Something important is happening in Los Angeles right now and it doesn’t involve red carpets and Hollywood movie stars. Los Angeles is quickly gaining ground as one of the most rapidly growing technology ecosystems in the country.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said it best when it comes to describing what’s been happening in the region over the last few years: "L.A.’s creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and prized resources, such as local universities and the entertainment industry, are what make this city one of the top start-up friendly ecosystems in the world. We have a great opportunity to further support technology investment in the region by branding Los Angeles as the place for high-growth tech."
And we’re here to stay – the conditions are in place to ensure the continued growth of the region’s ecosystem. Be Great Partners’ recent "LA Startup Industry Report" put Los Angeles third globally behind Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv when it comes to startup numbers, company performance, funding, entrepreneur demographics, and more.
LA Tech is Vibrant & Growing
There are an estimated 800 startups in L.A. and some $500 million in funding has been raised in 2013, according to the LA Startup Industry Report. Just this week there are reports of a large round of funding for Snapchat (based in Venice, CA) that would drive the mobile messaging company’s value over $3.5 billion.
The ecosystem is a diverse one, showing strong activity in a wide range of sectors, from digital media and enterprise software to mobile/wireless, Internet technologies and telecom.
As Mayor Garcetti points out, we are blessed with a remarkably diverse populace, a key position on the Pacific Rim, and multiple universities in the immediate area to help develop the type of tech-centric talent that will be needed to propel the ecosystem forward.
Let’s not forget a few of the very reasons I chose to start Cornerstone OnDemand in Los Angeles: the quality of life and cost of living. I believed it in 1999, and I believe it today: a great technology company not only can survive but also thrive outside Silicon Valley. And we’ve got better weather, cheaper rents and more space than our neighbors to the north.
While the L.A. tech ecosystem is now on fire, a handful of critical challenges remain.
For starters, because the ecosystem is highly decentralized geographically, we run the risk of slowing the pace of innovation and idea exchange. Unlike Silicon Valley or New York, the region’s tech ecosystem is spread out across a handful of hubs in Silicon Beach (Santa Monica), Downtown LA, West LA, the South Bay, Culver City, Pasadena and south into Orange County.
Attracting funding has also posed challenges for the ecosystem, especially the type of early-stage funding needed for the young companies we see popping up across the region. That said, the LA Startup Industry Report notes that the average investment into Los Angeles technology companies by L.A.-area VCs or angel firms has been around $4 million, and they estimate the ecosystem is well on pace in 2013 to beat the $871 million total raised in 2012. So while there’s been some growth, more needs to be done in order to attract further investment from both inside and outside the region.
The First LA Tech Summit
This is the context driving us to put on the inaugural LA Tech Summit on November 14 here in Santa Monica. The one-day event will bring together leading executives, entrepreneurs and professionals to celebrate this diverse L.A. tech community and to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing us in the coming years.
We’ve got a lot of ground to cover in just one day, but it’s clearly going to be a dynamic way to keep the conversation going. In one session, Mayor Garcetti, the city’s first "tech mayor," will join me to talk about what makes Los Angeles a unique and ideal city for starting and running a tech company. I believe that the Mayor, better than most politicians, understands the importance of a strong tech industry to the region’s future, and I look forward to chatting with him during the LA Tech Summit.
It doesn’t stop with Mayor Garcetti, however – the agenda is packed tight. We’ve invited the top CEOs, entrepreneurs, technology gurus, venture capitalists and executives to bring the event to life. We’re going to look at the ecosystem from a dozen different perspectives, including e-commerce, enterprise software, digital media and consumer technologies. Among the topics we will be addressing:
- The tectonic shift to cloud, mobile and social, as told by Bitium, Cornerstone OnDemand, Metacloud and SendGrid
- The state of technology incubators and accelerators in Los Angeles
- How big data is transforming markets from the perspectives of companies like ZestFinance, Factual, Marketshare and Convertro
- The battle to acquire and retain customers, from the likes of Retention Science, Velocify and Gainsight
And much more – this is just the tip of the iceberg. See the full agenda here.
The time is right for an event like LA Tech Summit and gives the community an opportunity to shine the spotlight on why Los Angeles is swiftly developing as a thriving center for entrepreneurship and technology startups. Please join us at the event and join the conversation across the L.A. tech scene.
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