4 LA Tech Companies That Prove You Don’t Need to Be Based in Silicon Valley to Find Success

by Michael Hines
August 16, 2019

Dorothy Parker once said, “Los Angeles is 72 suburbs in search of a city.”

That might suggest an identity crisis, but one look at LA’s tech ecosystem proves the companies that call the region home know exactly who they are and why they’re here. We recently reached out to four of them to learn more about what makes LA’s tech community so unique, along with why their companies decided to put down roots here.

 

Renew Health Los Angeles tech jobs

Renew Health co-founder Kevin Nazemi is a New York tech veteran who knew his next venture wouldn’t be launched on the East Coast. Senior Software Engineer Doug Carney, who was part of the founding team, explains why Nazemi and his co-founders chose to build Renew Health in LA.

 

Why did you choose to grow your tech company in LA?

The decision to build Renew’s HQ on the west, and some say the best, coast was one that our CEO and co-founder, Kevin Nazemi, made very early on. He survived plenty of East Coast winters after co-founding Oscar Health in New York and knew that he wanted to create a culture and a team that prioritized a healthy work-life balance. 

The constant grind in New York can be exciting, but it can also be a petri dish for burnout, especially when the weather prevents you from really taking care of yourself. Ultimately, we chose to begin building the team here in LA because this city is one of the few places in the world where you can attract amazing people, be part of a booming tech community, run a 10k or catch some waves — if that’s more your style — in the middle of winter.

We’re seeing a massive migration of top talent, not just from the East Coast, but even from a few hours north in Silicon Valley.”

 

What’s something unique to the LA tech community, and how has that shaped your company culture?

LA has always been a city of transplants. In previous decades, Hollywood was obviously a huge draw. But as more and more startups have begun setting up shop here, we’re seeing a massive migration of top talent, not just from the East Coast, but even from a few hours north in Silicon Valley. The best engineers, product and business minds are realizing that they have a wealth of amazing opportunities to choose from here in LA, and they no longer have to pick between making a meaningful impact and truly enjoying where they live.

 

Criteria Corp Los Angeles tech jobs

“Work hard, play hard” is perhaps the biggest cliché in tech. Criteria Corp CEO and co-founder Josh Millet prefers a slightly tweaked version of the phrase, one that is more in line with his company’s culture and what he said makes LA’s tech scene so unique: its respect for quality of life and work-life balance.

 

Why did you choose to grow your tech company in LA?

LA has an incredible ecosystem that is talent-rich yet still somewhat reasonably priced. Like anywhere, hiring — especially for engineers — is a challenge in this environment, but there are no shortage of quality computer science programs here and a rapidly growing group of solid bootcamps that generate good supply. 

I think we also may be seeing the beginning of a migration from the Bay Area by people who moved there for opportunity and are now ready for better weather and slightly more affordable living. We have a long way to go with cost of living and desperately need more affordable housing, though. Also, I don’t find proximity to funding to be a drawback at all. Venture capital and private equity firms now find good businesses anywhere.

People move to Southern California for the weather and lifestyle, and you can’t appreciate those things if you’re at work all the time.”

 

What’s something unique to the LA tech community, and how has that shaped your company culture?

It’s not totally unique, but quality of life and work-life balance seem like a feature of the LA tech community. People move to Southern California for the weather and lifestyle, and you can’t appreciate those things if you’re at work all the time. At Criteria, our culture is very much built around a “work hard, have fun and go home” attitude. We get a lot done and are productive, but our office is pretty empty after 6:00 p.m. and deserted on weekends.

 

MuteSix Los Angeles tech jobs

When it comes to finding a job you love, it’s important that you can get behind a company’s core values. The same is true when it comes to founders deciding where to plant their company’s roots. MuteSix CEO and founder Steve Weiss said the broader LA tech community’s focus on inclusion, opportunity and equality made the city a natural fit for his company. 

 

Why did you choose to grow your tech company in LA?

The talent pool, weather, people and environment are second to none. It’s a small, tight-knit community of dreamers, entrepreneurs and doers, and it’s always exciting to be able to be a part of the community and contribute to it.

We value inclusion, equality and opportunity, and the LA ecosystem seems to share a lot of our core values.”

 

What’s something unique to the LA tech community, and how has that shaped your company culture?

The thing that’s unique is being close to Hollywood and so many talented creators in entertainment. This has helped us merge our performance capabilities with creative, which has allowed us to build a game-changing company. We value inclusion, equality and opportunity, and the LA ecosystem seems to share a lot of our core values. We wanted to build a company that marketing and creative professionals would be excited to work for.

 

Versus Systems Los Angeles tech jobs

Amanda Armour knows that LA sometimes gets a bad rap from outsiders. But Versus Systems’ head of people would like to remind everyone that the region is home to some of the world’s best and brightest storytellers and creatives. That’s one of the many reasons why Versus Systems, which is in the gaming industry, chose to call LA home.

 

Why did you choose to grow your tech company in LA?

Matthew Pierce, our CEO, is based in LA and has been part of the startup community since before Silicon Beach became so well known. We really [see] the unique benefits of Los Angeles when it comes to tech. There’s an incredible and focused talent pool that’s leading the charge in entertainment, media and e-commerce, along with people who really push against traditional boundaries of what technology can be used for when it comes to lifestyle and integration into our daily lives.

LA has such a different vibe compared to other U.S. tech hubs.”

 

What’s something unique to the LA tech community, and how has that shaped your company culture?

LA has such a different vibe compared to other U.S. tech hubs. We really turn an eye toward understanding the importance of play. I don’t think it’s news that the perception of LA — outside of SoCal — centers around the belief that we live and breathe the superficial, but what seems to be forgotten is that so much of the world’s imagination is created here.

So many of the most incredible storytellers and artists move here to participate in that shared realization, and not just for entertainment, but for anything that has the power to shape perception. It's such an exciting space for us to physically inhabit as we look to change how people experience their favorite forms of games and gaming.

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MuteSix
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Criteria Corp
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Criteria Corp
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Criteria Corp
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Renew Health
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MuteSix
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Renew Health
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MuteSix
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Criteria Corp
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Versus Systems
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MuteSix
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