Coronavirus Updates: Newsom Talks Businesses Opening; Wave Hosts Virtual Concerts; Film Release Rumblings

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

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    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."

    From Pitch Meetings to Power Lunches: LA’s Exclusive Membership Clubs 🗝️

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    Summer's here, so it's time to zhuzh up your work environment. Discovering the best membership and social clubs in Los Angeles for meetings can boost networking and collaboration, offering exclusive venues and premium amenities tailored for professionals and creatives to thrive amidst the city's vibrant backdrop. These clubs provide a sophisticated setting for productive gatherings and meaningful connections in LA. Here are some top private member clubs perfect for meetings and productive work sessions.

    The Jonathan Club

    Club Details: The Jonathan Club, one of Los Angeles' original membership clubs, has been a cornerstone of the city's elite social scene since its founding in the mid-1890s. Its legacy is intertwined with the growth and development of LA itself, most notably through a pivotal meeting held at the club that sparked the idea for a southern campus of the University of California—what would eventually become UCLA. Today, the Jonathan Club continues to offer its members an unparalleled experience of exclusivity and refinement. With locations in both DLTA and Santa Monica, members enjoy access to premium amenities and spaces and a calendar with hundreds of social events and workshops throughout the year, providing ample opportunities for networking, personal growth, and leisure activities.

    Membership Details: Initiation fee is around $50,000, and admission typically requires that you be invited or know someone who is already a member.

    Spring Place

    Image Source: Spring Place

    Neighborhood: Beverly Hills

    Club Details: A mix between co-working space and social club, this Beverly Hills hotspot is a more exclusive version of similar clubs. Spring Place Beverly Hills spans three floors and offers a stunning art collection. The interior is filled with tons of natural light and has an intentional design that fuels members to harness some of their best work. Members also have access to luxurious dining and nightlife pop-ups that happen at Spring Place.

    Membership Details: There is a non-refundable initiation fee of $500 and then local membership for people under 30 starts at $300 per month, while monthly membership for locals over 30 is $600.

    Griffin Club

    Image Source: Griffin Club

    Neighborhood: Cheviot Hills

    Club Details: Located in Cheviot Hills, Griffin Club LA is a sporty club with ample shared workspace. Following a $20M renovation in 2020, the club now boasts seven LED-lit tennis courts, four LED-lit pickleball courts, two recreational lap pools, a 25-meter family pool for kids, an adults-only resort pool, and childcare services. It's the ideal destination for a clientele looking to mix work with competitive sport.

    Membership Details: Membership is by invitation only and is subject to approval. Membership prices at the club vary. A family membership entails a $12,000 initial fee plus a $450 monthly fee, while a junior membership only entails a $2,000 initiation fee and a $205 monthly fee.

    Soho House West Hollywood

    Image Source: Soho House West Hollywood

    Neighborhood: West Hollywood

    Club Details: Soho House West Hollywood provides a stylish and exclusive work and meeting destination, featuring chic meeting rooms and workspaces with panoramic views of Los Angeles. Combining luxury amenities with a creative atmosphere, it offers an ideal setting for networking, collaboration, productive sessions, and an amazing Sunday brunch!

    Membership Details: Two current member referrals are needed, plus an online application, and a recent photo to confirm your identity. Quarterly memberships start at $675.25, but if you’re under 27, you can pay $337.75 quarterly. However, if you want access to every house, membership costs $5,250.00 annually, or $2,650.00 if you’re under 27.

    Little Beach House Malibu

    Image Source: Little Beach House Malibu

    Neighborhood: Malibu

    Club Details: The Little Beach House Malibu is a small, local club for the creative community of Malibu and the surrounding coastal areas. The club is known for its magnificent dining room, bar, sitting room and terrace. It is the perfect place for a truly memorable work meal.

    Membership Details: Malibu Beach House is not included in the Soho House membership. If you are an existing member, you can apply for “Malibu Plus” for an additional $2,190 a year, or $1,095 if you’re under 27.

    San Vicente Bungalows

    Image Source: San Vicente Bungalows

    Neighborhood: West Hollywood

    Club Details: San Vicente Bungalows is an exclusive, members-only social club located in West Hollywood, California, offering a luxurious and private environment for its high-profile clientele. The club is renowned for its strict privacy policies, elegant decor, and high-end amenities, catering to celebrities (and royals) and industry elites seeking a discreet space to unwind and socialize.

    Membership Details: You must be nominated by a current club member to apply. Applications are evaluated monthly and annual dues start at $4,200 plus a $1,800 initiation fee.

    The Aster

    Image Source: The Aster

    Neighborhood: Hollywood

    Club Details: The Aster, located at the iconic intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street, redefines the modern members' club with its emphasis on warmth and hospitality, blending public hotel amenities with private club exclusivity. Featuring bright, airy spaces and top-notch facilities such as an outdoor pool, recording studio, and rooftop bar, it offers a fluid environment for work, relaxation, and socializing.

    Membership Details: Memberships start at $3,600 per year and be acquired by filling out an application. In addition to uploading a photo, hopeful members also have to write a small bio while highlighting their interests, skills, profession, and hobbies.

    NeueHouse

    Image Source: NeueHouse

    Neighborhood: Venice/Hollywood/DTLA

    Club Details: NeueHouse in LA is a chic private workspace and cultural hub designed for creative professionals, offering sophisticated workspaces, a dynamic calendar of cultural programming, and luxurious amenities. Situated in three bustling neighborhoods across LA, it provides a collaborative environment where members can work, network, and unwind in style.

