☕️ Top Cafes For Running into LA's Tech Leaders

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Good Morning!

We’re are releasing a new edition – a heartfelt homage to Los Angeles. In the hustle and bustle of work and family life, its easy to forget what makes this city truly magical. Take these 2 minutes to pause with us and explore the LA gems in this vibrant, diverse, and utterly unique parking lot we call home. Every other week we will release a list of some type of establishments loved by Los Angeles VCs, entrepreneurs, your best friend’s cousin and everyone in-between.

Help us as we shine a spotlight on Los Angeles' unique establishments that contribute to the city's charm and indirectly enrich its thriving tech ecosystem. This week we are featuring the eight best coffee shops on the Westside corroborated by influential VCs and founders alike. Our list flows west to east and the cafes were evaluated on the following criteria:

  • ☕️ Coffee Quality (table stakes)
  • 💻 Work friendly environment (wifi, noise, outlets, seating, etc.)
  • 🚗 Parking (can make or break a meeting)

Don’t forget about our current referral contest! Whoever refers the most friends to dot.LA using our referral program by October 31st will get a coffee and conversation with Spencer Rascoff, where you can pitch him, get business advice, or just shoot the breeze. This is a great opportunity for any current or future entrepreneur! Perfect time to visit one of the following coffee shops ☕️☕️☕️

Top Cafes For Running into LA's Tech Leaders

Primo Passo

Image Source: Timeout.com

Neighborhood: Wilshire/Montana

Address:702 Montana Ave Santa Monica, CA 90403

Description: Primo Passo is a cute locally owned spot on Montana Ave with fantastic coffee. Fairly quiet compared to neighboring coffee spots on Montana with a vast pastry assortment and small bites from nearby Farmshop.

Quick Rundown: Indoor and outdoor seating. No wifi. Clean minimalist vibe. Not too loud. Lots of street parking you just may have to walk a block or two.

Caffe Luxxe

Image Source: Caffe Luxxe

Neighborhood: Wilshire/Montana

Address:925 Montana Ave Santa Monica, CA 90403

Description: The very first Caffe Luxxe modeled after a European cafe, this cozy coffee shop is owned by two best friends in LA. There is a decent amount of seating but no wifi as the cafe is focused on human connection. Great for a meeting but probably not great for a work session.

Quick Rundown: Parking lot in the back and metered street parking. No wifi. Mostly Indoor Seating. European cozy vibe.

GoodBoyBob Coffee

Image Source: EaterLA

Neighborhood: Santa Monica

Address:2058 Broadway Santa Monica, CA 90404

Description: Industrial, hidden, charming, and attached to a virtual reality studio, GoodBoyBob is a prime place to hunker down and get some work done. The coffee is roasted in-house and the menu features whole wheat wraps, grain bowls, pastries and an extensive Happy Hour menu to reward yourself after all of your hard work.

Quick Rundown: Indoor and outdoor seating. Fast wifi. Industrial Chic Vibe. Not too loud. Fairly easy to find parking.

Zinqué - Venice

Image Source: Eater LA

Neighborhood: Venice

Address:1440 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

Description: A vibrant and airy, low-key neighborhood restaurant with french-inspired dishes. They have wifi but you generally don’t see a bunch of people head down in their computers. The majority of people here are in meetings or out grabbing a meal with friends.

Quick Rundown: Indoor and outdoor seating. Fast wifi. Elevated beachy vibe. parking?

Alana’s Coffee Roasters

Image Source: Folk LA

Neighborhood: Mar Vista

Address:12511 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

Description: Locally owned, Alana started off in farmers markets and moved to a brick and mortar in 2016. Alana is a quant neighborhood coffee shop with a super cute patio and some killer coffee.

Quick Rundown: Mostly outdoor seating. No wifi. Clean surfer vibe. Not too loud. Parking lot plus metered street parking.

Urth Caffe - Beverly Hills

Image Source: Urth Caffe

Neighborhood: Beverly Hills

Address:267 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

Description: Urth is a unique Los Angeles staple located in an old home flanked by classic retail establishments. Expect it to be pretty crowded, but you can almost always grab a table within a few minutes. There is wifi, but the bustling atmosphere make for a better meeting location than a focused work session. The food and drink menu is extensive but the coffee, tea and pastries are the star of the show. You really can’t go wrong.

