Program Information

So you’ve got a great idea for a new business, now what? Learn from real-world experiences on how to fund your new company to ensure you don’t just survive but flourish! Speakers for this event will give participants the basics of funding a start-up. They will then discuss the avenues available, within the Central Coast, such as, which types of funding fit which set of circumstances, and experiences in obtaining funding for start-ups. We will also discuss the impact COVID-19 has had on funding. Join us!


The Business Perspective


How do you secure funding for your new company?  What options exist in Santa Barbara and what trade offs do you need to consider?  How do you position yourself to attract and retain sources of funding?  What lessons have been learned so far?
The Funding Journey How do sources of funding change as the business grows?  What do’s and don’ts have you learned?  How is the company viewed by and need to position itself to potential investors today vs. in its earlier days?  What tradeoffs were made along the way – how do you know if they are the right tradeoffs?
Funding Success What do you look for in a potential investment opportunity?  In your experience, how have different companies approached funding and which strategies were successful?  Which strategies caused unnecessary burden or difficulty?  What advice do you have for start ups looking for funding today?


Participants will:

  • Meet the funders
  • Open the right doors
  • Learn some do’s and don’ts
  • Understand the microcosm of the business community
  • Expand on the impacts of COVID on funding your start-up


  • Start-ups looking for early rounds of funding
  • Entrepreneurs looking to “take things to the next level”
  • Investors
  • Visionaries (yes, you, your neighbors, your parents)


Join us on Wednesday, October 21 for this FREE ONLINE EVENT.

This program will be moderated by Jason Spievak, Co-founder & Managing Director, Entrada Ventures.


  • Haley Pavone, Founder & CEO, Pashion Footwear
  • Andreas Forsland, Founder & CEO, Cognixion
  • Elizabeth Cholawsky, CEO, HG Insights
  • Dan Engel, Founder & Managing Partner, Santa Barbara Venture Partners, Venture Capitalist-in-Residence, OCV
  • Brett Queener, Partner, Bonfire Ventures


JASON SPIEVAK, Co-founder & Managing Director, Entrada Ventures

Jason Spievak is a co-founder and Managing Director at Entrada Ventures. Jason’s career as an investor and founder spans three decades and a broad range of technologies from agricultural sciences to virtual reality. Jason is a seed investor and board member of Apeel Sciences and also served as the company’s Chief Commercial Officer. Jason is also a member of the teaching faculty in UCSB’s Technology Management Program and has coached dozens of teams through the UCSB New Venture Competition. Prior to Apeel, Jason was the CEO and co-founder of Invoca. Prior to Invoca, Jason was a Director and CFO at CallWave, where he led the company’s successful IPO. Prior to CallWave, Jason was Vice President of Technology M&A in Broadview’s Silicon Valley office, where he was the executive lead on more than $1.25 billion in successful transactions. Jason has also held product management roles with Nextel Communications and with Netopia, where he helped the company complete its successful IPO. Jason earned his MBA from Northwestern University and his BA from UCSB. He is an active angel investor in dozens of companies and holds several technology patents. Jason serves on multiple corporate boards and is active with non-profit organizations and schools.

About the Speakers

HALEY PAVONE, Founder & CEO, Pashion Footwear

Haley Pavone (Founder & CEO at Pashion Footwear) is an entrepreneur whose ambition & passion for innovation led her to create the largest disruptive advancement women’s footwear has ever seen – the world’s first fully convertible heel. She has invented, developed, and brought to production what was once thought to be an “impossible” shoe…and she’s done it all by 24, and with no background in footwear.

Pavone founded the company as a junior in college and in the 4 years since she has developed her innovative & massively disruptive product’s technology, built out an all-star team of hustlers & shoe dogs, secured patent-pending status in 30 countries, built out and trained a full supply chain on a completely new production method, executed the first six rounds of production with phenomenal customer satisfaction ratings, developed & launched a comprehensive eCommerce site/model/funnel and raised over $2.5 million dollars in seed funding. Hard-working & efficient, Pavone built the company while still graduating on-time with her Business Entrepreneurship degree from California Polytechnic State University, SLO.

Pashion Footwear formally launched online in June of 2019. Since launching, Pavone has managed to lead her team to greatness in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic – posting 80% growth Q2/Q1 of 2020. The company has grossed over $800k in revenues since launching and hosted over 1.8 million site visitors as brand awareness continues to skyrocket under Pavone’s guidance.

