Ep26: Dr. Iana Castro (SDSU & BrightSide Produce) Attained Academic Tenure & Launched a Social Venture in 2017? That’s Legit!

Young marketing professor earns tenure at San Diego State University AND launches a revenue-generating, SDSU student-run social venture the same year (2017)!! What? #FemaleFounders #Socialimpact #Inspiration

Dr. Iana Castro is both an entrepreneur and an educator. She is currently an associate professor of marketing at San Diego State University, researching and teaching in areas that include consumer behavior, retailing and strategic marketing. She was awarded Outstanding Faculty Contribution Awards in 2015 and 2016 for Professional Development and Service, and in 2017 she earned the Teaching Excellence Award in SDSU’s Fowler College of Business. She is co-principal investigator for a project entitled, “Factors Influencing Food Selection” that was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Thus, it’s not surprising that Prof. Castro is also the co-founder and faculty director of BrightSide Produce San Diego, which is a sustainable, SDSU, student-run, social venture that makes affordable, fresh produce more available and accessible in San Diego communities.

Ep25: Rasto Ivanic (GroupSolver) Insights to a Successful Seed Stage Analytics Deal

  • Peek behind the curtain of a successful, recent $1 million funding round, led by Tech Coast Angels San Diego, from the perspectives of the deal co-lead and the entrepreneur. If you’re raising seed to series A money in Southern California, then you should definitely check out Rasto Ivanic’s story on Startup Talk with Millard & Andrew.


  • Rasto talks about the long game and building relationships during a founder’s journey. In 2015, he was a finalist in The  John G. Watson Quick Pitch Competition, which put him on TCASD’s radar. GroupSolver also went though the EvoNexus incubator and CONNECT accelerator programs, which helped them to develop a deep network in San Diego.


  • Rasto Ivanic is a co-founder and CEO of GroupSolver – an innovative online platform for customer research and collaborative problem solving. Before GroupSolver, he was a strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company and later he led business development at Mendel Biotechnology. During his career, he helped companies make strategic decisions on developing and managing new businesses, pursuing market opportunities, and developing partnerships and collaborations. Rasto is a trained economist with a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University, where he also received his MBA.