Startups, entrepreneurs and techies alike gathered at The Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica for cocktails and conversation on Wednesday night last week, setting the stage for what would be a busy few days at Digital LA’s third-annual Silicon Beach Fest. Attendees numbering in the hundreds noshed on cupcakes from host Demand Media, flatbreads thanks to Max CDN and drinks courtesy of TeleSign.
On Thursday, the multiday conference being called Silicon Beach’s largest tech event formally commenced with a keynote speech from Los Angeles entrepreneur and surgeon Patrick Soon-Shiong, followed by a "Fireside Chat" with Frank Addante, CEO and founder of recently IPOed The Rubicon Project.
A significant number of Thursday’s panels and presentations, particularly those held at co-working space Cross Campus, focused in investing and securing funding. With crowdfunding being a hot topic in the startup and innovation spaces, several sessions were dedicated to the popular funding option. At least eight sessions, which were held at Shore Hotel and new co-working space Generally Assembly, were dedicated to women: women VCs, women founders, women techies and women as a customer category.
On Friday, a handful of panels at Cross Campus focused on the entertainment industry and its various facets in the Los Angeles Startup ecosystem. While one session, "Entertainment Innovators: Hollywood and Startups," looked at the successful merging of Los Angeles’ two core industries, a simultaneous session focused on "Why LA is Great for Non-Entertainment Startups."
As the official last day of the conference, Friday held the final round of the "Startups Showcase." Over the course of the event in several rounds, startups pitched for five minutes to a panel of investor judges in the hopes of winning the Silicon Beach Fest 2014 "Startups Showcase" title, a trophy by HexLabs and a valuable prize package. Before the official closing parties, presented by Media Temple, kicked off at Bodega Wine Bar and Cross Campus, AIORobotics was named winner. The Los Angeles startup makes all-on-one 3D printers.