In the world of business and tech coverage, the city of Los Angeles is a fluid entity. We talk about the county as the city, and cities within that county — Santa Monica, Pasadena, Burbank, Inglewood — as part of Los Angeles proper.
Truth be told, a lot of regions we think of as so quintessentially LA are technically beyond city limits. But the entrepreneurial spirit of the city knows no such geographical bounds.
Here are three first-rate LA tech companies emblematic of that spirit, and just outside of the city proper.
The place: Burbank, where Deluxe Entertainment set up shop, is about as LA as it comes. The small city is billed as the “media capital of the world” with major studios like Warner Brothers, Disney and Nickelodeon, well-known music labels, post production houses and more. There’s no sea breeze or ocean views, but if you want to sit across from someone famous at lunch, Burbank is almost indisputably your best bet. Plus, fun fact: The city was founded by a dentist.
The company: Deluxe’s client list is about as star-studded as the city it calls home. The digital services company — whose history goes back to 1915 — works with some of the world’s biggest studios, filmmakers, TV networks and brands to bring stories to life. The company has 25 offices around the world and is known for encouraging its employees to learn new skills and determine their own paths, wherever in the world that takes them.
Putting people first: According to a rep at the company, Deluxe is a people-driven enterprise. “Investing in people and technology is our top priority, and it gives us confidence that we have the talent, technology and scale to drive the industry forward,” the company told us in April. “With access to some of the industry’s most prolific artists and industry-leading technology, we are developing new and innovative ways to create and distribute video.”
The place: Pasadena is Burbank’s southeasterly neighbor. The city, which was developed in the late-1800s as a winter resort for the northeast’s upper crust, still maintains echoes of that east coast aesthetic. Just with much better weather. Today, Pasadena is home to NASA and the Rose Bowl, as well as a burgeoning tech economy.
The company: Red Ventures helps consumer-facing brands up their digital games. Their clients include businesses in the home services, financial services and healthcare industries. (That’s your bank, your house cleaner, your toothpaste manufacturer.) The company marries the pace of startup life with the analytical savvy of a big data company to get to the core of what a company needs digitally. Red Ventures says it prides itself on being the kind of place people actually want to work — a place where communication happens at all levels and people are encouraged to say what they think, regardless of title.
Tea and wine, please: Every new job comes with a learning curve. At Red Ventures, that curve includes a crash course on some of the best tea and wine around. As a source at the company told us last year: “Our Pasadena office location is in a very walkable neighborhood with some of the best tea shops and wine bars in Southern California.”
The place: Fun fact — if you live in Santa Monica, you’re not technically a denizen of Los Angeles City. That’s because Santa Monica is an island of autonomy in the sea of Los Angeles City. There’s Pacific Palisades to the north, Brentwood to the northeast, West LA to the east, Mar Vista to the southeast and Venice straight south. Still, Santa Monica has its own school district, fire department and police — and tech is big business here.
The company: PatSnap’s platform helps innovators crunch numbers. The company combines millions of data points from patents, licensing, litigation and other stats to help analyze trends and assess opportunities. They deal with everything from competitor reports to IP and work with clients in more than 40 countries. Their customers include major players like NASA and McCoy Global — not to mention they secured and additional $38 million in Series D funding this fall.
Why Los Angeles (County): In July 2017, London and Singapore-based PatSnap chose Los Angeles as its U.S. home base, opting for Silicon Beach over Silicon Valley. Here’s what the company said about the decision to expand here: “There’s this infectious energy about the city that perfectly fits PatSnap’s goal of fostering a spirit of collaborative innovation. LA provides us the ideal environment for scaling our business sustainably, but with the necessary speed. There’s also this drive toward making LA a huge tech metropolis. The investment in new infrastructure — the Expo Line from Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles, for example — an ever-growing talent pool, and a growing number of tech giants choosing to invest in LA are all clear indicators that this market is legitimate.”