Looking ahead: The trends LA tech companies are watching in 2019

by Hannah Levy
January 31, 2019

The first few weeks of 2019 have given way to a flood of think pieces about the future of tech. Blockchain. IoT. Machine learning. Augmented reality. Most forecasts include the same set of characters changing things up in virtually every industry under the sun: e-commerce, biotech, cybersecurity, adtech, foodtech, fintech — the list goes on.

To understand how these trends are forecasted to affect the tech ecosystem in LA, we turned to the experts. Here’s what CIE Digital Labs, a startup accelerator and innovation lab for Fortune 500s, and foodtech game-changer sweetgreen told us about where tech is trending in 2019.    

 

The team at OC tech company CIE Dgital Media playing connect 4.jpg
photo via cie digital labs

Industry: Digital media

HQ: Irvine  

Headcount: About 60

Founder(s): Anderee Berengian and Justin Choi

Founded in: 1998 

 

What they do: Founded in 1998, CIE Digital Labs is a seasoned expert in the digital media space. The Irvine-based innovation accelerator works with both global brands and small scrappy startups, helping companies to launch groundbreaking products faster and smarter. As an innovation lab, CIE is proud of attracting smart, entrepreneurial creators — people who are ready to roll up their sleeves and dive into the weeds. With an enviable benefits package, regular catered meals, remote work options and an emphasis on professional development, diving into those weeds has never looked so good.  

 

The cutting edge: CIE Digital Labs has been around for more than two decades and has adapted deftly to today’s digital ecosystem. Startups incubated within CIE Digital’s walls include CIE Games, which was acquired by Glu Mobile for $100 million, and Nativo, a native advertising platform that's raised more than $30 million to date.

Here’s what a rep from CIE Digital told us about the 2019 trends they’re seeing — and whether or not those trends are affecting how CIE does business.

 

Tech moves at such a blisteringly fast pace that the trend we’re recognizing now is all about returning to fundamentals — solving business problems.

 

What trends within your industry are you tracking in 2019, and how do they apply to your company?

Tech moves at such a blisteringly fast pace that the trend we’re recognizing now is all about returning to fundamentals — solving business problems. Delivering real-world results by integrating technology, innovation and proven business acumen into solutions that encompass both the business and customer experience. At CIE Digital, we believe technology should always add value rather than merely following the hottest trends.

 

How is your company moving the needle in this arena?

We partner with businesses to launch their next opportunity faster and get there at an accelerated pace. We’re taking a hands-on approach for both startups and Fortune 500 companies to create digital direct-to-consumer experiences that build emotional connections and take brands further.

 

Sweetgreen's storefront in NYC
photo via sweetgreen

Industry: Food and information technology

HQ: Culver City  

Headcount: About 250 locally

Founder(s): Jonathan Neman, Nathaniel Ru and Nicolas Jammet

Founded in: 2007

 

What they do: More than just a salad company, sweetgreen is challenging the status quo when it comes to what we eat and how we eat it. The company is integrating blockchain, IoT and metadata technologies to create a smarter supply chain for their salad ingredients, shorten lines and make their offerings available online at the click of a button. Once based in Washington D.C., sweetgreen recently made the move west, settling in LA’s unofficial food capital, Culver City — and raised $200 million to build a top rate tech team there.

 

The cutting edge: As a company, sweetgreen is addressing the day’s biggest food questions — i.e. who can afford to eat what, the future of fast casual, local produce sourcing, food safety — with technology. The company launched the sweetgreen app in 2016 and continues to make improvements, supported by a team of 250 or so engineers, marketers and data scientists. They’re also launching a produce tracking system that’s able to monitor food safety and growing conditions far beyond the industry standard. In a nutshell: Impact is the goal at sweetgreen, and technology is the driving force.   

We caught up with a rep from sweetgreen to learn more about the 2019 trends they’re watching. Here’s what we learned.

 

Imagine being able to take a product like romaine lettuce, trace it through the distribution pipeline and back to the farm to improve their food safety processes.

 

What trends within your industry are you tracking in 2019, and how do they apply to your company?

We’re leveraging blockchain and IoT devices to provide us with farm-to-plate traceability and using metadata to help identify the soil conditions that lead to the most desirable produce.

We’re also looking to increasingly leverage machine learning and mechanical automation to optimize all of our logistical and restaurant operations.

 

How is your company moving the needle in this arena?

We’re showing how blockchain can provide relevance beyond the cryptocurrency market and how it can solve logistics issues at a national scale. Think of the recent food recall for romaine lettuce that affected all grocery stores and restaurants and the fact that it took weeks to identify the source of the disease outbreak.

Imagine being able to take a product like romaine lettuce, trace it through the distribution pipeline and back to the farm to improve their food safety processes, while simultaneously able to recall only the affected product at a national scale.

 

Jobs from companies in this blog43 open jobs
All Jobs
Finance
Data + Analytics
Design + UX
Dev + Engineer
HR
Marketing
Operations
Product
Project Mgmt
Sales
Content
Finance
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
HR
new
Cie Digital Labs
Orange County
Finance
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Product
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Product
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Developer
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Operations
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Data + Analytics
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
HR
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Marketing
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Developer
new
Cie Digital Labs
Orange County
Data + Analytics
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Developer
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Project Mgmt
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Operations
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Developer
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Data + Analytics
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Operations
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Project Mgmt
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Product
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Data + Analytics
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Data + Analytics
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Sales
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Product
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Product
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Product
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Design + UX
new
Cie Digital Labs
Orange County
Design + UX
new
Cie Digital Labs
Orange County
Marketing
new
Cie Digital Labs
Orange County
Content
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Project Mgmt
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Design + UX
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Operations
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Product
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Developer
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Marketing
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Design + UX
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Product
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Operations
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Design + UX
new
sweetgreen
Los Angeles
Developer
new
Cie Digital Labs
Orange County
HR
new
Cie Digital Labs
Orange County
Project Mgmt
new
Cie Digital Labs
Orange County

Los Angeles startup guides

LOCAL GUIDE
Best Companies to Work for in Los Angeles
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Software Engineer Jobs in Los Angeles
LOCAL GUIDE
Coolest Tech Offices in Los Angeles
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Sales Jobs in Los Angeles
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Perks at Los Angeles Tech Companies
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Marketing Jobs in Los Angeles
LOCAL GUIDE
Your Guide to Virtual Reality Tech in Los Angeles
LOCAL GUIDE
Your Guide to Media Tech in Los Angeles