The other week I ventured to LA for the first time. I went to meet with a particular company & learn more about the team, vision, & so forth. After joining them for lunch & talking with them at their office all afternoon I head over to Culver City to grab a bite to eat. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the Culver City Farmers Market in its final hour. I explored the market, bought some fresh organic California strawberries, & then headed over to dinner at Native Foods. That night I had the pleasure of visiting & staying with a friend & fellow entrepreneur.
I started off the next day with a run in the sun. The weather was beautiful, even early in the morning! And since I already quickly learned that I would be driving most everywhere on this trip, it was good to get a good run in before jumping in the car. That morning I went to Cafe Rivva in Brentwood to get some work done while enjoying a refreshing green juice (my latest culinary addiction!) Between that & lunch with a friend I walked around Brentwood to get a flavor for this part of LA. It’s cool how there are different areas with separate vibes. For lunch I dined at the Coral Tree Cafe with a friend I haven’t seen in years. Last time we were together we were hanging out with Matthew McConaughey in Austin. He couldn’t make it to our lunch…he was too far away in his Airstream.
That afternoon I visited another friend & fellow entrepreneur at his company, Mobile Roadie, in Brentwood. Really great to catch up with him as well as learn more about his company. If you’ve used the mobile app for the San Diego Zoo or Adele, you’ve experienced Mobile Roadie in action! The company provides a platform for individuals, companies, anyone to make their own mobile app. There’s quite a few of these types of companies out there, that I’ve seen. Mobile Roadie sets itself apart by creating a niche market entry with musicians.
Driving through Beverly Hills was fun. Lined with palm trees & retail it definitely had a different vibe than Culver City & Brentwood. I also found that “Beverly Hills” by Weezer was continuously playing in my head…except I changed the lyrics in my head from “Beverly Hills…that’s where I want to be” to “Beverly Hills…that’s where I am”. I think Weezer’s version is better.
From Beverly Hills I drove to Santa Monica to meet with a friend & fellow entrepreneur who started Instacanvas & participated in MuckerLab. If you love unique art, check it out. If you use Instagram, check it out. If you enjoy discovering new things, check it out. Basically, check it out. Instacanvas sells Instagram photos on canvas so you can hang them wherever you’d like! We met at a place called Funnel Mill, where I ordered tea that came with instructions. It was an authentic place & my tea had a 3 step process of pouring water, steeping, & re-pouring. Great tea & experience!
At this point it was at the tail end of rush hour & I had to get to West Hollywood to meet someone to go to an improv show. I anticipated there would be traffic so I grabbed a smoothie at Planet Raw to get me through the drive. Well the smoothie lasted about 15 minutes & 0.0001 mile of movement. Traffic was the stereotypical “LA traffic”. I finally made it & met the technology ninja from Laffster at the Village Idiot for a pre-improv show tea. Then we went to the infamous Groundlings for an improv show, “The Crazy Uncle Joe Show”. It was fabulous!! A friend that I trained with at The Second City met us there too. I kept wanting the troupe to improvise the length of the show so it’d be longer & I could sit there & laugh & learn all night! Alas, it ended & we mingled. I met Laurel Coppock. She was so fantastic in the show! & I just realized she is in one of my fave recent movies, “Crazy, Stupid, Love“. Jordan Black (you may know him from the show “Community“) was in the show. I didn’t meet him.
The next day was my “Santa Monica Day”. I started my morning meeting with our accountant, talking about warrants, valuations, & all sorts of interesting stuff. Then I met with Anthem Venture Partners. RPM & Anthem are both invested in Janrain, so I was familiar with Anthem, but had not met them until this point. It was great to meet & talk with the Associate there & a partner, Samit Varma.
After lunch & walking through the Promenade, I went over to LA Demo Day. Wow! 1800 people registered. It was packed! I caught up with a friend & also met some cool companies including Dog Vacay, Surf Air, & Eventup. What really stood out about this group presenting was that many of them had revenue. & if they didn’t they knew how they were going to make money. Further along than many companies at that stage. I was impressed with the quality.
That evening I joined RPM’s EIR & a Santa Monica entrepreneur for dinner at Upper West. Then I headed back to West Hollywood to see some stand up comedy & another improv show at Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB). I must say, in NY, I wasn’t impressed with the UCB show, but this one I really liked. Still Groundlings was higher ranked for me, but it’s all a matter of personal preference. Both set of performers were very talented! I learned a lot from watching them. The show ended late & then my friend & I went to a cafe to chat before heading to the Hollywood sign. As you can see from my picture of the Hollywood sign, it was dark! Seriously, whose idea was it to not put lights to shine on the Hollywood letters?! Whoever it was could have considered the people that would want to take pictures at 2 am.
A couple hours later I was back to LAX boarding a flight to Atlanta & then Michigan. LA sure was fun! Entrepreneurial community. Smog. Improv. Traffic. Palm trees. Clearly there are tradeoffs.
MEL aka Venture Gal