50 Awesome LA Based Startups You Should Get To Know
50 Awesome LA Based Startups You Should Get To Know
With world famous startups like Snapchat and Beats, the Los Angeles, California startup scene is on the rise and gaining more and more attention.
Venture capital in L.A. continues to rise, with incubators and accelerators like Amplify, Disney Accelerator, and Science Inc. are providing lots of early stage opportunity, and the diversity in these accelerators and venture firms is telling to the depth and diversity of the L.A. talent pool.
Los Angeles top value for entrepreneurs is the opportunity it provides for the merger of technology and entertainment, with studios and entertainment agencies offering a strategic value to entrepreneurs that wish to tackle the space.
We have curated a list of 50 interesting, successful, and innovative startups from early stage to seasoned ventures based in Los Angeles.
1. Club W
Many of us think Napa Valley and wine country when we think of California, so this startup is definitely in the right location. Club W is a direct to consumer wine startup that works with growers and winemakers to offer members access to high quality, small-lot wines around the globe with a price starting at just $13 per bottle.
Members receive personal recommendations based on their online preferences each month with their subscription. Club W removes the middleman which allows them to offer exceptional prices to their members.
Founded in mid 2011, Club W has raised around $13.1M in 4 rounds of funding from Bessemer Venture Partners, CrossCut Ventures, and other VCs.
2. Nasty Gal
This startup originally started as an eBay business launched by founder Sophia Amoruso, and evolved to a hot online fashion destination. Nasty Gal is an ecommerce platform that sells vintage, one-of-a-kind clothing pieces, shoes, and accessories.
The items are sourced from independent designers worldwide. Nasty Gal leaned heavily on social media to grow its business and has a large online following (including 1.2M Facebook likes and 217K Twitter followers).
Nasty Gal has raised $65M in funding in three rounds, with its latest round in February earlier this year led by Index Ventures.
Don’t feel like going to get measured for a tux? The Black Tux allows users to rent their tux completely online, sending customers a measuring tape with instructions on how to get their measurements, and connecting them with one of the U.S.’s top suit-makers.
By cutting out the middleman, The Black Tux lets customers rent stylish suits at an affordable rate, starting at just $95 shipped to your home a full week before the event date (currently only in the US).
The startup has raised $15M in 3 rounds of funding from investors like First Round, Menlo Ventures, The Raine Group, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, and other VCs.
Celebrities like Dwayne Wade, Will Smith, and Nas have invested in this startup which sells premium socks and underwear. Stance designs high end socks for the edgier fashion lover which range between $12 to $18 a pair on its website.
Instead of taking the ecommerce route, Stance has made its name through partnership deals in brick-and-mortar stores like Nordstrom.
Catching lots of attention, Stance has raised $86M in total funding over 4 rounds from 22 investors including August Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Menlo Ventures, Shasta Ventures, Sherpa Capital, and others.
This fashion startup and ecommerce platform with its own online-only luxury brand is part Pintrest and part content creator. StyleSaint manufactures premium designer quality clothing that it sells directly to consumers.
Their fashion community allows members to collect and share their favorite images around the web. StyleSaint creates a real-life collection every six weeks based on its users’ own lookbooks, creating a unique collaboration.
The startup has raised $5.8M in 2 round of funding from e.ventures, General Catalyst Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, and other VCs.
This monthly subscription service has a twist from its vast competition. Quarterly allows users to subscribe to influential people or celebrities they admire, who personally curate mailings 4 times per year.
Each mailing comes with a letter from the contributor and a unique hashtag to guide online conversations. Contributors are in a range of fields and include people like entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, artist Pharrell Williams, and other influential contributors.
Quarterly has raised $4.2M with investment from SparkLabs, Global Ventures, Alexis Ohanian from Reddit, Collaborative Fund, and VegasTechFund.
Self storage is big business, but currently has a messy process that involves a lot of hassle from the consumer end. Clutter launched to solve this problem by creating a model and technology that picks up, securely stores, and efficiently retrieves items customers store with them.
Customers have a photo inventory of their stored items via Clutter’s mobile app, and can easily manage and retrieve items as needed at an affordable rate.
