The following is StartupDigest‘s second edition of “Your Guide to the Startup World” with LA’s own Matt Sandler, Curator of the LA StartupDigest, Project Manager at CitizenNet, and Founder of Chromatik Music, which seeks to revolutionize music learning on the web.
Why should a startup thinking about moving to a new place choose LA?
Los Angeles offers a great deal, both in terms of business opportunities and lifestyle awesomeness. Southern California companies are second to only Silicon Valley in raising venture capital, there are three major universities to recruit talent – UCLA, Caltech, and USC – and a thriving startup community to mingle with. Not to mention the great weather, beaches, and beautiful people.
What are some examples of successful companies that were started here?
|Demand Media is an online media company operating two strategically-linked businesses: an integrated content and social media platform, and registrar solutions. It filed for an IPO on August 6th.|
LowerMyBills, Inc. provides online service to compile and compare plans and rates across multiple monthly services. It was acquired by Experian in 2005 for $330M.
|PriceGrabber.com is an online comparison shopping service. It also was acquired by Experian in 2005.|
|Citysearch is an online guide that offers information and recommendations regarding local businesses including restaurants, shops, bars, hotels, and others.|
|MySpace is one of the world’s largest social networks, with about 125 million users. In July 2005 News Corporation bought MySpace parent company eUniverse for $580 M, of which approximately $327 M was the valuation of MySpace.|
What is one organization that a big supporter of the LA startup community?
What are the best startup events in LA?
It’s been my experience that the more focused and intimate events far ‘out-perform’ (however you’d like to characterize it) the mega-conferences. To name a few – LA Lean Startup, DigitalLA, StartupLA, and DealmakerLA.
If a group of founders moved to LA tomorrow, who are the first 5 people they should meet?
|Mark Suster – GRP Partners
Mark joined GRP Partners in 2007 after having worked with GRP for nearly 8 years as a two-time entrepreneur. Mark founded Launchpad LA, a program designed to help mentor LA’s most promising first-time startup CEO’s. He runs the Southern California Venture Capital Alliance (VCA) and is on the board of advisors for the venture capital fund of the UCSD Rady School of Business. He blogs here and tweets here.
Ian Rogers – Topspin Media
Ian Rogers was the GM of Yahoo Music before heading to Topspin Media in April 2008 as CEO. Previously, Ian co-founded personal music sharing software provider Mediacode with Rob Lord. Mediacode was sold to Yahoo. Previously Ian worked for AOL’s Nullsoft unit. Prior to founding Mediacode, Ian worked as one of the principals at Grand Royal with the Beastie Boys.
|Jason Calacanis – Mahalo
Jason Calacanis was CEO and co-founder of Weblogs, Inc., a network of widely read blogs including Engadget – ranked # 1 by Technorati, Joystiq, Autoblog, and Blogging Baby. Founded in January 2004, Weblogs, Inc. became a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL in November of 2005. Calacanis maintained editorial supervision over Weblogs, Inc. as a senior vice president of AOL. As of June 2008 Jason is now CEO and Founder of Mahalo, Inc., a user-powered search engine.
|Jason Nazar – Docstoc
Jason is the co-founder and CEO of Docstoc.com, the premier online community to find and share professional documents. Before starting Docstoc, he was a founder/partner in a venture consulting firm in Los Angeles where he worked with dozens of startups. He holds a BA from UCSB and a JD/MBA from Pepperdine University, where he was the Student Body President of both Universities.
|Tyler Crowley – Mahalo
Tyler Crowley is the Director of Corporate Strategy at Mahalo and Producer of Open Angel Forum (OAF). OAF is a high quality private investor pitch forum for founders to meet quality Angels. They are looking for operational startups only, but there is no fee of any kind to pitch or apply.
Is there anything else that makes the LA startup community unique?
The LA startup scene isn’t a community that you could (or should) make analogous to the Silicon Valley, as much as some people may try. Los Angeles is a hotbed of creative activity, and not always in the traditional sense. Likewise, the startups coming out of LA aren’t just the ones you see in TechCrunch – there are independent production companies and underground record labels (just to name a few) that are leading innovation in ways that the traditional “startup community” doesn’t always recognize. It’s a pretty incredible vibe down here.