👋🏾 My name is Devan (day-vin) Sood.
I am a first-generation Indo-American. My father is a professor at UCLA Anderson and my mother is an entrepreneur who runs a small promotional products business, both of them are from India. I started helping my mom with her business tasks when I was 9 or 10, and I started attending my dad’s marketing classes when I was 12. I learned a ton from both of them, and understanding small-business entrepreneurship and big-business marketing ended up being an advantageous starting point for my future endeavors.
I grew up in LA and accidentally jumped into my first venture at age 14; Unlimited Ltd. Clothing, my first company, was launched in 9th grade. In less than three years, Unlimited Ltd. was sold in multiple countries, involved in four global charities, and endorsed by celebrities. It was a ton of fun, and I learned a ton of lessons the hard way. Time well spent.
After the slight success of my first company, I started to strengthen my marketing skills and opened a marketing consulting firm specializing in creative growth strategies to market to millennials and gen-z. I worked for a handful of companies before I graduated high school, one of them was a messaging platform called onLoop.
A few weeks into the job at onLoop I told the CEO the platform couldn’t grow fast enough, and the data was not showing strong engagement. He already had this insight and told me he wanted to pivot to a live streaming platform, which was the most popular feature in the onLoop app. Live video was a hot space at the time, Persicope had just been acquired by Twitter and Meerkat had just launched at SXSW. They had a mediocre idea for the pivot and challenged me to come up with a better idea by the following Monday, so I created a new name and a concept for a fresh take on live streaming. They loved it.
I led onLoop's pivot to Zapstream, a social live streaming platform that launched the same year as Periscope. They hired me full time (a month after I graduated high school) as the Chief Marketing Officer where I was able to lead a marketing team responsible for almost 100k downloads. We were featured in Fox Business, Silicon Angle, AdWeek, LA Biz Journal, and more. After about a year and lots of learned lessons with the Zapstream team, we weren't able to continue, and I went on to attend Babson College to cultivate an entrepreneurial network.
I’ve been independently consulting for startups since 2016, most recently helping early-stage consumer-facing tech startups with product-led growth and acquisition experimentation through my firm, 96-LA. I’ve been lucky enough to work closely with founders backed by the best investors in the world and working on today’s biggest problems. It’s been an amazing roller coaster that’s allowed me to build a wealth of knowledge.
These days I’m helping cool startups grow at 96-LA, I build my own products and advise other founders (portfolio coming soon), I lecture at different high schools on "Teentrepreneurship," and I am an active Advisory Board Member at Project ECHO.