MEET THE TEAM

B U E N A  reshapes company culture.
Learn more about our team, partners, and opportunities.

You’re in good company.

WHO WE ARE

BUENA consists of 18 California-based members, 3 overseas members, and 2 partners. We’re a bunch of founders, free-lancers, students, and investors collaborating and learning from each other to build something bigger than ourselves.

At BUENA, we speak over eight languages and come from backgrounds around the world, and states across the U.S.

WE TAKE THE “WORK” OUT OF NETWORKING

What started as our founder, Stephanie Be, cooking for the team out of her apartment has evolved into a special monthly event. In partnership with Latham & Watkins, BUENA now runs a happy hour, The Adventure Capitalists, where entrepreneurs and investors can mingle over food and drinks.

The Adventure Capitalists is a traveling happy hour hosted around VC firms in the Los Angeles area. It is a professional, yet social setting where real relationships can be created and nurtured.

WE BUILD COMMUNITY BEYOND OUR BUSINESS

When we’re not globe-trotting, you can find us frolicking around Los Angeles tech events, or running training workshops with WANDR Agency.

To join three 2x Founders on their latest venture, email us with HIRE ME in the subject line at growth [at] BUENA [dot] life.

TEAM

Stephanie “Be” Buelna
Investor, BUENA Founder
2x Founder
  • Named by Business Insider as the “Entrepretraveler”
  • Traveled to over 250 destinations around the world
  • Worked with over 100 brands in tourism and hospitality through her media company TravelBreak
  • Currently serves as an advisory board member in digital marketing for Visit California, the official board of tourism for the State of California
  • Holds a B.A. in Sociology & a Minor in Global Studies from UCLA and has eight years of marketing experience
  • Terribly afraid of drowning
Daniel Berestov
CTO
  • Formerly at Amazon
  • Five years of software development experience
  • Masters of Computer Science at UCLA
  • Emphasis in Machine Learning
  • Formerly UCLA Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity Social Chair
  • Fluent in Russian
  • Tried to get sponsored skateboarding…it didn’t happen but can still tre flip
Collin Kennedy
Backend Engineer
  • Developed an Android application at HHMI to analyze macromolecules and nanoparticles for his research’s biochemical purposes
  • Former Researcher and Engineering Intern at Howard Hughes Medical Center, Roche Molecular Systems, and David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
  • Former Sigma Chi Fraternity Member
  • B.S. Biochemistry from UCLA with coursework in Computer Science
  • Spent a summer in Kansas to learn to be a farmer; baffled he never got a return offer
Phoenix Trejo
iOS Engineer
  • Holds a B.S. from UCLA in Mathematics
  • Completed a certificate in System’s Analysis through UCLA Extension where he took courses covering Database Systems, Computer Networks, Machine Learning, Android Development, and Software Development Practices
  • Researched solar panels and wrote Python programs to model the effect atmospheric haze had on power output
  • Built 5 apps during his time at UCLA
  • Finally getting “good” at guitar…6 years in
Kelsey Young
iOS & QA Engineer
  • 3rd iOS Developer at Lime and 1st QA Engineer at Lime
  • Developed and incubated a release checklist at Lime which led to 99% crash-free rate on both mobile clients
  • Passionate about object-oriented design and testing frameworks
  • B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford
  • MBA from Boise University
  • Casually played in the NFL
Dianne Chen
UI/ UX Designer
Launched 20+ Products
  • Empowers teams through the UX innovation process
  • After two startups, Dianne joined Sidebench – an innovation lab – where she led new product development for clients such as Facebook, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and NBCUniversal
  • After scaling the design team to six and launching over 20 products, Dianne left to travel as a consultant and to explore new ventures that drive human connection
  • Earned her Bachelor’s in Business from USC, holding UX Management and Business Model Design certificates from the Nielsen Norman Group, General Assembly, and the Strategyzer Academy
  • Better chef than Stephanie
Dan Chikanov
Product Analyst
  • Former Thailand expat and world traveler.
  • Customer success and data background.
  • LA General Assembly Certification in SQL
  • Self-taught in Javascript, Python and Software Quality Assurance
  • B.S. in Psychobiology from UCLA
  • Has the same birthday as Olivia

