Samala is a creative leader whose mediums run the gamut from venture capital to vinyl records. She is currently focused on building new paradigms for early stage investing in companies founded by teams of people from spectacular, unconventional and unprecedented backgrounds. Her most recent investments reflect the breadth and depth of her curiosity, capacity and connections — Costco model for wholesale priced cannabis delivered straight to your door, "Bloomberg" for crypto and blockchain exchanges, medical device and therapy for ALS/PSP/Alzheimer's, "Uber" for motorbikes in South America, end-to-end AI platform for real estate management and blockchain enabled AML/KYC for financial services.
Samala embodies multitudes — a believer and weaver of strong social fabric, a Wharton business school grad, a native New Yorker turned Californian, a Division 1 athlete, a daughter of immigrants and a DJ that's played all over the world. Inexorably unique and grounded in her experiences as a serial creator/founder/entrepreneur, Samala's accomplishments transcend the confines of any one industry, medium or continent. But is always grounded in community and includes a dose of healthy competition.
She built and cofounded America’s first national organization to serve Asian Pacific American communities online: 18MR.org. Through new media, digital campaigns and groundbreaking online vehicles for civic engagement, her team reached and organized Asian Pacific Americans during an election cycle that saw the highest voter registration and turnout for the country’s fastest growing demographic. She was on the Story of Stuff Project's founding team as Director of Strategy & Media, creating capacity to entertain, educate and engage over 40 million people globally for environmental justice. Her work and writing in technology, social innovation and civics has been featured at the Obama Administration’s White House LGBTQ Technology & Innovation Summit, at the Aspen Institute, and in Forbes, The New Yorker, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, TechCrunch and Al-Jazeera and Refinery29.
Prior to launching 18MR.org and seven movies with The Story of Stuff Project, Samala created START Mobile, one of the earliest digital media distribution networks for mobile. The global platform helped more than 500 artists — including Shepard Fairey, Justin Bua, David Choe, and Apex — reach new markets via mobile devices. At peak popularity, START had users and art installations across the United States, Central & South America, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, India, China, and Russia. As a consultant she worked with brands like Chanel, Clif Bar, and Cirque du Soleil. Her work at intersection of technology and civics has been recognized by NBC, Congress, and the California Legislature. She was a Senior Advisor for Social Innovation for Mozilla, contributor to the Aspen Institute’s Latinos and Society Program, and member of New Media Ventures’ Investment Committee. Samala currently serves on the World Food Programme’s Innovation Accelerator Advisory Council and the Women’s Foundation of California’s Board of Directors.
When she’s not finding unicorns and DJing your local 90s night you can find her tweeting intermittently @samala.