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November a big month for tech in LA

Techweek LA
Techweek LA

November was a busy month in Los Angeles’ tech scene, with three big events within one week of each other. Naturally, two were in “Silicon Beach” and one was Silicon Beach Fest’s sister event in Hollywood.

November 13: Following the second annual Silicon Beach Fest in June, which hosted more than 3,000 attendees at events spanning Pasadena to Santa Monica, the event returned for one day in Hollywood. Similar to the inaugural Silicon Beach Fest Hollywood event last November, the event was focused on technology’s role in entertainment; the theme was “Startups and Hollywood.” Industry leaders from film and music, agencies, investors and accelerators, and startups joined for a packed day of exploring the many ways the entertainment industry is incorporating technologies and the ways startups work with studios.

“More than ever, movie studios and entertainment companies are recognizing the impact of digital and new technologies,” said Digital LA founder, Kevin Winston. “These entertainment-based technologies are quickly becoming one of the cornerstones of the Los Angeles business community. [In fact], we’ve seen this firsthand as a proliferation of entertainment-based startups have been formed and funded by top VCs, accelerators and entertainment studios at our past Silicon Beach Fest events.”

Silicon Beach Fest Hollywood was hosted at co-working space WeWork in Hollywood. The event also included co-located, all-day workshop Idea to Screen at IgnitedSpaces across the street. That portion of the event, run by David Beebe Projects, was limited to 50 content creators who received hands-on advice through panels, conversations and smaller workshops on how to take their idea to the big screen.

November 14: The following day, Cornerstone OnDemand hosted the first annual LA Tech Summit at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica. The one-day event brought together some of the tech industry’s leading executives, entrepreneurs and professionals to share their insight on what it takes to build a successful technology company in Los Angeles. Panel topics included e-commerce, enterprise tech, mobile, big data, digital media and VC funding, and speakers included founders of companies like Docstoc, HauteLook, Factual, The Honest Company, Demand Media, Riot Games and more. Startup investors and VCs also spoke on several panels, and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti delivered the keynote address.

Speaking on the Mayor’s participation at the event – and in the city’s greater tech ecosystem ­­– Cornerstone OnDemand founder and CEO Adam Miller said: “Los Angeles is swiftly developing as a thriving center for entrepreneurship and technology startups, and Mayor Garcetti, better than most politicians, understands the importance of a strong tech industry to the region’s future.”

Miller kicked off the busy day with a keynote on his Santa Monica-based tech company’s success story. Having recently completed the largest public exit in LA history, Cornerstone OnDemand was a perfect example of how a tech company could grow from a little-known startup to a global, publicly traded company worth nearly $3 billion. “The innovations coming out of Los Angeles are truly worth noting,” Miller said, “and we’re proud to be playing a leading role in helping bring further unity and awareness to the LA technology ecosystem.”

November 21-22: Also taking place in Santa Monica was the West Coast’s first Techweek event, a show that usually calls Chicago home. The two-day conference featured six different summits focusing on the different trends, forecasts and best practices within the tech industry: FashionTech, Finance 2.0, Future of Media, Startup, Gaming, and Development. Within those summits were various panels, a pitch session, a startup expo, a hiring fair and more. Speakers included William Hsu from MuckerLab, Teal Newland from StumbleUpon, James Borrrow from Shift, Jeff Feldman from Adobe and others.

On the first day, 50 startups competed for $50,000 in funding by presenting to a panel of four judges. The winning startup was Tastemaker Mom, a network of “savvy moms who have great taste, lots of opinions and who want to make a difference” by sharing their opinions and valuable insight with the masses. The expo featured Fortune 500 companies and startups alike showcasing their newest products and services to the thousands of conference attendees that walked the expo hall over the two days. At the job fair, tech-savvy individuals met with recruiters and handed out resumes, while employers sought talented people to fill out their tech teams.

The inaugural LA event was held at Santa Monica Place’s new L3 event space, with festivities in the days leading up to the event and into the weekend. The closing night featured a fashion show of apparel from emerging online retailers and local boutiques, and a wrap party at the Shore Hotel on Ocean Avenue.

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