Ebyline’s on the map. Well, a map. Forbes contributor and Los Angeles tech scenester Tara Tiger Brown helped put together an interactive map of LA’s startup landscape. Where’s Ebyline? Easy to find—we’re all by our lonesomes up in Sherman Oaks, “the Valley,” kitty corner from that setting of 80′s teen movies, the Galleria.
What’s interesting about this map? A few things—even if you live far away from Southern California.
For one, it provides some vivid evidence of the boom in LA-based startups that’s the talk of the tech and investment worlds (Ebyliner Lori Kozlowski is chronicling it for Forbes here) and the subject of some poo-pooing by San Franciscans and New Yorkers. It also hints strongly that tech—really, media—is at the heart of the vast majority of startups.
Look at the clustering around Santa Monica, Venice and the areas south of LAX. There’s some thoughtful guessing as to why that is, including the presence of venture capital and angel investors. But the simplest explanation is that the majority of these companies are doing mobile apps, web sites, games, marketing and the like—not manufacturing textiles—and professionals in those code-heavy creative industries are already clustered in these areas. Mouse over the startup icons and it’s pretty clear that a lot of them end with “ly,” though there are some interesting exceptions.
LA’s substantial videogame industry is firmly planted west of the 405 freeway: market behemoth Activision is hq’d in Santa Monica, THQ in Agoura Hills, and EA has a substantial presence in Playa Vista. Google and Yahoo! have been in Santa Monica for years and El Segundo is home to a number of internet and media firms that fly under the radar. A few months back an entrepreneur friend whose tech startup is headquartered in LA’s cheap, forever-on-the-rebound downtown told me that if he needs to hire up he’ll have to move west because getting web developers to commute downtown is out of the question. (Although the new subway to Culver City might help.)
Brown points out in her original post that the map only includes a portion of the LA startups listed on databases like CrunchBase and AngelList but it’s safe to assume this is a representative sample—go to an accelerator or VC event in LA and the people you meet will inevitably be either near the beach or around Caltech in Pasadena and the handful of other pockets you see on the map. And if you think that’s clustering, see this startup map of New York City, which makes it look as if the outer boroughs have been infected with Plague. So much for hip Brooklyn.
What else catches the eye? Gaming, shopping, data, and advertising. Some of the firms on the map have been around for quite a while and others barely qualified as startups when they were new. There’s more than a few journalism-related and content-writer outfits on this map, sort of unexpected for LA given the industry’s gravitational center in New York. Hollywood news site TheWrap.com is on there. Gravity works with publishers to customize content. Notably absent up in Pasadena is Perfect Market, which does something similar for newspapers. (If we missed any, holler.)
Back to us. You’re thinking Ebyline is either a cheapskate company that couldn’t stump for A office space on the Westside or we’re too cool for school. It’s a mystery to all who work here but I suspect it has something to do with our founders’ living on opposite sides of the LA area with Sherman Oaks close to the middle. In fact, it’s seems to be about equidistant from all our homes. My drive is just about the typical 28-minute LA commute. And the Valley’s kind of nice. There. I said it.