Coronavirus Updates: Talespin's HR Tips Managing WFH Staff; TikTok Ticks Up 2 Billion Downloads

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.

  • Talespin releases learning tools for HR as staff works remotely in pandemic world
  • TikTok's 2 billion download record as quarantine drives hunt for content

    Talespin releases learning tools for HR as staff works remotely in pandemic world

    Talespin

    Culver-City virtual reality training startup Talespin announced Wednesday it is unveiling a series of learning modules for the COVID-19 age called "Leading Through Uncertainty." Modules include Creating Calmness Through Succinct Communication, Regulating Emotions During Uncertain Times, Communicating Productively with a Distraught Employee, De-Escalating an Emotionally Charged Situation, and Disagreeing Productively During Challenging Times.

    Talespin is best known for a dystopian demonstration it released showing an older worker being laid off, but Talespin CEO and Co-Founder Kyle Jackson tells dot.LA the new modules are more focused on helping employees adapt to how their companies are changing rather than layoffs. He also says Talespin is getting more interest lately from Fortune 250 companies interested in training a more remote workforce. "There's a big belief that we're going to make a leap forward in the next phase of work," said Jackson. "They are starting to explore this stuff more meaningfully."

    The new modules will be available in partnership with Cornerstone, which invested in Talespin's $15 million Series B funding round last month. "The current climate has created a renewed focus on workplace learning and has accelerated the need for leaders to develop new skills to help their organizations respond and adapt quickly to their new environment," Heidi Spirgi, Cornerstone's Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, said in a statement.

    TikTok's 2 billion download record as quarantine drives hunt for content

    Social video app TikTok, the popular video sharing app owned by Chinese media company ByteDance, has been downloaded more than 2 billion times globally on the App Store and Google Play, according to Sensor Tower Store Intelligence estimates. The latest milestone comes just five months after TikTok surpassed 1.5 billion downloads. In Q1 2020, it generated the most downloads for any app ever in a quarter, accumulating more than 315 million installs across the App Store and Google Play.

    Sensor Tower reports that "while the app was already popular and backed by a large user acquisition campaign, TikTok's latest surge comes amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen consumers drawn to their mobile devices more than ever as they look for new ways to shop, work, and connect with others."

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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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