Silicon Beach: California’s Other Tech Hub [Infographic]

Everyone wants to be the next Silicon Valley. Across the world, startups are trying to recreate the feel and success of the Bay Area.

350 miles south of the Valley, Los Angeles is already well-known for gorgeous beaches, perfect weather, and Hollywood. But, in the recent years the area–dubbed Silicon Beach–is making a name for itself in the tech world.

For one thing, there are currently 30 incubators in LA. (A few of them gave us some suggestions for getting in to the accelerator program here.)

There are also well-known, outspoken advocates for the area, like VC Mark Suster.

But, let’s not forget the acquisitions. One common test for an ecosystem’s maturity is the number and dollar amount of acquisitions. With last month’s Facebook acquisition of Oculus Rift for $2B, Silicon Beach is holding its own.

No place is really the next Silicon Valley, though. Every city is unique and, when they’re doing it right, bring their own flavor to starting up.

In LA, the average founder age is 38, four years older than their Silicon Valley peers.

Startups from Silicon Beach are also less likely to raise VC money. In 2013 Silicon Valley raised $12 billion from venture capitalists, compared with only $1.7 billion raised in Los Angeles. Whether this is by choice or necessity is a little harder to know.

Check out LA startup MovieLaLa’s infographic below for more details on the emerging Silicon Beach.


MovieLaLa_Silicon Beach Infographic

Celebrities Love The Startup The World Has Been Waiting For: Hater App


There are haters everywhere, or at least that’s how the song goes. Lord knows I have a bunch.  That’s why Jake Banks created Los Angeles startup Hater. It’s the world’s first social network surrounded by things people hate.

The social network is alive and growing at a very quick rate. People are finding lots of commonalities over the things they hate. It can be anything from hating the New York Yankees to hating pickles on a Big Mac. It can even be hating your ex-girlfriend. But, co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Andrew Batey says “It’s not about bullying”.

Hater App works on your mobile device. Download it from the app store and you can immediately start identifying the things you hate and identifying with the people who hate similar things.  If a person becomes the subject of too much hate, or things get inappropriate (to a degree) they will get filtered out.

To date there’s been nothing available like Hater, and it’s caught the eye of celebrities like Teyana Taylor, Wiz Khalifa and Fat Joe who will feature the app in his next show. “Fat Joe’s people found out about Hater and reached out to us” Batey explained to at TechCrunch Disrupt NY.

Hate isn’t always used as a bad thing though. Batey explains that there are celebrities that are getting together over issues like global warming and getting users to say why they hate global warming. “Users may say things like I hate global warming because I can’t breathe” Batey said. It’s a great awareness tool and it’s blowing up.

Hater launched at SXSW and since then Batey and Banks have been hard at work promoting their startup globally. They recently did New York Tech Day, TNW in Amsterdam and now TechCrunch Disrupt 2013.

“You don’t always have to like something, and the option to hate or dislike has been missing out there. Everyone has something they hate; now you can and it’s better than therapy.”  Banks said in a statement.

Mashable recently featured Hater in “8 standout apps from March” which is a particularly big honor considering how many apps were released at SXSW which fell during that month. They’ve also been featured on Wall Street Journal live.  People are quickly beginning to see that Hater app is a lot deeper than you may think.

Check out our interview with Batey below.

More from TechCrunch Disrupt here at nibletz.


The Rise of Silicon Beach: The Disruptive LA Tech Scene

Silicon Beach, Los Angeles startups,startup,The Rise of Silicon Beach: The Disruptive LA Tech Scene

Silicon Valley is where the big boys play – a high-tech haven that attracts some of the best and brightest minds in the industry. It’s where many of the world’s largest start-ups like Google, Facebook, and Twitter all got their start. Well, what about the rest of us? We want to play, too!

There’s Silicon Alley in New York, Silicon Hills in Texas, and in Los Angeles, you’ve got Silicon Beach, a 3-mile strip stretching from Santa Monica to Venice Beach, that’s home to over 500 up and coming tech start-ups.

In 2012, the aptly named Silicon Beach ranked number two in top locations for tech start-ups, following – of course – Silicon Valley according to Bloomberg. Silicon Beach attracted $1.3 billion in venture capital funding, while Silicon Valley attracted $1.8 billion. That relatively tiny gap in numbers speaks volumes about Silicon Beach’s impact on the tech front. Eddie Park, co-founder and technical Janitor at Smilu said “Right now people still think Silicon Valley is the place to be for start-ups, when places like Los Angeles and Austin are making great strides in being relevant in the start-up world.”

