Startup Superhero Video Series! – This Week Featuring Preccelerator Mentor Sue Funkhouser on “Navigating Corporate Culture”

Stubbs Alstartup superhero series derton & Markiles and the Preccelerator Program are proud to announce the launch of their Startup Superhero Video Series – featuring SA&M Attorneys, Preccelerator Mentors, and entrepreneurs on topics specific to entrepreneurship and lessons learned throughout the journey.

This week we’re featuring Preccelerator Mentor Sue Funkhouser on “Navigating Corporate Culture.”

Sue Funkhouser is a management consultant and coach at Pinwheel Performance.  For 15 years, she has helped companies from Fortune 500, Startups and Non-Profits to improve organizational performance. Sue’s passion is helping founders grow their companies by developing leaders, teams and company culture. She mentors entrepreneurs and facilitates team and culture workshops at the SAM Preccelerator and Cross Campus. Sue also speaks to groups such as Young President’s Organization and has authored an e-booklet, Steering Company Culture during Growth. Connect with her on Twitter and Linked-In.


Speaker: Sue Funkhouser

Moderator: Heidi Hubbeling

Sue: My background is that I for the last 12 years have been working with company’s leaders on their own leadership style, team effectiveness, and looking at the organization because culture is an organization as a whole. I have Master’s degree from Pepperdine University, the business school and that really taught me how to look at organization through a system’s lens and how does everything work together and that is how I approach my own work.

Heidi: You ‘ve been really beneficial to a lot of companies and we know that corporate culture can be a trigger for great success for a company long term or can be a trigger for failure. It’s one of those foundational items that these startup companies need to know, so why is corporate culture so important?

Sue: It’s your competitive advantage and it’s been proven in the marketplace. There’s research that shows that if you have an effective, greater company culture, you will get greater financial returns. You can look up Money Magazine’s research that shows that there is a 23% financial more return based on having a healthy effect of culture. There’s others if you want to know. Besides the financial research, it is something that can’t be replicated, something that can’t be duplicated not one culture is the same as the next. Your products and your capabilities can be copied, but your company’s culture can’t. The last thing is it acts as a magnet, you want to attract your people so if you have a healthy company culture you’re going to attract your top people as well as retain them.

Heidi: One of things that is a bedrock in company culture is the value systems of the company. How do you work with organization’ to develop your value system?

Sue: Its always helpful to provide a framework for people to look at so, I developed an acronym called WE ARE. Imagine a license plate called WE ARE and its we embody, so what is as a group we embody, and then articulate your values, reinforce your values and evaluate. I want to say one thing about the “we embody” so you have a culture no matter what and you want to find out as a collective what is most important here. I ask founders to please never take a piece of paper with words on it and say, “oh we are this, this and this” ask questions and stories about when have you made the most difficult decisions and what’s been most important. What have you weighed? That’s a way to draw that out. I have processes for each part of the we are, but I think that’s an important way to what do you embody? How do you articulate that value? How do you enforce it? Then later how do you evaluate it?

Heidi: Very important for companies building out that foundation for the long-term strategy of their company. I think that is a very powerful tool. What is some advice you give to companies wanting to build high performing teams?

Sue: One of the things, that I first like to talk to founders about is to understand that teams develop, much like individuals do. There are normal developmental stages for teams. Sometimes, they complain it’s like “this, this, this”, but its natural. Teams form and the they’ll storm and they must settle down and work on how they norm with each other and then they to perform. I remember I was working with a leader and they were prescribing this stuff and I explained that they were just storming. They’re trying to figure out how to work together and you need that if you’re going to get them to perform. That’s the first thing I tell people is to just know that its normal and you need it. Another thing I have found that a lot of people think its interpersonal. That all the problems are personal. As soon as we start working around what is your purpose or mission, what are the role clarities? What are the expectations of each other? A lot of that strife goes away.

Heidi: As a company grows, what do founders struggle with most?

Sue: There’s a lot to struggle. One common theme is about letting go. In a couple of ways, first in kind of a cognitive sense, leaders as they grow, have to let go of control and they have to move from being a technician to a strategist. I was talking to late David Goldberg, the former CEO of Survey Monkey and he said in his first venture when they went from 20 to 50 employees the hardest thing was to let go of the reigns. That’s one thing. The most heart wrenching thing that employers find is that they must let go of their early employees. What happens is as a company grows, some employees can’t scale their capabilities. You may try to develop them and move them around and eventually they just can’t or for a scaling company they don’t fit they’re just not interested in. It is so heart wrenching, every founder I talk to mentions that a person has been with them since day 1, but the fact of the matter is that if you do not let them go, there’s going to be some repercussions. One example, I was working with a company in New York and the CEO, heart of Gold, but when I interviewed his team they mentioned that for two years they had been shuffling people around every single department. The high performers said they didn’t have time to babysit, they’re getting in the way and he just had to cut it. It impedes performance and from what has told me is that you know in your gut. It’s hard but, you have got to do what is right for the company. What I advise people to do is how they let their early people go is do it in a way that shows that you care. You do care! Call-up your buddies and say, “I know this person they’re really good at this, would you meet with that person because you might know someone or you might have an opportunity”. Then go with that person and say “here is a list of 5 people that I have talked to, they’re ready for you and ready to take your call”.

