For tech and business majors seeking success, you can find inspiration in these 20 high-powered L.A. startups -- one was even founded by entrepreneurs in high school. Thriving in the unique environment of Southern California, businesses focus on entertainment, fashion, socializing and high-tech innovations for work and play. These trendy enterprises show up in the news and business media; bookmark their websites so you can keep an eye on their climb up the ladder.
The 20 most exciting startups in Los Angeles, California
Adly: Find out how to enlist the advertising prowess of social media's movers and shakers, from actors to business gurus. You can connect with millions of consumers with a little help from the leaders of industries like fashion, tech, health, gaming and entertainment. Turn on the power of social advertising.
BeachMint: A little Hollywood glamour can rub off on you thanks to personalized e-shopping. This online boutique gives subscribers access to fashion items that were hand-picked by celebrities. JewelMint showcases luxury jewelry chosen by style stars. For more delicious ideas, don't miss StyleMint with the Olsen twins, BeautyMint skin care with Jessica Simpson or ShoeMint.
Burstly: You have the tech skills to design a cool new app -- but how about the business side? These tools help developers promote and sell their creations, whether it's ad mediation, cross promotion or direct sales through the storefront solution. Pick from banner, video or custom ads and track metrics from all your ads on one dashboard. That way you have time to focus on building the next app.
Chee.rs: A smile doesn't cost anything, and this free social networking app lets you share the love and express appreciation with immediate gratification. Cheerful, Inc., brings you a global "like button" for anything and anyone. After all, L.A. is the home of good vibrations.
Clicker: This guide to Internet TV helps you locate the show you want, when you want it. Clicker organizes the thousands of TV shows, music videos and movies online, including millions of episodes. Discover what is available, and what isn't, what's worth watching and where you can watch it. Make the most of this massive database married to a search engine, wiki and entertainment guide.
crowdfunder: The goal here is to build a community for entrepreneurs and investors that stimulates collaborative funding for startups and small businesses. Crowdfunding can help these firms raise revenue by selling equity, debt and securities to investors online. Entrepreneurs can also find guidance on navigating their way to success.
Dather: You put so much energy into organizing events, you want the most people possible to crash the party. Use this social marketing application to promote events and create a crowdsourced scrapbook afterward. You can work with Facebook, Twitter or other websites to reach the biggest audience you can. There's a monthly fee to save content through this service.
Eventup: Hold your next party in a castle. Spend your honeymoon in a Malibu beach house. If you're wondering where to host your next event, Eventup can connect you with the people who have unique spaces to rent, from banquet halls to villas to lofts. There's a wide range of prices and different sizes to make sure you can find the place you need, whether you're staging a concert or a corporate gathering.
Factual: If you're a developer looking for data for your Web and mobile apps, explore this open data platform with evolving information on thousands of topics. Dig into global data, with over 58 million businesses and places of interest in 50 countries, or do a deep dive into U.S. vertical markets such as restaurants or health care. Factual makes clean, structured data available to developers by API or download.
Goodreads: Network with readers who own nearly 330 billion books. Members recommend their favorites, share what they're reading, track the books they've finished and find their next read. Readers can organize book clubs, and authors can build dynamic profiles on the site. Goodreads says it's the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world, and with over 9 million members, that's easy to believe.
GumGum: This ad network serves billions of in-image ads per month, creating interactive promotions by overlaying text, banner or Flash ad units on top of images. GumGum also uses its image recognition and targeting technologies to help publishers reach a specific audience. The company reports that these highly targeted campaigns provide 20 times the clickthrough rate of traditional ad networks.
Here on Biz: Here's another way to expand your network and find people in your field. This instant business networking app adds location awareness and chat functionality to LinkedIn so that you can connect with other professionals when you are on road trips. If you don't travel much, you can meet business people who are visiting your city.
Machinima: Like a machine gun, this entertainment channel shoots out games targeted at males, 18-34 years old. In May 2012, the network counted 183 million gamers who viewed more than 1.75 billion videos. This startup is big in the news and has even gained support from Google.
Maker Studios: Imagine 1 billion YouTube views in one month. Maker Studios offers that kind of visibility, with 80 million subscribers and more than 1,000 channels. This fast-growing media company helps artists build their brands and audiences. Maker offers wide-ranging support for partners, including development, production, promotion, distribution, sales and marketing.
Movieclips: If you can't make it to the Venice Film Festival, this Venice (California) website has more than 12,000 movie clips. Are you looking for a scene from your favorite flick to prove to your friends that it is the best movie ever made? You can search by actor, title, genre, action, mood, character, theme, dialogue and more to find just the scene you want.
NeighborGoods: Clean out your garage, make new friends and reduce the piles of junk in American landfills. Find that special tool you need without shelling out your hard-earned cash. NeighborGoods.net offers a safe community for borrowing, lending and sharing stuff. And you might even connect with the group's founder, a roller derby All-Star.
Pose: This social shopping app now encourages you to post your own personal fashion show. You can upload a photo of your favorite outfits and other fashionistas can sign in to Facebook to comment. Admirers may even copy you, if you tag the clothes with the stores where you found them. Beyond sharing your own fashion ideas, you can discover new styles thanks to your smartphone.
ShoeDazzle: Shop with celebrities like reality show star and model Kim Kardashian. This subscription-based online showroom can offer special styles at affordable prices because the company designs and manufactures its own products. In an elegant mix and match of personalized and social e-commerce, fashion experts pick shoe, handbag and jewelry options for members each month.
TruantToday: Founded by students, this enterprise has the youngest CEO of any of the startups honored by TechStars. The goal is simple: bring students and funding back to schools. TruantToday sends a text message to parents as soon as a student skips class, and half of the students go back to school the same day. The program has improved attendance, performance and dropout rates, while returning government funding to schools. TruantToday has made a big splash, winning the Clinton Global Initiative's startup competition.
Viddy: Capture, produce and post captivating mini vids. This free mobile application helps you film and edit short videos and then share your creations with the world.
Take a look at these Web stars when you wonder, "What can I do with a business degree?" These startups prove that you can do anything under the sun. Bookmark these sites to see which of these entrepreneurs get to the top -- or get gobbled up by big corporations with a taste for hot startups.