LA Tech Updates: Peacock Hits 10 Million Users; TikTok's $2 Billion Creator Fund Goes After Instagram, Youtube

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  • Peacock Hits 10 Million Users
  • TikTok Promises $2 Billion for Creators Over 3 Years as Rivalry with Facebook Heats Up

        Peacock hits 10 million users 

        Peacock Will Be Available on Google and Android Devices in July NBCUniversal

        NBCUniversal's new streaming service Peacock has hit 10 million users three months after its debut. The figure represents both new members who joined since July 15 when it launched for the general public and users who signed up in April when the platform opened exclusively to Comcast play TV customers.

        NBCUniversal is the latest to join the so-called streaming wars. Unlike some competitors, Peacock offers a free tier subscription for members to watch most content with ads. Last week, it rolled out a "Roll to Tokyo" channel dedicated to the 2021 Summer Olympics as one way to attract subscribers.

        Comcast Corp. reported the figures on Thursday during their second quarter earnings and it was a bright spot for the company.

        "Across the board, we're better than expectations," NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell told investors during their call. "We didn't expect this many sign-ups, we didn't expect people to come back as frequently as they're coming back and we didn't expect people to watch as long as they're watching once they come back."

        Executives have said their goal is to gain 30 million to 35 million users and $2.5 billion in revenue by 2024.

        TikTok Promises $2 Billion for Creators Over 3 Years as Rivalry with Facebook Heats Up

        TikTok announced it'll pay creators almost $2 billion over the next three years to support their careers online, a move that marks territory as rival Instagram's prepares to join the space with its service Reels.

        The Culver City-based company launched the TikTok Creator Fund last week to "encourage those who dream of using their voices and creativity to spark inspiration careers," TikTok General Manager Vanessa Pappas wrote in a blog post.

        The fund, which was originally set at $200 million before Thursday's update, will start accepting applications from U.S. creators in August.

        It's a signal that CEO Kevin Mayer has ratcheted up their efforts to take on competitors like YouTube and Instagram. On Wednesday he called Reels by Instagram, a Facebook owned company, a "copycat product."

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        On this week's episode of LA Venture, hear from Marcos Gonzalez, the managing partner at Vamos Ventures, a seed-stage venture fund which invests in Latino and diverse founders. Over half of L.A. County is Latino. A relatively new fund, investments are in the range of $100,000 to $500,000. Seems like a great time to be investing in this community! And, Vamos is hiring...

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        El Segundo-based telemedicine technology provider Cloudbreak Health and Florida-based UpHealth Holdings, a digital healthcare provider, announced they will combine and go public via a SPAC in a deal that values the combined companies at $1.35 billion.

        Named UpHealth, Inc., the new company aims to streamline online health care by becoming a single provider of four different services: telehealth, teletherapy, a health care appointment and management system and an online pharmacy.

        UpHealth runs healthcare platform Thrasys Inc. and MedQuest Pharmacy, along with two other behavioral health companies. The merger with Cloudbreak, which under the pandemic expanded their interpretation services to remote medicine, will give the new company a foothold in almost 2,000 hospitals.

        "What we wanted to do was form a business that could really be a digital infrastructure for health care across the continuum of care, right from home to hospital," said Jamey Edwards, the co-founder and executive director of Cloudbreak. Under the agreement, he will become the company's chief operating officer.

        GigCapital2 expects the merger transaction to close at the start of Q1 2021. UpHealth will be publicly traded under the ticker "UPH" on the New York Stock Exchange. UpHealth's integrated care management platform serves over 5 million people, and is expected to reach 40 million over the next three years, according to the company.

        Jamey Edwards, Cloudbreak

        Jamey Edwards, co-founder and executive director of Cloudbreak

        COVID-19 caused a meteoric growth in the use of telehealth services. In February, 0.1% of Medicare primary visits were provided through telehealth. In April, that number was nearly 44%, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

        "Key stakeholders have seen and responded well to the benefits that telemedicine can bring, but they need a more comprehensive, integrated solution," said Al Gatmaitan, who has been named the co-chief executive officer of UpHealth. "This is what UpHealth focuses on, the adoption of digital health solutions well beyond the pandemic crisis."

        The deal with the blank check company GigCapital2 gives the two digital health companies access to a wider network. UpHealth and its family of companies operate in 10 countries and their pharmacy has 13,000 e-prescribers in the U.S.

        UpHealth will use the Cloudbreak platform as part of their global telehealth services to provide patients with round-the-clock care under a variety of specialties, including telepsychiatry and tele-urology. UpHealth also has contracts internationally, to provide country-wide care in India, Southeast Asia and Africa.

        Edwards joined Cloudbreak in 2008 when it went from public to private. It has raised $35 million in venture funds, most recently in the first quarter of this year scoring $10 million from Columbia Partners Private Capital.

        Ryan Edwards, the co-founder of Happier Camper, said he's asked all the time if his company leans on influencer marketing to promote their vintage-style trailers beloved by millennials.

        With a waitlist six months out and demand growing from hotel-weary travelers, he said it isn't a priority yet.

        "We almost don't need to," said Edwards.

        That's because the $25,000 to $50,000 custom trailers have been a hit with a loyal fan base, and rising demand during the pandemic has only helped. Orders for compact trailers at the lower price end, including Happier Camper's 75-square-foot camper, are growing as newbie road trippers look for COVID-safe travels.

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