Los Angeles: making a name for yourself in this sun-soaked city

Since the days of silent movies, Los Angeles has been synonymous with Hollywood and creating great cinema. But red carpets and dazzling spotlights are no longer the only art form claiming authority over Tinseltown. Since the name Silicon Valley was penned in the 1970s, the tech world has also been making a name for itself in this sun-soaked city.

Tinder. Snapchat. Hulu. MySpace. HeadSpace. These are just a few of the tech giants that have caused the Venice Beach area of LA to be nicknamed Silicon Beach. And emerging startups, eager to add their name into the mix, are flocking to the coast, looking for a piece of the action.

Here are some key facts about LA’s growing startup community

Los Angeles has some of the most celebrated universities in the world, and when it comes to tech, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is often considered to be the best of them all.

LA is the third largest startup ecosystem in the US, after San Francisco and New York City.

It is home to several global startup incubators and accelerators, such as StartEngine and Amplify Partners, which provide resources and funding to early-stage companies.

It is in close proximity to Silicon Valley, and despite the perils of the COVID-19 pandemic, the LA startup ecosystem remained resilient, with many local companies continuing to raise funds and make an impact in the industry.

Aside from the sunshine, what makes LA different?

“There’s a reason why Silicon Beach is booming. Los Angeles is a city of dreamers and doers, and the tech industry here is a reflection of that,” says Brian Lee, Co-Founder of The Honest Company, ShoeDazzle, and LegalZoom.

Initially from Seoul, Korea, Lee’s LegalZoom is based in Glendale, a suburb of Los Angeles, and is an American online legal tech company that helps customers create legal documents without necessarily having to hire a lawyer. Adding to the perks of being in LA, Lee has managed to get celebrities to endorse his companies, professing that Los Angeles is all about hustling and building relationships – and if you can do that, you’ll be on the track to success.

“Los Angeles is one of the most dynamic and diverse cities in the world, and that’s reflected in the tech scene here. There’s a real sense of community among entrepreneurs, and a willingness to collaborate and help each other succeed,” says Samantha Skey, CEO of SheKnows Media, a media company providing content and community to 75 million women worldwide.

On top of that, Skey launched #ThePitch, the company’s programme supporting female entrepreneurs, and has since generated marketing programmes for hundreds of entrepreneurs and business leaders.

How does the startup scene stand out from the entertainment industry?

“Los Angeles is a city of reinvention. It’s a place where people come to pursue their dreams and make a name for themselves. That same spirit of innovation and drive is what makes it a great place for startups,” says Ajay Yadav, Founder and CEO of Roomi.

Yadav founded Roomi with the mission of making it easier for people to find safe and affordable housing in urban areas. The platform uses a proprietary algorithm to match users with potential roommates based on their lifestyles, personalities, and preferences. Ajay, a first-generation immigrant, entrepreneur, and investor, has been recognised by Forbes, TechCrunch, and more, and he is currently based right in the middle of LA’s bustling tech scene.

The future

Los Angeles is home to several prominent startup events and conferences, including the ‘Startup Grind Global Conference’, the ‘TechDay LA Expo’, and the ‘Silicon Beach Fest’, all of which provide opportunities for startups to showcase their products and connect with investors.

It’s reassuring to know that the LA tech scene is strong and growing stronger, and that you don’t have to become a Hollywood movie star to make it in LA. And, if you’re grinding away in an office all day, then taking a well-earned stroll by the beach after work doesn’t sound like such a bad time.

“Los Angles is a melting pot of cultures, ideas, and industries. The diversity creates a rich ecosystem for startups to thrive in and find success,” Elvina Beck, Founder and CEO of PodShare.

This article originally appeared in the March/April issue of Startups Magazine. Click here to subscribe