The 23 Hot Los Angeles Startups You Need To Watch

Lisa DonavanLisa Donavan cofounded Maker Studios.

Photo: wikipedia

Los Angeles is quickly emerging as one of the biggest startup hubs.Angel investor Gary Vaynerchuk thinks it will eventually surpass New York and Silicon Valley as the tech capital of the world.

“Los Angeles understands people,” he says.

Vaynerchuk thinks L.A.’s understanding of what’s cool and what’s not and how to promote people and products will put them ahead of the pack in the long term.

Some startups in Silicon Beach are becoming real tech companies, and they’re attracting a lot of investor dollars. A few have raised more than $50 million. Most of the companies being founded focus on video, e-commerce or fashion.

We turned to investors and entrepreneurs who are deeply embedded in the L.A. tech scene and found some of the best new companies coming out of southern California.

ShoeDazzle is a subscription service that sends shoes hand-picked by celebrities to your door every month.

Startup: ShoeDazzle

Date Founded: 2009

Founder: Brian Lee, MJ Eng, and Kim Kardashian

Concept: A subscription-based model that sends users a pair of shoes each month, which are picked by celeb stylists.

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Funding: $60 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Polaris Venture Partners, Crosscut Ventures, and LightSpeed Venture Partners.

Factual is an open data platform for app developers

Startup: Factual

Date Founded: 2007

Founder: Gil Elbaz

Concept: Allows engineers and developers to use data from an open source platform to create apps.

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Funding: $27 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Miramar Venture Partners, Founder Collective, Index Ventures, and others

Omaze is a sweepstakes startup for once-in-a-lifetime experiences

Startup: Omaze

Date Founded: 2011

Founder: Ryan Cummins and Matt Pohlson

Concept: Omaze allows users to search its site for their perfect dream opportunity--be it a spectacular vacation, meeting someone famous, or grabbing lunch with a sports idol. After you find an experience on Omaze, you spend $5 for each entry for your chance to win that prize. Enter as many times as you like with part of your fee going towards a specific cause.

Location: Santa Monica, CA

Funding: n/a

BeachMint helps shoppers find products recommended by celebrities

Startup: BeachMint

Date Founded: 2010

Founder: Josh Berman and Diego Berdakin

Concept: Beachment is a network of several celebrity curated sites. They're subscription-based models, where users can pay a monthly fee and receive goods picked by their idols.

The sites include: JewelMint with Kate Bosworth, StyleMint with the Olsen twins, BeautyMint with Jessica Simpson, ShoeMint with Rachel Bilson, HomeMint with Justin Timberlake, and intiMint with Brooke Burke-Charvet

Location: Santa Monica, CA

Funding: $73.5 million from Accel Partners, Goldman Sachs, New World Ventures, Trinity, and others

Giant Media creates viral video campaigns for huge brands

Startup: Giant Media

Date Founded: 2009

Founder: David Segura

Concept: Besides assisting in the creation of social videos, the startup also provides tools to help brands get the most out of online viewership. Some of the companies Giant Media has helped include Nissan, Levi's, and American Express

Location: Venice, CA

Funding: n/a

Burstly is a mobile ad management tool for app developers

Startup: Burstly

Date Founded: 2009

Founder: Evan and Ryan Rifkin

Concept: Burstly is a mobile ad management tool for app developers. It helps them select ad networks to work with, choose where their ads will run, manage inventory, sell directly and more.

Location: Pacific Palisades, CA

Funding: $7.3 million from GRP Partners, Rincon Venture Partners, SoftBank Capital, and Alex Karelin

GameSalad helps people publish and distribute mobile games.

Startup: GameSalad

Date Founded: 2007

Founder: Michael Agustin, Tan Tran, and Dan Treiman

Concept: GameSalad helps people create mobile games. Its flagship product, GameSalad Creator, is for programming amateurs. It helps them create apps with limited coding knowledge.