    Membership Details: You have to apply for the Salon membership, which includes questions like “dream dinner guests (dead or alive?)." Annual dues for Salon memberships are $3,000 plus a $200 joining fee. You can also inquire about the Gallery membership for flexible workspaces and offices for individuals or teams, starting at $595 per month, with various options depending on your needs.

    How Does LA Rank Among the World's Best Startup 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.

    How Does LA Rank Among the World's Best Startup Ecosystems?

    The 2024 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER), a joint effort by Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network, was unveiled on Monday at London Tech Week. Los Angeles solidified its position as a global startup powerhouse, maintaining its impressive #4 (#3 in the US) ranking in the 2024 GSER, tied with Tel Aviv. The city's thriving ecosystem continues to attract top talent and investment across diverse sectors like crypto, gaming, and cleantech.

    Image Source: Startup Genome

    While large exits above $50 million declined in LA during 2023, the drop was less severe compared to Silicon Valley, London, or Tel Aviv. Notably, LA was the only ecosystem to see an increase in active unicorns from 41 to 42 between mid-2021 and end of 2023. New unicorns include advanced auto manufacturing startup Divergent 3D, cleantech company Newlight Technologies, and cloud platform Restaurant365.

    With over 500 VC firms, a top talent pipeline from universities like UCLA, Caltech and USC, and recent major funding rounds like $1.05 billion for parking tech startup Metropolis, $150 million for VideoAmp, and $70 million for Chaos Industries, LA's startup scene shows no signs of slowing down. The city's diverse population provides a rich global talent pool, further fueling its entrepreneurial growth across hot tech sectors.

    However, LA still lags behind the top three startup ecosystems - Silicon Valley, New York City, and London - in certain key metrics:

    • Funding and Exits: While LA's drop in large exits was less severe than other top ecosystems in 2023, it had only one exit valued over $1 billion (gaming startup Scopely at nearly $5B), compared to multiple billion-dollar exits in Silicon Valley, New York, and London. Silicon Valley also continues to dominate late-stage funding, increasing its global share to 26% in 2023 despite an overall funding crunch.
    • Startup Success Factors: The report suggests that Los Angeles trails the top ecosystems in the following metrics: early-stage success (ratio of Series B to Series A companies) and late-stage success (ratio of Series C to A companies, and speed to exits (both to IPO and other exits). New York was the only top 5 ecosystem to see an increase in average Series A deal size in 2023.

    Despite these challenges, Los Angeles' diverse and vibrant startup ecosystem, bolstered by significant investments and a rich talent pool, is strongly positioned for continued growth. The city's strengths in emerging sectors like cleantech and gaming, combined with an increasing number of active unicorns, should not be underestimated. With strategic efforts to enhance funding and success metrics, LA is well on its way to joining the more elite global ranks of startup ecosystems.

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    🧬🔬AI-Driven Drug Discovery

    🔦 Spotlight

    Terray Therapeutics is at the forefront of AI-assisted drug discovery and development, operating a cutting-edge laboratory in Monrovia, California. The facility, roughly two-thirds the size of a football field, functions as a data powerhouse, generating over 50 terabytes of raw data daily, which is an amount of information equivalent to 12,000 high definition movies, through its miniaturized automation processes.

    Terray Therapeutics exemplifies a new wave of innovative companies harnessing artificial intelligence to revolutionize drug discovery and development. The key to their approach lies in generating vast amounts of high-quality experimental data to train their AI systems. This data-driven strategy enables rapid experimentation and pattern recognition, allowing the AI to make informed predictions about potential treatments. Terray's generative AI can digitally design drug molecules, which are then synthesized and tested in their high-speed automated laboratory. The platform measures the interaction between these molecules and target proteins, with both successful and unsuccessful results feeding back into the AI system.

    This iterative process creates a powerful feedback loop, continuously refining the AI's predictive capabilities and accelerating the drug discovery process. Terray's tNova platform integrates chemical experimentation and computation at an unprecedented scale, producing massive amounts of precise, purpose-built data that becomes increasingly valuable with each cycle of design and experimentation. This unique blend of experimentation and computation allows Terray to efficiently explore a vast molecular space, potentially solving complex problems in drug discovery faster and more effectively than traditional methods.

    🤝 Venture Deals

    LA Companies

    • Fuze Technology, a provider of rentable portable phone chargers, has raised a $11.5M Series A led by Beverly Pacific and joined by Palm Tree Crew, Bain Capital Ventures Scout Fund, Dream Ventures, Live Nation, ASM Global, SCIENCE Ventures, Haslem Sports Group, and Simon Ventures. - learn more
    • Stanly, a platform that offers fan-to-fan and artist-to-fan communication and commerce, raised an $8M Funding Round led by C Capital and joined by AppWorks, Goodwater, and Palm Drive Capital. - learn more
    • GrayMatter, an industrial robotics company, raised a $45M Series B led by Wellington Management and joined by NGP Capital, Euclidean Capital, Advance Venture Partners, SQN Venture Partners, 3M Ventures, B Capital, Bow Capital, Calibrate Ventures, OCA Ventures, and Swift Ventures. - learn more

    LA Venture Funds

    LA Exits

    • Webtoon Entertainment, an online cartoon company based in LA carved out of South Korea's Naver, set IPO terms to 15m shares at $18-$21. It would have a $2.6b fully diluted market value, were it to price in the middle, and plans to list on the Nasdaq (WBTN). - learn more
    • EV maker Fisker has finally filed for bankruptcy. - learn more
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