“In the last two years, Silicon Beach—as people call the startup scene in Venice and Santa Monica—has evolved from a trumped-up trend story to a very real phenomenon,” writes Nellie Bowles in the new issue of The California Sunday Magazine. Her story, titled “The SoCal Network,” features photos by Lauren Greenfield, who documented “the coders, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, designers, and scientists (and, yes, one actress) behind L.A.’s tech boom.”
Lauren photographed inside the companies’ offices and shot documentary-style portraits, ultimately producing images of the Honest Company, Google Los Angeles, Science Media LLC, JibJab, Zefr, Whisper, and the Rubicon Project, as well as of Kara Nortman, partner at Upfront Ventures and co-founder of children’s product company Seedling; J.R. Johnson, founder and CEO of Trippy; Brett Crosby, co-founder and COO of PeerStreet; Science Media LLC CBO Peter Pham, vice president of finance Robert Carter, CFO Tom Dare, CLO Greg Gilman, and CEO Mike Jones; Plus Capital founder and managing partner Adam Lilling; Zefr head of marketing Dave Rosner and cofounder Zach James; Lowercase Capital managing director Matt Mazzeo; Honest Company founders Christopher Gavigan, Jessica Alba, Brian Lee, and Sean Kane; video journalist and food enthusiast Katie Quinn; the Rubicon Project’s Eduardo Ramos, Benjamin Raifman, Greg Raifman, Joe Prusz, and Frank Addante; and Whisper CEO Michael Heyward.
Lauren also wrote an essay describing her own observations of how Venice Beach has changed since she moved there with her family in 1974. She recalls that in her childhood, the area was gritty and sometimes unsafe, but “…the neighborhood also brimmed with art and artists, with idealism and social engagement, with diversity both of income and race, and with the palpable excitement of the counterculture. The adults of my parents’ generation were drawn to Venice for an alternative lifestyle, and for the sense of freedom long promised by the West. It was a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood with fresh air in a city where most lived in smoggy and isolated suburbs connected by highways. My dad used to say it was the only place the poor could live at the beach.”
She goes on to note that “…the innovators at the companies I photographed have some of the same rebellious, risk-taking spirit that has defined Venice since Abbot Kinney decided to dig canals.”
Read “The SoCal Network,” and Lauren’s essay, here: story.californiasunday.com/silicon-beach-la-tech-boom.