25 hot Los Angeles startups you need to watch

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Los Angeles may be a few hundred miles south of Silicon Valley, but it’s a hub brimming with up-and-coming tech startups.

We’ve compiled a list of 25 of the hottest startups in the Los Angeles area. To do so, we spoke with investors, employees, journalists, and active members of the city’s tech scene.

Though our list includes some big names, it also features young startups, some of which you may not have heard of yet.

Acorns is an app that automatically invests your spare change for you.

What it is: When you download Acorns, you link up your credit or debit card to the app. Every time you use your card to make a purchase, Acorns rounds the amount up to the next dollar and invests the change from that purchase into a diversified portfolio of index funds.

The app, which was founded in 2012, is perfect for beginning investors, because it doesn't require much knowledge of investing, and it only charges you a dollar a month if your account has a balance of less than $US5,000.

Founders: Jeff and Walter Cruttenden

Funding: $US32 million from e.ventures, Greycroft Partners, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Maths Venture Partners, Garland Capital Group, Sound Ventures, Jacobs Asset Management, Groundswell Investments, Steelpoint Capital Partners, and Cruttenden Partners

The Black Tux is an online-only tux rental site.

What it is: The Black Tux, founded in 2012, is the first online-only tux rental service; it does it all, from suit design to production to rental logistics. When you decide to rent, The Black Tux sends you measuring tape and instructions on how and where to measure.

Your measurements are used to perfectly tailor your tux, which arrives in the mail one week before your event. Total rental cost averages around $US150 -- far cheaper for better quality than many other tux rental services, and without the commitment of buying a nice tux.

Founders: Andrew Blackmon, Mike Gammarino, and Patrick Coyne

Funding: $US12.4 million from The Raine Group, Menlo Ventures, First Round, BoxGroup, RRE Ventures, Crosscut Ventures, Founder Collective, and Lerer Hippeau Ventures

BloomNation is an online marketplace for florists to promote and sell their arrangements.

BloomNation co-founders David Daneshgar, Gregg Weisstein, and Farbod Shoraka.

What it is: With BloomNation, florists can upload pictures of their own arrangements (so they don't have to rely on stock photos) and enable potential customers around the US to discover and buy them.

It's an easier, more customisable, and more reliable way to buy and sell flowers. Founded in 2011, BloomNation also helps florists with their online sales, from building websites to point of sale systems, e-marketing, and social media.

Founders: Farbod Shoraka, Gregg Weisstein, and David Daneshgar

Funding: $US7.2 million from CrunchFund, Mucker Capital, Chicago Ventures, Spark Capital, Chris Dixon, A Capital Partners L.P., and Andreessen Horowitz

Burner is an app that allows you to create temporary, disposable phone numbers.

What it is: You can't put a price on privacy, so Burner didn't. Created by Ad Hoc Labs, Burner is a free app that allows you to create temporary phone numbers, which you can use for as long as you want, and then dispose of them when you no longer want to be contacted on them.

The app is free to download -- all you need to pay for are the voice and text credits, depending on how many you use. Burner launched in 2013 with the rise of online dating and contract jobs like Uber and Lyft drivers; consumers want a way to communicate safely and securely.

Founders: Greg Cohn and Will Carter

Funding: $US2 million from Miramar Venture Partners, David Frankel, 500 Startups, Venrock, Haystack, and TenOneTen Ventures

Cargomatic is the Uber of the truck world.

What it is: Founded in 2013, Cargomatic uses a real-time, on-demand app to put local companies in touch with trusted trucking services to transport goods from point A to point B.

The idea is to ease the hassle for truckers, who aren't fond of making trips when their trucks aren't full, by giving them more stuff to ship (and a little extra money in the process). It also makes it easier for local companies to find transportation for their goods, especially if they need transportation last minute.

Founders: Jonathan Kessler and Brett Parker

Funding: $US10.6 million from Winklevoss Capital, Hank Vigil, Fritz Lanman, Scott Banister, Nicolas Berggruen, Structure Capital, SherpaVentures, SV Angel, Morado Venture Partners, Volvo Group Venture Capital, and Canaan Partners

Club W is a personalised, direct-to-you wine club.

What it is: Club W is the world's first, and only, personalised wine club. The subscription-based site asks members a simple, six-question Palate Profile survey that gets to know their tastes.

Club W bases its monthly shipments off the survey results so that members always find things they like, but learn from the experience as well. Club W ships directly from the wine makers themselves, cutting out the middleman. Subscriptions are incredibly affordable as well, starting at $US39 for three bottles of wine per month.

