LA Tech Weekly Roundup: Music Labels' New Role

LA Tech Weekly Roundup: Music Labels' New Role

Bright, Kajabi, Genies and ReCharge announced raises, Genies and Wave partnered with Warner Music Group and we talked with former Amazon consumer chief about his new investments and next moves. Here's a look at this week's top L.A. tech and startup stories:

Amazon's Jeff Wilke Is Betting on US Manufacturing  — and LA

Former CEO of Amazon Consumer Worldwide Jeff Wilke has moved to Los Angeles part-time, where he is focused on investing in underrepresented founders and restoring American manufacturing prowess. We talked to him about what he learned about his time at Amazon and what's coming next.

What Warner Music's Partnerships with Wave and Genies Means

The musicians in Warner Music's roster will soon be able to more easily livestream their concerts, create avatars and sell digital merch — including NFTs — after the company inked partnerships with two L.A. entertainment startups: Genies and Wave. Is it a new era for digital music?

SCALE Aerospace's Accelerator Cohort

A jet designer that aims to make supersonic flight available to the masses, a durable 3-D printer maker and a company trying to improve post-disaster and space communication — all are among SCALE Aerospace Ventures' 2021 accelerator class. Get to know the new space startups in town.

Using Deepfake Technology for Movie Dubbing

Director Scott Mann began searching for a new way to dub films into other languages after watching his 2015 film "Heist" in German. Now, he's launched a new startup that uses AI and "deepfake" technology to make voice dubbing flawless — just as foreign box offices are becoming more important than ever for Hollywood.

Stripe for Cannabis Companies

Bespoke Financial has been lending to legal cannabis businesses, but it has much bigger ambitions. After an $8 million raise, the L.A.-based company is developing software to streamline point of sale systems for a tricky industry.

EV Charging Comes to LA's Ports

Volkswagen has been installing fast electric vehicle charging stations across California. Its Electrify America subsidiary — born out of the settlement from VW's 2015 emissions scandal — has pledged $25 million to help electrify the trucking industry at the ports of L.A. and Long Beach.

The Honest Co's Very Good Day

Jessica Alba's The Honest Company made a strong debut in its first day of public trading. Its stock—trading under HNST — closed up 43% from its opening price, before losing steam later in the week. Honest has never made a profit but saw gross margins soar by 35.9% last year as the pandemic drove sales of sanitizing products.

Startup of the Week: Kajabi

Kajabi is a subscription service designed for content creators and "knowledge entrepreneurs" building businesses online. The startup offers digital tools to build websites, newsletters, online courses and membership programs. On Tuesday, the Irvine-based company closed a $550 million round valuing it at $2 billion.

Weekly Graphic: The Decline of Pay TV

Ryff, a stealthy L.A.-based startup founded in 2018, has been using gaming technology to develop a method for product placement in film and TV. The company sees itself poised to ride the wave of non-pay streaming services by offering them a means of generating ad-based revenue.

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