Coronavirus Updates: USC/UCLA Unite on 3-D Masks; Hollywood Preps for M&A
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  • 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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    Diagnostics Startup Polygon Raises $4M To Test Kids for ADHD and Dyslexia

    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.

    Diagnostics Startup Polygon Raises $4M To Test Kids for ADHD and Dyslexia
    Courtesy of Polygon

    Here’s how Jack Rolo describes his childhood: He was good at chess, and bad at spelling. He was good at math, and bad at reading. Rolo went on to study physics at Durham University in his native England—and despite often struggling in his courses, it wasn’t until after he graduated that he was diagnosed with dyslexia, a common language processing disorder that affects reading.

    Rolo’s experiences informed his founding of Polygon, a Santa Monica-based diagnostics startup that emerged from stealth on Friday with $4.2 million in funding, and the goal of better diagnosing dyslexia, ADHD and other learning-related disabilities. The funding includes a $3.6 million seed round led by Spark Capital, as well as $600,000 in pre-seed funding led by Pear VC.

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    ZipRecruiter CEO Ian Siegel on How the Job Market Has Shifted

    Spencer Rascoff

    Spencer Rascoff serves as executive chairman of dot.LA. He is an entrepreneur and company leader who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, dot.LA, Pacaso and Supernova, and who served as Zillow's CEO for a decade. During Spencer's time as CEO, Zillow won dozens of "best places to work" awards as it grew to over 4,500 employees, $3 billion in revenue, and $10 billion in market capitalization. Prior to Zillow, Spencer co-founded and was VP Corporate Development of Hotwire, which was sold to Expedia for $685 million in 2003. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 100 companies and is incubating several more.

    Ian Siegel, ZipRecruiter
    Image courtesy of ZipRecruiter

    On this episode of Office Hours, host Spencer Rascoff talked with ZipRecruiter CEO and founder Ian Siegel about how he built his company, the lessons he's learned along the way and how he's seen the pandemic drastically reshape the job market—probably for good.

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