Startup Support in Los Angeles

LA is #4 Image from socaltech.com

LA is #4
Image from socaltech.com

I’ve written in the past about women starting up companies, which are often great and inspiring stories. There is a lot of activity right now in Los Angeles, especially West LA, in building and supporting a startup community. It’s been a lot for me to keep up with, so let’s take a look at what all has been going on, specifically with organizations that exist to either incubate or help other startups in the area.

Great Startups

Image from LosAngeles.AreaStartups.com

Image from LosAngeles.AreaStartups.com

Elevator Labs is an “invention” company located near UCLA. They identify what’s emerging in a market place, and then build businesses based on right timing. They have three companies under their watch right now: Hello Music for musicians, Wilshire Media Group to help build a company’s brand online, and Fat Cloud that works with Microsoft .NET. They don’t have much information about how someone with an idea or company gets in to the portfolio, though contact info is provided.

StartupUCLA is a great resource for UCLA students (Go Bruins!), promoting entrepreneurship even while you are still in campus. They connect students with alumni who have started up companies to give them the opportunity to learn the basics of starting up a business, and also provide a lot of other resources that are available at and through UCLA.

Another company to look in to is Launchpad LA. It is a startup accelerator in Santa Monica, and was started in 2009 when LA based startups would receive funding from a group in N California, and would then relocate their team up there. This group was started by Mark Suster, who writes an interesting blog about venture capital / startups that I enjoy following.

NantAccelerator provides seed funding and combines different resources to support startups. They accept any kind of startup, but prefers those in the mobile and web applications industry. They are backed by Patrick Soon-Shiong, a surgeon/inventor that I got to hear speak at UCLA Anderson last fall (and he happens to be the richest man in LA, which is saying a lot).

K5Launch is actively pursuing startup companies in the social, mobile, local media and internet marketplace. They also provide seed funding and guidance all throughout the making of the business, in exchange for a minimum 3% equity share.

Co-working Business

Another new business structure that I have written about recently is the so-called co-working schemes, which often goes hand-in-hand with startups. There are a number of these kinds of business models in the Los Angeles area as well.

Coloft, which was one of the first to start in LA, was founded with the belief that putting entrepreneurs, programmers, freelancers and professionals together will result in amazing things. They have a very active series of events hosted at their location, in addition to regular shared office space.

“Working for yourself but not by yourself” is a motto of Blank Spaces, which is located in Mid-Wilshre. They provide flexible office plans whether you want to stay with them for an hour, a day or a month. They have also been around for a few years.

What had been the Santa Monica location of Blank Spaces, but has been rebranded in the past year is CoWorks. You’ll notice the similar look of the two places from the webpage.

And in the last few months, a combined accelerator and co-working space has opened up in Venice – amplify and Next Space @ amplify. I think this makes a lot of sense – there is a physical space that can serve both accelerator and non-accelerator companies, and the community and network of people you want for both types of organizations gets to be co-located as well. Next Space has several locations throughout the US, and amplify has gotten a lot of good press this year, with a focus on media/entertainment.

I’m also very interested in understanding the differences of these incubators/accelerators, as well as their success rates, but I think we are too early for that right now. Most have started in the last 1-3 years.

Are you into the startup world already? Or maybe into the freelancing world? Share with us your stories about your experiences, as well as how to find the right accelerator program, given the large number of them out there today.

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About Tamra Johnson

I’m an entrepreneur and a recent MBA graduate from UCLA Anderson. I have 10 years of experience in IT Management and Systems Engineering. I love learning, helping others, exploring the world around me, running at the beach, going to concerts, and visiting family and friends. I grew up in Helotes, Texas, went to undergrad in Cambridge, MA, and now live in Venice, CA.
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