Bisnow hosted a Rise of Silicon Beach conference on Thursday February 26th, 2015 at the Water Garden in Santa Monica. Matt Miller of Cresa led a panel of four Los Angeles Technology Company CEOs on what they were looking for in their office space. Here are some of the takeaways.
1. Companies look for the right vibe and right facility depending on the company’s stage. As a start up, they may look for something more edgy and with less thrills and prestige. Early stage companies need to consider what investors will think when they visit the company. The offices should not appear extravagant. Later stage companies want to portray that they made it. This could take the form of many amenities: gyms, cafeterias, yoga classes, meditation rooms, etc.
2. The CEOs wanted their employees to stay on campus for lunch and not to leave the facility.
3. It is now easier to recruit engineers to Los Angeles. There is now a critical mass of technology companies in Los Angeles, and it is socially acceptable to locate a tech company in Los Angeles now. It use to be that you could only recruit entertainment, advertising, and media talent. Now you can recruit engineers from out of town. However, it is easier to recruit engineers trained in Los Angeles and not lose them to other geographical areas.
4. The positives for recruiting are the beach and the weather. Engineers from other areas enjoy the weather and are impressed with the beach amenities when they come to visit.
5. The negatives for recruiting are the traffic and cost of housing. Once employees get older and have children, they want a house and are forced into long commutes. Initially recruits fall in love with the beach scene and don’t realize the commute they may endure.
6. Where a potential employee lives may greatly influence what firm he chooses to work at.
7. The CEOs based their office location decisions on proximity to where they lived.
8. There are different tech clusters all over Los Angeles with different personalities.
12. Tech is moving to Downtown very slowly. Craycroft ventures just located an office in Downtown Los Angeles. There is more tech in the South Bay. Commuting east is difficult. Employees who live on the Westside don’t know how long it will take them to get home from Downtown, and it makes it hard for them to plan their day. Also, employees who live in Downtown and commute to the Westside usually don’t last more than nine months.
13. Lots of people live in the South Bay and commute into the Westside as long as they live north of Hermosa Beach.
14. With all the travel requirements, proximity to LAX is still a consideration in the office location decision.
15. Los Angeles has the newest and fastest growing tech scene, and it will grow faster than Seattle’s or Austin’s.
16. Los Angeles capital sources do more seed funding. For later stage funding, companies need to go to venture capital companies up North.