Founders: Brian Smith, Geoff McFarlane, Xander Oxman, and Mark T. Lynn

Funding: $US13.1 million from Bessemer Venture Partners, Amplify.LA, Canyon Creek Capital, Guild Capital, Wavemaker Partners, Crosscut Ventures, and 500 Startups

Foodstirs makes it easier for kids and parents to cook together.

What it is: Like Blue Apron or Plated, Foodstirs puts together easy-to-decipher cooking kits with instructions and all the things parents and kids need to whip up a delicious and creative recipe together.

Founder and mother of two Galit Laibow created Foodstirs with the idea that it shouldn't be stressful -- for parents or kids -- to spend quality time together while learning motor control, measuring, and telling time, and making a tasty treat in the process. Celebrities like Sarah Michelle Gellar are subscribers to the service.

Founder: Galit Laibow

Funding: Unknown

GoodRx finds the cheapest pharmacy to pick up prescriptions in your area.

What it is: Founded in 2011, GoodRx is a prescription drug online price comparison tool. It lets you type in the name of the drug you were prescribed, enter your area code, and compare the cost of the same prescription across pharmacies nearest to you.

It eliminates the number one reason many Americans don't take their medications (the cost) by finding cheaper places to get them. GoodRx collects prices and discounts from pharmacies nationwide every week to keep prices current.

Founders: Trevor Bezdek, Scott Marlette, and Doug Hirsch

Funding: $US1.5 million from Founders Fund, Highland Capital Partners, Upfront Ventures, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, SV Angel, Mike Ovitz, and Dawn Lepore

Headspace is a mobile guided meditation and mindfulness platform.

What it is: Headspace helps you clear your mind, feel more at ease, and shift your mood in just 10 minutes a day. More than 1 million people in 150 countries use Headspace to listen to guided meditations that serve a number of purposes, from improving health to relationships to performance and confidence.

The goal of Headspace, which was created in 2010, is to make meditation easy and, literally, give the user more head space. The app has some free guided foundation meditation programs, but with a subscription (starting at $US6.24/month), listeners get access to series in other subjects. Monthly revenue being generated by the app through its freemium service is apparently pretty impressive too.

Founders: Andy Puddicombe and Rich Pierson

Funding: $US4 million from angel and early stage investors.

HONK is an app that lets you request on-demand roadside assistance.

What it is: One of the great things about the age of the smartphone is being able to call for help no matter where you are. HONK takes this one step further; like AAA, HONK provides roadside assistance, only you can request it from your smartphone.

Whether your car breaks down, or you're locked out, faced with a flat, or out of fuel, use the app to select your issue and the GPS locator will log your location and send help usually within 15 to 30 minutes. The app is free, and service prices start from $US49.

Founder: Corey Brundage

Funding: $US13.8 million from Venture51, Expansion Venture Capital, Karlin Ventures, Structure Capital, and Altpoint Ventures

Laurel & Wolf plays matchmaker between you and stylish interior design professionals.

What it is: Laurel & Wolf 's marketplace of professional interior designers is meant to make interior design affordable and accessible to anyone. The startup asks users questions about their taste, lifestyle, space, and budget.

Then the professionals in L&W's network bid on your project; ultimately the startup pairs users with professionals who can help them achieve the looks they want. For $US299, you can get a redesign of your home, though custom rates requiring a little more elbow grease may cost you more.

Founders: Leura Fine, Brandon Kleinman, and Leura Spielman

Funding: $US5.5 million from CRV, Karlin Ventures, Upside Partnership, Draper Associates, Wavemaker Partners, Structure Capital, Paige Craig, and Tim Draper

Little Labs is a digital studio that makes apps for smart watches.

What it is: Many game makers and app developers are jumping from computers to smartphones to the next growing consumer interface: the smart watch. Little Labs is one of the first companies to get on board with the new trend; it's a digital studio that develops games and apps for smart watches like Android Wear and, soon, the Apple Watch.

The company only launched at the end of last year, but it's already making downloadable smart watch faces, like GIFs and short, animated photos and videos; and a messaging system that allows you to communicate with other Android Wear users and those with Android-interfacing phones.

Founders: Ariel Vardi, Michael Marchetti, and Kris McDonald

Funding: An undisclosed amount from Crosscut Ventures and Amplify.LA

Shop Hers is an online luxury consignment shop.

What it is: Shop Hers is an online marketplace for pre-owned designer clothing. When you're shopping on its mobile app or website, you can be assured that what you're buying is real -- Shop Hers authenticates all of its purchases, so you'll never end up with a knockoff.