Pavone’s true talent comes from her ability to rally people behind her vision. A charismatic & persuasive public speaker, Pavone has become both the visionary and face behind this up-and-coming fashion tech brand. Her wins at several startup competitions as well as appearances on a variety of TV shows, radio shows and in print publications have earned her a reputation as an exciting and effective company spokesperson.

ANDREAS FORSLAND, Founder & CEO, Cognixion

Andreas is the Founder & CEO of Cognixion, a digital health startup based in Santa Barbara, California, and Toronto, Ontario. Cognixion builds accessible and affordable neuroprosthetic software and wearables that use biometric sensors and ML in new ways to help people with complex disabilities use their face, eyes, and brain as a direct control interface for mobile and AR accessibility. Cognixion is recognized as a top 21 neurotech startup to watch, and is focused on scaling up the transformation of over 100 million lives and translating universal design approaches for everyone by focusing on the most challenging human interaction needs.



Elizabeth Cholawsky, PhD joined HG Insights as CEO in 2018. Elizabeth is a seasoned/established executive leader in the technology industry with a strong focus on growing successful SaaS-based businesses. She has led and worked with companies to build market-leading offerings, using in-house talent as well as through partnerships and acquisitions. Prior to joining HG Insights, she was CEO of (NASDAQ: SPRT), where she transformed the business from being solely reliant on outsourced services revenue to selling a SaaS product that intelligently ran large contact centers.

Prior to, Elizabeth worked at Citrix Systems where she held executive positions in the Citrix SaaS division, with leadership roles spanning general management, product management, global client services, and the contact center. Elizabeth has also held executive leadership roles at market-leading companies including and ValueClick, where she used her business acumen to position companies in large growth markets and align product and messaging for maximum effectiveness.

Elizabeth holds a PhD in Political Science with a concentration in Econometrics from the University of Minnesota, and a BA (Phi Beta Kappa, cum laude) from Franklin & Marshall College.

DAN ENGEL, Founder & Managing Partner, Santa Barbara Venture Partners, Venture Capitalist-in-Residence, OCV

Dan Engel is a Venture Capitalist–in-Residence at OCV, and has been a B2B and B2C software entrepreneur since 1997. Until 2015 Mr. Engel was CEO & Co-Founder or Board Member at FastSpring, a fintech SaaS platform for 4,000 software companies worldwide. FastSpring was acquired in 2013 by Pylon Capital and again in 2018 by Accel-KKR.

Prior to FastSpring, Mr. Engel led online customer acquisition/advertising for Google during its IPO phase. Before Google, he was VP of Market Development at Picasa, a digital photo consumer software company sold to Google in 2004 (now known as Google Photos). Previously, he led customer acquisition/revenue generation for GoToMyPC & GoToMeeting software, helping lead to a $225 million initial acquisition by Citrix & building a major brand that today generates over $600 million in recurring SaaS revenue. In 2016, the software was again acquired, this time by LogMeIn for $1.8 billion.

Mr. Engel has been an investor, advisor, and/or board member at NGEN Partners, Rincon Venture Partners, TechStars, Apeel Sciences, SafeGraph, Blue Triangle Technologies, TrackStreet, Mobile1st, and other firms. He serves on the boards of New Beginnings, a non-profit that provides counseling services to military veterans, low income and homeless individuals, and Partners in Housing Solutions, a non-profit that helps place homeless people from Santa Barbara County into permanent housing.

At 24, Mr. Engel was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Idealab, the #1 incubator of the .com era, after having started a consumer e-commerce company in college. Prior to being a software entrepreneur, Mr. Engel worked at Sanford Bernstein, Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney, and Fidelity Investments (FMR). He has appeared in various publications, including Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal. Dan graduated from Tulane University in 1998 with a degree in Finance.

BRETT QUEENER, Partner, Bonfire Ventures

Brett is a Partner at Bonfire Ventures. Bonfire invests in seed-stage business software companies with a regional focus on Southern California. Prior to Bonfire, Brett served over a two-decade span in senior executive positions at Siebel Systems,, & smartrecruiters. Brett has a BA from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard University and resides in Santa Barbara, CA.





Event & Ticket Information

Event Date:  Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

Where: ONLINE EVENT – Zoom


  • 6:00 – 7:00PM Panel Discussion
  • 7:00 – 7:30 Q&A

Everyone who signs up will receive their own link upon registration.

Online event registration is for Funding to Flourish powered by Eventbrite
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