With its bright lights, cozy sunshine, and mesmerizing nature, Los Angeles has long attracted dream chasers. We’re not just talking about aspiring actors and actresses, either. We’re talking about a new wave of tech entrepreneurs.
Sure, many tech talents are coming because they prefer the beach to a valley (who wouldn’t?). Out-of-control business and commercial real estate costs in places like Menlo Park are another reason. But there’s more to Silicon Beach’s story.
Most importantly, the City of Angels has the culture, location, resources, and ecosystem in place to be a great startup hub. So, without further ado, let’s discuss how LA has attracted talented entrepreneurs, the major players that are already here, and why Silicon Beach is on its way to becoming one of the world’s top tech hubs.
Silicon Beach: It’s all about attitude and location
Despite what some pessimists may say, Los Angeles isn’t a destination strictly for Hollywood wannabes working in bars and cafes. Much of the town is full of optimistic folks people working to get somewhere and make big things happen.
As Casey Wright, CEO of a real estate licensing technology company, states, Los Angeles is a highly ambitious place where a “sort of ‘we’re all in it together’ vibe” exists. This fosters “creativity, community, and innovation,” and creates an atmosphere that’s intent on pushing forward.
In short, LA has a culture that suits innovation. You can see this in Silicon Beach, which loosely refers to a stretch of cities just west of Los Angeles. It includes hubs like Santa Monica, Venice, Playa Vista, and El Segundo. It even extends as far as Hermosa Beach.
Beyond its creative spirit, the location has a plethora of great attributes. Yes, you can surf every day of the year, but Silicon Beach is also located within a metropolitan area with a mammoth and highly diversified economy.
As government research shows, the biggest industries in LA remain entertainment, tourism, and fashion, but manufacturing, healthcare, education, and services are also very prosperous here. What a big, diversified economy means for LA-based entrepreneurs is the opportunity to solve key issues in a myriad of fields.
The tech giants in Silicon Beach
Business experts point to the Silicon Valley’s startup ecosystem as the reason for the area’s sustained success in the tech industry. Resources and expertise from established giants like Google and Apple ensure top talent is always arriving and great ideas can be nurtured and grown.
While Silicon Beach hasn’t reached this mature stage yet, they’re on the way. No matter where you go in LA’s tech hub, you’ll find a big tech company operating there. Just look at who are located in some of the prime cities in Silicon Beach, like:
- Santa Monica: Once you get past the beautiful shoreline and enticing beachside activities, you’ll find that Hulu is headquartered here. As of spring 2018, Hulu, the streaming service, is valued at near $9 billion. Other successful startups include TrueCar, an automotive pricing and information research app, and Headspace, a digital health platform providing mindfulness practice and guided meditation.
- Playa Vista: With sprawling office spaces, Playa Vista has attracted startups like The Honest Company, an eco-friendly consumer goods company, and ChowNow, an online food ordering service that’s becoming a competitor with GrubHub. Additionally, Google has set up an office in a hangar that once housed Howard Hughes’ huge seaplane.
- Venice: This beach town is as eccentric as they come. A creative hub that offers residents a desirable lifestyle, it’s no surprise that companies like Snap, one of the biggest social media apps in the world, call Venice home. Other noteworthy players in Venice include System1, an advertising tech company, and Signal Sciences, a cybersecurity company.
- El Segundo: Once known for its beachfront oil refinery, El Segundo is now becoming known for its entrepreneurial scene. Here you’ll discover great startups, such as Velocify, a developer of cloud-based intelligent sales solutions, and Jaanuu, an e-commerce company that’s one of the world’s largest medical apparel brands.
With so many successful startups dotting the western region of LA metro, Silicon Beach is set up well for the long run. A tech-driven entrepreneurial ecosystem has begun flourishing. Momentum is on the side of Silicon Beach.
The future of Silicon Beach
As an article in The Economist describes, “Hollywood has produced plenty of films about underdogs rising to claim the limelight. Now Los Angeles is experiencing its own real-life Cinderella story, as the area’s technology scene has been transformed from backwater to boomtown in just a few years.”
The successes of Snap, Hulu, and others have convinced venture capitalists that this is a place where startups thrive. In 2017 alone, LA-based startups raised about $7 billion, up from just $500 million in 2012.
With the culture and resources available, and a maturing ecosystem, it’s evident Silicon Beach has already learned to fly. Predicting where the tech hub will go is difficult. But perhaps the plans of SpaceX, one of the area’s most visionary startups, can give us a hint: Silicon Beach is shooting for the stars—and they just may get there.