Clutter has raised $2M in seed funding May of this year led by Resolute Ventures, with participation from other VCs to grow its customer acquisition and expand to other markets.
MakersKit is an interactive media company that pairs DIY kits with entertaining instructional videos where users can make and share what they have built via the site’s community.
DIY kits cover a wide range of projects from food, fashion, decor, and more. MakersKit has partnered with ecommerce giants like Fab.com and Zulily, and retail partners like Nordstrom.
The startup raised a $1.5M seed round July of last year led by Tribeca Venture Partners.
Heal is the Uber for home or office doctor visits. The Heal app allows patients to schedule doctor visits to their home or office in less than an hour for $99.
Users type in a few details like their address and reason for the visit, add a credit card, and request a physician who arrives in 20 to 60 minutes at the location of their choice. Doctors are on call from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.
Heal raised $5M in seed funding June of this year from Slow Ventures, March Capital, and numerous other VCs and renowned angel investors. Heal is going to use the funding to expand their operations to 15 markets over the next year.
10. Neural Analytics
This early stage startup is improving upon inadequate diagnostic tools in the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) diagnosis market that are currently imprecise, costly, and invasive.
Neural Analytics created a non-invasive concussion screening device called RapidICP that measures a critical physiologic parameter that currently requires a neurosurgeon to drill a hole into a patient’s skull.
Their patented method measures intracranial pressure using a portable, ultrasound device that can be used by any trained technician. Founded in 2013, Neural Analytics has raised $2.9M in funding.
This startup shows us how combining two proven business models can lead to a successful venture. Investedin launched a crowdfunding platform-as-a-service licensing white label crowdfunding technology to companies looking to create and manage fundraising campaigns.
The startup has raised around $1.8M in 3 rounds of funding from 18 investors including Kamran Pourzanjani of PriceGrabber, Karlin Ventures, Siemer Ventures, Canyon Creek Capital, and other VCs and angels.
What if you could determine a person’s credit worthiness by simply using their cellular data? InVenture is doing just that, with a mission to provide a standardized global credit score for anyone with a mobile phone in under one minute.
Its first product, InSight, combines data collected through InSight with demographic data to create credit scores in real-time which is shared with lenders to help individuals qualify for financial services.
Both the borrower and lender benefits from the standardized credit score that increases efficiency, reduces costs, and lowers interest rates. InVenture has raised $1.2M in seed from investors like India Internet Fund, Collaborative Fund, and Google Ventures.
I always wished for an alternative to the piggy bank for my spare change. Acorns came up with a great solution to this outdated process by creating an app for Iphone and Android that links to a user’s credit or debit card and invests the change from each purchase made into a diversified portfolio of index funds.
Acorns smart portfolio algorithms created by world-renowned economist Dr. Harry Markowitz works behind the scenes to help users build wealth regardless of investing knowledge.
Founded in early 2012, Acorns has raised $32M in 4 rounds of funding from e.ventures, Greycroft Partners, Great Oaks Venture Capital, and other VCs.
Forgot cash to valet your car? CurbStand created an online payment platform that allows consumers to pay and tip their valet via a mobile app on their smartphone.
CurbStand allows previously cash-only valets to now accept secure mobile payments via credit card for their parking services.
Users can also find a location to park and request their car all on the app which is available on iOS and Google Play. Launched in 2013, CurbStand has raised $4M to date in funding.
This P2P online lending platform for the commercial real estate industry allows investors to invest in real estate loans secured by real properties. Property owners and lenders gain access to quick capital to fund their deals.
AssetAvenue sources loan investment opportunities up to $10M, and offers these opportunities to accredited investors as low as $5,000.
The startup has raised $15M in 2 rounds of funding from 10 investors including DCM Ventures, Matrix Partners, and NetEase Capital.
One of the most successful business models in the past few years has been creating a marketplace. Talenthouse did just that for artists, connecting them to brands and mainstream audiences.
Artists are able to retain ownership of their work and earn compensation while brands connect authentically through unique content.
Talenthouse has headquarters in Los Angeles with offices in London, Mumbai, and Munich, and raised their most recent round of $10M in series C funding from ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG. Major brands on the platform include companies like Adidas, Coca-Cola, Spotify, Nikon, and more.