Quick Rundown: Mostly outdoor seating. Fast wifi. Quirky cozy vibe. First 2 hours are free for public parking garage north on Beverly plus metered street parking.

Maru Espresso Bar

Image Source: lovebeverlyhills.com

Neighborhood: Beverly Hills

Address:201 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Description: Maru Coffee prioritizes top-tier coffee quality, and their menu stays true to form, quality over quantity. While the Beverly Hills branch lacks seating, it neighbors Beverly Canon Gardens, a sprawling 33,000-square-foot expanse of public gardens and open spaces with communal outdoor dining spots, water features, and beautifully landscaped gardens. Pro tip there’s a fantastic creperie in Beverly Canon Gardens!

Quick Rundown: Outdoor seating. Fast wifi. Urban Oasis Vibe. Not too loud. First 2 hours are free for public parking garage north on Canon plus metered street parking.

Verve Coffee Roasters

Image Source: Verve Coffee Roasters

Neighborhood: West Hollywood

Address:8925 Melrose Ave West Hollywood, CA 90069

Description: We may be using a liberal definition of West LA, but it is called West Hollywood which seems like pretty bullet proof logic. Located along Melrose Avenue in the heart of West Hollywood, Verve is a not so hidden gem with a fantastic outdoor patio. Their great coffee is complimented by a menu full of snacks and sandwiches. This spot is ideal for an in-person meeting because there are very few outlets and the tables are fairly small.

Quick Rundown: Indoor and outdoor seating. Fast wifi. Tech-Hipster Vibe. Not too loud. Parking can be rough at peak times.

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🏰 Disney's Epic Investment Stands Out Amidst Gaming Industry Layoffs

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

🔦 Spotlight

In the midst of widespread gaming industry layoffs, a glimmer of positive news emerges as Disney announces a significant move: a $1.5 billion investment in Epic Games. 🏰💰🐭

Image Source: Disney

Disney's $1.5 billion investment in Epic Games, disclosed late Wednesday, signals a strategic alignment aimed at expanding the success of "Fortnite." The deal enhances Epic's growth prospects after financial setbacks, including layoffs, and strengthens the partnership between the two companies. With Disney gaining a larger equity stake in Epic, the collaboration will broaden the integration of beloved Disney franchises like Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Avatar into the game, potentially boosting its appeal and longevity. This significant investment underscores Disney's commitment to interactive entertainment and signifies a shift towards games as a primary revenue stream, aligning with the growing trend of digital engagement among younger demographics. Moreover, the potential for crossover sales of physical Disney products within "Fortnite" and the exploration of new content distribution channels are just some of the opportunities arising from this partnership.

For LA tech, the Disney-Epic Games partnership represents a validation of the region's burgeoning tech and gaming ecosystem. The substantial investment in Epic, who maintains a large Los Angeles office with 1,000+ employees (according to LinkedIn), reflects confidence in the LA’s talent pool and innovation potential. Additionally, this partnership between two industry giants fosters an environment for further collaboration, investment, and growth within LA's tech sector. As Disney and Epic Games deepen their ties and explore new avenues for content integration and distribution, it not only elevates the prominence of LA as a tech hub but also stimulates economic growth and job creation in the region. This partnership highlights LA's unique position as a hub where technology and entertainment converge. With its ability to integrate diverse industries, LA is driving innovation and expansion in digital entertainment. 🚀💸🎮