Location: Santa Monica, CA (also studios in Austin, TX and San Francisco, CA)

Funding: $7.1 million from Greycroft Partners, ff Venture Capital, Steamboat Ventures, and others

Surf Air is an all-you-can fly monthly subscription to travel first class.

Startup: SurfAir

Date Founded: 2012

Founder: Wade Eyerly

Concept: travellers can globe trot with this unlimited airline membership that provides first-class service on exclusive planes.

Location: Santa Monica, CA

Cardlike gives every Facebook user an FDIC insured bank account and Visa card

Startup: Cardlike

Date Founded: n/a

Founder: Ben Katz

Concept: Allows users of Facebook to own a Visa card, which is insured by the FDIC

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Funding: n/a

Maker Studios helps people build large audiences on YouTube across 1,000+ channels. It has a network of 80 million subscribers and 1 billion monthly views

Startup: Maker Studios

Date Founded: 2009

Founder: Dan Zappin, Lisa Donavan, and Ben Donovan

Concept: Helps people and brands build a presence on YouTube by providing assistance with production, development, and distribution of videos.

Location: Marina Del Rey, CA

Funding: $4 million from Greycroft Partners, GRP Partners, and others

DailyLook sends members fashion items daily, which can be purchased for a limited time

Startup: DailyLook

Date Founded: 2011

Founder: Brian Ree

Concept: A flash sale site that sends members one fashion look per day, which can be purchased online for 36 hours.

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Funding: n/a

Shop-Hers is a socially inspired, user-driven, e-commerce marketplace where women sell and buy premium label, pre-owned clothing and accessories through a unique community of Style Soul Mates

Startup: Shop-Hers

Date Founded: 2012

Founder: Jaclyn Shanfeld and Jenna Stahl

Concept: Shop Hers is a socially inspired, user-driven, e-commerce marketplace where women sell and buy premium label, pre-owned clothing and accessories through a unique community of Style Soul Mates. Users recoup 85% of their chosen selling price. It's kind of like Net-a-Porter with an Etsy or Pinterest feel. Shop-Hers uses an algorithm to curate experiences for users too.

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Funding: Brian Lee and other angel investors.

The Honest Company ships safe baby supplies to parents who pay a monthly subscription fee

Startup: The Honest Company

Date Founded: 2011

Founder: Jessica Alba, Christopher Gavigan, Brian Lee, and Sean Kane

Concept: Honest Co finds and produces safe baby products. It recommends and ships them to parents who pay a monthly subscription fee.

Location: Santa Monica, CA

Funding: $27 million from General Catalyst Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Institutional Venture Partners

Chill helps users to discover the coolest videos online; it has worked with with Jimmy Kimmel and TMZ

Startup: Chill

Date Founded: 2012

Founder: Dan Gould and Brian Norgard

Concept: A social discovery platform that hosts videos. It has been used by Jimmy Kimmel and TMZ.

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Funding: $8 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, William Morris endeavour Entertainment and Atlas Venture

Machinima is a place for gamers to view the latest in gaming online

Startup: Machinima

Date Founded: 2000

Founder: Allen DeBevoise

Location: Concept: A website that provides video gaming content, such as trailers, clips, and teasers for users.

Funding: $49.6 million from MK Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and Google

Riot Games is a gaming studio that brings high tech games online

Startup: Riot Games

Date Founded: 2006

Founder: Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill

Concept: A gaming site with over 11 million active users, which allow users to play free, premium games.

Location: Santa Monica, CA

Funding: $8,000,000 from Benchmark Capital, Tencent and FirstMark Capital

Intelligent Beauty incubates companies in the fashion, beauty and health sectors. It generates about $450 million per year between them.

Startup: Intelligent Beauty

Date Founded: 2006

Founder: Adam Goldenberg and Don Ressler

Concept: Intelligent Beauty incubates and manages beauty companies (under DERMSTORE), weight loss companies (under SENSA), and fashion companies (under JustFab). The company considers itself a brand-building company and rakes in about $450 million in annual revenue.

