Community Lead Spotlight: Alex Maleki
Alex Maleki is the Managing Director at Idealab and has spent his career helping startups. He has extensive experience in business development, marketing, product/project management, strategic partnerships, seed-stage investment and startup law. Alex is one of our Community Leads who refers startups to the program and helps evaluate SVP applications.
Q: What is your role in the SoCal innovation ecosystem?
A: I’m currently a Managing Director at Idealab, the longest running startup studio, headed by our Founder and CEO Bill Gross. Idealab has been creating and operating pioneering companies since 1996. I’ve been involved in startups in Los Angeles since 2000, and have held a pretty wide variety of roles over the years.
Outside of my work, I currently serve as a Board Member for Innovate Pasadena, shining a light on all the amazing activity coming out of the Greater Pasadena area, and as the Board Chair for STEAM:CODERS, teaching underrepresented students, our next generation of entrepreneurs, the fundamentals of science, technology, engineering, art and math. As a Community Lead for the SoCal Alliance Venture Pipeline, I meet and provide feedback on companies in our ecosystem that are trying to raise Series A financing.
Q: What industries or technologies are you most excited about?
A: Well, I’m fortunate to be in LA where we have, I believe, the broadest set of companies and technologies in the country. From climate tech to robotics and manufacturing, consumer companies, SaaS companies, fintech and marketplaces – you name it, there is someone in LA building it.
But, the two areas I’m currently most excited about are the endless possibilities of an ownership economy powered by web3, and space tech that is using advanced technologies created for space to make life here on earth just a bit better. People may forget, but things like GPS, the first sensors for autonomous vehicles, even the camera in your phone all started out as technologies used in space.
Q: Why are you involved in this program?
A: Entrepreneurs are the largest creators of jobs in our cities. I’d like to think everyone has access to a pool of investors to get their companies off the ground, but that’s not the case. If we can match Series A ready companies with investors who may not have seen them otherwise, that’s a win-win.
Q: Any quotes you want to share?
A: Just one, by the much maligned philosopher Ferris Bueller, who said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”