Push a button, and get your dog walked. Wag makes it that simple with their iOS app where dog owners can connect with a vetted community of dog walkers who are background checked, insured, and Wag certified.
Users can schedule walks from as low as $20, and track their dog via the app with real-time gps of the walk. When the walk is complete, the owner receives a report card with a photo, notes, and distance traveled from the dog walker. Wag takes a 40% cut from each transaction, which is on par with current market norms.
Founded late last year, Wag has raised $2.5M in seed funding from Freestyle Capital, CrunchFund, Greylock Partners, and other VCs.
Referred to as AngelList for the film industry, Slated is an online marketplace that connects filmmakers to financiers and industry professionals.
Backed by prominent angel investors in various industries, the platform is an exclusive community limited to accredited investors who need a recommendation from at least two current members.
Filmmakers gain introductions to talent, investors, and sales agents for their projects, while financiers and industry professionals gain access to top trending films. Slated recently raised $2M in a Series B round of funding.
Finding good home care for seniors can be a daunting task. Launched last year, HomeHero decided to tackle this challenge by creating a market that helps families find, hire, and manage quality in home care for their loved ones.
HomeHero vets caregivers via background checks, references, and in-person interviews. Families can search based on location, gender, experience level, and language, and view caregiver profiles that feature reviews, an HD video interview, and offer the ability to book them right there online.
HomeHero has raised $23M from Science Inc., The Social+Capital Partnership, Launch Fund, Tencent Holdings, and Graham Holdings.
This startup is like Airbnb for dogs. For the millions of dog owners out there, DogVacay created a marketplace that connects dog parents with over 20,000 screened pet sitters across North America to make sure their pet is in a loving home while they are away.
DogVacay screens its dog watcher community, who average a 4.96 out of 5 star rating by interviewing, training, and checking references before acceptance. Reservations made on the platform include 24/7 customer support, pet insurance, and daily photo updates of the user’s dog at a rate that is half the average local kennel price.
The startup has raised $47M in 5 rounds of funding from 19 investors including First Round Capital, Foundation Capital, Benchmark Capital, Quest Venture Partners, and more.
Addressing the high turnover rates in the service industry, Workpop launched a marketplace for hourly employees which connects them to employers. Jobseekers can set up a profile and import information from Linkedin and Facebook, list their hours available, and record a brief video intro of themselves.
Employers are able to post job listings for free, and applying to a job is free for employees. If an employer wants to hire a certain user, they can use Workpop to onboard them.
The startup has raised Founded in 2014, Workpop has raised $7.9M in 2 rounds of funding from 15 Investors led by Trinity Ventures.
22. Laurel & Wolf
This startup went on a mission to make professional interior design accessible and affordable to everyone. Founded last year, Laurel & Wolf created a marketplace connecting professional designers with people looking to design their home.
Users answer questions about their lifestyle, taste, and other aspects of the project to receive a “First Looks” from multiple designers from which the client selects one designer to work with. Final projects include a customized style board, details shopping list, floor plan, and set up instructions from your designer.
Laurel & Wolf has raised $5.5M in 2 rounds of funding from 8 investors including CRV, Draper Associates, Karlin Ventures, and other VCs.
23. Shop Hers
This startup created an international luxury marketplace exclusive to pre-owned designer fashion that is curated from their community, which they guarantee to be authentic and high quality. Users can browse items via Shop Hers mobile app or through the website.
Their feature called “Style Soul Mates” matches users who have similar tastes and sizes, and connects them so they can always find things they like that fit.
Shop Hers raised $3.5M in funding led by FLOODGATE with participation from other angels.
This marketplace connects local artisan florists to customers online they might not have reached offline.
BloomNation allows florists to list their designs on their platform for sale by uploading photos and descriptions, while managing their business online through a website builder, POS system, and CRM services. Consumers are able to discover unique, handcrafted arrangements delivered locally.
BloomNation has raised $7.2M from CrunchFund, Mucker Capital, Chicago Ventures, Spark Capital, Chris Dixon, A Capital Partners L.P., and Andreessen Horowitz.
Tradesy, launched in 2012, is a marketplace for selling used clothing, shoes, bags, and accessories. While this may not seem like a novel idea, this e-commerce platform focuses exclusively on in-demand brands.
