Silicon Beach is developing fast and we all know now about its effects on rental prices. Some Santa Monica techies move to Los Angeles's Playa Vista neighborhood, Culver City or neighboring Venice. Living in these areas has become really expensive, and it doesn’t have the exclusivity of coolness and geek-attitude anymore.
Last week was the Innovation week and New-Co festival in LA, with tons of tech-related events. It was impossible to attend the half of them. A consistent number of them took place outside the Westside and the so-called Silicon Beach. One we attended was about Innovations in Transportation and Mobility. It took place in Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA), one of the “startups pockets” that have emerged, in addition to Silicon Beach.
Is that really a good definition and a good way to consider these areas? Is the L.A tech scene mutating and not only creating ersatz of Silicon Beach in its closer neighborhoods or in trendy districts, such as DTLA? Are we creating or able to create another model? Inspire a new lifestyle?
Silicon Beach is the Westside region of L.A, with +500 tech innovative companies (Google, Yahoo!, YouTube, BuzzFeed, AOL, EdgeCast Networks, and MySpace). Second - or third - largest tech hub in the world, it has a positive attractive influence over its close neighbors, such as Marina del Rey. "Start-up pockets" have also emerged in nearby Culver City, West L.A., and El Segundo. Other areas include DTLA, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood. Meanwhile, California Innovation Hubs, or "iHubs”, a program launched in 2010 by Californian Governor, regroups, guides and boosts initiatives, innovative resources focused on science, technology and innovation, to help them settle in specific areas in the state.
Los Angeles startups creators have the power to make things change and influence their city destiny.
L.A ranks #3 in the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking 2015, right after Silicon Valley and New York City, and before Boston, Tel Aviv, London, and Chicago. The city is developing, and gaining an increasing number of talents.
It is within such a context that initiatives flourish, set up new rules, and can help to create a new model.
DTLA is a good example. This is one of the major growing areas that attracts more and more innovative companies.+80 tech-oriented firms recently settled in this area. This revitalization is partly due to local initiatives such as Councilmember Jose Huizar’s ten-year program "Bringing Back Broadway", among others. These firms are in design mobile apps, hardware, digital media universe, clean-tech companies, co-working spaces, start-up incubators like We work, talent acquisition partners like StartupTAP etc.
But DTLA is not the only dynamic L.A area who seduces the tech scene. Most of these companies are also setting up in areas like Hollywood. Moreover, original initiatives also appear in surprising cities such as West Hollywood.
Actually, a few days ago, WEHO has welcomed the innovative startup incubator For The Social Good, whose mission is to provide residents of the Greater West Hollywood area with affordable work-space, resources and networking to launch and grow their business in partnership with the government, public and private sector.
They hope to achieve social impact by developing an ecosystem of entrepreneurs and organizations that are socially-conscious, elevate community engagement and civic participation, which collectively will have a positive economic impact in West Hollywood, and that other cities want to replicate.
Its vision is that West Hollywood will serve as a national model for city-wide social innovation by 2020. Hopefully, they will inspire others, and will be largely followed.