The LA-based Science moved into its cozy permanent space above a yoga studio in Santa Monica this week, finally giving its variety of LA-based tech talents a place to call office.
Past the smell of Patchouli and the sign designating Crispin Porter Bogusky in the lobby are the second floor offices of the Science partners — former Myspace CEO Mike Jones, designer Mike Macadaan, Ryan Sit, Tom Dare and Color co-founder Peter Pham — which currently host about seven startups.
The “studio” (the partners shun the term incubator because of its various connotations) is in its second day of existence and houses mainly commerce marketplace and data focused startups. Most of them were too green to be properly reported on, but many of them are in the same vein of the LA-based Uncovet, which is like a Fab.com for even more rarifed designer goods.
Science follows the Betaworks model of being more like a “company that invests in other companies” than an incubator or a VC fund. It has raised $10 million in funding which it in turn invests in companies the partners discover through their networks — each deal is on unique terms. Science investors go geographically beyond LA’s Rustic Canyon and include Chamath Palihapitiya and Tomorrow Ventures among others.
“A lot of the venture firms we’re talking to are investing down here, Trinity Ventures invested in Beachmint, Andreessen in Shoedazzle, and Redpoint in Betterworks. We have a public company [Salesforce] down the street. [LA is like] New York a couple of years ago. It’s clearly changing, which is why we’re doing Science.”
And why the proper noun as a name? “Startups are some art and some science,” says Pham “It’s a little bit of both. How important is analytics these days to startups? That’s a science. Now visual design of that data is an art.”