Interview with Layla Tabatabaie, Tech Startup Advisor, Attorney & Entrepreneur


Layla Tabatabaie is an NYC-based tech startup advisor, attorney, author, digital marketer and entrepreneur. She has worked with several venture-capital-backed web apps, mobile apps, blockchain companies and chatbots, including BarterSugar, TaleMonster, The Drinking Press and LawNow. Layla’s work is driven by her passion for the way that technology innovation provides more people with increased access to opportunities that were formerly out of reach. Read more about Layla and her work in her exclusive interview with LBG.

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Name: Layla Tabatabaie

Job Title: Tech Startup Advisor

Currently based in: NYC

Originally from: NY/PA

Your superpower: Creativity and diligence

A woman in history you admire & why:

Christiane Amanpour. She represents the intellect, grace, class, humility and generosity I hope to achieve.

Quote/piece of advice that you live by:

Everyone can teach you something valuable if you listen.

What inspired you to begin working as a tech startup advisor?

I love tech innovation. It makes life easier and more fair, and technology gives more people access to opportunities that were previously unavailable to them.

What are you doing to make history today?

I tend to be the first or only woman + person of color for most companies, so I hope that my visibility will inspire young girls to enter the world of tech and business as well.

What is one thing you have accomplished that you are most proud of?

I am proud that all of the companies I’m connected to make life better for a lot of people. For example, the tech startup Bellhop lets people price-compare ride-hailing apps so users have the power to choose the most affordable or fastest route.  CanYa enables anyone around the world to hire freelancers and pay with cryptocurrency, taking away the friction of having to conform to hundreds of currencies and bringing more freelancers to the table across the globe.

What, in your opinion, is one of the biggest challenges facing your industry today?

Accessibility. Most of the people in power only hire from people within their network and make close to zero effort to go outside their network to find job candidates. This leaves a lot of great people out when it comes to big opportunities.

What is a trend in your industry that you foresee becoming popular in the future?

The abolition of cash. I think India has started the trend and the rest of the world will follow.

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What is one of the greatest challenges you have personally faced at this job?

I’ll paraphrase some old wisdom and say that believe it or not, getting the interview is often the hardest part of the job.  Once you have the job, it’s not very hard to keep it, since most people are overqualified for the positions they interview for.

What were you doing before your current role? 

I built my own tech startup, BarterSugar, full time for 4-5 years. That was the best real-world MBA program, and set the stage for my work today.

What is one piece of advice you’d like to give to other female founders & change-makers?

In the beginning when you’re still young and solidifying your career, say yes to almost everything. The practical experience is vital, and once you’ve done it all, nothing will scare you.

Are there any great resources that you would like to share? 

Project management software is your friend, e.g. Trello, Asana, etc.

Fun fact about yourself:

I would love to travel to every country in the world and eat local cuisine.

Are you currently hiring or looking for partnerships? 

I love meeting new people — please reach out to me through my website or on LinkedIn (but please send a note).