Diego Berdakin

Diego Berdakin's Bio

 

Diego is a Los Angeles-based Internet entrepreneur, investor and professor with a strong passion for innovation and supporting his community.

 

Diego credits his Argentinian parents – particularly his mother, Susana – for inspiring him to become a serial entrepreneur. She met his father, Daniel, when they were both students attending the University of Southern California having recently immigrated from Argentina. The couple stressed the importance of having a strong work ethic to Diego and his two brothers, but perhaps more importantly, they created an encouraging environment in which Diego didn’t fear risking failure by taking bold chances.

 

Recognizing her son’s computer skills as an adolescent, Susana took Diego to UCLA to enroll him in a C/C++ programming class when he was just 13-years-old. "My mother was the one who really got me started on my professional development by walking me to UCLA," he said. "She's the one who put me in the trajectory I'm on now."

 

This trajectory brought Diego to Northwestern University, where his focus was campaigning on the social web. During his time there, Diego started several small online companies, including iEscrow.com, which handled online escrow payments between people in different states. Diego went on to graduate with a bachelors of science in Political Science.

 

After graduation, Diego returned to Los Angeles where he joined Slingshot Labs – the digital R&D arm of News Corp. – as the Executive Vice President and co-head of the incubator responsible for product, strategy and marketing. In this role, Diego built standalone companies for MySpace, Fox and the Wall Street Journal.  

 

But perhaps the most valuable aspect of Diego’s time at News Corp. was meeting MySpace co-founder Josh Berman. Diego and Josh were mutually impressed by what was happening in the e-commerce world, namely the ascent of companies like Vente-Privee, Ideeli, Rue La La and Groupon. So, in July of 2010, Diego and Josh teamed up with fashion and merchandising experts in order to create their own company. The result was the launch of BeachMint, a Santa Monica-based social commerce company, backed by New Enterprise Associates, Trinity Ventures, Accel, Anthem, Scale and Goldman Sachs.

 

BeachMint’s goal was to deliver the feel and personal care of a high-end boutique with the price and convenience of the web. Under this umbrella, several membership-based shops were launched including JewelMint, ShoeMint, StyleMint, and IntiMint – each of which offered a monthly virtual showroom to members tailored to their individual preferences. Collections were designed at the hands of actresses Kate Bosworth, Rachel Bilson, the Olsen twins (who had a small stake in the company and became co-chairs of its advisory board), and CFDA winners such as jeweler Philip Crangi.


 

Conde Nast acquired majority ownership of it in the summer of 2014. Through this acquisition, Lucky Magazine merged with BeachMint and the combined companies became known as The Lucky Group. The new venture was run by BeachMint’s technology, customer service and commerce operations, while featuring Lucky's distinctive voice and aesthetic before shutting down in 2015.

 

In addition to his own business ventures, Diego was also a founding partner at FabFitFun, a women’s media and e-commerce company – Re/Done, a vertical e-commerce company – iEscrow, an online payment processor and escrow company – and Social Capital Public Equity Partners, a Palo Alto-based public investment group.

 

With a keen eye for potential and a strong desire to champion like-minded entrepreneurs, Diego has invested in several notable companies including Dropbox, Uber, FlipKart, NastyGal, Munchery, Whisper, GoEuro, Postmates, Ring.com, HackerOne and Represent.com.

 

Bringing his prolific journey full circle, Diego is currently an adjunct professor at the School of Cinematic Arts at USC – where his parents first met – and has been teaching CNTV 474 and 499 there since 2012. Both classes are focused on undergraduate and graduate students across the cinema and business schools. In 2015 Diego was a finalist for the school’s top teaching recognition the Steven J. Sample Teaching Award.