Weekly Round Up: LA's Black and Latino Founders to Follow

Eric Zassenhaus
Eric Zassenhaus is dot.LA's managing editor for platforms and audience. He works to put dot.LA stories in front of the broadest audience in the best possible way. Prior to joining dot.LA, he served as an editorial and product lead at Pacific Standard magazine and at NPR affiliate KPCC in Los Angeles. He has also worked as a news producer, editor and art director. Follow him on Twitter for random thoughts on publishing and L.A. culture.
Weekly Round Up: LA's Black and Latino Founders to Follow
Ben Bergman

This week: Songtradr acquired MassiveMusic. Venice-based Trueface was acquired by Pangiam. L.A. startups Red 6, e-gree and Ready, Set, Food! raised funding.

LA's Founders of Color

Founders of color are leading the new wave of L.A. tech startups. Who stands out? We asked the region's top VCs to weigh in. The list includes a young CEO who grew up without internet access who's now building an esports empire as well as a music industry veteran using artificial intelligence to predict what songs will become breakout hits.

Quincy Jones' Guilt-Free NFT Platform for Artists

Legendary musician Quincy Jones has embraced an environmentally friendly non-fungible token (NFT) platform geared toward musicians and their fans. So far, it's raised $63 million to launch.

Your Face = Your Boarding Pass

Your face could soon serve as your passport, boarding pass and health check. Airport security provider Pangiam acquired Santa Monica-based Trueface and their facial recognition tech, as more airports embrace biometrics to screen passengers.

Grieving Parents March on Snap's HQ

Would allowing third-party parental monitoring apps on Snapchat make for fewer instances of drug sales and cyberbullying? Parents who've lost loved ones to such incidents protested outside the app's headquarters Friday, calling for new solutions.

TikTok's Dark Money Influencers

A recent report from Mozilla finds TikTok has been allowing users to post sponsored political content funded by PACs, despite claims that it bans political ads from its platform.

Ready for a Return to Office Awkwardness?

Is your employer planning to resume in-office work? We talked to L.A. startups and tech giants about their remote work policies and whether and how they're preparing to bring back workers safely:

As Live Events Reset, Fanimal Takes on Ticketing

Fanimal's co-founders pitched their new live-events company to investors in the middle of a pandemic, promising that it would have a leg up on rivals hampered by lockdowns. As live events return, it's now showtime for the startup.


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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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GrayMatter Is Building Industrial Robots To Take Over the Jobs Humans Hate

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

​GrayMatter robotics working
Andria Moore courtesy of GrayMatter

GrayMatter Robotics, a startup based in Gardena (and definitely not a “Breaking Bad” reference, the founders assure us) is looking to disrupt the industrial finishing and sanding industry by programming robotic arms with artificial intelligence software to automate this labor.

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