Big tech companies like Google and Microsoft are skipping CES 2022 in Las Vegas this week due to concerns over the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases, but the massive consumer tech expo is still an opportunity for Southern California tech firms to unveil new products. Among those at CES this week are Santa Monica-based micromobility company Bird and electric automaker Fisker. Read more >>
Here’s what else we're reading in the news:
- A subsidiary of Activision Blizzard is suing EngineOwning to shut down software that allows players to cheat on its games.
- HBO Max and HBO amassed 73.8 million subscribers in 2021, AT&T said.
- Stefanie Schwartz, a Viacom veteran, is joining Jellysmack as its head of platform partnerships.
- Netflix discouraged recruiters from discussing Dave Chappelle’s special with job candidates, according to an internal memo.
- Some restaurants, liquor stores, and other shops are selling COVID-19 rapid tests at marked-up prices through delivery apps.
What to Expect at CES 2022
This year’s hybrid edition of CES, which runs Jan. 5-7, is a more abbreviated than the usual four-day affair. Still, more than 2,200 exhibitors, including major Southern California tech firms, are expected to attend in-person following last year’s virtual-only event. Additionally, attendees are being given complimentary COVID-19 self-testing kits.
Smash Ventures Raises $500 Million for New Fund
Smash Ventures, a late-stage venture capital firm founded by former Disney executives, has raised $500 million for a new venture fund, according to a regulatory filing. The firm, led by co-founders and managing partners Eric Garland and Evan Richter, has backed Fortnite-creator Epic Games, sports betting giant DraftKings, conspicuously-named grooming brand Manscaped, and search engine DuckDuckGo.
Launch House Is Raising a $10 Million Fund
Launch House, a startup accelerator inspired by the rise of content houses and TikTok mansions, is raising a $10 million venture fund. The company revealed its plans in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, but has yet to disclose any actual money raised for the fund.
Amazon Backs Home Robotics Startup Labrador Systems' Seed Round
Calabasas-based Labrador Systems announced that it has raised an additional $3.1 million in seed funding led by Amazon and iRobot Ventures, bringing its total amount raised to date to $5.5 million. The funding will go toward growing the company’s engineering team and accelerating its manufacturing efforts.
How Ambercycle's CEO Hopes to Reinvent the Fashion Industry
Los Angeles-based startup Ambercycle raised a $21.6 million Series A round to tackle one of the fashion industry's worst effects on the environment: the reliance on natural resources that put a strain the planet. Its new funding will go to ramping up production of the company’s fiber regenerative technology, which it created and piloted in a manufacturing plant Downtown.