Interesting quote in VentureWire this morning from David Siminoff of Venrock on their new Southern California media fund:
“L.A. is just not the place you go for cutting-edge semiconductors, but it’s the place for storytellers,” Venrock General Partner David Siminoff said. “I have a feeling deal flow will lean toward the storytellers.”
The quote shows quite a bit of the stereotypes (and unawareness) of the Los Angeles and surrounding area in terms of technology. Unfortunately, usually when people think “Los Angeles” they really are thinking “Hollywood.” So, they ignore the greater Los Angeles area — and its strong semiconductor background — and think the only opportunities in the area are Hollywood media deals. If you’re thinking West Los Angeles, maybe. But if you look at the area as a whole (and in particular, Orange County), you’re wrong.
Some examples of why:
- Broadcom (Irvine) – $3.8B, 6400 employees
- Conexant (Newport Beach) – $750M, 2400 employees
- GloNav (Newport Beach) – recently acquired for $110M by NXP Semiconductor – cutting edge GPS chipsets
- U-Nav (Irvine) – GPS chipsets and software, acquired for $54M by Atheros
- Inphi (Westlake Village) – high speed InP/GaAs components, funded by Cadence, Dali-Hook, Flextronics, Mayfield, Tallwood, Walden
- Fulcrum Micro (Calabasas) – clockless chips, funded by Granite Global Ventures, NEA, Palomar, Worldview
- Xirrus (Westlake Village) – WiFi chipsets/systems, funding from August Capital, Canaan Partners, QuestMark, and USVP.
- Jazz Semiconductor (Newport Beach) – high speed communications chips
- Quartics (Irvine) – wireless video semiconductors, headed by AST’s Safi Qureshey, funded by Foundation Capital and Enterprise Partners
- Solarflare (Irvine) – 10GBASE-T chipsets. Funding from Oak, Sequoia Capital, Intel, etc.
- QLogic (Aliso Viejo) – storage/networking systems and semiconductors
And that’s just to name a few of the firms here… There’s a significant amount of latent semiconductor potential (if VCs ever get back to funding it) coming out of Caltech, USC, and UCLA — schools which have all spawned very significant advances in the semiconductor world. There’s also significant number of companies providing design tools and software, electronics components, hardware, and much more much closer to the semconductor than content/Hollywood world. So please, don’t stereotype LA as being content…