Coronavirus Updates: SoCal Tech Joins Forces for Hospitals; Elon Musk's Threat to Leave California

Coronavirus Updates: SoCal Tech Joins Forces for Hospitals; Elon Musk's Threat to Leave California

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:

  • Elon Musk's tweet storm catches the attention of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
  • How L.A. Startups Are Collaborating to Get Aid To Local Hospitals

How L.A. Startups Are Collaborating to Get Aid To Local Hospitals

Rachel Uranga

Jiake Liu is the founder of a startup outdoor furniture company, but lately he feels like he's running a second company one that's helping supply local hospitals with thousands of protective masks and, in the process, rallying Los Angeles' tech community.

Liu started SoCal Tech for Hospitals in early March with the goal of raising $60,000 to purchase 30,000 masks for hospitals facing shortages. He's now helped raise nearly $200,000, delivered 50,000 hospital-grade masks and is looking to up the ante with the region's vast tech community to do good beyond the pandemic.

Over the past months, he's enrolled some of the most well-known startups in town to pitch in for the logistical effort of distributing the masks. After the workday ends, Liu jumps on the phone with other founders to orchestrate the effort.

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Elon Musk's tweet storm catches the attention of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

upload.wikimedia.org

Elon Musk's Twitter rant over the weekend that he wants to move Tesla and SpaceX out of California so he can resume production prompted some notable responses.

California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D) responded to the post by tweeting "F*ck Elon Musk." And on Monday morning, the billionaire entrepreneur got some support from Washington. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that he agrees with Musk, calling him "one of the biggest employers and manufacturers in California, and California should prioritize doing whatever they need to do to solve health issues so that he can open quickly and safely."

Musk has been a vocal critic of lockdown measures in California, which he has called "de facto house arrest." He threatened to move his companies to Nevada or Texas on Saturday after an Alameda County Health officer said she wants Tesla's Freemont factory to remain closed for the time being as the state slowly reopens manufacturing sites. The tweet storm came just a few days after Musk vowed to sell all of his homes and most of his belongings in an effort to obtain what he called "freedom."

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The Santa Monica-based movie-ticketing service Atom Tickets has pre-sold more tickets for "Godzilla vs. Kong" than any film since the start of lockdown.

Following a disastrous year for the box office, its performance could be a litmus test for Hollywood and the many theaters that teetered on the brink during the pandemic.

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Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

https://twitter.com/hisamblake
samblake@dot.la

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.

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Ben Bergman

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.

https://twitter.com/thebenbergman
ben@dot.la
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