I co-founded cyPOP.com two years ago while an undergrad at the University of Washington in Seattle. My co-founders and I raised a seed round, built an initial Beta site, and launched. Just prior to graduation, I began looking into where we would base the company.
In deciding where to base the company, there were many factors to consider. In the end, we decided that Los Angeles was the best place for cyPOP to call home for several reasons.
- Talent Pool. You are only as good as the members of your team. One of the great aspects of Los Angeles is the fact that not only do you have a large tech sector to draw talent from, but you also have great Universities and a large traditional industry sector. While technology is certainly important to a tech startup, it is not the only concern. Being able to hire great people from across industries is a significant plus for LA.
- Content. You would be hard-pressed to find a city that has a greater impact on the world through its content creation than Los Angeles! Movies, fashion, magazines, high-profile sports, and entertainers are all here. For websites, the technology is again important, but the thing that makes people want to keep coming back is what they find once they visit your website. For us, the access to strategic marketing and partnerships across all these industries was a big part of what made LA so appealing.
- International market perception. This may sound strange, but if you are marketing a product that no one has ever heard of, it is important that they be able to identify something with who and what you are. By being from Los Angeles, cyPOP is immediately identifiable as being ‘from the USA and from a major, recognizable city’. This plays a part when bringing our product to users in other parts of the world. In Asia for example, cyPOP has received solid market awareness in part because our home market is one that the target market recognizes and can identify with.
- Money. A startup lives (and dies) off of investment. In the case of cyPOP, we believe strongly in a diverse and strategic investor base. Similar to the ‘talent’ section, having access to traditional tech investors and later on VC’s is important, but we also strongly believe that non-tech strategic investors are equally, if not more important to our long term success. By bringing on the right high-wealth Angel, you can open up industries (content), partnerships (distribution), and influence (more money & more strategic relationships). Los Angeles has a great diversity within its investor ranks, so as you grow your company, certainly look for technical investors and influence; you have the rare opportunity of also pitching other industry leaders.
Last point I want to touch on here is the support of the community. Since relocating the company to LA, I have experienced a tremendous welcoming and friendly attitude. This has been from both the startup community and many other areas including the wonderful USC community (at which I am currently an MBA candidate). All of these aspects are why I feel having my startup cyPOP.com here in Los Angeles is the best place for us to be.
Twitter: @JosieBaik I @cyPOPINC