With Snap expected to go public as early as the end of March, the start-up scene in Los Angeles is getting more attention, and Mayor Eric Garcetti hopes it will kickstart the city's tech ecosystem.
"MySpace, while it never had the success that folks thought it would, spawned a whole generation of entrepreneurs who started their companies and used the knowledge that they gained and the network that they had to start other companies," the mayor said.
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Mayor Garcetti expects the IPO from Snapchat's parent to have the same, if not a much larger, effect.
"Folks will have the capital now to spin off from Snap their own ideas and their own companies. And it will be that anchor that shows that for a long time the buzz about LA was 'you start a company here, get acquired,' instead of starting a company that would really become a pillar and become that linchpin for future activity," Garcetti says. "That will be an amazing day for LA."
To that end, Mayor Garcetti hosted Tech Fair LA on Thursday, which attracted more than 13,000 people and over 275 companies.
The mayor walked through the crowds wearing pair of Snap Spectacles, the glasses that automatically capture short clips of video. "I should probably Snap this whole thing, but my political advisor said don't wear these during the interview," Garcetti said.
Despite the success of Snap, Tinder, and SpaceX, entrepreneurs in Los Angeles still complain that the city lacks the deep bench of engineering and tech talent found in Silicon Valley. With over 131 institutions of higher learning, Los Angeles graduates more engineers in than any city in America, he said said.
When Garcetti started as mayor the city was losing about 70% of the engineers graduating from college in Los Angeles, as they left for jobs in Silicon Valley, Boston, and New York.
After a few years of working with the heads of those universities, and promoting the city as hospitable to their careers, now over 70% of those engineering graduates are staying in the city, said Garcetti. "In fact I talked to a recent startup CEO here in downtown LA. He said I have two engineers that recently graduated from USC. They turned down Harvard and MIT because they said 'LA's where it's at.'"