Silicon Beach Fest Celebrates Tech Startups and Hollywood in LA | Pics, Highlights and What’s Next!

Jun 28, 2012 • Events, Silicon Beach Fest
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The first-ever Silicon Beach Fest attracted more than 2,000 attendees from LA, San Francisco, San Diego, Santa Barbara, New York, Toronto, and London to celebrate LA startups and entertainment with panels, parties, pitch fests, hackathon, and beach games: volleyball, basketball and surfing lessons in Santa Monica and Venice on June 21-23, 2012.

TechCrunch, Forbes, PandoDaily, and other national and local media covered the fest, centered in Santa Monica and Venice at venues with views of the beach on picture-perfect sunny days.

“LA’s best chapter is about to be written,” said Eric Garcetti, LA City Council Member and Mayoral Candidate. He kicked off the fest with his opening keynote, saying LA is a unique city of mash-ups, where tech, startups and entertainment – plus creativity, cultures, and passion – mix with successful results. “Let us come together and celebrate…”

The mashup theme was reflected in the SBF programming, which included panels highlighting accelerators, VCs, startups, developers, movies, TV, music, web content, art, fashion, social good, surf & skate, and more. Panels were based at hubs including Leadership, Branding / Advertising, Social Media, Entrepreneurs, Community and more.

Speakers gave engaging insights on panels, from companies including: VCs, accelerators (StartEngine, Amplify, Launchpad, MuckerLab, Originate), entertainment (Sony Pictures, FOX, NBC, The GRAMMYs, Interscope Universal Music Group), startups (BeachMint, ShoeDazzle, Pose, Viddy, Mogreet, DocStoc, PageWoo, PromoJam, Machinima, Riot Games, SGN), advertising (OMD, Ignited, Deutsch, TBWA \ Chiat \Day, Edelman, engage:BDR), as well as CAA, Klout, Ustream, Rock the Vote, and many more.

Silicon Beach Fest, created by Digital LA and presented by engage:BDR, is the first startup / entertainment fest in LA with programming by tech community team effort including companies (Digital LA, engage:BDR, StartEngine, TechZulu, PromoJam, PageWoo, venues (Hotel Erwin, Viceroy Hotel, Cross Campus, Coloft, CoWorks, Working Village, io/LA).

Partners provided products and services including: Uber, Here on Biz, ParkMe, Simply Petals, Triptrotting, Bloodhound, Planana, Pop-Up Pantry, EventSorbet, ROC, Startup Car, Pulsoviral, TrueCar, PopChips, ONE Coconut water, Gamer Food, Zevia.

“It’s great to get the tech and Hollywood communities together to celebrate digital innovation,” said Kevin Winston, creator of the Silicon Beach Fest, and Digital LA CEO/Founder. “You could feel the energy and excitement from getting everyone together, from the opening party to the inspiring panels; the creative pitches at the hackathon, demo day, angel pitch fest, and student pitch fest; and the good-times bonding from the nightly parties to the beach volleyball court. Tons of info and tons of fun!”

Attendees love the SBF energy. “Thank you for putting together such a fantastic festival with such smart minds and genuinely collaborative people from so many parts of Digital LA and beyond,” said Callie Miller, a panelist on the PR for Startups panel. “I had an incredible time, met so many great people, and I’m inspired by several of my SBF conversations to launch three new projects in LA. This would not have happened without SBF.”

Attendees also gave @SBFestLA #SBF much tweet love:

RT @acheeseman Wow, #SBF what an amazing couple of days! Thanks to all of my old & new friends for making it so rich with optimism, expertise, & wisdom.

RT @OEInnovation #SBF why I live in #LA: intersection of #beach #tech #entrepreneur #entertainment. & #celebrity to pull off anything!

RT @urlgrl @DigitalLA had an amazing time at #SBF. can’t wait for next year!!

National and local press coverage so far is listed below. If u see an article or write a blog post, email us or leave a comment below with a link to your story and we’ll add it in.

TechCrunch: What LA Accelerators Want


TechZulu: Eric Garcetti Opening Keynote (VIDEO)

Women 2.0: LA Holds first Silicon Beach Fest

Examiner: Silicon Beach Fest Showcases Innovation

Santa Monica Patch:  Silicon Beach Fest Kicks off in Santa Monica, Venice (VIDEO)

Pandodaily: Grading “Silicon Beach Fest” Version 1.0

Code Monkey Hackathon song (VIDEO ABOVE)

Abbot Kinney Venice Blog: The New West Coast Digital & Creative Hubs: Venice and Santa Monica

Kindling’s: L.A. Geeks Unite

Hollywood Today: The Digital World of Silicon Tech Collides with the Flashy Stardom of Hollywood

Univision 34: ‘Silicon Beach’: la ola tecnológica de Los Ángeles trae innovación, empleos y sospecha

CNBC: Silicon Valley vs. Silicon Beach? Tech Start-Ups Flock to L.A.

Photos of the fest featured many tech fest only-in-LA palm trees and ocean views. As always, Digital LA took a ton of pics. Ready set tag in the Digital LA – Facebook SBF photo album! We’re also collecting pics from the hubs and press and will release more pics as we get them.

