CNBC Disruptor 50

CNBC Disruptor 50 launching roadshow on start-up success. First stop: Los Angeles

Key Points

After six years of evaluating thousands of start-ups, CNBC has seen how some CEOs have been able to break the rules, challenge established markets and create new ones. The most impressive start-up founders have defied the odds and scaled businesses with such momentum that they've forced the corporate establishment to make changes. Business owners and investors can learn a lot from these growth champions.

As CNBC's annual Disruptor 50 list enters its sixth year, we're taking the project on the road. CNBC is hosting a new event, bringing together Disruptor 50 founders past and present, along with leaders and investors in thriving start-up communities.

Snap is one of the most successful business ideas to come out of southern California's thriving start-up scene, which has received $20 billion in VC money since 2010.
Courtesy of Snap

The roadshow's first stop is Los Angeles, with one of the country's most vibrant and diverse start-up scenes, at the intersection of technology, media and fashion. Home to CNBC Disruptor graduates Snap and Dollar Shave Club, more than $20 billion has flowed into the southern California start-ups since 2010, according to PitchBook. That makes it the fifth-largest venture capital ecosystem in the country, behind only San Francisco, San Jose, New York and Boston.

LA's start-up community — with access to the creativity of Hollywood's top talent — has also drawn big investments from tech giants. Google continues to invest in its YouTube Space Los Angeles studio, Facebook recently expanded its own Los Angeles studio, and Netflix continues to take over more space in Hollywood as it doubles down on exclusive content.

In the Fall we'll take the Disruptor 50 Roadshow to Philadelphia. Philadelphia start-ups have attracted more than $3 billion in venture capital over the past four years, including a record $1 billion in deals in 2016, according to PitchBook. Despite a funding setback in 2017, in line with a national trend, in only a few years Philadelphia has become an attractive place for start-ups to take root, as its more than 100 degree-granting institutions churn out top talent. The city is a prime example of what legendary investor Steve Case calls the "rise of the rest" — the explosion of innovation in cities around the country rather than just limited to the coasts, as the barriers to entry for entrepreneurs come down.

This is a unique moment for private companies. Last year global venture capital investing hit a decade high of $155 billion following a strong final quarter to the year. The global VC investment market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 27.5 percent between 2018 and 2022, according to a report by

Five-time CNBC Disruptor Dropbox begins trading as a public company after its IPO on Friday.

Many of the disruptive companies on the CNBC Disruptor 50 list are in the midst of crucial transformations. It's no longer enough to have a big idea to challenge the status quo — a giant can often swoop in and shut newcomers down in a flash. Companies need to transition from breaking the rules to making, and abiding by, a new set of rules for the industry faster than ever. The companies on Disruptor 50 lists past and present have had a lot to learn, and now they have a lot to teach to the next generation of innovative start-ups.

For more information about CNBC's Disruptor 50 Roadshow, go to:

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