  We are part of a movement which will go through schools, prisons, veteran associations and everywhere else we can find to make our world just a little better for us all.  By joining this movement you multiply our impact on society and on your own business.  You can see why we exist at and you should contact if you have any questions or just want to show support to our community.

Why every entrepreneur needs a mentor

When we started our first business we had a good concept but were two degrees away from a killer start up.  It took us 3 years to find the right path and it was all from a casual conversation with a mentor.  I have bitter sweet memories of that moment because, although it saved my business at the time, I wished I had sought out this advice 3 years earlier.

As entrepreneurs we are on a journey and we believe that this journey has to be a solo path to find our own enlightenment and success.  Anything less than success is failure and what should be a beautiful time in our lives, becomes a ritual trial by fire.  That trial by fire is fueled by our own egos and arrogance and us men suffer from this much more than our female counterparts.

At Expert DOJO I believed that our mission was to provide a marketplace for all business to help each other grow until my good friend and mentor Alex Capecelatro sat down with me and explained that what the world really needs is a great mentor and tool site to help make entrepreneurs stronger.  The difference between this conversation and my first business conversation is timing.  Alex put me on the right track in my second month and I will always be grateful for the great advice he gave me and the time he saved me.

At expert DOJO we provide experts and mentors who will help you get on the right path for no cost because they want to pay it forward to you.  Seek out your Alex –  and put your ego aside to really listen to all the beautiful journeys out there.  Enjoy the ride.

Why our Pay it Forward Labs event is so important to entrepreneurs everywhere

At Expert DOJO many years ago we decided to launch an event which was totally focused on the environment we wanted to create rather than to promote ourselves.  We called this event Pay it Forward Labs after the movie that inspired so many people around the world.

The basic principle was that being an entrepreneur is hard and doing it alone is even harder.  We had seen so many events where people just collected cards and spoke about themselves with little gain, that we decided to flip the networking concept on its head by focusing on giving instead of taking.

The principle was that we would provide everything an entrepreneur could want – live bands, access to funding giants, great people to network with, drinks and the most beautiful venue in town.  We then only asked for one thing. We asked that every person who started a conversation did so with the intention to help the person they were speaking with.  The result was astonishing.  Within a year we were hosting the biggest monthly event, not only in California but in the USA.  When we expanded to San Francisco and New York we got the same response and the events became so big that they were almost impossible to manage.

Our learn from this whole process is that deep down we want to help our fellow human and we love the deeper relationships that this brings with it.

We will continue to grow these events and stay a part of this vital entrepreneur community that we love so much.

Entrepreneur training classes at Expert DOJO

Right now we are hosting up to 15 entrepreneur training classes every month at Expert DOJO, as well as many more online.  We do this to help turn entrepreneurs into experts.  We want every entrepreneur to succeed and education is vital in his process.  A link to all our classes are here, as are all our evening events so you an find funding partners, co-founders and new clients – .  All we ever ask our entrepreneurs to do is to pay it forward to the rest of the business community, as we are stronger as a whole.  We look forward to continuing to grow with you all.