Silicon Valley is known as the home of some of the world's top startups. But in recent months I've notices along with others a long-term trend of startup founders spending more time or setting up shop in Los Angeles has truly solidified. While people from around the world are drawn to the City of Angels for its movie stars, Silicon Valley's finest are attracted to the energy that L.A. brings.
But energy isn't the only thing drawing entrepreneurs to Los Angeles. Here are some of the reasons why they are spending more time in Southern California.
1. The City Energizes the Company
Jason Zuccari, president and co-founder of the app Sweeble, is drawn to Southern California because of the people. He held Sweeble's launch party at the world-famous Chinese Theater in Hollywood, with more than 500 people in attendance who had already been using his app.
"There's a lot of huge brands down here that we've been working with," Zuccari says. "Being able to have that electricity with it has made it a thrill and has energized the company."
2. Access to Key Players
BuzzStarter co-founder Alex Gold is drawn to L.A. for multiple reasons. One is the access it gives to some of the biggest tastemakers and influencers in the world, especially in online and digital media. He has found that if you can capture top bloggers and publishers in L.A., you can reach customers everywhere else more effectively. For social media sites like Snapchat, Vine, and Instagram, L.A. is a great place to get immediate access to prominent influencers.
"You wouldn't necessarily get that access in San Francisco, which is more focused on technology and technological development," Gold says.
Gold also appreciates that L.A. gives BuzzStarter's team access to the entertainment companies they work with each day. Because BuzzStarter specializes in content marketing, it's important for the company to have a presence in L.A.
3. Untapped Resources
San Francisco is a hierarchy, Ryan Detert has found. In L.A., the startup community is still developing. This gives growing companies the opportunity to get access to key area players like social influencers, financiers, technologists, and developers. Because there's so much competition in San Francisco, startups find it's much more difficult to get access to those resources.
"In San Francisco, people put their head down and work straight through the day," Detert says. "In L.A., the community is much more social and requires that you embrace the entertainment industry and attend events around town to forge these powerful business relationships. We are no strangers to 14 hour days but those include being around clients and social influencers for drinks, red carpet events, and conferences." Since opening the Influential office in L.A. Detert has found that the world's top companies like being a large part of this social revolution as they can now pay by guaranteed impressions. They've even partnered with some of the largest festivals and events in the world including RockInRio which trended on Twitter in the U.S. for over 3 hours, delivering millions of impressions to the highly sought after millennial demographic.
4. Entertainment Money
Zuccari has found that Los Angeles has a large pool of investors interested in directing money toward technology. Some of these are big stars who are interested in putting their money into promising ventures.
"It's crazy because you know how things are with people who are busy, you'll get a note at the spur of the moment, 'Hey we can meet with you in 2 hours if you're available,'" Zuccari says. "If you're six hours away sometimes it's really hard to be able to get there."
5. A Personal Connection
One of the most exciting aspects of being in L.A., according to Zuccari, is being in town to personally gauge customer reaction. The app allows users to peruse their friends pictures and videos, then pressing their finger on individual content for an extended period of time, giving an indication of how much they truly "like" it. The app calculates how many minutes a video or image has been "liked."
"I think this metric of being able to use people's time that they spent as a metric to show how much somebody cares is really, we think it's a very fascinating thing," Zuccari says. Down the road, he feels that brands will be able to be much more powerful when their founders personally see how much people like their products measured in this way.
Sweeble's launch party drew some of the city's most interesting people, allowing Zuccari to personally discuss his app with people who had been using it.
Even though the drive from Silicon Valley to Los Angeles takes at least six hours in most cases, startups see great benefit in taking that trip. As L.A. draws tech companies from Northern California, its residents are benefiting from the many entrepreneurs who are bringing their ideas to their town.