Silicon Beach: Exploring LA's Hottest Tech Scene

February 1, 2020
silicon beach tech and startups
via shutterstock

Los Angeles has a flourishing hub of innovative companies putting down roots outside of the San Francisco tech epicenter. Known as "Silicon Beach," due to its proximity to surf and sand, the tech community's attraction to the area is partly credited to its proximity to LAX and the diversity of LA’s industries.

To help you navigate the area and its tech scene, we've put together a rundown of Silicon Beach: where it is, which companies call the area home and how to keep up with the latest news and events.

Where is Silicon Beach?

While Silicon Beach is sometimes used to loosely describe both LA and Orange County, the tech community specifically refers to the stretch of cities west of LA, spanning from Santa Monica to Venice, often including communities as far as Hermosa Beach. As we see it, Silicon Beach encompasses the following tech hubs: Santa Monica, Venice, Marina del Rey, Playa Vista, Playa del Rey, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach, respectively.

 

Silicon Beach Map

map of silicon beach los angeles

 

Silicon Beach Tech Companies and Startups

Silicon Beach is at the heart of the LA tech and startup scene with more than 500 companies calling the area home. In 2016, LA startups raised $4.2 billion with Santa Monica-based Snap Inc. pulling in a staggering $1.2 billion Series F, while The Trade Desk, based in El Segundo, went public with a $1.1 billion valuation.  

To provide a snapshot of the space, we've rounded up a few interesting and notable companies in each of the major tech hubs of Santa Monica, Playa Vista, Venice and El Segundo. 

Silicon Beach Companies to Know

  • Headspace
  • Hulu
  • ChowNow
  • Google
  • Snap Inc.
  • System1
  • Wpromote

VENICE

Venice has evolved a lot as a neighborhood since Abbot Kinney built the canals in the early 20th century. Beginning as a resort town, but eventually falling on tougher times, Venice became a popular and eccentric beach destination. The boardwalk town is no stranger to pivoting, just like the startups and tech companies that have moved into the area. 

nok Silicon Beach guide tech scene
nok

Industry: Logistics + Marketing Tech

Location: 228 Main St., Venice

What they do: Nok enables brands to offer their customers free trials of their products on demand. Using its own proprietary circular supply chain, the company ensures same-day delivery and return pickup, and removes the need for customers to pay money up front. 

 

StackCommerce Silicon Beach guide tech scene
StackCommerce

Industry: E-commerce + Marketing Tech

Funding: $0.9 million

Location: 21 Market St., Venice

What they do: StackCommerce provides a native commerce platform for online publishers and brands. Partnering with over 750 organizations, the company enables people to discover products and brands through their favorite publications and media sources. 

 

snap social media company silicon beach
Snap

Industry: Social Media

Funding: $4.6 billion

Location: 63 Market St., Venice

What they do: Snap Inc., the company responsible for Snapchat, is straddling multiple California locations at the moment. The social media company once boasted a spread of offices throughout Venice but has since made moves to a space near the Santa Monica airport.

 

system1 adtech company silicon beach
System1

Industry: Adtech

Funding: $270 million

Location: 1501 Main St., Venice

What they do: System1 is all about improving the advertising experience for both consumers and marketers with its pay-per-click marketplace. System1 uses a mix of technology and science to better understand user search intent.

 

wevr virtual reality company silicon beach
Wevr

Industry: Virtual Reality

Funding: $38.8 million

Location: 330 Indiana Ave., Venice

What they do: Wevr is a pioneer in the virtual reality world creating VR playback software. They offer an open platform enabling all storytellers to create and present their work on any VR headset.

 

gem blockchain company silicon beach
Gem

Industry: Blockchain

Funding: $12.5 million

Location: 120 Mildred Ave., Venice

What they do: Gem is a blockchain technology company providing solutions for healthcare and supply chain operations. With an office less than a quarter-mile from the beach, the team at Gem makes sure to take advantage of their amazing location.

 

RelatedVenice Beach Tech Cos. You Should Know

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SANTA MONICA

Largely known for its tourist-luring activities, beachside shops, bars and restaurants, Santa Monica has long been a popular locale. With its beautiful backdrop and proximity to LAX and downtown Los Angeles, it's no wonder many tech companies and startups of all sizes call it home. The companies below are just a few of the dozens currently enjoying Santa Monica.

 

headspace healthtech company silicon beach
Headspace

Industry: Healthtech

Funding: $75.2 million

Location: 2415 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica

What they do: Headspace is a mobile meditation app, teaching mindful living and exercises for stressful situations. The app only needs a few minutes of daily use to ease stress and improve focus.

