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Start Engine hopes to help the city of Angels live up to its name, as the startup accelerator today opens up the application process for its first class of 30 startups. The audacious goal of accelerating and mentoring 120 startups per year is all part of trying to put Los Angeles on the map as an American technology capital, perhaps one day rivaling Silicon Valley.

The effort is being led by Howard Marks, co-founder of video game studio Activision, and Paul Kessler, one of LA’s most active angel investors.

Each Start Engine class will last for 90 days, and the participants will have access to offices, resources and professional networks. Approximately 30 mentors have committed to helping Start Engine founders throughout the program period, and Marks said those mentors are either CEO founders or CTOs.

“LA at its roots is a very entrepreneurial city,” said Marks, noting that biotech and aerospace are two of the larger indusrtries in the region. While Los Angeles lags behind Silicon Valley and San Francisco in the number of tech companies it has spawned, the city has long been a top destination for non-technical entrepreneurs. Hollywood and the film industry are one and the same. Music, fashion and entertainment are all part of the L.A. business environment.

Marks also points out that the Los Angeles area has many of the nation’s top colleges and universities, such as Caltech, UCLA and the Claremont University Consortium. Start Engine is setting up shop directly across from the UCLA campus in Westwood, Calif., and banking on the growing allure of startup life as a post-graduate career path to fuel its ambitions.

[Image Credit: mi..chaell/Flickr]

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