Although the recent 90-degree temps in Los Angeles are more characteristic of summer heat, spring is definitely in bloom. The air is abuzz with activity and excitement, relationships are going strong and ideas are being born – startup activity, business relationships and innovative ideas, that is. The LA startup scene is moving along full-speed ahead and continues to be a significant force across the entire economy.
These days, most accelerators, incubators and co-working spaces host regular evening events, and Silicon Beach is home to startup-centric conferences nearly every week. But last week in particular was a big one, with Digital Hollywood in Marina Del Rey on Monday through Thursday, the Disrupt LA Tech Summit in Santa Monica on Thursday and Friday and the 29th annual EA Conference at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management on Friday.
Despite it's name, Digital Hollywood actually travels the country in the spring and fall, focusing on the intersection of entertainment and technology. The jam-packed agenda included sessions on mobile advertising, monetizing entertainment programming, social television, hypertargeting and more. "The Comedy Summit" was a particularly lively panel that focused on developing talent across platforms. It featured Comedy Central’s “Broad City” executive producer Sam Saifer, HelloGiggles editor-in-chief Jennifer Romolini, All Def Digital vice president Aaliyah Williams, and Team Coco General Manager John Wooden, and was moderated by Comedy Gives Back CEO Amber J. Lawson.
The panel on "Bringing More Women into Tech" also stood out, featuring women who have been leading the tech charge for 10 to 20 years. The session discussed ways to break down the barriers in the generally male-dominated tech industry, as well as the current state of affairs in genre equality in the United States and Los Angeles.
The Disrupt LA Tech Summit, hosted by Silicon Beach Young Professionals, consisted of two packed days of presentations, panels, workshops and mixers at the Le Meridien Delfina. Discussions and panels covered topics ranging from social media and digital advertising to gaming to startups and financing. For the best expertise and real-life examples, SBYP brought in speakers and panelists from leading tech, web and digital entertainment companies such as IBM, YouTube, Sony GSN, TechZulu, Disney and more.
The EA Conference also brought in big names from the tech and web spaces, including Sean Rad of Tinder (the event’s keynote speaker) and William Barnes of Uber, making up a pool of about 32 entrepreneurs and 23 business execs for extensive knowledge sharing. While the conference was geared toward entrepreneurs and new startups in the tech industry, event co-director Bo Pulito emphasized the value of the event to established companies as well.
Throughout the day, various rounds of the conference’s popular pitch competition took place, allowing participants to pitch their project to judges in 50 seconds. Of the 13 semifinalists, this years first-place spot went to MBA student Leo Petrossian’s Neural Analytics. Second and third place went to Vow to be Chic and Nikoo Energy, respectively.
Although techies, entrepreneurs and statups were busy with last week’s events, this week and those ahead are no different. The scene’s calendar is packed with networking events, workshops, panels and more across the greater Los Angeles area for the foreseeable future.
For now, here are some of the things going on through the end of spring:
- May 16-18, 3pm – UCLA Anderson Hackathon @ Cross Campus
- May 19, 6:30-9pm – LA Big Data Meetup: Zookeeper @ Cross Campus
- May 20, 6:30-9pm – CoFoundersLab Matchup @ Cross Campus
- May 21, 7-10pm – Women in Tech Network: Seed to VC, Insights into the Funding Process @ Water Gardens
- May 22, 6:30-9pm – Mobile LAVA @ Cross Campus
- May 27-29 – The Code Conference Presented by Re/code @ Terranea Resort
- May 28, 6-8:30pm – Data Science: Activision @ Cross Campus
- May 28, 7-9pm – LA Social Media Summit for Startups by Jason Okuma @ Be Great Partners
- May 29, 6-11pm – TZ Tech Crawl @ various locations throughout Santa Monica
- May 31, 8am-3:30pm – #techLA: A Technology and Innovation Conference @ LA City Hall
- May 31-June , 7-12pm – Hack for LA @ LA City Hall
- June 7, 9am-12pm – Silicon Beach Expo & Spring Hiring Blitz @ ROC Santa Monica
- June 9, 7-0pm – HTML5 Meetup: HTML5 in the Cloud @ Cross Campus
- June 11, 6-9pm – Startups Uncensored with Intuit’s Scott Cook @ Shutters on the Beach
- June 18, 7-10pm – Be Great at Sea: LA Tech Startup Yacht Extravaganza @ Marina Del Rey
- June 18-21 – Silicon Beach Fest 2014 @ venues throughout Santa Monica
- June 19, 6-9pm – Silicon Beach Young Professionals June Mixer Sponsored by Google @ Q’s Billiards