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
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
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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I wasn't a believer until I saw him in action. At a Tom Ferry event at the Seattle Convention Center, I observed thousands of people worshipping Tom Ferry, then and now, a legendary real estate coach, as he doled out words of wisdom during his presentations.
In many ways, Tom learned from the best. His dad is Mike Ferry, also a legendary real estate coach. Tom started working in sales at his dad's company, the Mike Ferry Organization, at 19. He eventually earned the position of president.
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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. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 75 companies and is incubating several more.
Despite — or in many cases because of — the raging pandemic, 2020 was a great year for many tech startups. It turned out to be an ideal time to be in the video game business, developing a streaming ecommerce platform for Gen Z, or helping restaurants with their online ordering.
But which companies in Southern California had the best year? That is highly subjective of course. But in an attempt to highlight who's hot, we asked dozens of the region's top VCs to weigh in.
We wanted to know what companies they wish they would have invested in if they could go back and do it all over again.
Hottest<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://dot.la/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk5MzIyNS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1OTQ3MjQ2OH0.JYCNMjYvosYa5SI7701CH_jMFbeFdMcRCChXt442cq0/image.png?width=980" id="3927d" width="686" height="128" data-rm-shortcode-id="5defd5b7e1983aa7681f36d6e1783a7b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="PopShop Live logo" />
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Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.