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Meet the 2023 Winners of the LA Pitch Competition

Samerial “Sammie” Johns - 1st Place Winner

Sammie Johns, founder of PUG.ai, sheds light on the challenges of securing employment in a job market where AI technology has reshaped traditional roles. PUG.ai, an innovative career management software, employs AI tools and digital humans to assist individuals in upskilling and navigating career opportunities in technology, business, and emerging sectors.


Propelled by effective organic marketing, the software boasts 2,000 active users, achieving impressive 90% profit margins, primarily sourced from software subscriptions. PUG.ai strategically targets individuals aged 18 to 35 through social media and collaborative partnerships.

This transformative software has become a linchpin for career evolution, empowering users to acquire new skills through interactive learning facilitated by a dedicated AI career coach and a vibrant community. Sammie and her accomplished team, seasoned leaders in the technology industry, are passionate about enhancing livelihoods. Their collaborative efforts extend to partnerships with Fortune 500 companies, exemplifying their commitment to reshaping the future landscape of work and learning.


Follow them on LinkedIn.

Jessica Cymone - 2nd Place Winner

Jessica Cymone emphasizes the significance of advocating for LGBTQ representation and entertainment, a cause she champions through her 2015-founded organization, The Color Agent. The foundation addresses the existing void in representation and diversity within the LGBTQ community.


Cymone outlines The Color Agent's strategic initiatives, including curated online communities, original content, activations, and paid subscriptions designed to enhance LGBTQ representation and diversity. Noteworthy achievements include the organization's impact on elevating LGBTQ presence at South by Southwest and amassing an email list of over 6,000 members. Presently, The Color Agent is actively pursuing funding to facilitate its expansion, aiming to reach 50,000 members.


Follow them on Instagram.


Francisca Francois - 3rd Place Winner

Francisca Francois, the visionary behind Aeva Beauty, Francois discusses how her dark skin Haitian background influenced her views on unrealistic beauty standards and the lack of representation in the beauty industry. She founded Ava Beauty, a brand that focuses on creating inclusive products for dark-skinned Black women.


With a substantial and devoted following of 50,000 "Ava babes," the brand has empowered its community. Francois is actively pursuing funding to bolster her team, facilitate the development of custom formulations, and amplify the brand's influence within the beauty industry.


Follow them on Instagram.


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