Coronavirus Updates: Newsom Talks Businesses Opening; Wave Hosts Virtual Concerts; Film Release Rumblings
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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 eyeing how to reopen businesses -- at least in parts of the state
  • No concerts? No problem. Wave to host virtual performance series with avatars
  • Trolls scores $100 million in revenue from streaming, bypassing shuttered theaters; AMC lashes out

    Newsom says eyeing how to reopen businesses -- at least in parts of the state

    live.staticflickr.com

    Los Angeles startups like Bird, ZipRecruiter, Shipsi and Tender Greens have been slammed in the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, being forced to layoff and furlough vast portions of their workforce. There was a glimmer of hope Tuesday that perhaps some businesses are getting closer to getting back to work. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that he believes the state is "weeks, not months, away from making meaningful modifications" to its current shelter-at-home restrictions.

    However, Newsom's announcement of a four-phase plan did not mention any specific dates in which non-essential business can open their doors. He said the state is examining data, and that additional progress needs to be made. During the same press conference, he said California education and health officials are examining even opening up school districts in certain parts of the state in late July or August. However, he is leaving many of the major decisions to regions of the state. Los Angeles County announced it surpassed 1,000 deaths on Tuesday from the coronavirus.

    No concerts? No problem. Wave to host virtual performance series with avatars 

    Wave

    Wave, an L.A.-based entertainment technology company, announced it will host a series of virtual concerts throughout the spring and summer. Performers will include John Legend, Tinashe, and Galantis, the last of whom will kick off the "One Wave" series on Thursday, April 30. "Through our proprietary technology and core gaming capabilities," said Wave CEO Adam Arrigo in a statement, "Wave can go beyond the traditional live streaming concerts and create artist avatars, virtual environments and interactive experiences that truly immerse audiences at the nexus of gaming and entertainment."

    "Performances will stream across various social media and gaming platforms, so fans can socialize and interact with the artists as they perform, cheer as part of a global avatar audience, voting on key show moments, play mini games, and socialize with each other," the statement continued. Wave, founded in 2016, claims that up to 500,000 fans have tuned in to its past virtual concerts. Proceeds from the One Wave series will go to non-profit organizations that could use a hand during the coronavirus pandemic, the company said.

    Trolls scores $100 million in revenue from streaming, bypassing shuttered theaters

    upload.wikimedia.org

    Universal Pictures' Trolls World Tour earned nearly $100 million in revenue over three weeks via streaming, The Wall Street Journal reported today. The sequel reportedly has already earned more revenue than the original Trolls film did over the five months of its traditional-style theatrical release. Theater owners have long fought for exclusive exhibition windows at the beginning of a film's release cycle, but with venues shuttered due to the coronavirus, studios have begun to look at streaming as an option to circumvent this entrenched arrangement.

    The encouraging figures (which may have been boosted by circumstances) could add momentum to the theater-window paradigm's further unraveling. But not if the theater owners have their say. AMC, the nation's largest theater chain, already threw down the gauntlet pledging to boycott all Universal movies: "Effectively (sic) immediately AMC will no longer play any Universal movies in any of our theatres in the United States, Europe or the Middle East," AMC CEO and President Adam Aron said in a statement. "This policy affects any and all Universal movies per se, goes into effect today and as our theatres reopen, and is not some hollow or ill-considered threat."

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    Venture Firm BackStage Capital Reduces Staff to 3 Employees

    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.

    Venture Firm BackStage Capital Reduces Staff to 3 Employees
    Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

    Venture firm Backstage Capital laid off nine employees, reducing its staff to just three.

    Managing partner and founder Arlan Hamilton announced the layoffs Sunday on her “Your First Million” podcast. General partners Christie Pitts and Brittany Davis, along with Hamilton, are the only remaining employees, TechCrunch reported. The move comes only three months after the Los Angeles-based firm said it would only fund existing portfolio companies.

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    A New Tide of LA Startups Is Tackling the National Childcare Crisis

    Keerthi Vedantam

    Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

    A New Tide of LA Startups Is Tackling the National Childcare Crisis
    Courtesy of Brella

    The pandemic exacerbated a problem that has been long bubbling in the U.S.: the childcare crisis.

    According to a survey of people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers conducted by the city’s WiSTEM Los Angeles program and shared exclusively with dot.LA, the pandemic exposed a slew of challenges across STEM fields. The survey—which consisted of 181 respondents from L.A.County and was conducted between March 2021 and 2022— involved respondents across medical fields, technical professions and science industries who shared the pandemic’s effects on their professional or education careers.

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    MaC Venture Capital Raises $203M for Its Second Fund

    Decerry Donato

    Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

    MaC Venture Capital Raises $203M for Its Second Fund
    Courtesy of MaC Venture Capital

    While venture capital funding has taken a hit this year, that hasn’t stopped MaC Venture Capital from raising $203 million for its second fund.

    The Los Angeles-based, Black-led VC firm said Monday that it had surpassed its initial $200 million goal for the fund, which dot.LA reported in January, over the span of seven months. MaC said it expects to invest the capital in up to 50 mostly seed-stage startups while remaining “sector-agnostic.”

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