Heidi: Very difficult, but very impactful advice, I think that’s a tough situation when that company gets to that stage of growth. The way that you respond, also affects your company culture overall and it’s a testament.

Sue: Those stories will ripple.

Heidi: You’ve been a mentor of the program for a couple of years now, what is the biggest give back to you, what do you enjoy most!

Sue: I love coming in here and thank you for having me. I just met with this new company whom I have never met before and we were supposed to meet for 20 minutes and we met for like an hour and half. I mean it was fabulous! What I love is that I learn so much. I get to meet with hot entrepreneurs that want to unleash stuff in the world and I get to learn about the new technology, I get my things opened. Just our interactions and the ability in such a short-time even though we expanded it to have fun, to get to know each other, but to have an impact and help them prepare for something, it so great. Thank you so much.

Management Consultant & Coach
Pinwheel Performance


To learn more about the Preccelerator Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling at



SAM Encourages You to Attend LABIC Fireside Chat on March 15, 2018

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP and SAM attorney Shanita Nicholas encourage you to attend:

LA Black Investors Club 
Fireside Chat Series
Thu, March 15, 2018
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

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LABIC’s Fireside Chat Series is back! Join them for their first Fireside Chat of 2018 featuring Anna Barber, Managing Director of the Techstars LA Accelerator, and Sky Kelley, CEO & Founder of Avisare.

fireside chat

The Fireside Chat Series features different speakers who will lead a discussion on various issues and topics of interest to entrepreneurs, from venture capital and fundraising to investing and marketing.

Techstars LA focuses on investing in LA area companies in media, entertainment, e-commerce, marketplaces, enterprise SAAS, edtech, cleantech and aerospace. They are particularly interested in diverse founding teams.

Avisare is a platform for companies that want the highest caliber talent in the world. Avisare is an online community of privately invited pre-screened executive level consultants and consulting firms with the skills needed to get results for the jobs or projects posted by businesses on the platform.

For more information visit here.



Six Stubbs Alderton & Markiles’ Attorneys Listed as 2018 Southern California Super Lawyers

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP is pleased to announce that six lawyers have been named to the 2018 Southern California Super LawyersSuper Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The patented selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

Super Lawyers Magazine features the list and profiles of selected attorneys and is distributed to attorneys in the state or region and the ABA-accredited law school libraries. Super Lawyers is also published as a special section in leading city and regional magazines across the country. Lawyers are selected to a Super Lawyers list in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP would like to congratulate the following attorneys named to the 2018 Super Lawyers list –

Scott Alderton - Super LawyersScott Alderton is a founding partner of the Firm, Managing Partner, and a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee.  Scott is co-chair of the Firm’s Venture Capital and Emerging Growth Practice Group and chair’s the Firm’s Interactive Entertainment and Video Games Group. Scott advises both public and private clients across a number of industries, including technology, manufacturing and distribution of goods in commerce, finance, the Internet, interactive video games, and new media industries.

Kevin Debre - Super LawyersKevin D. DeBré is the chair of the Firm’s Intellectual Property & Technology Transactions Practice Group.  Kevin advises entrepreneurs and companies that use intellectual property to build their businesses.  Kevin has particular expertise in structuring and negotiating technology commercialization and patent licenses, strategic alliances, research and development collaborations, trademark licensing and brand merchandising agreements and manufacturing, distribution and marketing arrangements.  He also counsels clients on compliance with data security and privacy laws and regulations.

Jeffrey F. GershJeff Gersh - Super Lawyers is a Partner of the Firm. He has litigated, arbitrated, or mediated complex business and commercial matters, for both plaintiffs and defendants, whether individuals, public or private corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies and/or its members, shareholders and partners, involving various types of disputes, including contract matters, trade secrets, intellectual property (trademarks, copyrights and trade dress) negligence and fraud, employment, real estate, license agreements, the apparel and garment industry, and general business matters.

