Mayor tells startup community that ‘LA is where creativity lives’

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“Los Angeles is the greatest platform on the face of the Earth.” That’s what Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday night as he tried to sell investors in town for the first DiscoverMe Forum at the Century Plaza Hotel. With several cities competing for the startup businesses that opt to set up outside of Silicon Valley, Garcetti wants to get aggressive in attracting tech companies to Southern California. “We are gathered here at a very critical time in the startup universe,” Garcetti said. “Now is the time to determine if we will be at the forefront or if we will follow,” The mayor’s speech opened the DiscoverMe, an invite-only forum taking place in Century City over next couple days that will feature intimate chats and breakout sessions regarding how startup technology is rapidly changing business. According to the organizers, “the small group format encourages interactivity and relationship building among peers, where each participant contributes value added knowledge.” The forum is bringing together content creators, investors, entrepreneurs and studio executives to discuss topics such as “The Future of the Jobs Act,” “Raising Millions from the Crowd,” “The Birth of Micro Venture Capital,” and “Is BitCoin the Perfect Currency.” “Having hosted numerous dinner parties for my friends and experienced the intimate conversation and relationships that have formed throughout, I recognized the potential in bringing together groups of inspirational peers,” DiscoverMe Founder Kai Tao said in a statement. “I wanted to host an event to replicate the atmosphere of my dinner parties on a large scale with innovative leaders across multiple industries.” “Los Angeles is an undervalued community,” Tao said to me in an interview. “But LA has always had the most promise because of the creative community. We have a really business-friendly mayor.” “We’re the third most friendly startup city in the world,” said Garcetti. The mayor noted that the city has 2200 active startups and a new one comes into existence every 40 hours. One out of every 200 residents of Los Angeles is considered an entrepreneur. In addition, there is a new class of talent emerging from the city every year as three of the country’s top 25 universities are local. Garcetti noted that more than $1 billion dollars has been raised here by startups and in the past year over 100 companies have raised $1 million or more in capital. “If you have something and you want to test it, come to us,” Garcetti pleaded. He also mentioned two major initiatives he plans on bringing to the city. One being the announcement of a Chief Innovative Technology Officer position on his staff. The other is an effort to create “Silicon South,” a concept similar to Silicon Beach on the westside of Los Angeles, but using the talent in the city’s impoverished communities. He also called attention to the attractive surroundings and proximity to Hollywood talent as reason enough to bring startup business to the city. “It’s the lifestyle that entrepreneurs flourish in,” he said. “LA has always been a great place to tell a story … Los Angeles is where creativity lives.”

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The Startup California Partnership is based on a simple premise: young companies that grow create jobs. As a core American value, entrepreneurship is critical to the country’s long term success and it’s time to step up our game.