The First socalTECH 50: Where Are They Now?

Last year, we compiled our first list of the socalTECH 50: our attempt to pick fifty people here in Southern California's technology industry who represent some of the best of what the region has to offer, and which we though people ought to keep an eye on. We're doing that again this year, with the thought to highlight some of the people (not companies) here who are worth watching, wherever they are and whatever they are doing. So how did we do, nearly eleven months later?

First off, on our original article, we identified a number of people in the industry we specifically said did not qualify for the list -- because they had successfully exited companies in the past and who are proven entrepreneurs. Eleven months later, of that list, there were two IPOs from companies headed by those entrepreneurs: one from Frank Addante of Rubicon Project (IPO market cap at $555.6M) and the other from Scott Painter of TrueCar (IPO market cap of $747M); and three acquisitions, with one from Jeff Zwelling of Convertro (acquired by AOL for $101M); another from Brian Lee of ShoeDazzle (acquired by JustFab); and the last from Jason Nazar at Docstoc (acquired by Intuit for $50M). The total exits from our "not qualified list" totaled $1.302 billion in IPOS; and somewhere between $160 and $180M in acquisitions. Brian Lee also gets double credit, with another of list companies--The Honest Company--recently raising $70M in funding.

So then, how did our actual list do? Out of our socalTECH 50, so far, there have been two acquisitions of companies run by one of our 50 (Alex Kazerani and James Segil, both of EdgeCast Networks; and Raad Mobrem, of Lettuce), worth a total of around $420M, and twelve funding events worth a total of $324.1M. Interestingly enough, there have been many rumors -- but no announcements -- of both funding and announcements, with such companies as Fullscreen, run by George Strompolos (rumors earlier in the year of a $200M to $300M acquisition); Airpush, run by Asher Delug (rumors of $170M acquisition); Tinder, run by Sean Rad recently rumor of a funding valuing the company at between $750 to $5 billion; and Snapchat, run by Evan Spiegel, rumored to be raising funding at a valuation of nearly $10 billion.

So, how will we do this year? We're working on another list of the socalTECH 50 -- identifying 50 more people we think ought to merit some attention, using the same criteria. We're tapping both the community for nominations (you can nominate your own suggestions here) -- and also tapping into a helpful nominating committee to make sure we have enough exposure to the entrepreneurs we ought to be paying attention to.

Interested in sponsoring the awards? Socaltech is planning to recognize the Socaltech 50 in conjunction with the Digital Family Reunion in December. Contact Rachel Horning for more details on sponsoring the awards and the event.