The West Coast Corridor of innovation - 1400 miles long...

The startup scene in Los Angeles is thriving, it's all part of a West Coast Corridor of innovation stretching from San Diego to Vancouver...
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor on
I was catching up with a friend, Kieran Hannon, who used to live in San Francisco and now lives in Santa Monica, Southern California. He's now working as COO at a promising startup called Sidebar, which has an interesting mobile technology that recommends content based on what people like, very useful for online retailers and others. Kieran and his family had spent 18 years living in San Francisco, so I was curious what life in Southern California was like.

He said life was good, and that the startup scene was healthy and that there are a lot of media/technology centers there. I often write about how Silicon Valley has become Media Valley, because of all the media companies here (Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, etc) so it makes sense that SoCal, with its rich media history, would be fertile ground for media technology startups.

Earlier this week, Mark Suster, a VC investor based in SoCal, wrote an excellent post about startups in LA. Want to Start a Technology Company in LA?

He makes some great points:

...LA [is] the second largest city in the country with a population if 16 million. We have universities like Caltech, UCLA, USC and many more. We have many seasoned entrepreneurs who have built successful companies here and made a lot of money for investors and themselves. But LA is not Silicon Valley and we don’t need to aspire to be so. We will never be Silicon Valley in the way that Toronto will never be Hollywood. But we have a great city for building technology companies.

He goes on to list some of the many succesful tech companies that have been built in the LA region. And that there is now a large pool of experienced entrepreneurs that have had two, or more, successful companies. This can help create new entrepreneurs.

Mr Suster is one of the organizers of Launchpad LA V2, which was announced today. This is a project aimed at first-time entrepreneurs and helping to educate them and guide them in building successful companies.

It won't be long before we have a West Coast corridor of innovation stretching from Silicon Valley to Southern California, and beyond.

In fact, if you fly from San Diego heading north along the coast you pass over tons of innovation centers:

- The communications and biotech industries of San Diego;

- The electronics industries of Orange County;

- The media centers of Hollywood and Santa Monica;

- Then you reach San Francisco/Silicon Valley with its electronics, software, media tech, biotech, cleantech industries;

- Then Portland with its thriving startup scene plus Intel's big presence there;

- Seattle with a thriving tech scene mostly spun out of Microsoft, and Amazon;

- Vancouver and its software industry.

This is very impressive, it is 1400 miles of innovation. There's no other region like it, hundreds of miles of world-class, industry leading, innovation and creativity.

Interestingly, it's all built on top of one of the most unstable fault lines in the world. A disruptive reality. Is there a connection?

I've always said that innovation has to be disruptive otherwise it's not innovation.

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