It wasn't long ago that Dollar Shave Club turned a sensational YouTube video into a billion dollar exit to Unilever - and Los Angeles' tech scene has been dropping one blockbuster after another since. Though Elon's Master Plan Part Deux, as reported by Silvia, was the big news of August, just this weekend Snap Inc (formerly Snapchat) revealed its first foray into hardware, the Spectacles - and with a veiled "rest in peace" nod to Google Glass, setting sights on besting Silicon Valley at its own game. Show business isn't the only industry keen on spinoffs here.
But like any Hollywood story, some of the most interesting takes come from the up-and-comers: startups just getting their start in Los Angeles, building everything from new human-machine interaction to feeding SpaceX. Curated by our Startup Program team, almost two dozen of these stars are joining us at September 27th's Startup Grind SoCal event in Los Angeles, having raised a collective $20 million.
These are our bets on the blockbusters you'll be talking about soon - and you can meet them at SoCal before they get too famous to shake hands. Here are some of our favorites:
AppAll Mobile wants you to stop worrying about your phone storage space - but rather than storing your docs or videos, AppAll Mobile puts the biggest mobile storage hogs on the cloud: your apps. No more compatibility issues, everything remains updated, and it’s effortless to use.
Based right in Santa Monica, Bambino is a helping parents find, book, and pay neighborhood babysitters. The cherry on top: Bambino lets neighbors rate and recommend their favorite sitters, and handles booking and payments in-app.
Beatgasm has built a fan-supported marketplace of royalty-free music to help up-and-coming musicians actually make a living off their craft. Love something you heard on Beatgasm? Tip the artist right from the site, and recommend them to your friends.
The 10-liter DayOne Waterbag lets you make, store, and transport clean drinking water in just 30 minutes. DayOne Response is working with AmeriCares, ChildFund International, and the International Medical Corps to get its product into underserved communities, where it can provide a family of 4 with clean drinking water for 2 months.
Dryvrs bills itself as the first on-demand company focused on ending drunk driving, merging Uber-style ridesharing with the added feature of requesting a driver for your own car if you're unable to operate it safely. Not only are can you avoid ditching your car or getting into an accident, but you'll also be supporting Mothers Against Drunk Driving with a portion of every trip.
Watching TV and see something you like? Blending mobile commerce with second screen viewing, EyeBuy is letting brands offer products being shown in their programs for immediate purchase from the EyeBuy app.
So, saw something cool on EyeBuy or online - but can’t throw down that kind of money all at once? Insto lets buyers and sellers conduct a purchase in installments that work for each party, all from a great looking mobile app.
Jewel Toned is on a mission to create lingerie supporting the curves and dreams of all women. Fit for the boardroom, red carpet, and grocery store alike, Jewel Toned garments are shapeware somewhere between underwear and outerwear, but on the mark in comfort and fit.
Local Roots Farms designs, builds and operates vertical farms that grow 365 days a year with 97% less water than outdoor agriculture, pesticide and herbicide-free. They’re is a turkney farming solution, putting everything necessary to supply vegetables to Tender Greens, SpaceX, University of Southern California, and many more in the most efficient space possible. Considering the clientele, we’re wondering if a Local Roots Farm might end up on Mars before we know it.
Next Billion is empowering people with disabilities to continue giving back to society with the help of mentors and career guidance. Matched based on field of expertise, relationship with a particular disability, and personal experience, a disabled individual works with a mentor to become happier and more productive. With a market of 1.27B people with disabilities, Next Billion hopes to become the go-to platform for people with disabilities to level-up their careers.
Like a stock broker for sports picks, Picking Duck helps users decide who to built into their fantasy teams or how to bet on real sporting events using statistical records. Anyone can buy and sell guidance on the platform, with a money-back guarantee on rotten tips.
PickMySolar hopes to become the Priceline for solar installations. If you’re thinking of installing panels on your own home, PickMySolar will let over 100 contractors bid on making the installation, resulting in better consumer deals, letting you complete the whole comparison shopping process in just an hour.
Pulled brights together contractors, vendors, and distributors into a single platform to more painlessly tackle big real-world projects, like new construction. With all your relationships and products in one place, Pulled lets you more transparently track costs and the work being done.
SalesLoggr would like you to meet Mark - your virtual sales asisstant. Think of Mark as Siri for Salesforce, who listens to calls and intelligently dictates information directly to your CRM, eventually helping you improve your calls and close more deals.
With all the software designed for better business off-sites, why shouldn’t students get the same treatment? Enter SimplyAfterSchool, a platform to schools to organize awesome after-school programs for their students. Handling promotion, payment, and attendee tracking - down to their allergies - SimplyAfterSchool is bringing school programs into the 21st century.
UNUM helps you make Instagram beautiful with a simple and elegant photo planner. Used by celebrities and influencers to style their accounts extra-large photos and automatic updates, UNUM lets you visualize, draft, and schedule your Instagram plan of attack like the best in the business.
If you’re as big a rideshare fan - and as price sensitive - as we are, Up Hail is going to be a must-try. By collecting trip and surge data from multiple rideshare services - as well as taxis, limos, trains, and more - Up Hail hopes to become your commute search engine. As an added benefit, Up Hail serves up promos that might further knock down the price of your trip.
Velvet Ropes - launching at Startup Grind SoCal - is on the way to becoming an amateur paparazzi's secret weapon. A digital celebrity homes and hot spot locator, Velvet Ropes lets users home in on their favorite stars anywhere. Though it’s sure to become a Hollywood favorite, we’re betting the media will get a kick out of this one, too.
Finally, a phone for the latest generation of digital natives! The Pipsqueak - Yip Yap’s first product - is a smarphone built for, you guessed it, your toddler. Moderated via Bluetooth by a responsible adult from an accompanying (adult) smarphone app, the Pipsqueak is free of contracts or monthly fees and is built tough to withstand the wrath of event the grumpiest 3-6 year old.