California Rolls Out Its Contact Tracing App Directly to Users' Phones

Francesca Billington

Francesca Billington is a freelance reporter. Prior to that, she was a general assignment reporter for dot.LA and has also reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.

California Rolls Out Its Contact Tracing App Directly to Users' Phones

Millions of California residents woke up Thursday morning with an invitation to join a new digital COVID-19 contact tracing app called CA Notify.

Smartphone users can now opt-in to the service designed by Apple and Google that uses Bluetooth to track when two devices have been near each other for at least 15 minutes.

If a CA Notify user tests positive, they'll be texted a code to plug into the app. Other users who have been within 6 feet of them will then receive a notification about potential exposure.


The platform is available on the iPhones Settings menu under "Exposure Notifications," but Android users will have to download the CA Notify app directly.

California COVID-19 Exposure NotificationsOn an iPhone, turning on California's COVID-19 exposure notifications is as easy as going to your settings.

The move to launch a statewide notification tool comes nine months into the pandemic and two days after California set single-day records for COVID-19 fatalities.

"When combined with other actions like wearing masks and physical distancing, CA Notify can help curb the transmission of COVID-19," CA Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Ghaly said in a statement. "This technology is another way for Californians to take proactive steps to keep themselves, their loved ones and their communities safe."

According to state officials, the tool does not track location or reveal your identity to other users. It is free and voluntary, raising potential questions about whether a substantial portion of Californians will opt-it.

In a press briefing Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom said the state held off on launching the platform over concerns about security privacy protection.

"That's why we've been frankly a little stubborn and kept our eyes wide open in terms of this technology," he said.

The platform was piloted in September at UC San Diego and UC San Francisco, and launched at five additional UC campuses in November. Officials said they do not know how many people enabled the program during that trial run, but campuses estimate around 250,000 users.

In September, L.A. County partnered with the crime-tracking app Citizen to promote SafePass, a contact tracing tool that uses both Bluetooth and GPS location-tracking. It was met with some concern from security experts over how the app was using and storing personal data. The Department of Public Health said the state is still partnering with the app.

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LA Venture: Emilio Diez Barroso On Why Everyone Isn’t Cut Out To Be A Founder

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
LA Venture: Emilio Diez Barroso On Why Everyone Isn’t Cut Out To Be A Founder
Photo: provided by LAV

On this episode of the LA Venture podcast, Bold Capital Partner Emilio Diez Barroso talks about his entrepreneurial journey, what led him to become an investor and shares the qualities he looks for when investing in companies.

Bold Capital is a Series A fund that primarily focuses its investments in deep tech and biotech companies. But, like other funds, they make excuses to invest in other companies every now and then.

“We're always interested in things that have the potential to truly transform how things are done and uplift humanity,” he said.

In his experience with investing in early stage startups, Diez Barroso said “humility and vulnerability are assets and qualities in the journey, and you don’t feel like you have to have it all together with your investors.”

Which is why he looks for people who have “this capacity to take full responsibility for how they show up and they have a vision and they have the willingness to go and execute it.”

In addition to his work at Bold Capital, Diez Barroso also runs two family offices which provide him with a surplus of knowledge in the investment space.

“I wear two very different hats,” he said, “and I invest very differently when I'm investing for myself, when I'm investing for my family, and when I'm investing for LP’s.”

But before becoming an investor, Diez Barroso got his entrepreneurial start when he arrived in Los Angeles. He admits that he failed plenty of times because unlike in Mexico, where Diez Barroso grew up, he didn’t have the same access to the contacts or resources of his family business.

“I would say yes to every opportunity that came my way,” he said, “I had started or partnered with someone and co-founded and most of them I had no idea what I was doing, so most of them really failed and a few got lucky enough to succeed.”

After learning how these startups worked and investing his own capital into several companies, he soon realized he was a much better investor than an operator.

“I think we're not all cut out for the journey,” he said, “and I don't think we should all be cut out for that journey. I think that it takes a very different character to start something from scratch.”

Throughout his own journey, Diez Barroso acknowledged that he struggled with his own identity and need to feel like the smartest person in the room. Once he better understood his own motivations, Diez Barroso was able to see that he was chasing the next reward, the next carrot.

“It's fun to close the deal and it's fun to grow the business,” Diez Barroso said. “But what I hadn't been in contact with is how much of my fuel was derived from trying to outrun the idea of not feeling good enough.”

Of course, he’s not alone. “I see a lot of entrepreneurs, activists all across fields and I can tell the difference when they're running from this fuel that is sort of very quick burning because there is an anxiety that oftentimes makes us narrow minded,” Diez Barroso said. “We are so attached to what we think should happen that we leave very little space for the possibilities.”

dot.LA Reporter Decerry Donato contributed to this post.

Click the link above to hear the full episode, and subscribe to LA Venture on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

This podcast is produced by L.A. Venture. The views and opinions expressed in the show are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of dot.LA or its newsroom.

Xos Receives Multi-Million Dollar Order for Armored EVs

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Xos Receives Multi-Million Dollar Order for Armored EVs
Xos/Loomis
The United States transportation sector is rapidly adopting electric vehicle technologies at every level. From aircrafts, to tractor trailers, to sedans and bicycles, no means of locomotion is off limits…even armored trucks.
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