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5 Takeaways From a Record-Smashing 2021 for SoCal Startups
Image by Sarah Fields Photography/ Shutterstock

Venture capitalists poured a record $13.9 billion into Southern California startups in 2021, a 53% increase from 2020. While the region’s total deal value hit an all-time high, the growth rate of VC dollars flowing to companies actually slowed down from the previous year. Finance reporter Harri Weber digs into the data.

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

- Apple acquires AI Music, a startup that uses artificial intelligence to generate music.

- Amazon’s virtual telehealth program, Amazon Care, will expand to 20 additional cities this year.

- An inaugural NFT conference featuring Mark Cuban and Baron Davis is set for L.A. in late March.

- Warner Music sees record revenue in Q1.

More Deals, Higher Valuations & Bigger Exits

In 2021, SoCal ventures raised nearly $14 billion across more than 800 deals, while VC exits also soared. Here are some key takeaways from what was a historic year for Southern California’s ever-growing startup environment—including one metric in which the region actually lagged behind the rest of the nation.

ComplYant Launches to Ease Small Businesses’ Tax Pains

The fintech startup rose out of Techstars’ Los Angeles accelerator and has just raised a $5.5 million seed funding round, the company told dot.LA.

USC Expands AI Focus With a New Research Center and Programs

The University of Southern California has unveiled a pair of programs—one in partnership with Amazon—designed to meet the tech industry’s rapidly accelerating demand for engineers in the realm of artificial intelligence.

This LA-Based Startup Aims to Disrupt Live Events Behemoths

Granted, based in Santa Monica, goes beyond selling tickets to shows. It offers fans VIP experiences like meet-and-greets with artists and athletes, and hosts auctions that benefit a charity of a given talent’s choice. It also accepts cryptocurrency as payment.

Morpheus Ventures Debuts $200 Million Second Fund

The early-stage venture capital firm finally unveiled its second core fund on Tuesday, disclosing that it's raised $200 million to invest in fintech, insurtech, proptech and robotics startups.

Events Software Startup Swoogo Raises $20 Million 

The Century City-based startup, which sells event management software to corporate clients, raised $20 million in fresh funding led by private equity giant Bain Capital.

Subaru Taps EVgo For Its Electric Vehicle Charging Network

Subaru has chosen Los Angeles-based EVgo as its preferred electric vehicle charging network provider in the U.S., signaling the Japanese automaker’s continued move into the EV market.

TikTok Rolls Out Protections for Teens and LGBTQ Users

The Culver City-based video platform announced new rules aimed at preventing viral hoaxes, shielding the LGBTQ community from harassment and removing videos promoting unhealthy eating.

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