Jake Olson leans forward, resting his elbows on a long wooden table in a Newport Beach, California, office where the five-man leadership group of his budding tech start-up is dialing into a pitch meeting. It’s the start of a new round of fundraising, and he tells the wealthy men on the other end of the call that their business, and their industry, is on the precipice of exponential growth.

His two most trusted and loyal companions sit by his side. Daniel Hennes, the company’s CEO who was previously Olson’s roommate at USC, is rattling off talking points about the huge opportunity in front of them at his typical breakneck pace. Quebec, Olson’s 11-year-old guide dog who was previously listed as the company’s Chief Barking Officer, is snoring softly as he naps at Olson’s feet.

Olson wears a pair of dark sunglasses and his company’s name, Engage, across the chest of a gray T-shirt. He is explaining to the potential investors how he and…

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