Silicon Beach Fest Profiles: ROC’s Rob McElroy and GumGum’s Tony Winders


REAL OFFICE CENTERS (ROC) was one of two venues for last week’s Silicon Beach Fest.  The 44,000 square-foot former Google Santa Monica headquarters opened in 2012 and allows tenants to people work in open spaces, smaller enclosed cubicles and bigger office settings.  These collaborative work environments boast the top entertainment and media startups, law firms, venture capitalists, university talent, and event companies who all come together under ROC’s roof.

Offering short-term contracts, companies have the chance to lease space at their own rate and have plenty of room to expand. Working alongside such a unique amalgamation of companies from different industries, innovation and real-life social networking result. The birthing grounds for some of the nation’s up-and-coming businesses, ROC has six office locations offering their entrepreneurial insight throughout Los Angeles.

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sbf13aIn speaking with ROC CEO and Founder Ron McElroy, he stressed that the office space market was overdue for evolution.  It is one of the few commodities that has changed little over the last century.  He views ROC as the “culmination of making the office environment evolve”.   McElroy saw that office space had to adapt to provide more services than just walls and views education and networking an essential part of the mix to provide his startup tenant base “every advantage possible to survive and flourish.”

This is the genius of co-working spaces because it enables the landlord to position themselves as the middle man between startups and service providers, all of whom come together practically every night with the many events hosted at ROC.  Its not a benefit for ROC’s tenants, but it affords ROC revenue streams separate from its tenants.

While it is common knowledge that the majority of startups fail, McElroy did not see tenant turnover as a fair metric for  the health of the startup community in Silicon Beach since some of the departing companies are success stories who have received funding and are seeking bigger space.

ROC, however, recently landed a prominent tenant, Amazon Studios which is filming its comedy “Betas” about four Silicon Valley entrepreneurs in ROC’s Silicon Beach location.


1011433_393518724085857_977153988_nAn early pioneer of digital marketing, advertising and public relations, Tony Winders co-founded one of the world’s first interactive agencies, iAgency, in 1995. As president of iAgency, he created innovative digital campaigns for brands such as Coca-Cola, DIRECTV, HBO, Kenwood,, NBC, Paramount Pictures, Qualcomm, Segasoft, Symantec, Universal Studios Online, Warner Bros. Online and Zappos.

gumgum_finalLast year he joined Silicon Beach’s GumGum which invented the image-based advertising category and has grown to become the largest premium in-image advertising platform for publishers and brands.  “GumGum represents one of the best innovations I’ve seen in display advertising in a long time,” said Winders. “It’s exciting to be part of introducing such an effective, premium solution to brands that are looking for new ways to achieve higher engagement for their campaigns.”

Reaching 60 million unique visitors per month across billions of images on hundreds of premium websites, GumGum’s patented image recognition and contextual targeting technology overlays highly targeted rich media display advertising units across the lower portion of relevant photos appearing in-line with editorial content.

GumGum was founded in 2007 and first introduced its in-image advertising platform in February of 2008. Today, hundreds of the Internet’s premier publishers, including New York Daily News, Alloy Digital, U.S. News & World Report and Meredith, rely on GumGum to turn their photographs into lucrative interactive experiences.

In speaking about Silicon Beach, Winders was very optimistic about its future.  With the push towards mobile platforms and convergence of tech and entertainment, Winders believed Silicon Beach was poised for a prolonged boom


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