Ocean Ave: Latest Buzz on Silicon Beach

cropped-ocean-avenue2The Latest Buzz on Silicon Beach

Silicon Beach continues to get a lot of buzz both locally and across the country.

The third Silicon Beach Fest has been set for June 18-21, 2014.  Below is the promo for SB2.

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L.A. Story: Santa Monica Takes the Startup World by Storm

According to Built in Los Angeles, start-ups in the City of Angels raised $500 million in 2013, and there were 94 new start-ups and nine acquisitions — more than any previous year. . . . But Los Angeles’ numerous competitive advantages, including cheap real estate (compared to traditional startup hubs Silicon Valley and New York), quality of life, top notch universities providing great talent and above average broadband infrastructure, are attracting startups that don’t necessarily cater to fashion or have a celebrity factor. They include Factual, an open-data platform for app developers; SurfAir, an all-you-can fly monthly subscription service; and DogVacay, which finds a place for pets while owners are away.

The current epicenter of L.A.’s startup scene is Santa Monica (population 98,000), an 8.3 square mile stretch of beachside now known as Silicon Beach. According to Fast Company35.9 percent of all Los Angeles startups are headquartered in Santa Monica, including the popular app, Snapchat. With its’ great weather, beautiful people, and pedestrian-friendly streets lined with a generous selection of bars and restaurants (450 of them, to be exact), Santa Monica offers young entrepreneurs high livability and a supportive tech environment.

Santa Monica also has a burgeoning incubator and accelerator scene. Within a 12 block area, there are 15 different co-working spaces, accelerators, and incubators, including ROC, CrossCampus, General Assembly, and CoLoft. Demand is growing so fast that CrossCampus is moving from its 11,000-square-foot space at 820 Broadway to a 13,000 square-foot-property at 10th Street and Colorado Avenue after the first of the year. . . .

Is Silicon Beach Over-Hyped?

Naturally, a New York Times article on Silicon Beach would take this approach and open with the following sentence “as a city, Los Angeles has been better known more for sprawl, gang violence and Botox than its tech start-up scene.” OK, so Gotham City has a little chip on its shoulder about the city of the 21st century.  We get it.  Over-Hyped?  Ever hear of the Brooklyn Renaissance?  One commenter responded that the Los Angeles Times should reciprocate with: “As a city, New York has been better known more for its sweatbox summers, outrageously overpriced tenements, post-rainstorm slightly sweet rotting garbage smell, and never ending self conscious need to justify living there by looking down on everyone else attitude than its tech start-up scene.” But Eilene Zimmerman did note the following despite her obnoxious opening:

 Startup Genome, a collaborative research project that compiles data on start-ups around the world, recently ranked Los Angeles third, behind Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv, among the world’s top start-up ecosystems . . . That said, even some of the most successful entrepreneurs in Silicon Beach say the community is being over-hyped. For example, Chris DeWolfe, who will be featured Sunday in an article in The New York Times about how the crash of MySpace contributed to the rise of Silicon Beach, says, “I think the substance is just beginning to catch up with the hype. The ecosystem here needs to coalesce more, and geographically, that’s difficult. It’s spread out with a tech center in Pasadena, one in Santa Monica, Culver City. It’s not a two-minute walk down the street to get to these places.”

Hollywood Has Embraced the High-Tech Scene

The table below shows the top ten  zip codes for venture capital investment in Greater L.A., including Orange County, in 2011.

Top Ten Zip Codes for Venture Capital Investment in Los Angeles and Orange County
Rank Zip Code Neighborhood and Features City  Investment (millions)
1 92807 East Anaheim/Anaheim Hills Anaheim (OC) $531
2 90401 Downtown Santa Monica, including the pier Santa Monica $286
3 92618 Irvine Spectrum Center, Irvine Tech and Research Centers Irvine (OC) $154
4 91522 Warner Bros. Studios Burbank $128
5 90071 Downtown, Bunker Hill Los Angeles $125
6 90404 Midtown Santa Monica, Pico District Santa Monica $114
7 92673 Northern San Clemente San Clemente (OC) $113
8 90024 Westwood, UCLA Los Angeles $76
9 90028 Hollywood Los Angeles $71
10 92656 Suburban Aliso Viejo Aliso Viejo (OC) $70

The list is split between urban and suburban zip codes. The top-ranked zip code is relatively diffuse East Anaheim in northern Orange County, which attracted $531 million in venture investment. An office-park heavy area of Irvine, in zip code 92618, was the third most venture capital-rich zip code in 2011, with $154 million.