Santa Barbara, the stunningly beautiful California Central Coast city of 90,000, just 100 miles north of Los Angeles, is putting itself on the startup map. Hundreds of entrepreneurs, mentors and financiers are lending the human spark, technical knowhow, and capital to make this beach town more celebrated for its economic pulse than its waves. Meet Kyle Ashby, Alex Kehaya, and Jason Spievak, three business leaders at the forefront of Santa Barbara’s transformation, embodying a textbook example of how the spirit of entrepreneurism and the building blocks of startup culture catch fire in a city or town.
We’ve come to expect startup success stories from the traditional urban tech epicenters of entrepreneurism and finance: Silicon Valley, San Francisco, London, Paris, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Singapore, and Sao Paulo. But these major cities (or regions) are but one model for cultivating innovation. The entrepreneurial and tech wave hitting this upscale beach town mirrors the momentum sweeping other smaller cities around the US – such as Iowa’s “Creative Corridor”, the financial services hub in Little Rock, Arkansas, or Portland, Maine’s craft and maker culture – providing lessons on how the spirit of entrepreneurism spreads and proliferates organically under favorable conditions.
By Jonathan Littman, Startup Santa Babrara
March 5, 2017