As a middleman, Tradesy sets its customers up for success by retouching product photos, sending sellers a free shipping kit when their item sells, and handling any kind of returns for a 9% cut of the transaction.
Tradesy has convinced some iconic investors like Richard Branson and John Doerr that the model will scale, and has raised around $44.5M to date from them and other VCs.
Born from the founders overwhelming frustration of the apartment search process, RadPad gives millennials a mobile marketplace to easily search and discover real-time inventory of apartments and homes for rent.
Users can send their application to the landlord via the app, and even pay their rent with a debit or credit card to any landlord. Since launch in 2013, RadPad has teams in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington DC, Miami and Houston.
The startup has raised $12.8M in 5 rounds of funding from Altpoint Ventures, Brendan Wallace, Brick & Mortar Ventures, Goldcrest Investments, SGVC, and other VCs.
27. Realty Mogul
Think crowdfunding for the real estate market, and you have Realty Mogul. This online marketplace connects borrowers and sponsors to accredited and institutional investors.
Investors can pool money online and buy shares of properties like retail spaces, office buildings, and apartment buildings. Borrowers gain access to debt capital, investors have a fast and seamless way to diversify their portfolio, and sponsors can access equity capital.
With 17,000+ active investors, Realty Mogul has raised $45.1M in 5 rounds of funding from Sorenson Capital, Canaan Partners, and other VCs.
Tastemade, launched in 2012, built a business around video content that is food-centric. They have a wide range of video programming in food and lifestyle which is distributed mostly through YouTube, and help people discover things like new dishes, and places to buy food.
Tastemade has also built products allowing others to make and share their own videos of their favorite dishes and restaurants via iPhone and Android app.
Tastemade has raised around $40.3M in 3 rounds of funding from seven investors including Scripps Networks Interactive, Redpoint Ventures, and Raine Ventures.
This startup is disrupting Big Food with its subscription based meal replacement alternative. Soylent is an affordable food (not a supplement) option that has all essential ingredients the body needs to be healthy.
The product is designed to provide maximum nutrition with minimum effort. Soylent can be purchased on a one time basis or through a monthly subscription at a 15% discount. Soylent is currently priced at $3.00 per meal and the company is working on dramatically reducing this price to a fraction of the cost.
The startup has raised $21.5M in funding to date, with the most recent series A round in January earlier this year led by Andreessen Horowitz.
ChowNow provides an online ordering, marketing, and CRM platform for restaurants, and develops mobile apps, integrating ordering on to each of their client’s websites. The startup charges a flat fee to its clients to access the SaaS platform.
An advantage to its competitors is that the model doesn’t require network effects, which allows ChowNow to target small towns and markets with limited density.
The startup has raised $17.7M in 5 rounds of funding lead by Upfront Ventures with participation from other VCs.
This startup will help you learn to cook step by step with its app for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. The app demonstrates every step of a recipe, and has videos on techniques like chopping for new cooks.
Other features include ingredient lists, voice control, automatic timers, and the ability to share recipes with friends.
SideChef raised a $1.2M seed round of funding in December of last year led by Empower Investment and Peacock Capital.
Big Data and Analytics
Big data has become vastly important for businesses in planning marketing and business strategy. Retention Science is a SaaS leveraging massive data sets, machine learning algorithms, stats, and big data analytics to generate customer behavior predictions for ecommerce companies.
Retention Science helps these companies retain and re-engage customers to maximize a customer’s lifetime value. This startup has powered marketing campaigns for well known brands like The Honest Company, Neiman Marcus, and Target.
Retention Science has raised $9.5M in 2 funding rounds from 8 investors including Upfront Ventures, Forerunner Ventures, Mohr Davidow Ventures, and others.
FocusMotion is the Siri for wearables that tracks movement. The solution allows automatic tracking and analysis of movement for things like training, corporate wellness, recovery and more through any OS on any wearable device.
FocusMotion developed a smartwatch app and a smartwatch motion recognition platform for Samsung Galaxy, Sony Smartwatch, and Pebble, and has future plans for Apple Watch.
Founded in 2012, FocusMotion raised $150K in late 2013 through Kima Ventures, and an undisclosed round in mid 2014 from Scrum Ventures.
