SMNT Testimonials

As I was approached by the UCLA Professor to share stories about our group for his upcoming book in the chapter on community, I reached out to some of our members asking for their feedback. Please read their stories and spread the word. Story #1 is by Felix Bustos III.

It takes a community to raise a startup.

I’ve always been a dreamer and doer.  I grew up having a profound fascination with technology, so it made perfect sense to spend more than a decade working on high-technology projects at Fortune 500 and tech startup companies.  Life was good until one fateful spring evening, at a Marina del Rey coffee shop, I met up with a long time friend.  We talked about the startup company he recently founded, and as he gushed over his entrepreneurial vision.  I thought to myself, what if I started my own company?  So I asked for some advice, and I vividly remember him saying, “You just have to do it!”  There I was, fueled by a burning desire to do something positive for the world.  So, I took the leap of faith and started working on a side project.  I quickly realized the even with more than a decade of technology and business experience, turning a project into a full-fledged company was really hard.  It was during this challenging period, an African proverb came to mind, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

I reached out to the nearby tech startup community in Silicon Beach, and learned about Santa Monica New Tech (SMNT) at a pitch event.  I was immediately blown away by its strong sense of community.  Everyone was more than willing to spend time talking about the “growing pains” involved in a startup, and share practical advice on how to solve them.  I also signed up for a SMNT Startup 101 course that covered the key steps involved in turning an idea or project into a startup company.  In fact, it was during the course that I realized that it was really possible to turn my entrepreneurial dream into a reality.  Most importantly, I walked away with friends who have been there during my entrepreneurial journey.

Today, the pet project has grown into Zappbuddy Technologies, Inc.  We’ve launched Zappbuddy FIT and we’re actively growing our health & fitness community as well!  I feel more than confident that with the SMNT and Silicon Beach tech startup community’s unwavering support, together we can keep growing.  After all, it really does take a community to raise a startup!


Best, Felix

Zappbuddy Technologies, Inc.

Achieve the impossible


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