i3 | October 21, 2019

Innovation at Silicon Beach

Jeremy Snow

While some techies are escaping their jobs for a summer trip to the beach, this tech hub is located at one.

While Los Angeles has already established itself as one of the biggest tech hubs in America, its west-side has garnered its own name due to the concentration of hip apps, subscription service and, since it’s LA, entertainment companies. The home of companies like Netflix and YouTube, the City of Angels has blended fresh tech startups in with its long-standing film and entertainment industry, resulting in an explosion of successful streaming sites and internet-focused entertainment companies.

Known as the Silicon Beach, this tech hub includes hotspots from downtown LA to beachfront areas like Santa Monica, Venice, Playa Vista and Culver City. Full of talented staffers, these businesses offer high pay, offices next to the beach, and the opportunity to work on popular products and services. What’s not to love?

According to Mediakix, 21% of the companies here are classified as media/entertainment, while 17% are software/technology companies. Other top categories include health and wellness, e-commerce and finance. But the funding paints a picture of how tech will overtake other prominent industries. Social media companies receive 21% of the total funding, above media/entertainment, software/technology and health and wellness — all at 13%. Aerospace and finance get 9% and 8% of the funding, respectively.

High-Tech Hollywood

Because entertainment is now dominated by online-focused content, LA’s connection to the film industry and Hollywood has attracted companies like Hulu and Amazon to make the California beach-side their home. Streaming platforms and video-focused apps have become competitors to television and often reach the production value of TV shows.

The culture behind the entertainment industry has also morphed to match the new-age tech companies. Netix’s front lobby is known as “the Town Hall of Hollywood,” according to the New York Times. It acts as a “creative gateway” where entertainment businessmen and artists meet to discuss their projects — something that no Silicon Valley front office can accomplish.

YouTube has also embraced the beach’s high-tech Hollywood offerings. The platform’s stars are so popular that the site often functions like a compressed version of Hollywood itself, complete with local video companies and consultants that help bolster a creator’s channel.

But LA has more entertainment than just film. For those in the music industry, there’s Spotify, Beats by Dre and Warner Music Group. For gaming, there’s Electronic Arts and League of Legends creators Riot Games.

Beyond businesses, the Silicon Beach tech community extends to incubator programs like the Disney Accelerator, which has the mouse-led magnate looking for startups to partner with to enhance their entertainment ventures. The Los Angeles Dodgers even have their own accelerator focused on technology within the sports industry.

Entertainment has always been tied to technology — without television screens or film cameras, we wouldn’t have Hollywood. Today is no different, but the big revolutionary tech behind content creation is a smartphone and the internet.

Sept/Oct 2019 i3 Issue Cover

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