🤝 Venture Deals

LA Companies

  • ProducePay, a financing and marketplace platform for the fresh produce market, raised a $38M Series D led by Syngenta Group Ventures joined by Commonfund, Highgate Private Equity, G2 Venture Partners, Anterra Capital, Astanor Ventures, Endeavor8, Avenue Venture Opportunities, Avenue Sustainable Solutions, and Red Bear Angels. - learn more
  • Blush, an invite-only dating app that drives users to local businesses on dates, raised a $7M Seed Round from individuals like Naval Ravikant. - learn more
  • Mogul, a startup founded last year that provides an overview of an artist's royalty earnings and identifies areas where money is owed but has not yet been collected, raised a $1.9 million seed round from Wonder Ventures, United Talent Agency, AmplifyLA, and Creator Partners. - learn more
  • Avnos, a hybrid direct air capture startup, raised a $36M Series A led by NextEra Energy and joined by Safran Corporate Ventures, Shell Ventures, Envisioning Partners, and Rusheen Capital Management. - learn more
  • AI.fashion, startup whose mission is to help retailers enhance the online shopping experience by providing consumers with virtual try-ons and personalized fashion recommendations, raised a $3.6M Seed Round led by Neo. - learn more
  • Suma Wealth, startup that aims to demystify financial topics and provide culturally relevant content, virtual experiences, and resources to help Latino users navigate financial challenges and opportunities, raised a $2.2M Seed Round . Radicle Impact led, and was joined by Vamos Ventures, OVO fund and the American Heart Association Impact Fund. - learn more
  • 222, a startup that helps users discover their city and meet new people through unique social experiences, raised a $2.5M Seed Round. Investors included 1517 Fund, General Catalyst, Best Nights VC, Scrum Ventures, and Upfront Ventures. - learn more
  • LimaCharlie, a security operations cloud platform, raised a $10.2M Series A led by Sands Capital. - learn more
  • Polycam, an app that uses a smartphone’s sensors to capture 3D scans of objects, raised an $18M Series A co-led by Left Lane Capital and Adjacent, and joined by Adobe Ventures and individuals like Chad Hurley and Shaun Maguire. -learn more.

LA Venture Funds

Actively Raising

  • ReelCall, Inc., an entertainment technology company focused on powerful apps and platforms that help build and maintain the professional network of connections vital to career growth, is raising a $850K Pre-Seed Round. - learn more
  • CZero, a startup building software to decarbonize logistics for logistics businesses and goods business through a vetted marketplace and optimization software. - learn more
  • Couri, a technology startup addressing last-mile delivery issues, is raising a $450K Pre-Seed Round at a $2.2M post money valuation. - learn more
  • Sweetie, a marketplace to help people plan date nights, is raising a $1.5M Pre Seed Round. - learn more
  • StartupStarter, an investment platform that provides real-time data and analytics on startups, is raising an $850K Angel Round. - learn more

If you’re a founder raising money in Los Angeles, give us a shout, and we’d love to include you in the newsletter!

Venture Waves, Climate Tech Wins, and Silicon Beach's Ongoing Evolution

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Anduril Seeks $1.5B in VC Funds

Defense company Anduril Industries Inc., based in Costa Mesa and founded by Palmer Luckey, is seeking to raise $1.5 billion in fresh funds to boost its valuation to $12.5 billion or more, according to sources quoted by The Information. This fundraising effort, if successful, would mark one of the largest venture capital rounds of the year.

Image Source: Anduril

Anduril recently secured a contract to develop and test small unmanned fighter jet prototypes under the Air Force’s Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) program, beating out major defense companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. Alongside General Atomics, Anduril will design, manufacture, and test these aircraft, with a final multibillion-dollar production decision expected in fiscal year 2026. This program aims to deliver at least 1,000 combat aircraft to fly in concert with manned platforms and is part of the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance initiative. Central to Anduril’s success in this contract is the Fury autonomous air vehicle, acquired through the purchase of Blue Force Technologies. This victory underscores Anduril's rapid advancement in the defense sector, aligning with Luckey's vision of building faster and more cost-effective defense assets. - learn more

Los Angeles Ranks Number 1 in Emerging Climate Tech Hub

The 2024 Emerging Climate Tech Hubs Report by Revolution highlights Los Angeles as a burgeoning center for climate tech innovation. LA's growth in this sector is driven by its diverse talent pool, strong research institutions, and a culture of environmental consciousness. The city's unique mix of legacy industries, such as entertainment and aerospace, alongside emerging tech companies, positions it as a pivotal player in the climate tech landscape. This shift reflects a broader trend of decentralized climate tech funding across the U.S., reducing the historical dominance of California's traditional hubs. - learn more

Silicon Beach: Looking Back, Moving Forward

Assessing the overall health of the startup market is challenging, especially as venture capital funding has decreased by an average of 61% from 2021 to 2023 across the top VC markets in the US. Markets with robust ecosystems in AI, SaaS, Biotech, Healthtech, and Fintech appear to be weathering the downturn better than those focused on Consumer and Gaming industries, areas where Los Angeles traditionally excels.

