Coronavirus Updates: Olympics Postponed, SpaceX Delays Launch, L.A. County Racks Up More Cases

The coronavirus pandemic's emergence has changed the world around us. Conferences have been cancelled, travel has been severely restricted, and working from home has become the norm. But less clear is the scale of the economic impact and how companies should be reacting. 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.


Olympics Postponed, Financial Strain for NBC

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A joint statement from Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the International Olympic Committee president early Tuesday revealed that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed. The games are now set to occur sometime after 2020, but not later than summer of 2021. Among the collateral damage is NBC, which owns the event's media rights through 2032. Back in January when NBCUniversal (owned by Comcast) unveiled Peacock, its new direct-to-consumer (D2C) streaming service, the company highlighted to investors its ability to take "full advantage of the massive promotional opportunity of the Tokyo Olympics" when the service becomes available to non-Comcast subscribers on July 15. Rather than attracting customers by flying in the Olympics tailwind, Peacock must now rely more heavily on its distinguishing feathers, which include its exclusive content and ad-supported business model. It will join an increasingly competitive D2C market, leaving onlookers to wonder how smoothly this bird will be able to fly.

L.A. County Reports First Death of Person Under 18, Coronavirus Cases Surge Over 48 Hours

Los Angeles County health officials reported on Tuesday four more coronavirus deaths including one person under the age of 18 from Lancaster, bringing total fatalities to 11 in the region.

"COVID-19 does not discriminate by age, race or income level, and what we are seeing in places like New York is indicative of what we should prepare to experience here," said Barbara Ferrer, the county's public health director in a statement.

Another 128 new cases of the fast-moving virus were also reported as the total in the county racked up to 662 cases. Nearly 40% of the cases have been reported in the last 48 hours. Among the cases, about 18% of those testing positive have had to be hospitalized at some point.

Brentwood and West Hollywood both have the highest number of cases confirmed with 31 each. Officials have been identifying cases by neighborhood and communities of 25,000 or more as part of their daily update of the pandemic, but they note that there are positive cases across the entire county and the public should not think one location is safer than the other. "While public health is doing everything possible to mitigate the impact of this disease in our community, we can only flatten the curve if everyone takes social distancing seriously and adheres to all isolation and quarantine orders issued by our health officer," she said.

SpaceX Launch Put on Hold

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Hawthorne-based SpaceX has had to delay a rocket launch for the first time because of the Coronavirus. The Air Force's 45th Space Wing confirmed to Techcrunch Tuesday that SpaceX's SAOCOM launch has been put on "indefinite" hold because of the current crisis. The launch was scheduled to take place March 30, but Vandenberg has declared a public health emergency and the Air Force is limiting access to essential personnel and providing only essential services. It is not clear how many launches will be impacted by the virus. Techcrunch noted that SpaceX successfully launched 60 satellites last week. No COVID-19 cases have been reported on the base.

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Valence, a Network for Black Professionals, Acquired by Fintech Firm Greenwood

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

Valence, a Network for Black Professionals, Acquired by Fintech Firm Greenwood
Courtesy of Business Wire

Valence, a Los Angeles-based networking platform for Black professionals, has been bought by digital banking platform Greenwood, the company announced Wednesday.

Atlanta-based Greenwood—which provides services intended to boost financial opportunities for Black and Latino people and businesses—said it will use Valence’s network to connect its community with professional development tools. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Creator Startup Jellysmack Adds High-Profile TikTokers to Its Platform

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

Creator Startup Jellysmack Adds High-Profile TikTokers to Its Platform
Image from Jellysmack

The creator economy startup Jellysmack is expanding its platform to include TikTokers, the New York-based company announced Wednesday.

Jellysmack’s A.I. technology, proprietary data and video editing tools had been limited to long-form YouTubers. The new initiative is meant to help TikTok creators spread their content across multiple platforms and explore long-form content creation. Additionally, creators already in their program can now explore short-form content syndication.

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Blind Dating, Creator Accounting and Social Traveling: Meet Snap Yellow’s LA-Based Startups

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.

Blind Dating, Creator Accounting and Social Traveling: Meet Snap Yellow’s LA-Based Startups

Online dating startup Blink Date is testing the notion that love is truly blind.

Unlike Tinder and Bumble, Los Angeles-based Blink doesn’t show singles any photos of potential matches right away. Instead, the app pairs users in 10-minute, audio-only speed dates. It’s not until after the conversations that singles can see three unidentified pictures and tell Blink what they think of them. The app, still in beta testing, matches users only if there’s mutual interest.

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