Cam Kashani: Starting Up Silicon Beach
The area surrounding LMU has grown exponentially over the last few years to what is now known as Silicon Beach. Some of the companies in the area include Snap Inc., The Honest Company, Facebook, YouTube, Riot Games and Hulu. While LMU is fortunate to be located so close to these groundbreaking companies, one LMU MBA alum may have had a hand in creating the movement.
Cam Kashani, MBA '10 and her ex-husband had $200K and a dream to launch a medical startup. While enrolled in the LMU MBA Program and working at an executive office, Cam had the idea for a very cool business venture called Coloft. Coloft (now closed) was a community and workspace focused on empowering entrepreneurs and startups.
Coloft was founded in 2010 and is credited for sparking Silicon Beach. Some of the first companies that got their start at Coloft include Instacart, Uber LA, Fullscreen and early Tinder. The company broke even in four months and became a cheerleader for the Los Angeles tech ecosystem. While this experience came with many highlights, it was not a happily ever after story.
At one point, Cam was going through a divorce and was suddenly unemployed. She called the experience a “naked in the universe moment.” She noted that what happens to human beings is that they identify so much with their work, it becomes their identity. Without work, she felt like she’d hit rock bottom.
The interesting thing about losing yourself is that finding the new you is full of opportunity. She noted that during that time of soul searching, she met her new business partner Jasmine Hannaby. Jasmine has been a career coach since 2001, and during this period, she helped Cam get her life back together. The two cofounded COACCEL, what she called coaching on steroids.
Knowing that LMU is full of promising entrepreneurs, I asked Cam what she learned from working with these startups. She said that all first-time founders have an ego and believe that they are building a company that is going to be the next unicorn. She said that the notion of pretending that you are "crushing it" needs to go away because it does not serve or help anyone. She noted that the culture of robots that never sleep, do not take care of their bodies leads to a heart attack at 35. She also recommended having a long-term mindset, ask for help and be persistent.
Cam's experience in the LMU MBA Program allowed her to build relationships, experience amazing professors, and have the flexibility to start a business that has changed the world.
Written by Lindsay Western, MBA '17