Shop Hers also has a feature called 'Style Soul Mates,' which matches users who have similar sizes and similar tastes, so you can always be connected to things you like that also fit. Shop Hers, which boasts 1 million users, also has a feature on its app that alerts you as soon as something you've liked or something in your shopping cart goes on sale, so you can buy it right away.

Founder: Jaclyn Shanfeld

Funding: $US3.5 million from Shana Fisher, Aldo Manzini, David Tisch, Elevation Partners, Floodgate, Mike Hirshland, SV Angel, Brian Lee, Ryan Steelberg, Paige Craig, Sarah Fiszel, and Jeremy Zimmer

Soylent is a magical food replacement milkshake.

What it is: Soylent is an easy-to-mix meal substitute that claims to give you all the nutrients your body needs. When you order Soylent, you get a pouch of powdered substance and a small bottle of oil. You combine these, add water, mix it up, and drink it.

The company says that one jug of Soylent will both fill you up and provide all the calories and nutrients you need in a day. Soylent is a nutritional experiment -- it hasn't been declared medically safe yet, but its inventor Rob Rhinehart says, 'Now that I've discovered Soylent, I'm healthier than I've ever been, have more freedom with my time and money, and never have to worry.'

Founders: Rob Rhinehart, Matthew Cauble, John Coogan, and David Renteln

Funding: $US22.3 million from Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, David Freidberg, Y Combinator, Initialized Capital, and Hydrazine Capital

RadPad is a real-time mobile marketplace for Millennials looking for a place to rent.

What it is: RadPad was founded in 2013 to give Millennial renters all over the country an easier way to find apartments and houses to rent from their smartphones in real time. Search for listings by location, or list your own place for rent.

RadPad can be accessed from the app (available for Android and iPhone), or on the website. You can also use RadPad to pay your rent -- and your landlord doesn't have to do a thing. There's no fee to pay rent with a debit card, and you can even schedule automatic payments every month.

Founders: Tim Watson, Tyler Galpin, and Jonathan Eppers

Funding: $US3.8 million from Mike Jones, Justin Fishner-Wolfson, Happy Walters, QueensBridge Venture Partners, Michael Huffington, and Social Leverage

Stance is a celebrity-backed startup that sells fancy socks.

What it is: Celebrities like Nas, Dwayne Wade, and Will Smith have poured money into Stance, a startup that sells premium socks and underwear. Since it was founded six years ago, Stance has sold more than 15 million pairs of socks, which go for between $US12 and $US18 a pair on its website.

Instead of taking the e-commerce route favoured by tech startups, however, Stance is making a name for itself by selling its socks through partnerships in brick-and-mortar retail stores like Nordstrom and Fred Segal.

Founders: Jeff Kearl, Taylor Shupe, Aaron Hennings, and Ryan Kingman

Funding: $US86 million from Science, Mercato Partners, Shasta Ventures, Menlo Ventures, SherpaVentures, Kleiner Perkins, Wasserman media Group, Three Six Zero Group, Matt Coffin, Josh James, Troy Carter, Roc Nation, Rick Alden, Jeff Kearl, Will Smith, Universal Music Group, Dwayne Wade, Emagen Investment Group, Inc., Anthony Saleh, Nas, Kickstart Seed Fund, and August Capital

Tapiture is like Pinterest with an e-commerce twist.

What it is: When you make an account, you tell Tapiture what you're interested in -- it provides you with categories like 'animals,' 'beautiful women,' 'music,' and more -- and then you're shown a collection of pictures that suit you. Some of the pictures have purchase links that let you buy them over on the e-commerce side of Tapiture's website, too.

When it launched in 2012, the company initially marketed itself as a 'Pinterest for men,' but it's since found popularity with 25- to 44-year-olds of both genders. Tapiture has been funded by a number of celebrities, including Hilary Swank and Dwight Howard.

Founders: John Resig, John Ellis, and Leo Resig

Funding: $US2.3 million from Structure Fund, RiverPark Ventures, Maurice Marciano, Brad Keywell, Dwight Howard, Hilary Swank, Happy Walters, Lightbank, Lee Essner, Brian Lee, Sam Bakhshandehpour, JUMP Investors, Dave Leyrer, Barry Sternlicht, Herb Simon, and Amar'e Stoudemire

Tradesy makes it easier for you to sell and buy used clothing, shoes, and accessories.

What it is: Incubated at SoCal tech accelerator Launchpad LA, Tradesy launched in October 2012, providing a buy-and-sell e-commerce marketplace for used upscale clothing, shoes, bags, and accessories. And selling your clothes is as easy as taking a picture of the item you want to sell.

