President Obama talked tech and millenials in a town hall format at Cross Campus in Santa Monica, a landmark event for LA’s tech scene and Silicon Beach.
About 100 invite-only attendees included the Cross Campus community members and friends, and LA tech community leaders, including LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, LA’s CITO Peter Marx, Dana Settle of Greycroft Partners, Clark Landry of SHIFT, and many more.
President Obama started the town hall, by asking three startup CEOs to describe their companies. He was very good at understanding what they do, and asking: “How do you make money?”
The three startups included:
- Jordan Himel, CEO of Newzcard, which provides detailed bio information about who’s in celebrity photos.
- Matthias Kerwig, CEO/Founder of Enervee, which lets consumers make energy-saving smart decision making when purchasing products. Matthias also spoke at on our Silicon Beach Fest panel in June.
- DeKoven Ashley, co-founder of thrdplace, which lets communities organize projects like painting or park clean-ups to improve the neighborhoods around them. thrdplace has pitched and spoken at our previous Digital LA events.
After a short speech, President Obama answered audience questions about net neutrality, immigration, increasing women in tech, and several other topics selected randomly from attendees.
“I am unequivocally committed to net neutrality,” he said.
He also added that he finds it inspiring to visit coworking spaces where entrepreneurs are following their dreams, starting businesses, and employing people.
As the final question of the Q&A, Ariel Jalali, founder of the Cross Campus startup Sensay, offered President Obama a job after his term ends. In good nature humor, Obama smiled and said, ‘Depends on what are the perks?’
Congrats and thanks to Cross Campus co-founders Ronen Olshansky and Dan Dato, who received a call from White House staff asking if Cross Campus could host the event. Cross Campus has hosted dozens of our Digital LA events, and has been a hub for our Silicon Beach Fest multiday conferenece for the past three years.
The Cross Campus visit is a landmark for LA’s tech scene and Silicon Beach, marking the first time the President has spoken about it at a venue commonly used for tech events.
Obama’s visit is on the first day of his three-day West Coast fundraising tour. After the Cross Campus talk, Obama visited Gwyneth Paltrow’s house for a $32K ticket fundraiser. After LA, he continues on to San Francisco.
RT @WhiteHouse Watch President Obama discuss new tech projects with members of the @CrossCampus community →http://wh.gov/live