Written By
Marissa Peretz


7 Best Kept Secret Los Angeles Tech Startups

One of the many advantages of working in the Los Angeles tech ecosystem is the ability to watch new startups emerge and thrive. We consider it a privilege to work with them and watch them secure venture capital and angel investments from an increasing pool of local, accredited investors. We see several new startups including accelerators, tech companies, and clean energy players that the Los Angeles community should watch in 2017.

In the heart of San Fernando Valley, hardware accelerator Make in LA is cultivating the next generation of Los Angeles hardware startups. They de-risk the process of hardware development, and they support makers from idea through functional prototype and onward to launch. Make in LA is intriguing to watch both because of their own rise to success as a new startup and because they are a launch pad for an increasing portfolio of rising hardware companies.

One unique hardware startup to graduate from Make in LA is Emerge. Founders Sly Lee, Isaac Castro, and Mauricio Teran have a vision: to make our virtual and digitally connected world tangible by using sound waves to mimic the feeling of actual objects. In doing so, they address a paradox in the digital age: as we become more connected, we have reduced our ability to genuinely interact with other people. Founders include World Economic Forum Global Shapers and an MIT Solve Fellow.

Thrive Market is one of Los Angeles’s best kept grocery secrets. Picture Costco without the long lines, parking lot traffic, comically large bottles of vodka, or diet dooming Aisle of Snacktopia. The result is magnificent. Their mission is to quickly complete the time-consuming grocery shopping task on their members’ “To Do” list and save their community money in the process. They partner directly with manufacturers of healthy foods, and their customers shop online and benefit from negotiated product discounts.

As drones have become more prevalent for work and leisure endeavors, NVdrones created a set of cloud-based tools to help drone pilots easily comply with government regulations and keep track of their fleet’s activity and maintenance needs. The Pasadena-based founders are alumni of USC and SpaceX. The company began in Viterbi Startup Garage, a local tech accelerator created by the USC Viterbi School of Engineering in collaboration with VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Founders Carey D’Souza and Jeshua Nanthakumar leveled up from triple A video game studios to create password disrupter Sonikpass. Their background in video game development, which explores the intersection of humanity, tech, and often hackers, gave them an acute understanding of both the need for multifactor authentication and the desire to eliminate cumbersome passwords. In an increasingly digital world, they can make our lives much more pleasant.

Divergent 3D envisions a world where 3D printing streamlines the auto manufacturing process. This Los Angeles startup has already won the respect of traditional, global auto manufacturers. Peugeot recently announced a partnership with Divergent 3D. Initially, they will use the technology as part of their prototyping process with plans to explore 3D printing for volume production in the future.

Speaking of automotive innovation, as Electric Vehicles (EVs) continue to grow in popularity, so does the consumer need for a superior EV battery. And that is where Romeo Power comes in. This local startup currently produces the most energy dense and powerful EV battery packs on the market. We spend a lot of time in our cars, and our commuting geography tends to be complicated. So it is only natural that Silicon Beach attracts problem solvers to reduce our carbon commuting footprint.

One of LA’s best attributes is our sense of community. We have the opportunity to welcome many more startups in the coming months and years, especially those who want to improve life and secure our future for generations to come. Know any other great startups that should make our list? Reach out and let us know. We love to highlight the incredible talent in Silicon Beach.