Don’t let the bright lights of Hollywood blind you from noticing Los Angeles’ rising star — its tech scene. The luxurious Tinseltown lifestyle used to be LA’s biggest attraction. Fifteen years ago, the city didn’t even have the slightest semblance of a tech scene — that would have distracted from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, of course.
According to Variety, downtown LA had been on the decline up until about 10 years ago. Minus the large corporations that set up shop in skyscrapers, LA was a ghost town. The opening of the Staples Center in 1999 slowly began to breathe live into the economy, and the expansion of the LA Metro Rail system in 2009 stoked the flames, leading to a revival of the city’s previous enthusiasm.
And now, tech companies are jumping onboard.
Silicon Valley is losing talent due to its “exorbitant cost of living and a yawning income gap brought on by fast-growing tech companies competing for highly skilled employees,” Marisa Kendall wrote for the Mercury News.
LA is seeing so much traction that it has been ranked third as a leading entrepreneurial hub since 2015. In fact, while Northern California’s venture capital decreased between 2014 and 2015, LA’s rose by 50 percent. The city of angels is now home to nearly 900 startups and close to 70,000 engineers, giving the LA talent pool a reason to stick around.
Part of the reason LA’s tech scene is exploding might be because it has found a niche in combining its new status as a tech hub with its more established status as the center of the entertainment world. As Silivia Li Sam of Startup Grind wrote, “With local leaders like Snapchat and Hulu, Los Angeles is taking over your smartphone screen and TV entertainment.” Even celebrities such as Kobe Bryant are starting to invest in LA’s tech scene, according to BuiltIn LA’s Ola Danilina.
LA TECH AND STARTUP HIGHLIGHTS
- Silicon Beach LA shares jobs, events and news within the LA tech and startup scene
- LA is home to 15 unicorns, including Tinder and Jessica Alba’s consumer goods company, Honest
- socaltech.com provides a list of local business that provide resources and advice to up-and-coming startups
- 2017 saw LA’s first ever tech job fair — TechFair LA
- LA Tech Happy Hour is a group of more than 11.5k local tech employees that meet regularly for networking purposes
- Want to launch your startup in LA? Take a look at Launchpad LA
- The Alliance of Southern California innovation team is betting on the region becoming the next big tech hub
- The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation reports that interactive technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality are diversifying the tech scene
- Rapper Dr. Dre gave $70 million to the University of Southern California to kickstart a technology-centric curriculum
- The LA Cleantech Incubator exists to help accelerate the development of cleantech startups in the city