 

GumGum Silicon Beach guide tech scene
GumGum

Industry: Adtech + Marketing Tech

Funding: $36.6M

Location: 1314 7th St., Santa Monica

What they do: GumGum utilizes computer vision and natural language processing in an effort to solve problems across the media industry. The company’s technology can be used to create contextual marketing messages, gauge the media value of sponsorship investments and verify the safety of pre-existing content. 

 

Fair Silicon Beach guide tech scene
Fair

Industry: Automotive + Fintech

Funding: $2.1B

Location: 1540 2nd St., #200, Santa Monica

What they do: Fair aims to revolutionize the car buying process by offering a flexible, end-to-end mobile experience. The company’s app allows users to simply shop, get approved and purchase a car with their driver’s license and bank account information. 

 

GoodRx Silicon Beach guide tech scene
GoodRx

Industry: Consumer Web + Healthtech

Funding: $1.5 million

Location: 233 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica

What they do: GoodRx has created a prescription price transparency platform to help people find convenient and affordable prescription drugs. Through their app, the company enables people to find drug prices on-the-go and discover coupons, which can be used at most U.S. pharmacies. 

 

taskus software company silicon beach
TaskUs

Industry: Software

Funding: $29 million

Location: 3233-C Donald Douglas Loop, Santa Monica

What they do: TaskUs makes software that provides customer experience solutions, as well as back-office support. Major companies like Tinder, Eventbrite and Hootsuite are using TaskUs.

 

hulu media company silicon beach
Hulu

Industry: Media

Funding: $683 million

Location: 2500 Broadway, 2nd Floor, Santa Monica

What they do: Hulu's streaming platform features a wide array of popular television shows just hours after they air live. The company occupies a 90,000-square-foot, fully customized space in the mid-city neighborhood of Santa Monica.

 

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PLAYA VISTA

A relatively young community, Playa Vista surprisingly boasts many heavy-hitters in the tech industry. A region once occupied by Howard Hughes' private airport, Playa Vista has large, open structures, making it perfect for the sprawling office spaces that tech companies and startups love. 

chownow food company silicon beach
ChowNow

Industry: Food

Funding: $43 million

Location: 12181 Bluff Creek Dr., Playa Vista

What they do: ChowNow makes software for the restaurant industry. Providing products such as online ordering systems, management tools and customer insights, ChowNow helps businesses get to know their customers and stay on top of the trends.

 

Appetize Silicon Beach guide tech scene
Appetize

Industry: Hardware + IT

Funding: $50M

Location: 6601 Center Dr. W, Playa Vista

What they do: Appetize offers an enterprise cloud Point of Sale (POS) and management platform for the food service and retail industries. Designed for multi-location management, the company’s software is intended to increase order efficiency and productivity, drive revenue, and seamlessly integrate with other applications and technologies. 

 

Core Digital Media Silicon Beach guide tech scene
Core Digital Media

Industry: Marketing Tech + Fintech

Funding: Undisclosed

Location: 12181 Bluff Creek Dr. #250, Playa Vista

What they do: Core Digital Media utilizes a marketing platform that operates across various financial and education markets. The company's collection of brands includes LowerMyBills.com, which is designed to take the stress out of rate shopping for loans, as well as ClassesUSA.com, an online higher education portal used by more than 300 colleges and universities.

 

the honest company ecommerce company silicon beach
The Honest Company

Industry: E-commerce

Funding: $303 million

Location: 12130 Millennium Dr., Playa Vista 

What they do: The Honest Company provides a line of safe products, ranging from beauty items to cleaning supplies, for the family and for use in the home. The company is also known for giving back, donating products and volunteering on a regular basis.

 

google software company silicon beach
Google

Industry: Software

Funding: $36.1 million

Location: 12422 W. Bluff Creek Dr., Playa Vista

What they do: Currently in Venice, the world's leading search engine is moving into a huge Playa Vista space once occupied by Howard Hughes’ famous aircraft, the Spruce Goose. It comes as no surprise since Playa Vista once operated solely as Hughes’ private airport.

 

youtube media company silicon beach
Youtube

Industry: News + Entertainment

Funding: $11.5 million

Location: 12422 W Bluff Creek Dr., Playa Vista

What they do: YouTube is also making use of leftover airport structures from the Hughes era, converting the spaces into offices and creative areas for their YouTube Space facility. Free to anyone with a channel boasting more than 10,000 subscribers, the building is over 40,000-square-feet of sets, screening rooms, editing booths, dressing rooms and more.

