L.A. IS INVESTING IN A MULTIFACETED TECH SECTOR,
RANGING FROM THE DESIGN-MINDED SERVICES TO
LITERAL ROCKET SCIENCE. BARBARA THOMAS
easy to be glib about the Los Angeles
tech scene, to say it revolves around only
entertainment technology, fueled by the
companies such as Activision and Riot Games.
And, yes, easy to find stories about 21st-century tech companies in Santa Monica, where a means me at the
beach with your
But Los Angeles goes beyond the nickname Silicon Beach. For
one thing, area schools graduate more engineers every year than any
other city in California, according to U.S. News World Report. For
another, tech here is surprisingly multifaceted, encompassing the
exploration of space, the invention of the waterless urinal and design
companies that understand a appetite for a creative environment. The scene spans the county, stretching from the eastern
city of Pasadena with Idealab and the nonprofit Innovate Pasadena to
the beach communities with Snapchat and TrueCar to the industrial
92 a a
Innovate Pasadena connects educational
institutions with key tech-industry players.
suburb of Hawthorne, home to Elon
now has says Paul Bricault,
managing partner of Amplify.LA and venture
partner of Greycroft Partners. have respect
It used to be this way. In the late 1990s,
Los Angeles had a mini gold rush with the boom
of e-commerce, which became a bust. Local
entrepreneurs and engineers who wanted success in tech left for Silicon Valley, says Bricault.
was no top soil
was a sad thing to he adds.
was one of the reasons why I started Amplify,
to create that early stage infrastructure for
That kind of infrastructure is what made
Boston, Northern California and Seattle such
tech hubs. Today, and faith
in Southern California has paid off. Look at a
the represent.la online
and see 1,099 start-ups, 30 accelerators,
44 incubators, 52 coworking sites, 72 investors,
287 consulting firms and 17 hackerspaces in the
By the time Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy
developed Venice-based social media gamechanger Snapchat in 2011, there was enough
infrastructure in Los Angeles to support the
growing company, and the diversity made
staying here a no-brainer.
believe diversity is the cornerstone of
creativity, and LA is one of the most ethnically
diverse cities in says Mary Ritti, Snapchat VP of Communications.
In addition to those factors, Bricault credits
booming technology scene to the rise of
venture capital, the promotion of entrepreneurship at many universities and the growing success of LA anchor start-ups.
The city continues to innovate. Los Angeles
Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed Peter Marx the
first chief innovation technology officer
in February 2014. And the commitment
to clean technology gave birth to LA Cleantech
Incubator, a public-private nonprofit dedicated
to driving the green economy.
Science was king when Jonas Zmuidzinas, the
son of a Caltech-educated scientist, was growing
up in Glendale. Zmuidzinas, born in 1960, is now
Merle Kingsley professor of physics
and chief technologist at Jet Propulsion
a kid, I would sit at the breakfast
the box of cereal had pictures of the astronauts,