Tradesy enhances your picture and gives you an estimate of how much you can get for your clothes. Tradesy makes 9% commission on purchases made on its platform, but sellers can receive Tradesy credit when they make money, or get cash. Tradesy has more than 3 million customers.

Founders: John Hall, Sash Catanzarite, and Tracy DiNunzio

Funding: $US44.5 million from Bee Partners, Kleiner Perkins, Rincon Venture Partners, Richard Branson, QueensBridge Venture Partners, Red Swan Ventures, Northgate Capital, Riverwood Capital, Anthony Saleh, Launchpad LA, Double M Partners, Daher Capital, and 500 Startups

Trippy is a question-and-answer-based community for travellers.

What it is: Trippy lets travellers ask each other questions to make their experiences travelling the world better. Its goal is to spread what it calls 'helper joy' -- the feeling you get when someone has a great experience because of advice you shared.

Unlike general question-and-answer websites like Quora and Yahoo Answers, Trippy provides travel-specific reviews and answers with pictures and maps. Trippy launched as a finalist in TechCrunch Disrupt after founder J.R. Johnson sold both of his previous, bootstrapped websites VirtualTourist.com and OneTime.com to Expedia.

Founder: J.R. Johnson

Funding: $US5.3 million from Sequoia Capital, True Ventures, SV Angel, Rob Solomon, and True Ventures

UCode teaches kids how to code by showing them how to make apps, websites, and games.

What it is: UCode teaches kids how to code. It's offered both as an after-school program as well as a remote program that lets kids build robots, play games, and learn programming. UCode has four centres throughout California where kids go to learn coding.

Founder Scott Mueller and his team also host events to teach kids how to code their own PAC-MAN game or how to make their own modifications to Minecraft. Angel investor Joanne Wilson and her husband, Union Square Ventures investor Fred Wilson, were impressed by the program Mueller had created. 'Did we invest?' Joanne writes on her blog. 'Absolutely. I am seriously excited about UCode.'

Founder: Scott Mueller

Funding: Unknown

Washio sends someone to do your laundry, so you never have to do it yourself.

What it is: Need to get your laundry done, but don't want to do it yourself? Washio has adopted on-demand service for laundry. Using Washio's mobile app, you can schedule a time to have your laundry and dry cleaning picked up by a Washio 'ninja,' cleaned, and delivered the next day. (In addition, the service promises 'a cookie at every pick-up.')

You pay per pound for your laundry -- in San Francisco it costs $US1.60 a pound -- and dry cleaning costs a little more. Currently, Washio is available in the San Francisco Bay area, Los Angeles, Chicago, DC, and Boston. Washio's revenues have increased eight times over the past year, the company says.

Founders: Juan Dulanto and Jordan Metzner

Funding: $US6.3 million from Oliver Jung, Farzad (Zod) Nazem, SherpaVentures, Signatures Capital, Bobby Yazdani, Canaan Partners, Pejman Mar Ventures, AFSquare, Three Six Zero Group, Haroon Mokhtatzada, Nas, AME Cloud Ventures, Ashton Kutcher, Larry Rudolph, Scooter Braun, Yael Cohen, Althony Saleh, Troy Carter, Ron Burkle, Frank Cooper, Tom Ryan, and Jay Brown

Who What Wear wants to be the fashion news destination for Millennials.

What it is: Founded in 2006 by former Elle editors Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr, Who What Wear is a fashion, style, and celebrity news website for Millennials. Stories on its website include 'The Surprising Brand That Wants to be More Like Zara' and 'The Official Who What Wear Sandals Shopping Guide.'

Who What Wear has web, mobile, and social media content as well as an email newsletter distributed daily. Who What Wear is owned by Clique Media, which also owns beauty and lifestyle brands Domaine and Byrdie.

Founders: Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr

Funding: $US1.7 million from Menlo Ventures, Advancit Capital, SV Angel, Mesa Ventures, and Miroma Ventures

ZipRecruiter makes hiring new employees a breeze.

What it is: ZipRecruiter is a job platform that helps small businesses hire the right people. Businesses can send out job postings to websites like Monster.com, Glassdoor, and multiple social networks in a single click. ZipRecruiter also lets employers easily comb through a database of more than 4 million potential employees.

For job seekers, ZipRecruiter suggests daily listings based on your personalised preferences. Its secret sauce is its machine-learning algorithm, which shuffles through a mountain of job seekers to find the ones best suited for the job. Since launching in 2010, ZipRecruiter has posted more than 700,000 new jobs each month.

Founders: Joe Edmonds, Willis Redd, Ward Poulos, and Ian Siegel

Funding: $US63 million in Series A funding in August 2014 led by Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), Basepoint, and Industry Ventures

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