Drake-Backed Daring Foods Gets $65 Million From Steve Aoki, Naomi Osaka and More

Harri Weber

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to harrison@dot.la.

Drake-Backed Daring Foods Gets $65 Million From Steve Aoki, Naomi Osaka and More

Backed by pop star Drake, Daring Foods raised $65 million in new funding from DJ Steve Aoki, tennis star Naomi Osaka and others, the faux-chicken company told dot.LA on Tuesday.


Founders Fund led the round. NFL quarterback Cameron Newton, Tiger Global founder Chase Coleman and D1 Capital also participated.

The raise marks Daring Foods' third cash injection this year, with more than $120 million secured to date. The Los Angeles-based firm sells soy-based, chicken-inspired "pieces" -- including cajun and breaded varieties -- through major stores and offers a direct-to-consumer subscription service on its website.

Daring Foods called itself "one of a handful of companies to raise Series A, B and C in a single year." That's no coincidence.

The accelerated fundraising comes at a critical time for Daring Foods. Its rivals, El Segundo-based Beyond Meat and Valley-based Impossible Foods, are now moving into plant-based poultry, a market that already featured mainstays like Morningstar Farms.

Perhaps to head off their advances, Daring Foods also revealed Tuesday that its offerings are coming to 3,000 Walmart stores across the U.S. Its products had already launched in Whole Foods, Kroger, Sprouts and other retailers.

Drake, Osaka and Daring Foods' other celebrity backers aren't alone in funding plant-based ventures. Stars such as Snoop Dogg, Post Malone, Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson have also joined in on the trend. Plant-based foods flew off shelves during the pandemic, and demand is expected to surge in the coming years.

Originally conceived in the United Kingdom in 2018, co-founders Ross Mackay and Eliott Kessas relocated the company to Los Angeles during the pandemic, joining Beyond Meat and other plant-based startups that have found a receptive market in the region.

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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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How ‘Funny Water Company’ Liquid Death Made H2O Worth $700 Million

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.

How ‘Funny Water Company’ Liquid Death Made H2O Worth $700 Million
Liquid Death Files Paperwork to Raise $15 Million

When Santa Monica-based Liquid Death launched with funding from neighboring venture capital firm Science Inc. in 2018, the Los Angeles startup world – and everyone else – had nothing but jokes. But with the company’s latest $700 million valuation, it appears the joke is on the rest of us.

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