Coronavirus Updates: Headspace Makes App Free to Unemployed; Cali's Economic Fallout Eclipses Great Recession

Here are the latest headlines regarding how the novel coronavirus is impacting the Los Angeles startup and tech communities. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for the latest updates.

  • Newsom: Employment fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has exceeded the Great Recession
  • Headspace makes meditation app free for the nation's 23 million unemployed


    Newsom: Employment fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has exceeded the Great Recession

    live.staticflickr.com

    Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that the employment fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has exceeded the economic crisis that brought on the Great Recession. Some 4.6 million Californians have filed jobless claims, and has forced the stater to borrow billions of dollars from the federal government to cover claims. "These unemployment numbers are jaw dropping," Newsom said at a press conference. "We are at a time that is simply unprecedented."

    Newsom said the state will need $43.8 billion to cover unemployment claims in the new year, a 650% increase over what was originally predicted. The federal government controls a trust that helps states cover jobless benefits during a recession. The governor said the state's unemployment rate is expected to peak at more than 24.5% this year. But, the rate for the whole year will hover at about 18% -- still significantly higher than the 12.3% peak during the height of the economic crisis.

    Headspace makes meditation app free for the nation's 23 million unemployed

    Shutterstock

    Headspace, the Santa Monica-based meditation and wellness app, is giving the nation's unemployed workers a free year to help them during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Labor Department reported that jobless claims were up by another 2.98 million last week, bringing the total unemployment claims number to a massive 22.83 million people.

    "The current state of unemployment in America has become an alarming crisis," the company said in its pitch to get people to sign up. "To help those affected, we're offering a full year of Headspace Plus for free. Discover meditation and mindfulness tools to help you feel less stressed, more resilient, and kinder to yourself." The company was previously working with the City of Los Angeles in offering residents a free trial. Headspace requires that people list their last employer and date of separation, but it was not known how the company would verify that information. There are more than 1,200 hours of meditation content on the app.

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    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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    Liquid Death May Just Be The 'Fastest Growing Non-Alcoholic Beverage Of All Time'

    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.

    Liquid Death May Just Be The 'Fastest Growing Non-Alcoholic Beverage Of All Time'
    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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