Coronavirus Updates: USC/UCLA Unite on 3-D Masks; Hollywood Preps for M&A
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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.

Today:

  • USC, UCLA business school students jointly create a 3-D printed mask in Hack for Hope
  • Analyst predicts M&A shakeup as Hollywood grapples with COVID-19 fallout

    Analyst predicts M&A shakeup as Hollywood grapples with COVID-19 fallout

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    MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson made a rather dire prediction for the future of the entertainment industry: Prepare for Hollywood studios to consolidate through acquisitions as a way to fiscally survive the global coronavirus pandemic. With movie theaters shuttered (for the time being), the streaming world is now the most dominant channel to distribute content. "Heading into 2020, we had argued that the fundamental pillars of media were starting to crack," Nathanson wrote in the Friday report. "Now, we fear that they will crumble as customer behavior permanently shifts to streaming models. The impact should be felt in both the traditional TV ecosystem and the film industry as content producers re-examine the economics of producing linear TV content and feature films. As a result, when this is all done, the top streaming platforms – Netflix, Amazon and Disney – will emerge with the lion's share of scripted content creation." This could have major ramifications for studios like Sony Entertainment, which has long rumored to be on the auction block. Lionsgate, another smaller studio with both film and television assets, could also be eyed as a potential takeover target.

    USC, UCLA business school students jointly create a 3-D printed mask in Hack for Hope

    Traditional rivals USC Marshall School of Business and UCLA Anderson School of Management united earlier in April to fuel a search for solutions to problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The joint effort, an online hackathon called Hack for Hope, involved 600 students from both schools that created 89 projects aimed at helping out during the coronavirus pandemic. Taking away the big prize was a joint project between students at both schools that created 3-D printed, reusable respirator masks that can be easily disinfected. The students also made the print pattern available to others to replicate.

    "We were very impressed by the global scope of the teams; they included undergraduates, graduate students and alumni, along with professionals from business, technology, health care, edtech and entertainment," said Elaine Hagan, associate dean of entrepreneurial initiatives at UCLA Anderson School of Management and executive director of the school's Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. "Their ability to provide real-time solutions that have already benefited at-risk community members has given the organizers confidence that we have moved from hope to impact, for which participants should be commended."

    Each team was asked to submit a two-minute video describing the problem and their solution. Judges awarded a total of $38,500 in prize money to the most promising projects — specifically, to fund prototype development, proof of concept work or community outreach directed at students or workers in need of extra support at this time.

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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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