Neighborhood showdown: 5 startups reveal why their area is the best place to work

by John Siegel
March 30, 2017

Los Angeles is a massive, segmented city where loyalties to individual neighborhoods run deep. This dedication to individual parts of LA often translates into the world of business, with different companies swearing one part of LA is the perfect place to operate a business, while others claim another. We talked with startups across the city to find out what they think is best about their neighborhood.

Neighborhood: Santa Monica

Resident Since: 2014

Since the company was founded in 2014, PatientPop has known no other home than Santa Monica. The city, known for its dense collection of startups, might be known as the unofficial capital of Silicon Beach, but to the PatientPop team, it's just home.

Favorite part about working in Santa Monica?

"My favorite part about working in Santa Monica is being just a few steps away from some of the best restaurants, bars and shopping in West LA. It's an added bonus that I get to explore these places with my coworkers.” — Tyler Barnett, Team Lead Web Design

"I love that I can see the ocean from my desk” — Andrea Weisz, Sr. Manager of Customer Success

Best happy hour?

"I love Mercado. They have a solid happy hour menu and the hibiscus margarita is great!” — Rose Chute, People Operations Coordinator

"If you're looking for a happy hour to watch the sunset over the Pacific, Hotel Shangri-La is the place. Their bartenders make incredible Tequila Gimlets and the view from their rooftop is pristine.” — Nicole Shook, Sales Development Representative

Favorite restaurant near work?

"The Craftsman, because of the food options. Their tater tots are dangerously good. Go spicy, if you dare!” — Tina Pan, QA Automation Engineer

"I recently tried 1212 and it was amazing!  If you are indecisive — like me — just order 'The Burger!' Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!" — Jazimar Jones, Website Designer

According to Co-Founder and Co-CEO Luke Kervin, Santa Monica offers the exact setting he imagined when he and his co-founder (and co-CEO) Travis Schneider conceived the idea for PatientPop.

What works so well about the neighborhood you guys are in?

"We love our location (2nd St. and Wilshire Boulevard) because we're not in a corporate office park — we're in the heart of the city! PatientPop isn't a traditional company, and we like to provide the best to our employees, so renting out a cubicle-filled space in an office park was never an option. It has everything our team could want: ocean views, the beach a few blocks away, great shopping, tons of restaurants within walking distance and the Farmer's Market on Wednesdays. It feels like an exciting place to be."

 

Neighborhood: West Hollywood

Resident Since: 2010

Although known to many for its rich musical history, West Hollywood has slowly developed into a booming tech scene. E-commerce startup FabFitFun has called the area home since being founded in 2010.

Favorite part about working in West Hollywood?

"WeHo has been voted the most walkable city in California! It's awesome having so many restaurants, fitness studios and places to do errands to choose from. I live in West Hollywood, which I felt was a major bonus when I was job searching, since so many tech companies are on the west side. I love that we can attract candidates who are looking for a different work-life balance that live in central/east LA and don't have to suffer through a commute." — Angela Mayhew, Senior Recruiter

"Being in the center of everything! The energy is like nowhere else in LA. Everything is close — the aesthetic and design are unique and creative; everything is Instagrammable! Overall the vibe is great. Clean, fun and so easy to walk around with so much to do. You can eat at a different restaurant every night." — Caitlin Logan, Director of Customer Support

Favorite Happy Hours

"The Den, Hudson, Tortilla Republic." — Angela Mayhew, Senior Recruiter

"Toca Madera." — Monica Chang, Editorial Coordinator

"Rodger Room or EP LP Rooftop." — Caitlin Logan, Director of Customer Support

Favorite Restaurant

"Toast, Zinque, Gracias Madre." — Angela Mayhew, Senior Recruiter 

"Fig & Olive, Alfred Tea & Coffee." — Monica Chang, Editorial Coordinator

"Backyard Bowls, Soda Pops, Alfreds, Real Food Daily, Kreation, Blue Bottle." — Caitlin Logan, Director of Customer Support

According to Co-Founder and CEO Daniel Brouhkim, West Hollywood's central location in Los Angeles is just one of the many benefits it possesses.

What works so well about the neighborhood you guys are in?

"This neighborhood is centrally located in the heart of LA with a ton of restaurants, shops and stores in the area. It's hip, young and eclectic; a lot of movers, shakers and people who hustle in the community. This neighborhood is always growing and changing. We're able to connect with the best of the best."

 

Neighborhood: Sherman Oaks

Resident Since: 2013

Located just east of the 401/101 interchange, FloQast's Sherman Oaks headquarters is situated to allow easy commutes, ample space and access to a burgeoning community of bars and restaurants.

Favorite part about working in Sherman Oaks?

"With the influx of incredible eateries, gastropubs and novelty stores, working in the neighborhood has been an absolute joy. With FloQast being strategically located in the San Fernando Valley, several employees are able to avoid the hustle and rush of driving in major parts of LA, like West Los Angeles and Downtown Los Angeles, since the streets are much wider and less congested in the Valley. We’re also situated in a very friendly and very inviting neighborhood, which makes our company feel like a family within our neighborhood." — Troy Patipanavat, Solutions Consultant

"I love the commute. It gives me extra time to see my family in the mornings and evenings. The neighborhood is lively. It’s nice to go take a walk and enjoy the atmosphere." — James Booth, Principal Software Architect

"I really enjoy morning walks down beautiful Dixie Canyon. There's also tons of great restaurants to go to at lunch." — Aidan Anderson, Software Developer