Dan Rozansky - Super Lawyers

Daniel Rozansky is a Partner of the Firm in the Business Litigation Practice. Dan concentrates his practice on entertainment, privacy, First Amendment and complex business and real estate disputes. Dan’s areas of focus are entertainment finance, anti-SLAPP motions, unfair competition, trade secrets, intellectual property, surreptitious tape recording, reality television, profit participation, rights of privacy and publicity, real estate, partnership disputes and First Amendment issues. He represents clients both at the trial and appellate levels in state and federal court on a wide array of issues.

Michael Sherman - Super LawyersMichael Sherman is an accomplished trial lawyer in high-stakes, “bet-the-company” litigation, and has represented both large and early-stage companies as well as entrepreneurs in all facets of business and complex commercial litigation. He has evenly split his litigation practice on both the plaintiff and defense side of cases, has first-chaired numerous trials in complex matters in industries as varied as energy, securities, healthcare, environmental, consumer products, technology, project development/finance, advertising, real estate and apparel, and is highly skilled in class actions and unfair competition law.

Joe Stubbs - Super LawyersJoe Stubbs is a founding partner of the Firm, and a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee. He is co-chair of the Firm’s Venture Capital and Emerging Growth Practice Group, and of the Firm’s Mergers and Acquisitions Practice Group. Joe practices in the areas of corporate and securities law, emphasizing the corporate representation of both publicly-held and privately-held emerging growth and middle-market companies, venture capital and private equity firms, angel investment groups and investment banks.

The official Super Lawyers 2018 publication can be read in its entirety here.

For more information about Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, contact Heidi Hubbeling at or (310) 746-9803.


Preccelerator® Program Alumni nēdl Admitted to Matter Accelerator

nēdlCongratulations to SAM Preccelerator alumni company nēdl for being admitted to Matter, a media-focused accelerator based in San Francisco, California. nēdl was a part of Class 7 at the Preccelerator and recently graduated after a fantastic presentation at Demo Day.

“As we sourced Matter [class] Eight, we were on the lookout for start-ups focused on amplifying voices that aren’t always being heard; building secure technologies to protect free speech; rebuilding trust; moving beyond targeted advertising to new business models; harnessing emerging technologies like augmented reality and artificial intelligence to create new models for understanding and empathy; and creating ways for individuals and media companies to own their online identities and relationships.”

To read the full press release visit here. 

About nēdl  
 uses proprietary Speech Recognition to let you search within 100,000+ live news, sports, talk, and music broadcast streams to find what you want and listen to the stream or add your unique voice to the global real-time database for instant discovery. Visit

For more information about the Preccelerator® Program contact Heidi Hubbeling, Director of Operations at


Startup Superhero Video Series! – This Week Featuring Preccelerator Mentor Mark Wald on “Mentor Partnerships & Financial Modeling with”

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles and the Preccelerator Program are proud to announce the launch of their Startup Superhero Video Series – featuring SA&M Attorneys, Preccelerator Mentors, and entrepreneurs on topics specific to entrepreneurship and lessons learned throughout the journey.

This week we’re featuring Preccelerator Mentor Mark Wald as he talks about “Mentor Partnership & Financial Modeling with”

Mark is an innovative problem solver who values simplicity, efficiency, and collaboration between people and organizations, with strong experience in financial modeling and data analytics to inform and support quick decisions on complex issues. Specific experience developing, deploying, and supporting new technologies to thousands of retail locations using 3rd party logistics and service providers.  Professional specialties: Financial strategy & fundraising, sourcing business opportunities, conserving resources, enabling people, satisfying customers, analyzing complex data.



To learn more about the Preccelerator Program, contact Heidi Hubbeling at


SAM Attorney John De La Merced Appointed to APABA Board of Governors

Congratulations to Stubbs Alderton & Markiles attorney John De La Merced for his appointment to the Board of Governors for the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County. He was officially sworn in on February 23, 2018 at APABA’s 20th Annual Installation of the Officers & Board of Governors, which featured California Supreme Court Justice Leondra R. Kruger as the keynote speaker.

For more information about the Governing Board, visit here.

John De La MercedJohn R. De La Merced is an associate of the Firm.  His practice focuses on business litigation, which includes commercial and intellectual property disputes.  His experience encompasses all aspects of the litigation process, including drafting operative pleadings and responses, law and motion practice, discovery, mediation, client counseling and assisting in trial.

John currently serves as Treasurer and a member of the board of governors for the Philippine American Bar Association, and will serve as the organization’s President-Elect in 2018 and then President in 2019.  John is also a member of the advisory committee for the St. Thomas More Society of Los Angeles.

