Coronavirus Updates: Saudis Invest in Live Nation; YouTube Holds Global Film Fest

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.

  • Live Nation gets $500 million from Saudi investment fund as concerts remain in lockdown
  • YouTube to host 10-day film festival as partners like Cannes, Sundance shutter events

    Live Nation gets $500 million from Saudi investment fund as concerts remain in lockdown

    Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund acquired a nearly 6% stake in Live Nation, one of the world's largest events companies that is the parent of Ticketmaster. The investment is valued at about $500 million, and pushed Live Nation shares up roughly 10% to $42 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The Saudi Public Investment Fund is now the third-largest shareholder of the Los Angeles-based company, and comes at an uncertain time as the COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered concerts and sporting events around the world, according to a form it filed. The company's executives have also taken pay cuts during the past few months as a way to trim costs.

    The investment does not come without some controversy. Companies have been heavily criticized for accepting cash from companies tied to the Saudi royal family after the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist who was critical of the Saudi government.

    YouTube to host 10-day film festival as partners like Cannes, Sundance shutter events

    YouTube

    YouTube is partnering with 20 of the top oil festivals -- include Cannes, Tribeca, Berlin, Venice and Sundance -- to present a 10-day digital event that will stream awards contenders for free. We Are One: A Global Film Festival will run from May 29-June 7, and feature shorts, documentaries, and panels. The online event launches as most of the world's biggest film festivals, where many of the Academy awards contenders begin picking up traction with critics, have been canceled because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. YouTube, which operates out of a 41,000-square-foot aircraft hanger in Playa Del Ray, plans to use proceeds to benefit the World Health Organization's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and local relief providers. "We are proud to join with our partner festivals to spotlight truly extraordinary films and talent, allowing audiences to experience both the nuances of storytelling from around the world and the artistic personalities of each festival," said Pierre Lescure and Thierry Frémaux of the Cannes Film Festival in a statement.

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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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    LA Tech ‘Moves’: HyperDraft Taps LegalZoom Exec

    Decerry Donato

    Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow 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.

    LA Tech ‘Moves’: HyperDraft Taps LegalZoom Exec
    Photo by James Opas | Modified by Joshua Letona

    “Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (sharmineh@dot.la). Please send job changes and personnel moves to moves@dot.la.

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