There are already some noteworthy players in the mix that have made names for themselves; start-ups like Grubwithus, a social dining site that allows members to connect over dinner at a local restaurant based on their interests, which has already secured $6.6 million in funding. Docstoc has secured $4 million in funding to provide small businesses with access to free business and legal documents. Viddy, another impressive start-up, has $36 million to play with and lets people capture and share quality videos with the world. According to Scott Lee, who owns the very successful start-up, “There is no better place for a start-up than Silicon Beach”.

Additionally, there are some well-established names taking up beachfront property in this up and coming tech scene, including Hulu, Google, and eHarmony. This isn’t surprising since Silicon Beach has a unique culture that reflects the growing tech influence in the area. “Los Angeles will be a force to be reckoned with in a few years”, said Geoffrey Michener, who worked at LivingSocial in Washington, DC for several years, but, nevertheless, he was missing something. “I loved the startup mentality, but needed a real startup”, he concludes. Southern California and the Bay area are at two completely different ends of the spectrum. Joey Tamer sees the LA tech scene as an evolution. “LA is a creative hub…it is being taken seriously as a hub for technology and not just content,” says Tamer. “I think LA will become an innovation hub for content and tech”.

The climate is new and fresh here, and there’s a laid back atmosphere, making it a great place for start-ups to get in the game. “The start-up environment is getting friendlier” says Amy Smart, founder of SMARTY. Every start is difficult, so newborn companies need all the help and support they can get. Amy was aware of this fact all along. “Ideas can’t grow without feedback and critical thought…keeping it contained…wrong thing to do because your idea can’t be everything it should”.

Tonya Lafontaine, a software developer, has been in the business for 20 years and has seen an evolution among start-up companies, especially those in the IT world. “This industry is fantastic for moms and telecommuting in the IT world is huge, I’m home, my children are a mile away from me.” Modern business is based on mobile and tablet apps, while laptops are starting to become things of history. “If your business has an app for a smartphone or a tablet, that’s where everything is going… and that’s all you need”.

Like the Bay area, they also have the opportunity to recruit fresh talent from top schools like USC, UCLA, and Caltech. Each of these schools has top-notch programs, and their graduates are well prepared for start-up excellence. However, when experience is considered, we come to a complete stop. “USC and UCLA graduates just don’t have the hands on experience” says Daniel Tudo, a recruiter for technology, media and web startups, who has already worked with high growth start-ups, although he claims that Silicon Beach is “incredibly competitive marketing for technical talents”.

Speaking of talent, there are also quite a few celebrities who have endorsed tech start-ups. Kim Kardashian, for example, is the face of ShoeDazzle, which offers personal styling and a retail service that allows members to receive a pair of shoes selected by Hollywood stylists each month. There’s also Honest Company, started by Jessica Alba that gives parents access to high quality, inexpensive family products. And then, there’s BeachMint, cofounded by Josh Berman – also the co-founder of MySpace. The company uses a host of celebrities to endorse their products, including Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Justin Timberlake, and Jessica Simpson.

Besides all of the celebrity buzz, Silicon Beach also offers a chance to directly connect with the community, find mentors, and make a place in the burgeoning tech scene. Amy Smart stresses the importance of community when it comes to start-ups. “Ideas can’t grow without feedback and critical thought…share your ideas with enough people who have different ideas and experiences”.  To help facilitate connections, the Silicon Beach Festival, the first ever entertainment and tech start-up fest in LA, was held this past June.

In true start-up fest form, it included a Hackathon, Demo Day, Pitch Day, workshops, and panels. Students even had a chance to join in on the fun and pitch their ideas to win prizes. There were also big opportunities to hear from and connect with industry leaders who spoke at the event, including those from companies like Google, Ustream and Forbes. “As we transition from a manufacturing to a knowledge economy…universities are creators of knowledge and have a bigger role to play in that economy” said Fred, an engineer who has made a complete career change with his start-up. “I realized that I was more interested in the business side”, he concluded. Also, in true LA fashion, there was an entertainment panel that discussed topics like music discovery, hiring an entertainment developer, and broadcast media from those at the GRAMMYS, IMDb, and NBC.

