Column: Introducing Our 2022 Map of Startups in LA

Sam Adams
Sam Adams serves as chief executive of dot.LA. A former financial journalist for Bloomberg and Reuters, Adams moved to the business side of media as a strategy consultant at Activate, helping legacy companies develop new digital strategies. Adams holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and an MBA from the University of Southern California. A Santa Monica native, he can most often be found at Bay Cities deli with a Godmother sub or at McCabe's with a 12-string guitar. His favorite colors are Dodger blue and Lakers gold.
Column: Introducing Our 2022 Map of Startups in LA

Too often Los Angeles can operate as a collection of silos disconnected geographically, industrially, culturally and beyond. Santa Monica with its breezy bungalows and Glendale with its blocks of office high rises can feel worlds apart, and the community arising in aerospace hubs in Long Beach and the South Bay don’t get much opportunity to interact with those working on web3.

dot.LA exists in large part to connect those - pardon the pun - dots.

We do it everyday with our stories online, but we at dot.LA wanted to create a succinct visualization of what we meant.


We took on the task of identifying, taxonomizing and distilling into one image a representative collection of the thousands of startups that call greater Los Angeles home. Angeleno illustrator Semira Chadorchi translated that into the fun and vibrant map you see here. With that I’m pleased to publicly unveil the 2022 dot.LA Guide to Los Angeles, our best attempt to represent the L.A. tech and startup ecosystem.

Image by Semira Chadorchi

The first edition of the map was designed and printed to coincide with our launch in January 2020, with the intention of giving our paper copies to the guests at our many in-person events. Well, the pandemic delayed those hopes of in-person events and as a result we have a thick stack of first edition maps in our office. But as we ramped up for our first in-person dot.LA Summit at the Fairmont Miramar in October, we wanted to create a fresh start for the post-pandemic world and redesign the map.

So much has changed since last year’s edition. A couple of companies dropped off (Quibi, we hardly knew you) and many more came on -- from Canoo to Beyond Meat -- new transformative companies are coming up seemingly on a daily basis. We even created a flipside that listed other companies we literally couldn’t visually fit onto the map. Sadly there is no way to be comprehensive. If we were to include every institution that was changing the world in some way, the density of our graphical representation would outweigh the grains of sand on the beach. But we tried our best!

You’ll find here a high-resolution version of the map, and we encourage you to use it for any non-commercial use you see fit. It makes a great screensaver or virtual Zoom background, and it looks lovely printed, framed, and hung in an office. And please, let us know who we missed and need to get on next year’s edition

When co-founder Spencer Rascoff and I were developing the idea that became dot.LA three years ago, one of the key goals was to help crystallize exactly what it was we meant by the LA tech and startup ecosystem.

Many people have the general understanding that there is a ton of activity happening here, but don’t know too much about the tech landscape in Southern California beyond behemoths like Snap or SpaceX. What did we mean, we get asked, when we talked about the L.A. tech and startup ecosystem? Was there really enough activity going on here to necessitate a media organization of its own?

That answer, it turned out, is an enthusiastic yes; and we have only begun to sketch it out.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/samnadams/
sam@dot.la

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

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.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

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.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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PCH Driven: Director Jason Wise Talks Wine, Documentaries, and His New Indie Streaming Service SOMMTV

Jamie Williams
­Jamie Williams is the host of the “PCH Driven” podcast, a show about Southern California entrepreneurs, innovators and its driven leaders on their road to success. The series celebrates and reveals the wonders of the human spirit and explores the motivations behind what drives us.
Jason Wise holding wine glass
Image courtesy of Jason Wise

Jason Wise may still consider himself a little kid, but the 33-year-old filmmaker is building an IMDB page that rivals colleagues twice his age.

As the director behind SOMM, SOMM2, SOMM3, and the upcoming SOMM4, Wise has made a career producing award-winning documentary films that peer deep into the wine industry in Southern California and around the world.

On this episode of the PCH Driven podcast, he talks about life growing up in Cleveland as a horrible student, filmmaking, Los Angeles and his latest entrepreneurial endeavor: A streaming service called SOMMTV that features–what else?–documentaries about wine.

The conversation covers some serious ground, but the themes of wine and film work to anchor the discussion, and Wise dispenses bits of sage filmmaking advice.

“With a documentary you can just start filming right now,” he says. “That’s how SOMM came about. I got tossed into that world during the frustration of trying to make a different film, and I just started filming it, because no one could stop me because I was paying for it myself. That’s the thing with docs,” or “The good thing about SOMM is that you can explain it in one sentence: ‘The hardest test in the world is about wine, and you’ve never heard about it.’”

…Or at least maybe you hadn’t before he made his first film. Now with three SOMM documentaries under his belt, Wise is nearing completion of “SOMM4: Cup of Salvation,” which examines the history of wine’s relationship with religion. Wise says it’s “a wild film,” that spans multiple countries, the Vatican and even an active warzone. As he puts it, the idea is to show that “wine is about every subject,” rather than “every subject is about wine.”

For Wise, the transition to launching his own streaming service came out of his frustration with existing platforms holding too much power over the value of the content he produces.

“Do we want Netflix to tell us what our projects are worth or do we want the audience to do that?” he asks.

But unlike giants in the space, SOMMTV has adopted a gradual approach of just adding small bits of content as they develop. Without the need to license 500 or 1,000 hours of programming, Wise has been able to basically bootstrap SOMMTV and provide short form content and other more experimental offerings that typically get passed over by the Hulus and Disneys of the world.

So far, he says, the experiment is working, and now Wise is looking to raise some serious capital to keep up with the voracious appetites of his subscribers.

“Send those VCs my way,” Wise jokes.

Subscribe to PCH Driven on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.

dot.LA reporter David Shultz contributed to this report.

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