Young Tech Execs Schilling Out Big Bucks to Live Large
Bobby Murphy’s living quarters are not exactly what you would expect from the average 25-year-old living in the LA area. While most people his age are just getting by paying rent at their apartments, he bought a home in Venice for $2.1 million. Of course, Bobby Murphy is not your average quarter-lifer. Murphy, along with Evan Spiegel, is one the co-founders of Snapchat, a popular photo messaging app.
Spiegel also lives in West LA, near his childhood friends and fellow tech entrepreneurs Sean Rad – co-founder and CEO of Tinder, a location-based social discovery app – and Michael Heyward – co founder and CEO of Whisper, an anonymous messaging mobile app.
Murphy, Spiegel, Rad and Heyward are the faces of a new and exciting trend in Silicon Beach, the burgeoning Los Angeles answer to San Francisco’s Silicon Valley. West LA is a place where young tech entrepreneurs can start their businesses and reside comfortably in the center of the city’s action.
Which Companies Call Silicon Beach Home?
The name Silicon Beach has been floating around for at least ten years, but following the successes of Snapchat, Hulu, Nasty Gal, Dollar Shave Club and BeachMint, has become a more recognized moniker. Other big names that are based in Silicon Beach include Google, Yahoo, BuzzFeed and YouTube, which attracts even more talent to the area.
The question is often asked: Why LA rather than the Silicon Valley? There are a lot of different answers to that question. For Murphy and Spiegel, they felt that Snapchat couldn’t have found a warm reception in Northern California (somewhat evidenced by the fact that their Stanford classmates initially rejected their app.) Rad says he likes LA’s diversity; where Silicon Valley is a bubble of engineers and entrepreneurs, the Westside is a mix of backgrounds. Heyward likes the familiarity of LA. All told, they just like the comfort and atmosphere of Los Angeles.
Experts predict that the startup scene in Los Angeles will just continue to grow. Omaze, Burstly, Giant Media, Cardlike and Maker Studios are among the startups that could be the next big thing in the near future.
In typical LA fashion, even the celebrities are getting in on the startup action. Kim Kardashian is one of the co-founders of ShoeDazzle, an e-commerce site. Jessica Alba founded The Honest Company, which makes non-toxic, eco-friendly products for babies. BeachMint features six subscription based sites that are curated by celebrities like Cher, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Simpson, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.
Westside Real Estate Boom
The combination of entrepreneurs, investors, engineers and other people associated with the lucrative tech startups has brought a real estate boom to the Westside. By some estimates, 30% of buyers in the beachside real estate market are in tech. Housing and condo prices in cities like Santa Monica, Marina del Rey and Venice have gone up, with house prices closing around one million apiece. Even rent in the exclusive apartment complexes – particularly the ones geared towards the tech savvy and boasting free high-speed Wi-Fi – have hit highs.
There will always be only one Silicon Valley. The concentration of engineers and investors, along with the collective entrepreneurial spirit, is irreplaceable. However, the LA tech scene has carved a spot of its own out and just as real estate in the San Francisco and Santa Clara Valley thrived thanks to Silicon Valley, home buyers can expect the LA luxury market to blossom as Silicon Beach thrives.