Silicon Beach offers plenty of other methods of support and ways to get mentorship from those already successful in the industry. There are over 25 co-working spaces, like the newly started Hub in downtown Los Angeles, which covers the scene off the beach. CoLoft in Santa Monica, known as LA’s start-up hub, assists local start-ups in achieving their goals, bring them together, and even host their always sold-out Start-up Nights. “We also have numerous events, many of which are member only, and many which are not. Our most popular events are monthly meetups called Start-up Nights, and a quarterly event called Start-up Weekend LA” says Cameron Kashani Rasouli, co-founder of CoLoft, who’s been in the business since 2010. As far as the future is concerned, she is quite optimistic. “People are finally realizing that LA is a tech hotbed, and things are only looking up”. These events allow local entrepreneurs the opportunity to discuss their own projects and include an overnight mission to strategize and turn out cool new start-ups and ideas.

There are also over a dozen very popular Meetup groups for start-ups in the LA area. So support is everywhere – you just have to find it! When you think about the culture, LA certainly has its own distinct brand and value. “I love the city’s diversity and it’s youthfulness as a hub for start-ups. It’s not hard to get noticed here and founders are very friendly and collaborative” says Alex Benzer, who grew up in LA and has already built and sold his first company, before starting SocialEngine. “There’s already a strong ecosystem here in LA with basically everything you need to get your company started”. It’s all about glitz and glam and making things happen. What better place to create a start-up! There is no doubt that LA is great for hubs, entertainment start-ups, and media ventures. “It is easy to have an idea, but there’s a lot of sweat equity involved”, says Johnathan online program manager. Nevertheless, it offers a “big opportunity to market yourself in a social way”, he concludes. Silicon Beach is growing to show the other face of LA. “It has a sense of modesty, which is strange since LA is known for everything but that”, says Geoffrey Michener. Simply put, Silicon Beach is a sweet place to live life as an Internet start-up entrepreneur.

Live Broadcast From Silicon Beach Fest Of Demo Day And More


Tomorrow at 2pm PST we’ll be broadcasting live from SBF Demo Day presented by StartEngine. As well as broadcasting from other events live throughout the whole event that starts tomorrow. Panels ranging from Meet The Accelerators to  How To Hire A Developer. Into coding and actually products, don’t worry as StartEngine has you covered with a full 48 hours Hackathon going on throughout the event. Quick hint, teams from Disney are among those who’ll be showing up to show us what they can do.

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Silicon Beach Fest What To Look Forward To On The 21st

Over the past weekend both Kyle and I were at startup events, and if you think with all the events so far this month the two of us have been covering is enough you’d be wrong. Later this month I’ll be covering Silicon Beach Fest in Santa Monica California from June 21-23rd. Organizes by Kevin Winston formally of MySpace, and current CEO of Digital LA. Jason Crilly, CEO and Founder of Pagewoo and Efren Toscano. Founder of TechZulu an independent news organization delivering an insightful story of the technology industry by showcasing the very people creating it. Brought together he top Startup Incubators in the Los Angeles area such as Start Engine, io/LA, Idealab, Amplify and others. For this start studded event. When Kevin Winston was questioned about what brought him to creating Silicon Beach Fest, he mentioned to me.

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Capsule Is Your One Stop Event Shop App For Android And iPhone

The group event space is becoming a crowded one, you’ve got e-invite for inviting, or eventbrite for ticketing, you have several group texting apps and others for group email. You’ve got Facebook events and some people even use Myspace for events still (I know Myspace….).

When Capsule’s co-founders Cyrus Farudi and Omri Cohen got together they didn’t want another group event app to add to all the others, they were looking for something to replace all the others. Capsule is that app.

According to Capsule’s founders in an interview with the Los Angeles Times they set out to cover the entire life cycle of a group event from start to finish. “No one has that complete solution over the marketplace, and I think that’s one thing that sets us apart,” said Farudi in the interview to the LA Times,  formerly of Flipswap. Capsule “solves the event life-cycle management problem.”

The less than a year old start up came after the two founders collectively attended 14 weddings and nine bachelor parties in one year. They are based in the Manhattan Beach area of Los Angeles which is being dubbed “Silicon Beach”.

For more information you can check out