Percent Change In VC Funding By Region

CB Insights

LA Times paints a rather bleak outlook on the Los Angeles tech scene noting venture capital funding in Greater Los Angeles plummeted 73% from 2021 to 2022. Silicon Beach, once a vibrant tech corridor, currently faces high vacancy rates and lacks late-stage financiers, especially in the AI sector. However, there are positive signs, including growth in aerospace startups and increased venture capital investment in early 2024, suggesting a potential rebound for LA's tech ecosystem.

While LA may not be exceeding expectations during this period, its tech ecosystem warrants a nuanced evaluation, given the broader market dynamics and its strong performance in specific sectors. Reach out to us with your thoughts.

🚀 SpaceX gears up for another stellar year, active raises, and more

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Happy Friday Los Angeles! You made it through the first week of 2024!

🔦 Spotlight

Elon Musk may be a divisive (albeit entertaining) figure, but the continued success of SpaceX is pivotal for the aerospace industry in Los Angeles and more broadly around the world.

Image Source: SpaceX webcast

What happened with SpaceX in 2023?

  • Elon Musk challenged Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg to a cage fight.
  • SpaceX launched 96 successful missions with its Falcon series of rockets, a 57% increase over its previous annual record.
  • SpaceX conducted two test flights of the largest and most powerful rocket ever built, Starship.
  • Roughly two-thirds of SpaceX's launches in 2023 were devoted to building out Starlink, the company's satellite-internet megaconstellation.
  • Isaacson’s Elon Musk biography was published in September including everything from Musk’s tumultuous relationship with his father to his work ethic and “demon mode”.

Moving forward what can we expect from SpaceX and its controversial founder? Continued innovation pushing the aerospace industry to new limits? Yes. More drama? Without a doubt.

Here is some of what is to come in 2024:

🤝 Venture Deals

Just Announced

Check back next week!

LA Exits

  • CG Oncology, an Irvine, CA-based developer of immunotherapies for bladder cancer, filed for a $100M IPO. It plans to list on the Nasdaq (CGON) with Morgan Stanley as left lead underwriter, and has raised around $317m in VC funding. - learn more
  • McNally Capital agreed to sell Advanced Micro Instruments, a Costa Mesa, CA-based maker of gas analyzers and sensing technologies, to Enpro (NYSE: NPO). - learn more

Actively Raising

  • ReelCall, Inc., an entertainment technology company focused on powerful apps and platforms that help build and maintain the professional network of connections vital to career growth, is raising a $850K Pre-Seed Round. - learn more
  • CZero, a hard-tech startup that is developing a technology for decarbonizing natural gas, is raising a $1.5M Seed Round. - learn more
  • Couri, a technology startup addressing last-mile delivery issues, is raising a $450K Pre-Seed Round at a $2.2M post money valuation. - learn more
  • Sweetie, a marketplace to help people plan date nights, is raising a $250K Angel Round. - learn more
  • StartupStarter, an investment platform that provides real-time data and analytics on startups, is raising an $850K Angel Round. - learn more

If you’re a founder raising money in Los Angeles, give us a shout, and we’d love to include you in the newsletter!

📅 LA Tech Calendar

Sunday, January 7th

Wednesday, January 10th

  • Startup Cafe: Networking with a Kick - Entrepreneurs, Startups, and Tech Enthusiasts join together to meet and connect with like-minded people, industry professionals and investors, while enjoying a nice cup of coffee in Venice at The KINN. This week’s interactive discussion about AI’s evolution in entertainment will feature Dr. Sam Khoze and Rachel Joy Victor.
  • Venice Tech Happy Hour- Join Startup Coil and FoundrHaus Wednesday evening and enjoy the sunset from the rooftop, grab a bite overlooking Abbot Kinney, and mingle with other tech enthusiasts and entrepreneurs by the bar on the patio.

Have an awesome event coming up? Reach out to be featured on next week’s Newsletter!

📙 What We’re Reading

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