Location: Manhattan Beach, CA

Funding: $43 million from Technology Crossover Ventures

uSamp helps businesses create surveys and analyse data

Startup: uSamp

Date Founded: 2008

Founder: Matt Dusig and Gregg Lavin

Concept: A market research company that helps businesses utilise online surveys, collect data, and decipher results through a SaaS platform.

Location: Encino, CA

Funding: $14.5 from OpenView Venture Partners, Greycroft Partners, DFJ Frontier

Nasty Gal allows shoppers to browse and buy new and vintage clothes.

Startup: Nasty Gal

Date Founded: 2006

Founder: Sophia Amoruso

Concept: An e-commerce site that originally sold vintage clothes but now has expanded into offering new fashion items. Almost everything that runs on the site sells out in hours.

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Funding: $9,000,000 from Index Ventures

FastPay gives ad agencies loans while they're waiting for brands to pay them for executing expensive campaigns

Startup: FastPay

Date Founded: 2012

Founder: Jed Simon

Concept: Once an ad agency secures a contract from a big name brand, it can take up to 60 days to pay the agency after a campaign is created and executed. Some of the upfront costs can be in the millions, and agencies get stuck with them for an uncomfortably long time.

Instead of raising a round or looking towards a bank for help, agencies can secure a line of credit through FastPay.

Location: Beverly Hills, CA

Funding: $25,000,000 from SF Capital

Dogvacay is like Airbnb for dogs. It finds a place for pets while the owners are away.

Startup: DogVacay

Date Founded: 2012

Founders: Aaron Hirschhorn and Karine Nissim Hirschhorn

Concept: A website where users can find homes for their dogs while away or help dog owners by having pets stay at their place.

Location: Santa Monica, CA

Funding: Undisclosed Series A funding from Andreessen Horowitz. Previously, $1 million seed round led by First Round Capital.

MySocialCloud keeps passwords safe on a secure network.

Startup: MySocialCloud

Date Founded: 2010

Founder: Stacey Ferreira and Scott Ferreira

Concept: MySocialCloud allows users to store passwords and user names on an ultra secure site. Once a user visits a site that requires a login, they click a button and the password/user name fields auto populate. More recently, it also allowed people to store bookmarks and organise everything they love online into lists along with discovery of new content through Facebook and Twitter.

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Funding: $1 million from Richard Branson and Jerry Murdock from Insight Venture Partners

Hypemarks helps you discover the web through people you care about. It aggregates social media messages from industry influences and hosts them in one place

Startup: Hypemarks

Date Founded: 2011

Founder: Tim Sae Koo, Ryo Chiba, Eunice Noh, Nikhil Aitharaju, William Wang

Concept: Hypemarks aggregates tweets, pictures and links from celebrities and influencers across a number of topics; readers can scan a single Pinterest-like page to learn about an industry in a snapshot.

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Funding: $370,000 from Idealab and others.

BONUS: Cornerstone OnDemand isn't a startup anymore, but it's one of the L.A. tech scene's biggest companies. It helps employers manage workers via software; It generates more than $50 million per year.

Startup: Cornerstore OnDemand

Date Founded: 1999

Founder: Adam Miller

Concept: Cornerstone OnDemand is a cloud software program that assists companies in managing employees through recruitment, growth, skill development, and collaboration. In 2010 it generated nearly $50 million in revenue, up from $11 million in 2007.

Location: Santa Monica, CA

Funding: $44.7 million from Bay Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Meritech Capital Partners

BONUS: LegalZoom is one of the most successful private tech companies, generating ~ $100 million in annual revenue

Startup: LegalZoom

Date Founded: 1999

Founder: Eddie Hartman, Brian Lee, Robert Shapiro and Brian Liu

Concept: The startup, founded by lawyers, makes it easy to file legal paperwork online. It's cheaper than hiring a lawyer, and it puts the legal jargon in plain English. Users can file everything from divorce paperwork to trademark applications on LegalZoom.

Location: Glendale, CA

Funding: $66 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers and Institutional Venture Partners

For more awesome startups, don't miss:

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