dot.LA Summit: Once a Moonshot, Los Angeles' Venture Scene is Bigger Than Ever

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

dot.LA Summit: Once a Moonshot, Los Angeles' Venture Scene is Bigger Than Ever

Los Angeles has long taken a back seat to San Francisco when it comes to investing in and incubating local companies, but in recent years the venture capital scene in Silicon Beach has exploded.

Greycroft Partners co-founder and partner Dana Settle told dot.LA co-founder Spencer Rascoff during the second annual dot.LA summit Friday that when she started Greycroft 15 years ago, her fellow investors in Northern California balked at her choice to leave the Bay Area and start investing in what was then a seldom talked-about market: Los Angeles. But since then, Settle's happily proved the haters wrong.


Settle told Rascoff that being an early investor in LA technology wasn't easy, and that over the years she also struggled to raise funding for Greycroft at first, which informs how she advises new companies.

"We are like a 16-year-old startup… and I promise you, by the way, to any of you founders, I have been turned down more than you have in fundraising," Settle said to the audience at the dot.LA summit. "So I have lots of, you know, lots of scar tissue, which I actually think is important because (I) do empathize, I do understand that process."

Greycroft has invested in some of L.A. tech's biggest names, including Bird, Gwenyth Paltrow's Goop, Maker Studios, Thrive Market and Culver City-based mobile game maker Scopely. The firm manages over $2 billion in capital and backs companies in various stages of development, from pre-seed to buyout. Some of the most notable companies Greycroft has exited over the years include Axios, dating app Bumble, and automated investing platform Acorns.

Since 2006 Greycroft has grown from just three founders — Settle, former Apax Partners founder Alan Patricof, and Ian Sigalow — to over 50 employees working in Los Angeles and New York.

Rascoff noted that over the years venture capital investing has evolved to become more personal as firms shift to prioritize building a recognizable brand. "The other thing that's changed is the importance of brand," Rascoff said. "For the venture capital firm, in the earlier years of venture capital, let's call it the Kleiner Perkins era in the 80s, 90s and 2000s, it was, it would be weird for them to have a website or a PR person and now, the social media presence of these companies… they're a media company really, right. They're putting out huge amounts of content."

Settle agreed, and added that Greycroft tends to attract new clients that have networked with existing ones.

"Our sort of first principle is that venture capital is a long-term, repeat business," Settle said. "If you believe that, then all of your interactions with founders and everything that you do every day, ultimately should build your brand, because ultimately it's a referral business."

https://twitter.com/samsonamore
samsonamore@dot.la

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups
Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash

The Inflation Reduction Act contains almost $400 billion in funding for clean energy initiatives. There’s $250 billion for energy projects. $23 billion for transportation and EVs. $46 billion for environment. $21 billion for agriculture, and so on. With so much cash flowing into the sector, the possibilities for investment and growth are gigantic.

These investment opportunities, however, have typically been inaccessible for everyday retail investors until much later in a company’s development–after an IPO, usually. Meaning that the best returns are likely to be captured by banks and other institutions who have the capital and financing to invest large sums of money earlier in the process.

That’s where Pasadena-based Energy Shares comes in. The company wants to help democratize access to these investment opportunities and simultaneously give early-stage utility-scale energy projects another revenue stream.

Read moreShow less

Why These Ukrainian Entrepreneurs Are Making LA Their Home

Aisha Counts
Aisha Counts is a business reporter covering the technology industry. She has written extensively about tech giants, emerging technologies, startups and venture capital. Before becoming a journalist she spent several years as a management consultant at Ernst & Young.
Why These Ukrainian Entrepreneurs Are Making LA Their Home
Joey Mota

Fleeing war and chasing new opportunities, more than a dozen Ukrainian entrepreneurs have landed in Los Angeles, finding an unexpected community in the city of dreams. These entrepreneurs have started companies that are collectively worth more than $300 million, in industries ranging from electric vehicle charging stations to audience monetization platforms to social networks.

Dot.LA spent an evening with this group of Ukrainian citizens, learning what it was like to build startups in Ukraine, to cope with the unimaginable fear of fleeing war, and to garner the resilience to rebuild.

Read moreShow less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending