Los Angeles has a remarkable startup scene that has recently experienced a series of major exits worth nine to ten figures each. LA startups — many of whom are centered around Santa Monica and Culver City — trend towards eCommerce, fashion, social and dating networks, and anything entertainment (from video to music to ticketing) but also have great potential in biotech and manufacturing. A legitimate challenge is the city’s constant talent fight with Silicon Valley to the north, which often steals engineers with its sky-high salaries. Some argue this talent risk is a result of undercapitalization for the city’s startups. The city also suffers atrocious traffic and increasing costs-of-living — distinct lifestyle disincentives. Still, the recent spate of massive startup exits is minting scores of new tech millionaires and potential investors. This, coupled with its adjacency to a Hollywood waking up to the potential of startups, suggests LA has a very bright future.
These businesses offer industry expertise and are a source of startup talent and potential customers. They help fuel the local startup community.
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Mark Suster is a serial entrepreneur and Partner at Upfront Ventures, a VC firm that has backed successes like Maker Studios, BillMeLater, and Burstly. He is one of the most prolific voices in the venture capital industry and an anchor for LA tech.
Bill Gross is the Founder, CEO and Chairman of Idealab, a Pasadena tech incubator born in 1996 out of his lifelong entrepreneurial experience. Idealab has produced over 100 startups to date and is an iconic institution in the LA startup scene.
Jason Nazar is Co-Founder and CEO of Docstoc.com, which offers business resources, including legal documents and online courses. Jason also established Startups Uncensored, a landmark LA tech event that convenes the Southern California tech entrepreneur community.
Jason Calacanis is a prominent angel investor and entrepreneur. He also actively contributes to the startup community; he founded ThisWeekinStartups – a notable video resource for entrepreneurs – as well LAUNCH, one of the largest startup conferences in the industry.
Cody Simms is currently Managing Director at Disney Accelerator, a partnership between The Walt Disney Company and Techstars aimed at cultivating tech startups in entertainment and media. Cody now stands at the intersection of Hollywood and innovation, and has many eyes directed his way.
Cameron Kashani is one of the most active startup community leaders in LA. She is a facilitator and organizer for Startup Weekend and previously co-founded Coloft, a Santa Monica co-working space aimed at convening the Southern California tech startup community.
Brian is currently the CEO of The Honest Company, a consumer goods company he co-founded with celebrity Jessica Alba. Previously, Brian had founded ShoeDazzle in 2008, and had also co-founded LegalZoom, an online consumer legal services company that has grown to over $150 million in annual revenue.
Troy Carter is Founder and CEO at Atom Factory, an entertainment management firm that counts artists like John Legend and John Mayer as clients. Troy is of particular note due to his AF Square fund which has backed Lyft, Uber, Dropbox, Spotify and other startups. His background uniquely positions him to help bridge startups with the entertainment sector.
Paige Craig is an active angel investor who has backed projects including Angellist, Lyft, Postmates and Plancast. His entrepreneurial experience includes founding the Lincoln Group, a defense contractor, and cofounding BetterWorks, which produced business optimization software.
Mike Jones is CEO of Science Inc., which has developed, advised and scaled companies like Dollar Shave Club and mobile advertising firm PlayHaven. In addition to being an active angel investor and serving as CEO of Myspace, Mike has also founded, led and advised a diverse range of businesses, including Userplane, acquired by AOL in 2006.
Bill Gross founds Idealab as an incubator / business laboratory to rapidly test and grow ideas into companiesMarch 1996
A significant move by local government, this helped attract major tech companies to open offices in Santa Monica and seed the area for an explosion of innovation.2006
The first startup accelerator in LA, Launchpad will go onto be one of the top ranked accelerators in the world.Late 2009
One of the first and most notable coworking spaces in the region, Coloft and its events helped jumpstart the startup scene and would act as a major anchor for Santa Monica going forward.Early 2010
While not necessarily timed, multiple different accelerators realized they were opening doors around the same time and coordinated a major PR launch. This was a pivotal moment for LA startups.January 2011
Los Angeles Mayor’s Council on Innovation creates "Built in LA", a resource for entrepreneurs interested in the community. This is a strong signal that government is paying attention to tech and willing to support startups.November 2011
A consortium of local companies, VC firms, incubators, accelerators, and the leading local universities forms to bring students into the LA tech community in order to retain talent.June 2013
One of the most notable VC firms in the area, Mark Suster's GRP Partners, announces a new $200M fund and rebrands as Upfront Ventures.June 2013
A major partnership between Techstars and Disney, this is one of the most significant early signals of Hollywood shifting attention towards the startups space, and hints at the massive innovation and opportunity awaiting startups and LA's entertainment sector.February 2014
The first half of 2014 saw a series of major exits in LA tech, including TrueCar, Kitepharma, OculusVR, Beats, AdColony, Maker Studios, Fullscreen, LegalZoom and more. Combined, these exits are worth more than $7.5B.Spring to Summer 2014