Eric Garcetti Says L.A. in the Midst of a 'Once-in-a-Generation Moment'

Eric Garcetti Says L.A. in the Midst of a 'Once-in-a-Generation Moment'

Los Angeles is in the midst of a once-in-a-generation moment.

Last year, Schroders Global Cities Index ranked Los Angeles as the most economically vibrant city in the world and the best city for investment. Our metropolitan economy is the world's third largest in economic performance. And in six years we have cut the unemployment rate by more than half.

So much of that momentum is because Los Angeles is a global tech capital — a place where the world comes to innovate and create. We're the number-one digital city in America, and Los Angeles is also creating tech jobs faster than any city in the country, and — in 2019 alone — brought in $8.3 billion in venture funding for startups. The city of angels is home to incredible talent too at some of the world's top universities, from Caltech to USC and UCLA.

We used to talk about L.A.'s startup scene as fledgling, but that's no longer the case. In 2019, we saw L.A.'s largest startup acquisition yet with PayPal purchasing Honey for $4 billion. Venture capital investment in the region has boomed with funding growing over three times from 2013 to 2019, and today Los Angeles attracts the second highest investment capital of any city in the U.S.

The startup and tech industry is a jobs creator, with 7.5 percent of region's workforce employed in the tech field. All told, 53,000 tech careers added to the economy since 2010, and tech contributes just over 10 percent to our local economy — that's $91 billion annually.

In 2014, I formed my Technology and Innovation Council, with the aim of convening the top L.A. CEOs, founders, venture capitalists, and others to propose initiatives to help L.A. grow the tech industry, focusing on attraction and retention of tech companies, capital, and talent; developing civic innovation and smart city solutions; and helping bridge the digital divide.

Over that period, we have been able to assist some of the largest names in tech, including Google, Netflix, and Apple, establish and grow their footprint here. We have helped exciting new startups like Quibi navigate city departments to ensure they are able to get up and running. And we have worked with homegrown unicorns like Snap, and Dollar Shave Club which was acquired by Unilever in 2016 for $1 billion.

As mayor of Los Angeles, I have worked to ensure that as tech grows, it reflects the diverse face of our city. Some of the finest minds in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math live here, and it's on us to equip them with the tools they need to succeed in the industries and careers of tomorrow.

That's why three years ago I launched the L.A. Tech Talent Pipeline to create internship opportunities for low-income and minority youth in growing tech companies. These are internships that develop real skills and lead to real jobs, and last year we placed 216 interns — 40 percent of whom landed part- or full-time jobs with a tech company.

We haven't stopped there. Together with philanthropy, local venture capital firms as well as leading tech companies, we launched PledgeLA to ensure the conference rooms of start-ups and tech companies in this city are as diverse as our streets. PledgeLA members are also helping us find new ways of using technology to solve our toughest challenges — from traffic congestion to the need for more affordable housing.

And now, as we bravely and boldly begin into a new decade, we will have a media platform dedicated to covering tech's growth in Los Angeles — dot.LA. This next decade will be critical in so many ways — from our response to the global climate emergency to how this city comes together to confront the homelessness and housing crisis.

Tech is not at the margins of these moments — it's at the intersections. We are fortunate to have dot.LA chronicling how innovators and entrepreneurs in Los Angeles will make their mark on this city and world.

I look forward to the future Los Angeles and dot.LA will write together.

Eric Garcetti is mayor of the city of Los Angeles.

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Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.
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