"Not having to sit in traffic!" — Sylvia LePoidevin, Product Marketing Manager

Favorite Happy Hours

"Local Peasant hands down has the best happy hour. With their variety of bottled microbrews and locally-sourced menu that includes more than 20 tap beers, you are bound to find the beer of your dreams! This gastropub definitely has a very chill, hipster and comfortable atmosphere, perfect for any social, professional or friendly outing." — Troy Patipanavat, Solutions Consultant

"Tekila only opened a few months ago, but the combination of cocktails and Mexican food is amazing." — Sylvia LePoidevin, Product Marketing Manager

"The Woodman has a great ambiance about it." — Aidan Anderson, Software Developer

Favorite Restaurant

"Definitely would be “MidiCi The Neapolitan Pizza Company.” Incredibly high-quality pizza at such a fantastic price, with a very relaxed, modern and artistic ambiance.  This place uses only fresh, natural, high quality and most non-GMO ingredients to create the ideal Neopolitan Pizza of your choice." — Troy Patipanavat, Solutions Consultant

"I like Italian food for lunch and Maria's Italian Kitchen hits the spot." — James Booth, Principal Software Architect

"Aroma Cafe is honestly one of the most underrated spots in LA." — Sylvia LePoidevin, Product Marketing Manager

"The Great Greek has a phenomenal menu." — Aidan Anderson, Software Developer

What works so well about the neighborhood you guys are in?

According to FloQast's COO, Chris Sluty, the benefits of working in Sherman Oaks are immense.

"The Valley isn't the first place you think of when you think of a tech company, but the advantage to being one of the first to bring a new vertical to a place like Sherman Oaks is that it helps us stand out. We're not competing — for talent or space — with 10 companies next door to us that are doing something similar.

From a business standpoint, the Valley is a lot more cost-effective than places like Santa Monica or Venice. We get the best of both worlds — we have the opportunity to tap into "Silicon Beach" talent because people living on the west side are dealing with a reverse commute. Also, we attract the top tech talent in the valley because they don't have to lose hours every day commuting out to the west side.

We also get to see firsthand the impact that we have on the community around us. Setting up business here goes a long way in supporting other local small businesses."

 

Neighborhood: Pasadena

Resident Since:  2016

Everbridge wasn't founded in LA, but it didn't take long for the global software security developer to establish LA as a second major hub. Recently, the company moved from Glendale to its neighbor to the east: Pasadena, one of the major players in the LA startup scene.

Favorite part about working in the neighborhood?

"I’d say the fact that the gold line is a five-minute walk from our office. Having public transportation so close by is a huge bonus." — Dillon Gilkey, IT End User Technologist

"The area has so many great places for outings with co-workers — whether that be for lunch or after work." — Fabiola Ramirez, Sr. Order Processing Specialist

Best happy hour?

"Amigos! It’s impossible to have just one Cadillac margarita." — Dillon Gilkey, IT End User Technologist

"White Horse. The food is delicious and the drinks are all reasonably priced." — Fabiola Ramirez, Sr. Order Processing Specialist

Favorite restaurant near work?

"Blaze Pizza! It’s a five-minute walk from our office and they have toppings that will satisfy ANY appetite!" — Dillon Gilkey, IT End User Technologist

"The Hat. Best pastrami sandwich ever!" — Fabiola Ramirez, Sr. Order Processing Specialist

For VP of Technical Support Michael Whitehurst, Pasadena's diversity in both culture and commerce is something he truly values.

What works so well about the neighborhood you guys are in?

"We like being in a location where other tech companies live. This gives us a great talent pool to recruit from, but more importantly, creates a community where many people speak the same language. This was very evident at the recent SCALE conference where we got to know many of our peers in the area.

The Pasadena Playhouse district is full of great places to eat within easy walking distance of the office. I know the team appreciates not having to get in their car to go to lunch every day. You also can’t beat the views from our 9th-floor office. We get to enjoy everything from mountains to historic buildings. 

 

Neighborhood: Venice

Resident Since: 2013

Gem's loyalty to Venice is part of the company's identity. Since being founded in 2013, the startup has had three offices — all in Venice. Now located a block from the boardwalk, the growing blockchain startup is part of a well-established community within the LA tech ecosystem. 

Favorite part about working in Venice?

"In a lot of ways Venice is a gritty beach town version of Cheers — you’ll often find one of us at Menotti’s for a morning coffee, which is half part love of coffee and half adventure being greeted by the regulars and staff while listening to vinyl being spun behind the counter. Being a visual person, I draw a lot from the gritty graphics and art that adorn the sidewalks, walls and alleys which can be visually inspiring. Another major perk is taking walking meetings, whether it’s to the Canals or roaming among the tourists and street performers on the boardwalk." — Jeff Shelton, VP Product.

Best happy hour?

"The best happy hour in the neighborhood is at High Rooftop Lounge at Hotel Erwin. Not only is it a stone's throw from the Gem office, but the clear view of the sunset over the ocean is unbeatable. The grouped couch seating encourages conversation and the cocktails are delicious." — Sabrina Schamis, Executive Assistant.

Favorite restaurant near work?

"This is a tough one! Odds are that on any given day of the week, lunch or dinner, you’ll find a Gem employee at Tocaya Organica. Not only is it the closest restaurant to us but it’s one of the best, with a fresh, modern Mexican theme. We’ve joked that we need to negotiate an all you can eat account for a month." — Jeff Shelton, VP Product.

What works so well about the neighborhood you guys are in?

"Venice's eclectic, artistic and, well, weird culture naturally breeds creativity. We are located in a melting pot of interesting people and art, and it works well for our culture of embracing diverse thought and finding new ways of solving old problems. The area is walkable and our lunch spots are overrun with other technology companies. This palpable sense of community has established Venice Beach as a vibrant tech hub." — Micah Winkelspecht, Founder & CEO

Images via participating companies. Responses were edited for clarity and length.

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