Jessica Alba to Attend New Business Summit

10:06 AM PST 02/14/2014 by Alex Ben Block
Courtesy of PMK BNC

The event on March 5 and 6 in Santa Monica is a conference that attracts investors, tech entrepreneurs, media and others interested in business startups and innovations.

Jessica Alba and her business partner Brian Lee will attend Oasis: The Montgomery Summit in Santa Monica on March 5 and 6 — but this event has nothing to do with acting.

Alba and Lee are among four co-founders of The Honest Company, which makes toxin-free baby care products, household goods and other items.

At Oasis, they will represent one of 150 companies telling their stories to some 800 entrepreneurs and investors, media and tech executives and others who come looking for investments and networking opportunities and to learn about the newest technology and business innovation.

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Lee is known for his past e-commerce businesses LegalZoom and Shoedazzle, both now sold. He said Honest won’t be seeking funding at Oasis because they just finished a $25 million round, raised from four venture capital firms (Lightspeed Ventures, General Catalyst, IVP and Iconciq Capital). "We want to share our story, our vision, with other entrepreneurs," says Lee, "and support the venture capitalists who supported us."

"I think a lot of entrepreneurs can relate to my story," says Alba. "I had a dream and a vision for a mission-driven business. I got a lot of people telling me I couldn't do it and shutting the door in my face. Eventually, after three years of pushing through and being dedicated to what I believed in, finally the doors opened wide."

Alba first came up with the idea for a company when pregnant with the first of her two children. Until then she hadn't thought about the impact of what she put on her body or used to clean her house, and how it could affect her child. "That's when I became a conscious person," says Alba.

She still loves acting, but she says business offers its own rewards. "I'm so grateful that I’m an actress and I would never not be an actress," says Alba, "but there's something really satisfying about having an idea and having that idea come to fruition."

Alba has a number of movies coming out this year including a sequel, Sin City: A Dame to Kill ForHow to Make Love Like an Englishman, with Pierce Brosnan; and Barely Lethal with Samuel L. Jackson.

What began as an e-commerce company has now grown to carry more products, some of which are available at Costco, Gelson's, Nordstrom and other retailers as well as online. "We are really just delivering affordable, high-quality products that are convenient to get," says Alba. "We're just delivering what our customers want."

The first Oasis Summit is the creation of banker Jamie Montgomery. The invitation-only conference expects about 800 people, who will pay about $1,000 each to attend.

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The Summit is an outgrowth of the Montgomery Technology Conference, which from 2004 to 2013 brought together technology visionaries and business innovators to learn about startups in social media, cloud computing, mobile and more. 

Montgomery ran that conference with his brother Michael, who is not involved in the new Summit, and is most famous for having been the banker who advised Myspace when it was sold to News Corp.

Among the companies introduced at Montgomery conferences in past years are Facebook, Twitter, Pandora and Rocket Fuel.

In reimagining the conference and turning it into the Summit, Montgomery was inspired by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and the TED Talks events, bringing together major players in business innovations.

Speakers at Oasis include John Chen, who was appointed BlackBerry's interim CEO and executive chairman in November 2013; alternative medicine expert Deepak Chopra on the intersection of technology and wellness; former Microsoft executive Paul Maritz, now CEO of data firm Pivotal Labs; Mara Group managing director Ashish Thakkar; and Brazilian mining billionaire Bernardo Paz, who will discuss the importance of creativity and innovation in the context of his art retreat in the Atlantic Forest in Brazil. 

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Other panels will focus on Facebook; Turn, which develops digital advertising strategies; Axciom; which gathers data that helps companies with their marketing; and digital payments by companies such as Bitcoin.

Montgomery says what attendees like most is "how the venue of the Fairmont Miramar enables incredible one-on-one opportunities to meet with an iconic community of entrepreneurs, investors, and global thought leaders. The relationships that begin here include using creativity and innovation to address business challenges."

The conference will include a competition called Moneyball, where early stage companies will seek financing in a setup similar to Shark Tank. The audience will be able to invest in the companies they like through a crowd-sourcing platform. 

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