How 5 Santa Barbara entrepreneurs turned their ideas into multimillion dollar organizations

How Do You Go From an Idea to a Successful Business?

Logic Monitor Photo_Office 1Five incredible entrepreneurs from fast growing startups in Santa Barbara share their journey building a successful business from ground zero.

Each of them will share their distinct challenges and the different hurdles they overcame to turn their ideas into million dollar businesses.  These entrepreneurs also demonstrate the unique, thriving startup ecosystem here in Santa Barbara.  PayJunction, Trackr, and Apeel were hatched at UCSB by graduating students, LogicMonitor was started by a former UCSB IT employee, and Riviera Robotics was started by a collection of local high school students.

Topics include:

  • How do you get the idea, resources, people and funding to get started?
  • How to get a prototype, build your first product and scale up manufacturing?
  • The first customer is the hardest. So how do you get them?
  • How do you grow revenue when no one knows you or trusts you?
  • Should a founder be a CEO and at what point should they step aside?
  • What to do when you are company is in trouble?
  • When do you know you’ve turned the corner?


Steve Francis, Founder & CPO, LogicMonitor

William Skidmore, Co-Founder, PayJunction

Chris Herbert & Christian Smith, Co-Founders, Trackr

James Rogers, CEO and Science Director, Apeel Sciences

Kally Zheng & Amy Dixon, Co-Founders, Riviera Robotics


About Our Panelists

francisSteve Francis, Founder & CPO, LogicMonitor

Steve Francis and his partner came very close to going under the first couple years with LogicMonitor, a Saas based solution for monitoring servers and appliances.  Today, LogicMonitor employs over 100 people in 3 different countries and is used by Fortune 500 clients.


will_skidmoreWilliam Skidmore, Co-Founder, PayJunction

Founded in 2000 by three UCSB graduates, PayJunction is a bootstrapped payment technology company that has grown over the the last 16 years to employ 3,000+ employees nationwide. Initially profiting only pennies on every dollar, now PayJunction transacts over $2 billion dollars annually for tens of thousands of clients. Their recipe to success is simple…value long term relationships over short term profit. Do this, and your pennies will start to add up too.

herbert&smithChris Herbert and Christian Smith, Co-Founders, Trackr

After losing their keys in the sand while surfing, Chris and Christian came up with the idea for Trackr.  Upon graduating from UCSB, they bootstrapped, crowdfunded, and venture funded their company into fast growth, with lots of new employees, sophisticated apps, and new products. Losing keys has never been so lucrative.

James Rogers, CEO and Science Director, Apeel Sciences

While the science behind Apeel may require a Ph.D, the potential impact of Apeel’s products is so simple.  Apeel’s sophisticated organic technology can extend food preservation by weeks and months, drastically reducing food waste here in the U.S. and billions of people vulnerable to food shortages.  James has gone from being an isolated research nerd, to a well-financed entrepreneur who has surrounded himself with lots of other nerds working to solve one of the world’s big problems.

IMG_20160512_001712Kally Zheng and Amy Dixon, Co-Founders, Riviera Robotics

Kally Zheng, Graham Wren, Amy Dixon, Dustin Oakes, Nick Katzer and 16 high school students founded Riviera Robotics. Last Summer, when Dos Pueblos sought to accommodate more students in its Engineering Academy, it replaced its world renowned robotics program with the current Mechatronic program.  The robotic program in Santa Barbara would have ended, but for a remarkable group of determined kids. Twenty-two students from San Marcos High School and Dos Pueblos High School banded together and in 6 months, they applied for 501(c)(3) status, raised over $40,000, secured a build facility and found a machine shop.   They went to school each day and stayed untilmidnight coding and machined a custom-made competitive robot from scratch for the national competition –with no help from schools or teachers..


Al_OatenThis program will be moderated by Albert Oaten. Albert is the Vice President of Market Development at SecureDocs. Albert works with the team to identify new markets and market entry strategies. In his role, Albert speaks at association and industry seminars and events and helps lead rapid expansion into new markets. Albert is a surprisingly good athlete and plays a mean game of tennis. And (lucky for us) as a former actor, he is always prepared for an entertaining company skit.

Albert graduated from Stanford University and has an MBA with honors from the Goizueta School of Business at Emory University.


Event Registration:

When:  Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Where: Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center, 1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara, CA 93103


  • Student $15.00
  • Regular (Online pre-registration only) $30.00
  • At the Door $40.00
  • Parking $4.00 – $6.00 (separate; paid at lot)


  • 5:00 – 6:00 Networking Hour, Check-in & Registration for Walk-ins
  • 6:00 – 7:30 Discussion
  • 7:30 – 8:00 Q&A

Registration includes appetizers and refreshments.

If you miss the early-bird registration, not to worry! We welcome walk-in guests to register at the registration table in the lobby of the venue.

Online event registration for Dorm Room to Board Room powered byEventbrite

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