ADVISING AND CONSULTING TEAM

Steve Yu
Investor, Interim CFO
UCLA School of Law CFO
  • 2x Bruin graduate who works fervently to bridge the UCLA communities
  • Formerly President of the UCLA Alumni Westside
  • Currently oversees the $70 million budget and 200+ staff as the Assistant Dean of Operations for UCLA Law, a top 15 law school
  • Paid speaker and coach delivering workshops on public speaking and networking
  • Hands-on investor in BUENA advising and acting in matters of Finance and Operations
  • Gave a talk to a crowd of 100 with his fly down once
Kevin Lin
Interim Director of Product
2x Founding Employee, 1 Exit
  • Founding employee at SeatGeek, the first mobile ticketing app
  • Over the six years of his tenure, SeatGeek grew from under 10 to over 300 employees
  • Subsequently, Kevin became a shareholder, and traveled the world for a year before returning to embark on a new adventure with BUENA
  • Prior to SeatGeek, Kevin led Product at Urban Mapping –a repository of “mapfluence” which supports geographic decision-making through analytic and visualization tools, later acquired by Maponics
  • B.S. in Mathematics from Berkeley
  • Kevin is a pioneer in the art of making music out of a plastic noisemaker called the “vuvuzela”
Carly Martinetti
User Acquisition & PR
2x Founder, 1 Exit
  • Over eight years of PR experience and content marketing experience
  • Expert in all things click-bait and growth-hacking
  • Managing Partner at Press Friendly, specializing in PR for early stage startups
  • Prior to Press Friendly and BUENA, Carly built the popular animal blog Featured Creature with over 600k uniques per month, and 200k followers across social media
  • Leveraged her community to create and sell a consumer-product company
  • Stephanie and Carly have been building brands together since 2014
  • Holds a B.S. in Psychology from UCLA
  • Wishes she could talk to animals

 STUDENT TEAM

Sergey Barinov
Associate Product Manager
  • Previously worked as a Financial Consulting Intern at Ameriprise Financial &  at the Le Tremplin Incubator (Paris) startup
  • Former Marketing Intern at Electric Family
  • UCLA Sigma Chi Social Chair and UCLA Rugby Team Member
  • UCLA B.A. in Economics and a Minor in History
  • Fluent in French and Russian
  • Still going through his middle school dubstep phase
Olivia Huchton
Experiential Marketing Coordinator
  • First college ambassador for Bumble at UCLA
  • Former University Marketing Executive & Social Media team member at the Daily Bruin, UCLA’s newspaper
  • Member of the Alpha Phi Sorority at UCLA
  • Pursuing a UCLA B.A. in Sociology and a Minor in Film, Television and Digital Media
  • Former Talent Management Intern at Untitled Entertainment 
  • Film Development Intern at Montecito Picture Company 
  • Has had her foot run over by an uber not once, but twice
Isaac Chan
Finance Associate
  • Holds previous marketing experience as the Student Brand Manager for Red Bull at UCLA
  • Consultant at UConsulting, a prestigious and competitive club at UCLA where he was the annual Case Competition Winner
  • Consulting Intern at IXL Center 
  • UCLA B.A. in Political Science and a Minor in English
  • Gladly goes on 7+ mile hikes… refuses to walk more than 300 feet to go grocery shopping
Sarah Lang
Digital Marketing Coordinator 
  • Previous Social Media and Marketing Intern for Abbot Kinney “First Fridays”
  • Rising Senior at UCLA pursuing a B.A. in Sociology
  • Studied International Studies at Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris
  • VP of Marketing for Alpha Phi Sorority at UCLA
  • Avid Earth Wind and Fire Enthusiast
Nolan Earl
iOS Intern
  • Current Junior at USC pursuing a B.S. in both Computer Science and Physics, minoring in Computer Programming
  • Front-End iOS developer and Co-Founder of Top Technologies, Inc.
  • Developed the front-end design and functionality for a student planner app that launched on the app store
  • Won Allen Clair Nelson Innovation Award through USC Stevens Innovator Showcase
  • Has a Drake line for every life situation
Peter Ju
Media & Design Intern
  • Holds a Bachelors degree in Arts, Design & Media Arts from UCLA
  • Previous Graphic Designer & Editorial Intern at Adore Creative, where he assisted in creating brand identities and TV commercial concepts for the Azerbaijan National Tourism Board.
  • Former Production Intern at P&L Media, where he shot and edited promotional photography for a local restaurant which sponsored the 45th Daytime Emmy Awards cocktail reception.
  • Cannot function properly without coffee.

