2012 will be remembered here as the year L.A. showed up (as a startup ecosystem).
The proliferation of startup accelerators is an important facet in the newly minted startup culture in Los Angeles which should result in the founding of literally hundreds of companies that would otherwise not exist, or not exist here. While there are downsides to the low barrier to entry to the ranks of tech entrepreneurs (high-demand talent being locked up in a never-ending supply of underperforming ventures, for one), the overall cultural movement is encouraging. Allowing and encouraging young people to make attempts at founding companies and giving them experience working at early stage companies is going to pay dividends, especially if it keeps recent graduates from entering the corporate rat race before taking a shot at their dreams.
As we covered earlier, the latest Startup Genome Ecosystem Report ranks L.A. as #3 in the world among startup ecosystems. This isn’t to say that we’re not still heavy underdogs – in fact you could say it means there’s even further to fall if things turn sour – but it’s one more piece of evidence to an important point: Los Angeles startups can’t be ignored.
Los Angeles seems to have outsize success in leveraging the new crowdfunding economy. The huge number of local projects getting funded and companies finding their starts on Kickstarter speaks volumes. It’s impossible to forget the extremely exciting gaming company OUYA, which also got its start on Kickstarter, raising more than $1 million from backers. Also, watch out for L.A.’s Crowdunder (we will be); they are poised to make serious waves as the JOBS Act begins to take greater effect.
So yeah, LA showed up in 2012. Now it’s time to make it count.
Here are the questions LATR will be asking in 2013:
Can we collaborate to take advantage of LA’s outsize media presence?
Despite the huge media presence in this city, we have a dearth of tech journalists. If you think this isn’t putting us at a disadvantage to Silicon Valley and New York City, you probably haven’t visited either recently to see those vibrant tech communities in action. For both external communication and internal motivation, press is a powerful part a startup’s execution.
Can we instill the fear-of-missing-out to investors locally and globally?
Word it however you want. We need big exits. Preferably from companies that are undeniably “L.A.”.
Will we take advantage of our diversity?
L.A. is home to a rich cultural and artistic diversity, yet Hollywood has created the soul-sucking tabloid and reality TV culture, as well. With a hugely creative populace of writers, artists, filmmakers, photographers, musicians, actors, and performers, and their ever-present attention to the art of entertainment, Los Angeles could be home to the greatest potential for truly captivating content creation ever.
As content marketing and user generated content continue to explode, unlocking this potential could spawn any number of exciting businesses. (Tune in tomorrow for a video interview with one our favorite UGC startups in L.A.)
What questions are you asking this year?