Last week, Techweek LA breezed into Santa Monica, taking over the pier with dozens of emerging tech companies from throughout Southern California. The scene couldn’t be more fitting of the area with 75 degree weather and airy white tents. There was even a fashion show in a nod to LA’s textile industry. It was a sharp contrast to Techweek Chicago.

Riviera’s LA-based Partner Eric Larson was on hand at the event to act as one of the judges for the startup LAUNCH competition, helping to narrow down the competitors from 70 to just five finalists. LAUNCH features very early-stage companies who use the competition to gain recognition for their products and interact with potential investors. There was an ecclectic mix of companies on hand representing the full range of Southern California industries, from agriculture to gaming, social and big data.

Out of the five finalists, a winner is selected in a live “win it all” style wrap up. This year, the grand prize went to QuickLegal, a platform that helps users connect instantly with a licensed attorney via chat.

While the LAUNCH competition was at the center of the event, Techweek LA also featured a variety of sessions led by founders, entrepreneurs and investors. Speakers included Scott Painter of TrueCar,who spoke about the service economy,and Laura Goldberg of LegalZoom, who gave a fantastic overview on the importance of women in tech.

All in all, Techweek LA provided an amazing setting, with all shapes and sizes of interesting companies. And you can’t beat the oceanfront location.

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