ADDITIONAL INVESTORS

Robin Rothstein
Managing Director and Member of Golden Seeds
Investor
  • Member and Managing Director of Golden Seeds, a network of angel investors dedicated to investing in early stage companies that are founded or led by women
  • Global Business Executive and Advisor with more than 25 years of experience
  • Former partner & COO of Taconic Capital Advisors L.P., one of the top 50 U.S. hedge funds, with $10 Billion in Assets under Management
  • Previous CFO to former Chairman of the Export/Import bank
  • Certified Corporate Director
  • Self-taught expert at creating exquisite gift wrapped packages
Jeff Rothstein
Managing Director and Member of Golden Seeds
Investor
  • Active Angel and Early Stage Investor
  • Member of Golden Seeds, an angel group dedicated to investing in early stage companies that are primarily founded or led by women
  • Former Broadcast Video Editor
  • Founder of Spotlight Video Productions, providing videography, video editing, production crews, and servicing
  • Was once locked outside a college dorm in Fairbanks, Alaska with bare feet at 20 degrees below freezing
Zia Amini
Investor
2x Founder
  • Founded, designed and developed the “Who’s Calling” App with over 8.8 Million downloads
  • Founded & developed the “Ciphered Messages” which ranks #24 in App Store for Social Networking
  • 2x Startup Co-Founder of PostLuck & LookFwd and architect and developer of the award-winning eWP
  • Corporate engineering experience at Visa & National Geographic
  • Holds a B.A. Electrical Engineering from UCLA and has eight years of mobile development experience
  • Was once a vegetarian for half a day
Zalman Kravitz
Investor
  • Zalman holds an MBA and has over 15 years of experience in Social Impact and Nonprofit management
  • Lecturer, influencer, and thought leader on discourse about values, spirituality, and living well in a modern world
  • Producer of SMARTalk.tv, a weekly online show that meets at the cross-section of innovation, entrepreneurship, and values
  • Zalman provides the BUENA office, allowing the team to keep costs lean

PARTNERS

Patrick Pohlen
Attorney, Global Chair Emerging Companies at Latham & Watkins
  • Partner, Attorney, & Global Co-Chair for Emerging Companies Practice at Latham & Watkins.
  • Latham & Watkins is the highest grossing law firm in the world with an annual revenue of $2.83 Billion
  • Notable clients include: AEG, Yahoo, Goldman Sachs, and Merril Lynch
  • BUENA has been accepted into the Emerging Companies portfolio for Latham & Watkins
David Ajalat
Attorney at Latham & Watkins
  • Attorney for Emerging Companies at Latham & Watkins
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, at USC Law School
  • Advises startup companies throughout their life-cycle, from formation and financings through exit planning

MENTORS

Jerome Helton
Startuptap
  • Growth consultant and partner at the head-hunting firm Startup Tap
  • Since 2012, he’s collectively supported over 150 companies, $3.4 Billion in capital raise, 199+ rounds of fundraising, 15 acquisitions, 2 exits, 10 M&A, Acquihires and/or Spinoff/s
  • Notable Clients: FabFitFun, DogVacay, Viking Cruises, WeTransfer, and Grindr
Mark Douglas
SteelHouse & HomeMe
  • CEO &  3x Founder
  • Formerly the VP of Engineering at Rubicon Project,  eHarmony, & Oracle
  • With the SteelHouse Behavioral Commerce Platform, clients see 50-102% increase in average order values
  • SteelHouse generates $130 Million annual revenue
  • Mark’s companies are backed by Sequoia Capital, Greycroft , and more
Britanny Carter
Wizr & SheWorx
  • Los Angeles Director for SheWorx, a global organization bridging the funding gap
  • Head of Product for Wizr at ZUMA Ventures
  • Has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes and other various media outlets
  • Prior to ZUMA and SheWorx, Britanny was traveling the world as a digital nomad while working digitally as an analyst for IBISWorld
  • Covered several consumer-facing and tech industries across the United States and Canada