For more information about our Business Litigation Practice or questions contact John De La Merced at


SAM Partner Dan Rozansky Featured in Hollywood Reporter

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles’ Partner Dan Rozansky was featured in the Hollywood Reporter in a roundup of Hollywood law firm promotions and hires.

To read the full article visit here.

Dan RozanskyDan concentrates his practice on entertainment, privacy, First Amendment and complex business and real estate disputes. In addition to his diverse litigation experience, Dan also counsels a broad array of clients on developing the best strategies to avoid disputes. For entertainment clients, he regularly reviews television pilots, screenplays and other material in development to assist those clients in identifying and avoiding potential liabilities. Dan’s areas of focus are entertainment finance, anti-SLAPP motions, unfair competition, trade secrets, intellectual property, surreptitious tape recording, reality television, profit participation, rights of privacy and publicity, real estate, partnership disputes and First Amendment issues. He represents clients both at the trial and appellate levels in state and federal court on a wide array of issues.

For more information on our Litigation Practice, contact Dan Rozansky at


SAM Partner Greg Akselrud Featured in CREATV Media’s Digital Media Update

Stubbs Alderton & Markiles’ Partner Greg Akselrud contributed a chapter to Peter Csathy’s new book Media 2.0(18) on Investments and Mergers & Acquisitions. The chapter entitled “Tech & Digital Media Investment and M&A- Issues to Be Considered on Both Sides”  was featured on CREATV Media’s Digital Media Update.

To read the full article visit here. 

Greg AkselrudGreg Akselrud is a founder and partner of the Firm and a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee. He chair’s the Firm’s Internet, Digital Media and Entertainment Practice Group. Greg advises a wide range of public and private clients across a number of industries, including companies in the entertainment, digital media, Internet, technology, consumer electronics and apparel industries. Greg is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, teaching Business Planning I: Financing the Start-Up Business and Venture Capital Financing. Greg is the author of Hit Man: The Fourth Circuit’s Mistake in Rice v. Paladin Enters., Inc., 19 Loy. L.A. Ent. L.J. 375 (1999).

To learn more about our Mergers & Acquisitions Practice or  Internet, Digital Media & Entertainment Practice, contact Greg Akselrud at


SAM Attorney Caroline Cherkassky Featured Panelist at UCLA Law School’s “Law & Entrepreneurship” Conference

March 9th, 2018

UCLA School of Law
385 Charles E. Young Drive East
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476

Located in UCLA’s back yard, the Silicon Beach economy is exploding. This inaugural conference will explore the legal and policy issues faced by more than 500 tech startups, incubators and accelerators as well as companies like Snap. Attend the conference to understand the issues critical to this burgeoning hub of entrepreneurship in West LA and the beach cities of Santa Monica, Playa Vista and Venice.

The Silicon Beach Conference will address three important areas all with a focus on the businesses we see here:  governance, financing and acquisitions. Our governance panel will look at various structural approaches, including dual class stock structures.  The financing panel will explore the SEC’s pro-IPO initiatives as well as the emerging Initial Coin Offering debate. Finally, the panelists will look to the LA and Silicon Beach acquisitions market and how to support and grow M&A in Silicon Beach.

Opening Remarks
Joel Feuer, UCLA School of Law

Corporate Governance and Founder Control
Ken Bertsch, Council of Institutional Investors
David Berger, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Caroline Cherkassky, Stubbs Alderton & Markiles
Chris Shoff, Latham & Watkins
Moderator: Stephen Bainbridge, UCLA School of Law

Financing of Start-Ups and Emerging Growth Companies
Lona Nallengara, Shearman & Sterling  
Nick Hobson, Cooley
Philippa Bond, Proskauer
Adam Ettinger, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton
Moderator: James Park, UCLA School of Law

Silicon Beach Acquisitions: Legal and Business Issues
David Hernand, Paul Hastings
Brandon Quartararo, Intrepid Investment Bank
Andrew Erskine, Orrick
Moderator:  Iman Anabtawi, UCLA School of Law

We hope to see you there!




Preccelerator Alumni Company Ballparq Announces Launch of Their Platform for Financial Modeling for Startups

ballparqPreccelerator Program Alumni Ballparq has announced the launch of their platform. Ballparq is a web-based platform that lets entrepreneurs create engaging financial models through an easy-to-use interactive process. The entrepreneur is able to demonstrate financial sophistication by telling the story of their business from the bottom up.

Check out Ballparq here.

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 $250,000 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 50 active strategic mentors providing free office hours and discounted services, and provides over 50+ 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, expand benefits to accepted companies, and will look to make strategic investments backed by strategic angel investors.

For more about the Preccelerator® Program or to apply,  contact Heidi Hubbeling, COO at (310) 746-9803 or