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Villaraigosa rolls out new Council on Innovation and Industry for L.A.

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Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa hopes that a focused group of movers and shakers will help the city attract more startup investment. He says it's about much more than just job creation.

Today, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa rolled out his Council on Industry and Innovation at the Variety Venture Capital & New Media Summit. What does the mayor have in mind? He wants to turbocharge L.A.'s efforts to catch up to Silicon Valley — although it's unlikely the city will ever really close that gap.

The council’s membership is a who’s who of L.A. tech, finance, and entertainment leaders. It's been under construction since last year and includes six sub-committees that will focus on areas such as attracting investment capital to the city, improving education's role in innovation, and enhancing networking opportunities. 

Villaraigosa said that the council isn’t just about jobs and job creation. It’s about "creating a narrative about L.A. as an innovation center."

The mayor, who began forming the council last year, says that narrative has been unclear. And that’s no surprise because L.A. is know as the capital of the entertainment business. When it comes to technology and startup investment, it’s overshadowed by Silicon Valley, home to tech giants like Apple and Google. Silicon Valley has always drawn the bulk of venture funding, something like 70 percent over the past decade. That leaves L.A., New York, Massachusetts, and everyone else to fight over the rest.  

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