Bottlenose automates data science on real-time streams of data to help enterprises leverage stream data effectively through their patent-pending, trend Intelligence engine called StreamSense.
StreamSense continuously analyzes billions to trillions of changing data points in real time. Bottlenose helps enterprises identify and understand these data trends that drive their business.
Bottlenose has raised $20.2M in 4 rounds of funding from 18 investors including ff Venture Capital, KPMG, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Origin Ventures, and other VCs.
Tilofy gives a bird’s eye view of what is trending in real-time through its information discovery platform that organizes information from social media and the web by time, location, and context to find trends.
Tilofy gives businesses an overview of data activity in any geographic region to use for analytics and targeting purposes.
Founded in 2013, Tilofy has raised $1M in funding from Plug & Play Ventures.
For Your Business
With industries like online dating and contract jobs like Uber and Lyft drivers increasing at staggering rates, a need for privacy has become more in demand.
Burner created a free app that allows users to create temporary phone numbers to use as long as they want, and dispose of them when they no longer wish to be contacted on them. The app for Iphone and Android provides a fast and safe way to let users have as many numbers as they wish.
Launched in 2013, Burner has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from VCs like David Cohen, Founder Collective, 500 startups, Venrock, Haystack, and TenOneTen Ventures.
FloQast provides accounting departments the most accurate way to close its books with a cloud-based SaaS that centralizes workflow.
Audit managers can delegate tasks, set follow ups, and monitor progress, and the platform has document management support allowing files to be stored and linked for easy access.
Founded by a former senior accountant from SaaS giant Cornerstone OnDemand, FloQast has raised $1.4M in funding from Toba Capital, Amplify.la, and Wavemaker Partners.
Digital billboards like the jumbotrons you see at sporting events all suffer one problem: there is no universal platform to program them. Enplug launched in 2012 to solve this problem by creating a system and app marketplace to support all digital billboards worldwide.
Users plug an HDMI device that already comes preloaded with Enplug software, then download the Enplug app on their mobile device and manage the content they want displayed.
Companies like Marriott, Toyota, and Silicon Valley Bank use Enplug to manage their content. The startup has raised $3.7M in 3 rounds of funding from David Cohen, Howard Marks, and other VCs.
With widely known users like American Idol, Juilliard, UCLA, and other music organizations, Chromatik allows musicians to learn, play, and share music they love.
The tool allows users to maintain collections of sheet music, record and share recordings, and collaborate and gain feedback. The iPad and web app that syncs across all devices enables users to upload music, record tracks, and share with students, teachers, bandmates, and friends.
Chromatik has raised $9.7M to date from celebrities like Will Smith and Bruno Mars, notable investors in the music industry like Virgin Records Co-Chairman Jeff Ayeroff, songwriters Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine, Royal Conservancy-Carnegie Hall Foundation’s Dr. Jennifer Snow, and other angel investors.
This startup, which is also referenced as “the Fitbit of desks”, was launched by an ex Apple engineer. Stir is a kinetic desk that moves from sitting to standing, and has a special engine built in it that adjusts the desk’s height as it learns more about you, tracking things like the time spent sitting and standing and how you burn calories.
The desk has an “active mode” which invites the user to change positions at certain times throughout the work day, and has a movement called “Whisperbreath” that adjusts the desk no more than one inch at a time.
Stir raised a $1.5M seed round in March of last year led by Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh’s Vegas TechFund with participation from Josh Makower, John R. Woodard, Richard Klein and several Apple alumni.
41. Little Labs
Gamemakers and app developers are making the leap to smartwatch interfaces. Little Labs launched to serve this growing need as a smartwatch app studio that creates simple, contextual, and beautifully designed apps for smartwatch brands like Android Wear and soon Apple Watch.
This young startup launched late last year has already made some major headway on Android Wear and Android-interfacing phones.
Little Labs raised a $3M seed round this past May led by New Enterprise Associates with participation from Amplify.la, CrossCut Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Lowercase Capital.
Launched in the Disney Accelerator last year, Naritiv builds programming and audiences on Snapchat for brands, as well as for its own channels. Naritiv’s business mimics Youtube MCNs, and offers Snapchat stars access to large brands.
