The rise and rise of LA …

So far we’ve spent two and a half days in LA, based in Santa Monica on the very edge of Silicon Beach. The first thought most people have when you say "LA" is Hollywood, the second, Hollywood, and the third … you guessed it: Hollywood.  But there is more to tinsel-town than movie stars and mansions. The first is that entertainment is not on fact the biggest industry in LA - it's number three. Number one is actually manufacturing. 

LA is also a really big market - there are 88 different cities in the greater LA county area. In 2016, this was a $664bn economy, it’s the international trade centre for US with 43% of all goods into the US by sea (no. 1 port in the US) coming through LA’s port infrastructure. In LA County alone there are 10.2m people and 18.7m live in 5 County area so perhaps it’s time to rethink how we think of LA and the opportunities it provides to tech companies form Australia.

This has been further reinforced to our elevate61 startups through meetings, discussions and networking.  We have met with innovators, entrepreneurs, venture capital, government officials, Australian ex-pats and advisors.  And it is clear that a not-so-quiet transformation is going on. Walk along Venice Beach and amongst the souvenir stalls and dive bars, you will see a bright yellow minimalist shopfront containing a small number of carnival games and a Spectacles dispenser.  This is the visible face of Snapchat in Venice. Behind this beach front façade Snap Inc. is rapidly acquiring office space in Venice, attracting capital and talent south from the traditional heartland in Silicon Valley.

Back in Santa Monica you will find Cross Campus. One of the first co-working spaces to open in LA with a deliberate aim to build a thriving tech scene. Cross Campus has been instrumental in providing tech entrepreneurs and innovators a space to come together and collaborate.  And they have a second office in downtown LA connected by the new metro train system. So it’s not just a beach front transformation that is going on.

It is companies like this that are spearheading the transformation of LA’s tech scene. This is why the traditional talent drain to “the Valley” is slowly changing as engineering graduates from CalTech, USC and UCLA find opportunities closer to home.  The capital scene is also strong with most major VC firms having offices in LA and with ready access to a Super Angel network there is funding to support the development and growth of most firms.  There are also advisor networks and government support to attract new ventures to LA.

LA is changing and with that comes new opportunities for Australian tech entrepreneurs.

WEDNESDAY'S SCHEDULE: 

10.00 - 11.00am: Presentation & Discussion | Silicon Valley VC trends | Led by Andy Tsao, Managing Director, Silicon Valley Bank

12.30 - 1.00pmPresentation | Q & A: America, the Land of Litigation. Led by Joe Power, Beach Financial Group

1.30 - 3.30pm: Interactive Session | The Perfect Investor Deck. Led by Glen Barry, Creative Partner, Everyone

3.45pm - 5.00pm: Presentation | Q & A: All things VC in Silicon Valley. Led by John Scull, Managing Director, Southern Cross Ventures

5.00pm - 7.00pm: Networking Event | Advance Peninsular, KPMG Guests

7.00pm: Bus back to Union Square, San Francisco 

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