Silicon Valley, Boston, Seattle, New York, Austin. They’re all synonymous with startups. But often overlooked is the nation’s second largest city. While Hollywood is the 800 lb. gorilla in the City of Angels, a vibrant and ever growing tech scene continues to flourish to the west of downtown Los Angeles in what’s become affectionately become known as Silicon Beach.
Veteran entrepreneur Joel Luxenberg was convinced there was plenty of talent and opportunity in LA for his newest venture, Deep Current, and is quickly proving there’s no shortage of opportunity for startups to thrive amidst the sunshine and palm trees.
“It was very important to me as a founder to say ‘no, we are bucking that trend.’ We don’t have to be up in the Bay to do this or Seattle. It was really important that we’re building this community here in Los Angeles,” Luxenberg says in a conversation with producer Josh Kerns and Microsoft technical evangelist Anthony Kelani in the latest installment of Series A – The Podcast.
Deep Current is at the forefront of dramatic advances with AI and machine learning . The enterprise SaaS company uses a series of neural networks powered by Azure to automate data entry and help companies make better business decisions.
In this episode, Luxenberg reveals some of his important insights for other founders, discusses his experiences raising millions of dollars in VC, and how his experience as a starving jazz musician on the streets of New York shaped him as a founder and technologist.
The company was among several recently backed by a a new $125 million fund raised by Los Angeles-based Cross Ventures, and Luxenberg offers his philosophy that led to Deep Current’s recently sold out funding round – a stark contrast to his previous companies where he had to “beat the pavement” for relatively minuscule investments.
But he admits with even the best laid plans, every day brings unknown and unexpected challenges, experiences and adventures. And it’s his foundation in jazz he relies on to help get him through it.
“The beauty of jazz is – it’s very similar in mathematics to engineering – you learn all of this to be able to forget it. To let it come out organically as you improvise,” Luxenberg says. “Being a founder is all about that improvisation within structure, but it still has to resolve, as chord progressions and changes do.”