Why Amazon, Apple, and a Slew of Startups Are Fighting to Get Into This L.A. Neighborhood
How sleepy Culver City became the new tech boomtown
“I want this,” Ariel Kaye frantically emailed her real estate broker. “I don’t need to see it.”
Last year, Kaye’s home decor startup Parachute Home was fast outgrowing its headquarters in Venice Beach. She’d just raised $30 million in Series C funding to accelerate her company’s growth and expand its head count, now at 65 employees. So when she got an email about a hot real estate listing during the middle of a board meeting, she dropped everything to pounce on the space, sight unseen (although she did end up touring it the next day).
The location in question? A hip office park in Culver City, a leafy suburb steeped in moviemaking history and home to Sony Pictures. It’s where Judy Garland famously walked the yellow brick road and Vivien Leigh watched Atlanta go up in flames. And more recently, this once dilapidated industrial area has become Los Angeles’s pricey, competitive, and unlikely center of gravity for tech startups, gaming developers, and entertainment giants.
This year alone, VCs invested close to $1 billion in Culver City startups like gaming company Scopely and storage startup Clutter, whose marquee investors include Sequoia Capital and Softbank. (By comparison, the greater Los Angeles area, including Orange County, pulled in $12.6 billion in total.) Culver City is also home to the headquarters of Chinese-owned social media company TikTok and MedMen, the publicly traded cannabis company that aims to be “the Apple Store of weed.” In the past two years, Apple, Amazon, and HBO have all announced plans to make Culver City their new Los Angeles headquarters — making Culver City ground zero for the streaming wars. Hackman Capital Partners, the developer behind the Amazon deal, predicts that close to 10,000 new employees will descend upon the area in coming years.
Even co-working space is at a premium. At WeWork’s One Culver location across from the Sony Pictures headquarters, instantly recognizable by its iconic 94-foot-tall rainbow arch, a hot desk goes for $500 and private offices begin at $980 per month, similar to the types of prices you’d find in midtown Manhattan. The space…