Idealab: L.A.’s Vintage Incubator

Since the incubator began, Idealab has created and operated more than 125 companies with 40 IPOs and acquisitions.

From Forbes:

“Idealab was founded in 1996 by Bill Gross to help new startups get off the ground in the Los Angeles region.

The original idea for an “idea lab” was only supposed to last one year.

“I wasn’t thinking long term. I didn’t think I’d be doing this 17 years later,” said Bill Gross, founder of Idealab, Los Angeles’ first startup incubator, which was formed in 1996.

“It was much more personal then. I had come up with ideas all my life and learned that the more focused a company can be, the more successful it can be…”

Idealab [web]


Veteran Entrepreneur Explores New Way of Giving Back to UCLA

Michael Silton has come up with a way for young entrepreneurs to give back to UCLA at the same time they take advantage of the university’s venture fund: give stock in startups.


“Think of the California university most closely tied to entrepreneurship and Stanford immediately leaps to mind, or maybe the University of California at Berkeley.

Michael Silton is looking to add UCLA to that list, and he’s come up with a unique way of funding that effort.

The executive director of the UCLA Venture Capital Fund, Silton, 47, comes to his position with plenty of entrepreneurial experience under his belt. He started his first company in his 20s—and failed—but followed that up with Rainmaker Systems, an enterprise software company he took public on the Nasdaq…”

UCLA Venture Fund [web]

Surveying SoCal’s M&A Landscape with David Siemer

The M&A market is solid.

From Ben Kuo, Socaltech:

“One of the most frequent questions from high tech startups is: where’s my exit? We caught up with David Siemer, both an investment banker who runs Siemer & Associates ( and an early stage investor here with Siemer Ventures (, to get his thoughts on the subject. Siemer & Associates runs its annual conference next week to delve into the same topics.
What’s the current environment for M&A and IPOs, in general?

David Siemer: I’ll start with IPOs, something we don’t here. We don’t spend a lot of time there, except that we’re active investors and bankers who are affected by what’s happening in the IPO market. Certainly, the IPO momentum seems to be back, and even more surprisingly, ad-tech has been lots of those IPOs. What’s interesting, is that in 2011, there were seven large ad-tech firms which had all planned to go public and hired bankers. But, most did not file their S-1’s. Now, a new breed of companies is finally making it out, which has had a huge impact on valuations. Even now, we’re seeing that at the seed and A round stage. For a couple of years, ad-tech had been heavily out of favor, and it’s bouncing back into favor again. There’s also been a number of decent exits, but IPOs are driving that valuation more than anything. There’s a huge backlog of companies trying to make it out…”


ROC Launches into Santa Monica’s Shared Workspace Scene

Currently housing 60 to 70 companies, ROC founder Ron McElroy anticipates capacity will double after the second and third floors are completed.

From Examiner:

“In a city that’s increasingly being called Silicon Beach, business and tech news travels fast. So when a new tenant moved into the building on 6th and Arizona that had long hosted Google’s Santa Monica branch, word spread.

What’s even more newsworthy is what that new tenant is up to. The 44,260-square-foot, three-story Santa Monica office is the newest location among ROC’s expanding shared workspaces – six total. Also called co-working spaces, the concept is growing in popularity as start-up and growing businesses seek collaborative environments and more flexible office lease terms…”

ROC [web]

Is Silicon Beach The Next Silicon Valley? Tech Startups Flock To L.A.

Part of ROC Ventures is to provide a platform where companies, investors and universities unite to fund, back, and engineer future success stories.

From Adotas:

“Los Angeles is known for its sunshine, sand . . . and now silicon. Southern California, also known as ‘Silicon Beach’ by many, is quickly gaining a reputation for being the up-and-coming region for emerging technology startups. The area is attracting high-caliber talent and serious venture funding for tech-based startup companies looking to take their next board meeting at the beach.

Solidifying Silicon Beach’s position as the next Silicon Valley is the arrival of Google, which has moved into the avant-garde, beachfront community of Venice. Google has placed technology and sales teams inside 100,000 square feet of office space in the Binocular building, originally designed by Frank Gehry. Google is reportedly aiming to lease another 100,000 square feet of office space nearby.

Facebook also has plans to expand their presence in Southern California into a building just a few miles south of Venice…”


Cross Campus: A Place Where Entrepreneurs Inspire In Santa Monica

Since Cross Campus opened in October, there has been a steady increase of individuals and companies moving into the space to make their mark in the business world.

From Santa Monica Mirror:

“When an entrepreneur begins a business venture, Cross Campus co-founder Dan Dato describes the journey as taking a big leap where it’s sometimes hard to know whether the person will make it to the other side.

With this philosophy, Dato set out with his co-founders Ronen Olshansky and Michael Kianmahd to create a state of the art 11,000 square foot shared work space at 820 Broadway in the heart of Santa Monica to bring like-minded entrepreneurs together to help give them every chance to succeed.

Since Cross Campus opened in October, there has been a steady increase of individuals and companies moving into the space to make their mark in the business world…”

Cross Campus [web]

Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century

As Los Angeles looks to gain recognition as “Silicon Beach,” UCLA faculty and students are playing major roles in the transformation.

From UCLA Magazine:

“When Melanie Gin ’12 was in London with UCLA’s Education Abroad Program (EAP), she wanted to share her experiences with her friends. She posted photos on Facebook, but they didn’t really capture what she was doing. She created a blog, but almost no one read it.

Back on campus, Gin expressed her frustration to Tri Nguyen ’11, who had felt much the same when he was in Japan with EAP. The two, then UCLA seniors, decided to create a website where anyone could make a personal travel journal, “a digital storybook.” They named it Travelstrings and recruited two engineer friends to build it.

Now, after alpha and beta testing, they’re ready to raise capital and create a business based on the website—with a backer already lined up.

Gin throws around terms like “angel investor,” “monetize,” “cash-flow positive,” “seed money” and “beachhead” with the fluency of a seasoned tech executive. But she gained much of that familiarity in just 10 weeks on campus last summer at an entrepreneurship boot camp for students and recent graduates called Startup UCLA.

Established in 2012, the program is designed to bring students and young alumni into a burgeoning entrepreneurial enterprise in Westwood that includes UCLA faculty innovators—who receive $1 billion annually in research funding—and professional school alumni. Last August, in fact, Forbes named UCLA the nation’s eighth most entrepreneurial college…”

UCLA Startup Networking on LinkedIn [web]