The LA Startup Ecosystem is Different

When I speak to startup founders and VCs in LA, I always ask what makes LA’s startup scene different from San Francisco’s.

I started getting an answer that surprised me at first, perhaps because it was so obvious. LA’s diversity – in the region’s talent pool, in the cultures it supports, in the types of startups being formed and funded – is its great strength and differentiator.

In the past two years, LA’s diversity has grown an infrastructure for LA startups. As Adriana Herrera, founder of the startup GrandIntent, told me when we spoke recently, ‘There is truly an ecosystem and the components that you need to help startups to grow. So not only do you have entrepreneurs, but the entrepreneurs have access to the things they need to actually support their companies.’

Adriana’s first tech startup was called Fashioning Change, an online marketplace for people to buy stylish clothes that save them money. She started it in San Diego but she discovered the infrastructure to support the company just wasn’t there. Angel investors in San Diego, in her view at the time, weren’t understanding the potential of the growing e-commerce market, nor were they grasping how recommendation engines drive e-commerce. Fashioning Change, despite its early success, was ‘seen as something a little bit cutsey versus an actual company, despite the fact that the market was growing at exceptional rates,’ Adriana said. ‘When Fashioning Change launched I was the odd woman out. All emerging competitors were male founded startups. There was a component of not fitting the mold in San Diego of what a founder pedigree is. People just weren’t ready for a Hispanic woman entrepreneur to be running the company that could actually be successful.’

Read the rest of this post in Techli, where it was originally published.