A Quick History of Silicon Beach

Actually, this is Laguna Beach, but it’s close.

What is Silicon Beach, anyway? Basically it’s a moniker that refers to tech companies, or those entertainment companies that overlap with tech (and I guess they all do, or will), that are located in part of Los Angeles near the Pacific Ocean: Santa Monica to the north, Playa del Rey to the south, and east a couple of miles or so to Culver City.

The role of available real estate and appropriate infrastructure looms large—it certainly helps that Culver City, eastern Santa Monica and the Venice area all had areas ripe for development or repurpose. Add to that the major new areas of Playa del Rey (where it’s as if a brand new city emerged from the wetlands and the sand) and the Metro’s Expo Line light rail from DTLA to Santa Monica and poof!

The Water Garden Complex was built in the 1990s, and Universal Music Group moved in. Of course, MGM studio (later Sony) was historically in Culver City. Early companies that embraced the area included Hulu, TrueCar, BeachMint, YouTube (Google) and SnapChat.

The attraction for millennial workers and others: Not only is it just real estate, it’s very attractive for prospective employees—who wouldn’t want to go skating or play volleyball or go for a dip at lunch or after work? Certainly, amenities are an added bonus.

The unique thing that separates Silicon Beach from other high tech corridors is the presence of the entertainment business and the omnipresent Hollywood legacy. At its most basic, Silicon Beach is the latest iteration for the area which has seen numerous boom cycles from the early 20th century, when beachgoers shared the area with oil derricks. I would say it’s a huge improvement!


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