Bird Scoots Past Major Hurdle Towards Its Public Market Debut

Harri Weber

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to harrison@dot.la.

Bird scooters

Micromobility company Bird's closely-watched public market debut crossed its last major hurdle on Tuesday.


The Santa Monica-based firm, which plops rentable scooters on sidewalks across hundreds of cities in Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East, struck a deal earlier this year to go public by merging with Switchback II, a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Shareholders of the Dallas-based SPAC, which was created expressly to bring a firm public through a reverse merger, overwhelmingly voted to approve the combination, according to preliminary poll results released by the firms.

Switchback II said in a statement that it anticipates the deal will close on Thursday, the same day it expects Bird to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BRDS. Of the shareholders who voted, 98% did so in support of the merger, according to the statement.

The transaction originally valued Bird at around $2.3 billion — about $550 million short of the scooter company's pre-pandemic valuation, according to a pitch deck reviewed by dot.LA.

But since its pandemic lows, Bird's revenue has rebounded. The company is still losing money, however its losses fell during its second fiscal quarter of 2021, compared to the same time last year.

While the SPAC trend has cooled off, plenty of noteworthy companies have opened up their shares to public investors via blank-check firms, enabling startups to bypass the traditional IPO process. Along with Bird, other high-profile Southern California companies to strike deals with SPACs include renewable energy storage company Energy Vault, electric vehicle maker Xos and Aspiration, a fintech that bills itself as a sustainable banking company.

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Cadence

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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How ‘Funny Water Company’ Liquid Death Made H2O Worth $700 Million

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

How ‘Funny Water Company’ Liquid Death Made H2O Worth $700 Million
Liquid Death Files Paperwork to Raise $15 Million

When Santa Monica-based Liquid Death launched with funding from neighboring venture capital firm Science Inc. in 2018, the Los Angeles startup world – and everyone else – had nothing but jokes. But with the company’s latest $700 million valuation, it appears the joke is on the rest of us.

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