It offers brand management and tools to grow brands on Snapchat, and has already claimed widely known clients like ABC Family and Marriott International.
Naritiv raised a $1.2M seed round in January this year from Adam Nash, Mucker Capital, Parallel Entertainment, and other VCs.
Social, Video, and Media
Want to set a record? RecordSetter allows its users to create records in any skill set or talent they have, document them on video, and upload them to their site for others to view or challenge them.
Its video library hosts over 35,000 world records from across the globe. Records have been set by celebrities like Jimmy Fallon, Drew Barrymore, Tony Hawk, and Shaquille O’Neal.
RecordSetter has raised around $1.5M with investment from VegasTechFund, 77 Ventures, Chris Sacca, and VantagePoint Capital Partners.
ALLDAY built its editorial media brand with millennials as its target audience. ALLDAY leverages its network of owned and partner social media for audience engagement and content distribution.
Its partners, writers, and editors manage posts, track analytics, and grow engagement through its CMS.
ALLDAY’s distribution network reaches over 200 million followers.
Founded in 2013, ALLDAY has raised $2M in seed funding from Upfront Ventures, 500 Startups, and other VCs.
Referred to as “The Hootsuite for social aggregation”, Fliptu is a suite of social aggregation tools that curates the best social content into beautiful visualizations. Brands can build campaigns and embed it anywhere with a single line of code.
Fliptu has a “dynamic visualization” feature which rotates content in and out, and supports live chat, video, and ecommerce integrations.
Fliptu has raised $2.2M in 4 rounds of funding from 10 investors including kperdew and Scout Ventures.
Social communities are popping up around all types of interests. Plug.dj is following suit by fostering a social community for music lovers where users can consume and share music in real time via virtual rooms on their platform.
Users can connect with people across the globe through shared interests and discover new music they might not have found on their own.
Founded in early 2012, this startup bootstrapped their venture for the first 1.5 years, and then raised a $1.25M round through Javelin Venture Partners.
47. Pluto TV
This startup launched after co-founder Iiya Pozin was showing his daughter Elmo on YouTube and had to continuously hunt for new clips. Pluto TV created topic-based video channels online that give the feeling of watching packed, 30 minute TV shows, rather than dozens of short clips.
Users can discover and consume entertaining and engaging content for free, 24/7 over 100 channels. Viewers can rewind, pause, and fast-forward content just like a normal TV experience.
Pluto TV has raised $13.5M in 2 rounds of funding from 13 investors including U.S. Venture Partners, Chicago Ventures, Great Oaks Venture Capital, and other VCs.
This startup turns coding skill mastery into a fun, competitive game. Codewars launched to allow developers to sharpen their coding abilities by challenging and competing against other developers.
The platform also fosters collaboration amongst community members to share solutions, give constructive feedback, and share techniques. Users are ranked via their mastery of skills, and the leaders moderate the content and community.
Founded in late 2012, Codewars has raised around $1.5M in seed funding from Cornerstone OnDemand, Venture 51, and angel investors.
Startups like WhatsApp and Snapchat are sparking lots of interest in the messaging app space. Launched in 2012, Whisper wanted to create a way for users to express their real thoughts without the shame from posting on a public site.
Whisper saw an opportunity in the space, and launched their mobile messaging app that allows users to send and receive anonymous messages and discover other people’s anonymous messages.
To date, Whisper has raised around $61M in funding led by Shasta Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
The Odd One Out…
uBeam is tackling the problem of charging your devices without having to plug them in. uBeam is taking a completely new approach to this through the use of ultrasonic sound waves which can be converted to energy through uBeam’s technology and transmits this power over the air to charge electronic devices wirelessly.
It is currently the only technology providing a true wireless power safely, and in a great enough distance.
The startup has raised $13.2M in 4 rounds of funding from Upfront Ventures, Zappos co-founder Tony Hsieh, Troy Carter, Mark Cuban, and other VCs. As an added bonus, Upfront managing partner, Mark Suster, is joining uBeam’s board of advisors.
Written by Smash.vc
We invest in profit-focused lifestyle businesses. Also memes, lots of memes.
We take minority ownership positions in "lifestyle businesses".
We're not VC's, but partners for the longterm.