Combine working on the next billion-dollar idea with the Southern California sunshine and you’ll find yourself just down the road from Deutsch LA in the hottest region for startups in the United States: Silicon Beach.
To find out more about this region, which encompasses Santa Monica and Venice, Deutsch LA intern Ritesh Gupta chatted with David Travers, a partner in Silicon Beach-based venture capital firm Rustic Canyon Partners.
Q. With some of the most expensive real estate in the country and a region known more for entertainment, why is Silicon Beach a legitimate alternative to Silicon Valley? Why here?
A. You can see why in the rate of highly promising startups popping up. The proximity to Hollywood, the number of creative people and the vast software and technical space combine to form a space that is ideal for entrepreneurial activity.
Q. Why has Silicon Beach blossomed now?
A. There hasn’t been one particular event that has contributed to the Beach’s success since the growth of entrepreneurial activity in the area has been more organic than anything else. There has been a steady acceleration in entrepreneurial momentum in the area and it mostly has to do with the intersection of the media and entertainment world—between the digital media and consumer Internet space, in particular—within the past 24 months.
Q. How big has Silicon Beach gotten?
A. You can’t walk anywhere between 4th Street and Ocean Avenue during normal business hours without bumping into at least 3 other entrepreneurs. I have to actually budget 5 to 10 minutes into my outdoor walks in order to chat with them.
Talented developers are being poached by companies left and right as the number of projects being funded increases.
Q. Are there any particular companies that stand out?
A. The Dollar Shave Club produced a launch video that went viral. It stands out because that kind of witty, viral marketing isn’t something that you’d likely see from a Silicon Valley or a New York-based company. To attempt to disrupt Gillette is a dream in itself…The early success of gaining subscribers within only two months was a marriage of that dream and the creativity embedded within their viral marketing.
Q. What do you believe the future holds for Silicon Beach?
A. I am hugely bullish for Silicon Beach’s future. I believe it will be a driving force that will help power the United States and world economy for at least 10 years.
Q. How can someone get involved in the movement?
A. There are really only two steps. The first step is to start out as a hacker. Figure out how to build an iPhone app. The ecosystem of entrepreneurship here is built in such a way that people will start rallying for you. That’s the second step—reach out to people. Because once you’re in the game, you’ll be supported.
It’s clear that working under the Southern California sunshine is a great place to be if you’re forming a company that can use the resources available in the area. Will Silicon Beach grow as large as Silicon Valley or other entrepreneurial hotspots? Only time will tell. Until then…Beach on.