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Can This New Startup Change Freight in the US?

Parallel Systems came out of stealth today, announcing $50 million in funding. Co-founded by superstar engineering veterans from SpaceX, Tesla and Google, the ambitious new startup has its sites set on transforming the infrastructure for freight delivery in the U.S. and drastically reducing the industry's carbon footprint. Is their vision a technological game-changer or an engineering pipe dream?

Here’s what else we're reading in the news:

- Truck drivers at L.A.'s ports, who mostly work as independent contractors, petition to unionize.

- L.A.-based housing developer SoLA Impact gets $25 million from Paypal for its new Black Impact Fund.

- L.A. restaurants are experimenting with NFTs.

- L.A.-based Medtech Color is looking for Black- and Brown-led medical technology startups for its next pitch competition.

- New streaming platform UnchainedTV launches with a focus on environmental activism.

A New Startup Launches in LA, Aimed at Autonomous Electric Trains

Parallel Systems launched today, aiming to develop autonomous and electric freight train cars that would make the American shipping industry greener and more efficient. But some experts are skeptical.

Acorns Cancels Its $2.2 Billion Plan to Go Public

Irvine-based investing app Acorns has pulled the plug on its plan to go public through a merger with a blank-check company. Its CEO blamed “market conditions” for the canned merger, and said the company would instead pivot to a “private capital raise at a higher pre-money valuation.”

Long Beach's iTrustCapital Hits Unicorn Status 

The trading platform, which allows investors to buy cryptocurrencies, gold and silver through their retirement accounts, raised $125 million in a Series A funding round at a $1.3 billion valuation.

Tom Brady’s NFT Platform Raises $170 Million

Autograph—the Santa Monica-based NFT agency co-founded by the superstar NFL quarterback—has already been used to mint collectibles by athletes and celebrities including Tiger Woods, Naomi Osaka, Simone Biles, Tony Hawk, Derek Jeter and The Weeknd, among others.

Flying Embers Raises $20 Million

One of the world’s largest producers of alcoholic beverages has led a $20 million funding round for Flying Embers, a Ventura-based brewery that is capitalizing on the growing popularity of hard kombucha and hard seltzer.

Santa Monica Film Distro Startup Filmhub Raises $6.8 Million

The Santa Monica-based company wants to cut out Hollywood’s middle-man and allow filmmakers to distribute their content straight to streaming services. The seed funding round was led by Silicon Valley venture giant Andreessen Horowitz.

What a Microsoft-Activision Deal Could Mean For Gamers

For gamers, the deal holds lots of promise, GeekWire reporter Thomas Wilde writes—but is it really the best thing for video games, and the people who play them, when a single company controls this much of the space at once?

Topography Health Emerges From Stealth With $21.5 Million

The Los Angeles- and New York-based startup aims to improve access to clinical trials for emerging drugs. It's one of a growing number of companies tackling diversity gaps and inefficiencies in the clinical trial space.

FitLab Raises $15 Million For Its ‘Hybrid Fitness’ Approach

Are in-person gyms or at-home workouts the future of the fitness industry? FitLab is betting on both. The Newport Beach-based company is expected to use its new funding to blend in-person training with at-home offerings and roll out 250 locations in the U.S.

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