Elevator Labs: an L.A. start-up building L.A. start-ups – Los Angeles Times

Elevator Labs is one of a growing numbers of start-ups in Los Angeles hoping to raise the profile of L.A.’s tech scene.

But this start-up isn’t making any one specific product. Rather, Elevator Labs is in business of building start-ups.

With $20 million in funding to feed Elevator Labs, the new firm is an incubator looking to start L.A. companies based off of ideas thought up by its founders, two former Virgin Digital executives, Zack Zalon and Brendon Cassidy.

The first idea to make it to market and available to the public is Hello Music, an online marketplace that offers musicians discounts on recording and performance gear and studio time.

Hello Music’s discounts are offered directly from manufacturers and studio owners and on a limited basis. It’s not an online storefront that regularly stocks anything, but rather a deals site aimed at unsigned artists who’d normally be left out of such discounts, Zalon said.

For more than a decade, Zalon and Cassidy have been working together, first at Virgin Digital for more than seven years and for the last five years, running a company of their own called Wilshire Media Group that focuses on product design and development for the entertainment industry.

Elevator Labs, unlike Wilshire, is focused on bringing the ideas Zalon and Cassidy come up with to life.

“What Virgin, and Richard Branson in particular, is incredibly good at is taking ideas that other people have and executing them very well,” Zalon said. “Ideas are really great but it’s execution that really makes the difference. That’s the big thing we learned while working at Virgin and we’ve been primarily doing the same thing with Wilshire Media Group.

“Now, we’re investing in ourselves. Hello music is the first but we have other projects coming and we’re working to build, incubate, fund and execute and launch L.A. companies.”

Although the ideas behind the companies will originate from Zalon and Cassidy, the two entrepreneurs won’t be running every company that comes out of Elevator Labs.

“We literately are starting the companies from nothing but an idea, putting the right people in place and we’re hands-on effectively operating the companies until they are ready to go and be launched to the public,” he said. “Ultimately, we have a team of entrepreneurs that we’re working with to hand the company over to so they can operate the company on their own. And if a company can’t run on its own, we won’t launch it.”


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