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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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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