Mayor Garcetti touts L.A. and Silicon Beach for start-ups at SXSW

(Photo: Jefferson Graham)

(Photo: Jefferson Graham)

From USA Today, by Jefferson Graham, March 16, 2015:

AUSTIN — Among the many tech start-ups that come to South by Southwest each year, we also found the mayor of Los Angeles. Eric Garcetti came to woo the hipsters that flock to SXSW looking for their next move to make it L.A.

"For a long time L.A. hasn't bragged about its tech roots," says Garcetti. "The first e-mail was sent from Los Angeles. We designed and built the space shuttle."

Also add in a thriving tech scene — highlighted by Snapchat, the app with the disappearing photos that is now valued at $15 billion, and Tinder, the wildly hot dating app.

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti came to the South by Southwest festival to tout tech startups in L.A. Video by Sean Fujiwara

Garcetti is a tech savvy mayor whose Instagram account has over 700 images, and he regularly posts his press releases first to Snapchat and responds to citizen complaints on Twitter.

To make his pitch for L.A., Garcetti brought along two successful tech titans — investor Troy Carter (former manager of Lady Gaga, investor in Washio) and Sophia Amoruso, (Nasty Gal).

They spoke to a large assembled crowd at SXSW, with many in the audience streaming the talk via Meerkat, the live video mobile app that's been the talk of the show.

They touted great weather, roomier office space and receptive local government which is encouraging tech start-ups in the area.

Most folks don't realize, Garcetti said, but while there are still more tech companies in the San Francisco area, L.A. has more tech jobs, and "we have more start-ups in L.A. than San Francisco."

Now if he could only do something about the gnarly L.A. traffic.

Garcetti's dad, former L.A. district attorney Gil Garcetti, is a lifelong photographer who passed on his love of the art to his son, and he has taken official mayoral photo posting to new heights.

From behind the LCD of his Samsung Galaxy S5, he presents views of the Los Angeles he loves on Instagram.

"As mayor, I'll see angles nobody else does," he says. "And I wanted to share that with the world. I'm not shooting ribbon cuttings. I'm probably in just three of my photos. I want to share the incredible beauty Los Angeles has, and the city through my eyes."