A few years ago I started calling the local tech ecosystem down here #LATech. I had an agenda. We graduate more engineers in our greater region than anywhere else in the US. We have top 25 engineering schools than anywhere else, too.
I never wanted to be a derivative of Silicon Valley. I have the utmost respect for the tech produced by our northern colleagues and acknowledge it is the tech capital of the world and that won’t change. In fact, many people know I grew up in NorCal and still have a 650 area code on my mobile phone.
LA has a serious technology scene. #LATech. And I’m proud of that, too.
Last week displayed the best of LA last week for a gala event of all of Upfront’s portfolio companies + the CEOs of many of LA’s top technology companies + 75 VC firms from LA, SF, NY & Boston + 25 LP Funds + the Chairman of Yahoo! (Maynard Webb) and the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti. We also had many senior studio executives and leaders.
I’ll try to publish some video from the event when we get a chance to edit some of it.
It is not your mom’s old LA. We know the perceptions you have of our market from our past. Some were warranted – others weren’t.
We have a large number of highly talented engineers and entrepreneurs now developing companies in our local market.
I’m super proud of the work produced by Gravity, a local #LATech company I invested in who was recently sold to AOL for $90 million. They produced algorithms and systems that helped to personalize the Internet so that you have a unique experience when you visit individual websites.
They have a tremendous reputation both in LA and in the SF Bay Area for their tech chops. When AOL came calling there was another interested technology company based in the Bay Area. AOL committed to keeping the team in LA after the acquisition and in building a deeper technology team in town. This is a great result for our town and I have much respect for the accomplishments of Amit, Jim & Steve and the whole team.
You might have also noticed this on TechMeme
Burstly is a Santa Monica-based team that I also proudly funded. And they were allegedly acquired (or so TechMeme says) by Apple in order to absorb the great engineers that built the leading iOS testing platform TestFlight. Evan, Ryan, Trystan, Ben, Ben, Randy and a whole lot more great people created the market-leading company in mobile-ad mediation (30 billion ads monthly at its peak) and mobile testing. And if they were acquired by Apple that would be quite an accomplishment – especially for a product that will continue to live.
AOL. Apple. Buying local teams with talented engineering groups.
Maybe you noticed that the hometown hero ZEFR just raised $30 million for video tools? SnapChat. Tinder. Whisper. Maker Studios. Epoxy. Factual. FullScreen. Great engineering teams, all.
The point is … people have perceptions of Los Angeles formed by the history of this town and the fact that we are the capital of content and sun. But we’re also filled with tremendously talented teams that spend more of their time holed up on bunker-style workplaces cranking out innovations with technology at its core.
And that’s only going to increase.