The old story of Los Angeles is one we’ve all seen countless times in countless forms: the wide-eyed ingenue arrives with suitcase in hand to become a star and “make it” amid the palm-treed dreamscape of Hollywood. Think Judy Garland in A Star is Born, Emma Stone in La La Land, or even Mark Wahlberg in Boogie Nights. The new story of Los Angeles still stars wide-eyed arrivals with suitcases in hand. The difference is that they now carry laptop bags, too, and they’re no longer exclusively dreaming about making it big in the movies. They’re dreaming of making it big in the tech world.
The Los Angeles area has long been the media and creative capital of the modern world. And while LA’s movie studios and dream manufacturers aren’t going anywhere, their latest legacy is a burgeoning tech center lining LA’s beachfront communities and extending outward into LA proper.
More than 500 leading tech industry enterprises and startups now hang their hats in LA’s beachside areas (i.e., Venice, Santa Monica, Playa Vista, Playa del Rey, Hermosa Beach, and Westchester), in downtown LA, or in old Hollywood itself. Major players like Google, Facebook, Snap, Netflix, YouTube, Tinder, Hulu, Yahoo!, BuzzFeed, Riot Games, and Salesforce all have bases in the LA area. And — since around 2006 — startups like Dollar Shave Club, Nasty Gal, GoFundMe, Hyperloop One, Maker Studios, TrueCar, Buddytruk, Sixgill, Tala, and our very own Distillery have chosen LA as the place they’re building their legacies.
It was only natural that, once the tech industry at large began to take note, the new Southern California mecca was dubbed “Silicon Beach” in homage to Northern California’s long-established “Silicon Valley.” While the epicenter of Silicon Beach is commonly acknowledged as the area around Venice and Santa Monica, the moniker brings together the LA basin’s entire population of tech talent and tech-focused venture capital. (And apparently, tech denizens do meet daily to surf on the area’s famed beaches, adding another layer to the beach-themed mythos.)
Generally speaking, the Silicon Beach brand incorporates a more diverse and fluid tech incubator than its northern cousin. In part, this is because — despite the spillover into tech, or perhaps because of it — the LA area has stayed faithful to its historical role as the world’s media and creative capital. But today’s LA M&E engine is no longer focused solely on creating content for movies and TV. Businesses planning for sustainable futures know that audiences are now everywhere: on smartphones, tablets, laptops, gaming systems, VR/AR devices, and IoT devices. For Generation Z and Millennials, hand-held devices are the favored entertainment platform, and even the notoriously nostalgic Generation Xers and Baby Boomers have grown comfortable with non-traditional forms of media and entertainment. So it’s only natural that more user-driven M&E avenues such as mobile and web apps, games, user-produced content (YouTube’s unique legacy), and algorithm-based entertainment networks (hi Netflix!) have found their homes in Silicon Beach.
All in all, today’s would-be tech entrepreneurs find Silicon Beach to be an inclusive, innovative community that welcomes them with open arms. And while Silicon Valley isn’t going anywhere, the unique energy of its sunny Silicon Beach counterpart will help the tech sector to continue going further and dreaming bigger.
Distillery’s CEO and founder Andrey Kudievskiy arrived in Santa Monica in 2012, suitably wide-eyed and with his own laptop in tow. Having relocated from Russia to build his own American Dream, Andrey adores his adopted home and can’t imagine having started his company elsewhere. He’s immensely proud of what he and his award-winning mobile app development team have accomplished together, including making this year’s Inc. 5000.
The Distillery team is honored to be representatives of the new breed of dreamers that call Silicon Beach home, and privileged to support the entrepreneurs who’ll be responsible for its next wave. Of course, the fact that we can walk out our office door and be at the beach in mere minutes doesn’t hurt, either.
Want to learn more about how Distillery helps today’s tech entrepreneurs and enterprises to “make it” in LA? Let us know!