 

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EL SEGUNDO 

Like other areas in Silicon Beach, El Segundo has an interesting founding story. A town built around a beachfront oil refinery, El Segundo has long been synonymous with industry. Today, many players in the tech industry also call El Segundo home. Check out some of its inhabitants below. 

 

GoGuardian Silicon Beach guide tech scene
GoGuardian

Industry: EdTech + Software

Funding: Unavailable

Location: 2030 E. Maple Ave., El Segundo

What they do: GoGuardian offers a suite of tools designed to help educators maximize the learning potential of their school’s technology program. The company’s tools allow educators to eliminate distractions and connect with students, identify students at risk of suicide and self-harm, keep users safe through a DNS filtering solution and provide parents direct access to their student’s device activity.

 

NEXT Trucking Silicon Beach guide tech scene
NEXT Trucking

Industry: Logistics + On-Demand

Funding: $97 million

Location: 2383 Utah Ave., El Segundo

What they do: NEXT Trucking has developed a logistics platform in an effort to help shippers and carriers save time and earn more money. The platform can be used to track drivers in real-time, manage loads, assign carriers and efficiently monitor progress. 

 

wpromote adtech company silicon beach
Wpromote

Industry: Agency

Funding: Undisclosed

Location: 100 E. Grand Ave., El Segundo

What they do: Wpromote is a digital marketing agency that works with Fortune 500 companies to startups. Wpromote takes care of every digital aspect that goes into building a brand and some of their clients include Forever21, Shutterstock, Toyota and Marriott.  

 

MotorTrend Group Silicon Beach guide tech scene
MotorTrend Group

Industry: Automotive + Digital Media

Location: 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo

What they do: MotorTrend Group is the world’s largest automotive media company. Boasting a monthly audience of 26 million across web, TV and print, the company operates an automotive digital platform that includes products, websites, apps and live events. 

 

nativo adtech company silicon beach
Nativo

Industry: Adtech

Funding: $31.2 million

Location: 100 N. Sepulveda Blvd., El Segundo

What they do: Nativo is an advertising technology company using a unified platform for native content, helping companies like Amazon, UPS and IBM drive more significant engagement, track performance and automate operations.

 

prodege adtech company silicon beach
Prodege

Industry: Adtech

Funding: $60 million

Location: 100 N. Sepulveda Blvd., El Segundo

What they do: Prodege LLC is the parent company of multiple rewards brands, including Swagbucks, MyPoints, Shop at Home and My Gift Card Plus. In addition to its brands, Prodege provides marketing solutions and insights on the enterprise side.  

 

chef'd food company silicon beach
Chef'd

Industry: Food

Funding: $40.5 million

Location: 2301 Rosecrans Ave., El Segundo

What they do: Chef’d is a meal-kit delivery service offering famous recipes and high-quality ingredients. Unlike similar meal-kit companies, Chef’d doesn’t require a subscription, providing more freedom for users.

 

RelatedEl Segundo Tech Companies You Should Know

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silicon beach jobs

Silicon Beach Jobs

There are hundreds of startups and tech companies in the area and if you're on the hunt for a new opportunity in tech, Silicon Beach is a great place to look. Whether you're looking for a developer position or a more creative role, there are over thirty Silicon Beach companies currently hiring right now.

Related ContentSilicon Beach Jobs: 38 Tech Companies Hiring Now

Silicon Beach News & Resources

There’s always exciting and interesting news coming out of Silicon Beach and the following sources will keep you up to date.

Curbed LA, a real estate blog boasting a section dedicated to covering the physical movements within Silicon Beach, mostly featuring the tech companies that have set up shop there.

The LA Business Journal has a dedicated section to tech news, a majority of which centers on the Silicon Beach area, covering everything from breaking funding rounds to whatever Mr. Musk is up to on a given day. 

And, of course, right here on Built In LA, we cover tech news all over the area, from the Valley to Orange County. If you want to know more about the tech scene in the LA area, check out our news page or sign up for our newsletter.

Silicon Beach Events

Tech events are a constant in Los Angeles — from large sponsored events about blockchain and artificial intelligence to weekly JavaScript study groups — many of which take place right in Silicon Beach. 

Silicon Beach Fest is a bi-annual celebration of tech and entertainment featuring guest speakers, hackathons, demo days, a digital film festival, panels and workshops.  

For general tech events and happenings in and around Los Angeles check out our events page.

 

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