The Mayor of Silicon Beach

Andrea Chang of the LA Times reported yesterday on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s “plan to boost Silicon Beach tech scene”.

It seems the Mayor and his new Council on Innovation and Industry believe that a vibrant tech community in Los Angeles is worth cultivating, and currently it’s underrepresented.

We’re known as the entertainment capital in the world, but we’re not known for Silicon Beach, and that needs to change

– Mayor Villaraigosa

la-fi-tn-silicon-beach-tech-20121212-001ANDREA CHANG / LOS ANGELES TIMES

The mayor and his council hope that the success of Silicon Beach will spur job growth and combat engineering brain drain. “According to the council, since 2008, 54% of UCLA’s engineering graduates have chosen to relocate.”

The mayor highlighted three areas where improvement is most needed and actively being sought by the council: perception/exposure, investment, and geographic sprawl.

Of course, nearly every startup would like some more PR and funding, though how much the mayor’s office can affect either remains to be seen. The task of connecting L.A.’s spread out communities, on the other hand, seems like something worth refocusing on. Villaraigosa is hoping that the extension of the Expo Line to Santa Monica will serve to help bridge the county’s tech hubs (construction is scheduled to be completed in 2015). According to the LA Times, “To underscore the light-rail line’s potential to bring those communities together, council members are urging people to call it the ‘(t)expo line.'”

And you thought Silicon Beach sounded cheesy.

In any case, the relationship between local government and our developing startup community is an interesting topic to explore. I’ll be asking Brad Feld some questions about it, if I get a chance, at tonight’s talk at Cross Campus in Santa Monica.

If you can’t make it to the event (tickets here), tweet @LATechRise with questions for Brad by 8pm and I’ll try to get some answers.

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