Coronavirus Updates: Endeavor May Cut Epic Games; Tinder's New COVID-19 Strategy

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.

  • Mega talent agency Endeavor seeks sale of Epic games in bid to restructure amid COVID-19
  • Forget swiping left and right on Tinder to meet a match. The app now wants to take you on a virtual date

    Mega talent agency Endeavor seeks sale of Epic games in bid to restructure amid COVID-19

    upload.wikimedia.org

    Hollywood appears to be poised for dealmaking as COVID-19 rearranges priorities and business models. Endeavor Group Holdings Inc., the Tinseltown talent agency and owner of Ultimate Fighting Championships, is said to be close to sell off investments as a way to streamline their overall business. Bloomberg News reported that Endeavor, led by Chief Executive Ari Emanuel, is looking into selling part of its stake of Epic Games. The North Carolina-based video game maker is known for its popular Fortnite franchise, and was once valued at about $15 billion.

    Endeavor built a sprawling empire of media, sports and entertainment assets predicated on the growing value of live events, according to Bloomberg. It operates the mixed martial arts league UFC and stages hundreds of live events all over the world. The temporary pause on such events in most parts of the world has forced Endeavor to lay off, furlough or cut salary for about one-third of its workforce, and prompted credit ratings to downgrade its debt.

    Forget swiping left and right on Tinder to meet a match. The app now wants to take you on a virtual date

    cdn.pixabay.com

    Love in the age of pandemic: Tinder wants to match you to your perfect mate, but also facilitate the first date. The West Hollywood-based dating app told shareholders Wednesday it will launch a video chat function later this year to virtually allow users to meet. The app has an estimated 57 million people who log on to the service globally, all of them swiping left and right before being allowed to contact matches.

    Match group also owns a number of other dating apps including Hinge and OkCupid. Though, the new video function will only be rolled out on Tinder in late summer. Match reported Tuesday that it saw usage growth spike across all its dating brands during the first quarter, and generated more than $544 million in revenue — a 17% increase year-over-year.


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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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    Motional Links With Uber to Make Robotaxis a Reality

    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.

    Motional
    Image courtesy of Motional

    Motional, a self-driving taxi startup backed by Hyundai, will partner with Uber to bring its robotic taxis to cities throughout the United States within the next decade as part of its push to get people more comfortable with the concept of taking a ride in a driverless electric vehicle.

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