Thank you all for helping make SBF happen, including engaging attendees, smart panelists, amazing volunteers, up-til-3a organizers, supportive partners and sponsors, and gorgeous hotels Erwin and Viceroy. Special shoutouts to Hackathon/website Jason Crilly and Holden Steinberg (Page Woo), Advertising/Branding Hub organizers Tameka Kee, Hank Leber; Dan Dato and Ronen Olshansky (Cross Campus), PromoJam’s Social Media Hub’s Amanda MacNaughton, Matt MacNaughton and Mei Mei Lam (SBF logo), media Efren Toscano and Amanda Coolong (TechZulu), PR teams Kelley Coughlan and Jenn Deese (Melrose PR), Kim and Rosalind (Spin PR), Nicole Jordan and Ryan (Radix Collective), and Kristin Martell; logistics (Maria and Roxy), volunteer coordinators (Richard and Brandii), Howard Marks and John Diep (StartEngine), Jason Nazar (Startups Uncensored), Shira Lazar (What’s Trending), and many many more. Thx party hosts Siemer & Associates, JuntoBox Films, Wiredrive, Giant Media, 31Ten & Areal.


There’s so much content to cover, we’ll highlight various SBF events over the next several days. To start:


More than 100 developers on 13 teams hacked from Thursday – Saturday to pitch amazing ideas to our team of a dozen CTO judges, at the SBF HQ Cross Campus. Developers ranged from a 18 year old whiz kid to a Yale team who flew in from Yale to participate. Congrats to team Infected for winning more than $50K in prizes, including StartEngine investment, Peak Hosting cloud hosting, NDMS payment processing, remote control helicopters and toy cars, desktop missile launchers and more. Thanks to organizers Jason Crilly and Holden Steinberg of PageWoo, with Jad Meouchy, Alex Benzer, Ari Rashti, Dan Dato, Ronen Olshansky, Aaron, Cooper Harris, Spin PR.

Demo Day / Angel Pitch

More than 500 attendees attended StartEngine’s Demo Day and Angel Pitch Day at Shutters. StartEnginge debuted its Q2 Class, with founder Howard Marks fireside chat with Jason Calacanis, founder of Launch and Shira Lazar from What’s Trending moderated Angel Pitch Day after an entertaining discussion with Josh Berman, CEO of BeachMint. Investors attending included: Benchmark, New World Ventures, True Ventures, Anthem Venture Partners, Rustic Canyon Partners, IdeaLab, GRP Partners, Tech Coast Angels, Pasadena Angels, and Maverick Angels. (Photo by TechZulu).

Student Pitch Fest

Congrats to That’s Suspicious Behavior (USC), the female-led team which won the grand prize in the student pitch fest with ten teams competing from USC, UCLA and Yale via 5-min presentations at CoWorks. That’s Suspicious Behavior is an app that lets you report shady activity like “Aggressive Begging,” “Creepy Person” or “Fight” in real time and share with others around you. TSB wins the grand prize, a “Coworking All Around LA” Prize Pack including one-month memberships at CoWorks, Cross Campus, Working Village, io/LA, and ROC, valued at more than $2,600. Thanks to students and organizer UCLA comp sci Ph.D Alex Vasilescu, w judges Mark Jeffrey, Jacques Habra (Noospheric), George (ShoeDazzle), and Alex (AtThePool). ShipMate (UCLA) took second place and Where My Dogs At (USC) placed third.

Social Good panel

Social good startups shared how they got started and do-good digitally at Hotel Erwin. Brent Freeman (Rootz Founder, CEO), moderated the panel, including Chris Brereton (Picture Healing), Stacy McCoy (Give to Get Jobs), Bridget Hilton (Jack’s Soaps) and Liz H Kelly (Goody Awards Founder/CEO.) Panelists advised attendees to “Just Do It”: Go out and start your company, focusing on the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to launch. Most of the speakers launched their startups with $2-7K. Many also use low-cost social media to promote.

Beach Games

SBF attendees took a break from panels to bond at the beach playing games, cuz well, it’s the Silicon Beach Fest after all! Games started on Saturday morning with basketabll at the beach courts in Venice. Then attendees learned how to surf at noon with surfing lessons coordinated by Triptrotting. In the late afternoon, about a dozen SBFers played volleyball at the Vilebrequin Beach Games, followed by appetizers and drinks at the Fairmont Miramar FIG restaurant (where Digital LA recently had a Restaurants Go Social panel.). Several SBFers won pairs of $250 shorts!

Going thru SBF withdrawals? We are too! Due to overwhelming support of everyone asking “When’s the next SBF!” at the closing party, we are excited to announce we will do SBF again next June on the first wknd of summer again! We will also do a one-day version this fall in Hollywood and Downtown. Email with SBF as the subject for sponsor or speaker info.

Kevin Winston

Kevin Winston is founder of Digital L.A. the Los Angeles based networking group of more than 30,000 professionals in online entertainment (movies, TV, music, games), marketing, advertising and tech. Digital LA organizes Digital Drink mixers, panels, and other networking events for the tech-entertainment community. Previously, at MySpace and Fox Interactive Media, he worked in integrated marketing and sales development, creating social media marketing campaigns with movie studios for blockbuster movies (Avatar, Dark Knight, Incredible Hulk, etc.), TV shows including video game trailers, home video, and more. Kevin graduated from Yale University, and has a M.S. from Harvard University. He also co-founded both Yale in Hollywood and IVY Entertainment.

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