Fireside Chat + Pitch Competition



Grid110, Ground Control, and Gust Launch are coming together to host BotBash! Join us for a two-part night featuring a fireside chat and pitch competition all about AI and machine learning. Industry leaders and budding AI entrepreneurs will take the stage to discuss and share the current state and future visions of AI & machine learning. 

Event is free, but spaces are limited. RSVP below.

Event Schedule

6:30 PM - 7:00 PM
Registration + Drinks

7:00 PM - 7:45 PM
Fireside Chat

Join Mike Macadaan, Audrey Wu, Natascha French, & Mike Epps for a fireside chat about the current and future applications of AI & machine learning, as well as the human and technical issues to be addressed in this area.

7:45 PM - 9:00 PM
Pitch Competition

Watch 8 innovative companies pitch their AI products and services. If you are interested in participating in the pitch competition, click here for more information or apply below. Finalists will have the opportunity to win upwards of $25k in cash and in-kind prizes.

Panelists + Host

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Mike Macadaan

Founder + CEO, Ground Control

A childhood fascination with audio toys sparked a career in technology, leading to such early roles as principal UI designer for Intuit, VP user experience and design at AOL, and chief creative officer at Fox Interactive. He launched his first venture as co-founder and CCO of Science Inc., leading design and branding initiatives for companies such as Dollar Shave Club before launching This Is Ground, a designer of leather organizing goods for mobile creatives. Over the years he has been integral to the sale of a half-dozen companies, in acquisitions valued at more than $1 billion, and is the primary author of nearly a dozen patents. His interest in audio technology made Macadaan an early adopter of voice interactivity, and his user-experience career has honed his appreciation for the most minimal, easy-to-use consumer interfaces, leading to the birth of Ground Control.

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Mike Epps

Actor + Comedian

Mike Epps, in partnership with Ground Control, is pioneering experiences for voice platforms with the release of Sound Fun, a voice-activated experience.

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Audrey Wu

Co-Founder + CEO, CONVRG

Audrey is a second generation chatbot entrepreneur and emerging technology executive with experience at imperson, TechStars, JibJab Bros. Studios, iconmobile/WPP and Ketchum. She has developed chat and voice experiences for companies such as Disney, Amazon Studios, LionsGate and the GRAMMYs.

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Natascha French


As Chief Marketing Officer of VNTANA, an Augmented Reality company that created the first scalable and interactive hologram system, Natascha oversees the company’s marketing, sales and communications strategy. Natascha began her career has a journalist for CNN, and worked for various marketing and communications agencies, including Allison+Partners, where she focused on building the startup technology division. She has a successful track record of identifying and sourcing strategic partnerships, and scaling startups through a variety of tools that embraced the latest technology in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, London and China. 

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Rich DeMuro

Tech Reporter, KTLA-TV Channel 5

Rich DeMuro is the tech reporter for KTLA-TV Channel 5 in Los Angeles and his “Tech Report” is seen on dozens of Tribune TV stations nationwide. Rich has more than a decade of experience reporting and producing news for TV, radio, print and the internet. Before joining KTLA, Rich was the technology reporter for CBS 2 and KCAL 9 TV in Los Angeles and served as editor at technology websites CNET and Techmeme. At CNET, Rich’s show “The Queue” was a fast and fun way to keep up with the digital world. Rich often lends his tech opinions to various other media outlets. He is often heard discussing the latest tech news with Carson Daly, Kevin & Bean, KFI AM 640 & KOST 103.5 in Los Angeles. He has appeared on G4TV, CNBC, NBC’s Today Show, ABC News, Fox News Channel, the BBC and more. Rich was also a reporter with Channel One News, a daily newscast shown in middle and high schools nationwide. Before that, he was a reporter for TV stations in Washington and Louisiana.

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Tina Glickman

Director of Business Development, Gust Launch

Tina Glickman is the Director of Business Development at Gust Launch, a Company as a Service™ platform built to help transform dreamers into founders and ideas to companies through incorporation and beyond. She develops strategic partnerships within the startup community with those who share in Gust’s mission to help founders take their entrepreneurial ambitions to the next level.

Prior to developing strategic partnerships at Gust, Tina curated corporate art collections internationally, then built a Private Banking book of business serving entrepreneurs in her tenure at Credit Suisse - all the while knowing that she would ultimately serve founders earlier in their company’s life cycle. 

Presenting Partners


Grid110 is an economic and community development organization working in partnership with the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti to mobilize the startup ecosystem in Downtown LA. We support startups during the most critical stage of their growth cycle by connecting them to office space, mentors, and resources.

Ground Control

Ground Control is a startup venture creating voice-activated entertainment experiences to help pioneer and populate the nascent interactive audio market. In partnership with leading entertainment/sports agency CAA, Ground Control is developing compelling original content with well-known personalities across entertainment, sports, politics and beyond. With an initial focus on experiences with high engagement, the company aims to build a platform that addresses issues with discovery and retention.

Gust Launch

Gust Launch is the world's first Company-as-a-Service™: one platform to easily incorporate, start, and run a company like a seasoned entrepreneur, designed by experienced startup founders, investors, and lawyers to help from launch to exit. Starting with incorporation, Gust Launch takes founders through the process of setting up their company, then provides legal help from leading startup law firms on an ongoing basis and offers add-on packages to solve problems like bookkeeping and more as the company's needs grow. To use Gust Launch, visit

Event Sponsors

If you are interested in sponsoring the event, please contact Kristian Cardenas at


More details will be added on our website as we get closer to the event. For any questions regarding the event or the pitch competition, please contact Alex Oh at