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Weekly Tech Recap: What Startups, Entrepreneurs and Investors Can Expect in a Downturn
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It was another rough week for stocks, and SoCal startups haven't been immune. Walnut-based fintech Albert laid off a chunk of its staff Friday. Earlier this week, Santa Monica-based Bird cut almost a quarter of its workforce.

In fact, over 50 tech startups have made significant layoffs since January 2022, as companies face the harsh realities of rapid inflation, global instability and a terrible startup fundraising environment.

Zillow co-founder (and dot.LA Executive Chairman) Spencer Rascoff turned his biweekly column on "How To Startup" into a meditation on how inflation, and the interest rate hikes meant to curb it, can clobber stock prices—specifically for young, high-growth companies whose earnings are mostly in the future.

Here's a look at what to expect, and how companies and entrepreneurs can come out stronger.

    Here’s What Happened in LA’s Entertainment Tech World This Week 🍿

    In its race to launch ads on its service, Netflix is reportedly looking at acquiring one of the leaders in video advertising: Roku. It also plans to transform its streaming hits “Money Heist” and “The Queen’s Gambit” into mobile games on its platform.

    "It's Always Sunny..." actor Rob McElhenney launched a blockchain platform, Adim, that aims to give writers more equity in the characters they create.

    VR startup Positron is experimenting with bringing the sense of smell to virtual environments. It's one of several such companies going beyond just sight and sound.

    Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said the company will “engage in good faith negotiations” with the new union at its Raven subsidiary.

    Riot Games just flipped the script on high school esports in a way that could disrupt one local company’s lucrative tournament-organizing gig.

    Will E3 return to DTLA? The gaming conference is set to return next summer, but whether it stays in L.A. is unclear.

    This year’s Augmented World Expo featured everything from immersive table-top gaming to TikTok’s debut in AR.

    Co-founded by NFL legends Tom Brady and Michael Strahan, Religion of Sports is expanding into entertainment, business and music.

    Social Media 📱

    TikTok’s new features address a perennial problem for its app and others: social media addiction. Another problem, misinformation, has proven a more difficult challenge. TikTok also became the latest social app to add avatars to its platform this week.

    Calaxy, a Web3 social media app, lets creators sell their own crypto tokens to fans, which can be redeemed for exclusive content.

    Transportation 🚗

    Faraday Future’s plan to expand into China includes building a factory there as early as 2025.

    Phoenix Motorcars went public this week — falling far short of its IPO target.

    Over half of the companies at this year’s Electrify Expo in Long Beach featured micromobility options, not just cars or trucks.

    Venture Capital 💰

    Despite a tricky environment, Wavemaker 360 announced a new $65 million fund to back the next wave of health startups.

    With a new $6 million fund, LACI (the L.A. Cleantech Incubator) aims to provide female, Black and brown founders of early-stage startups with non-dilutive debt funding.

    Ecommerce UGC startup Gander raised $4 million to give shoppers a better idea of what a product looks like in real life.

    Special purpose acquisition companies are having a real moment—and not in a good way.

    See the full list of SoCal fundraising for the week in our "Raises" round up.

    Sponsored: The Recurring Revenue Conference

    Join 500-plus entrepreneurs, executives and investors June 23 at the Hilton Los Angeles Culver City for the Recurring Revenue Conference hosted by Sutton Capital Partners. Hear from experts who are successfully growing their industry-leading companies, as well as from the investors backing them. Can’t make the in-person event? This year's conference is open to virtual attendance.

    Visit recurringrevenueconference.com for tickets and info. dot.LA readers can register with this link using promo code DOTLA229 to save over $200 on in-person attendance.

    🎧 Listen Up 

    Lovevery co-founder Jessica Rolph wanted to make a set of products that aren't just fun, but also educational—for kids and their parents.

    What does investing in India and investing in cannabis have in common? Casa Verde Capital’s Karan Wadhera says they’re both risky, with plenty of potential upside.

    Melin Hats co-founder Brian McDonell’s family lost everything when he was young. He promised that would never happen again.

    Gail Federici’s inspiration for Color Wow grew out of personal experience. Her sisters dealt with gray roots before she did, and they told her that there weren’t any good products for combating the issue.

    Also...

    Fintech startup Albert cut much of its engineering, operations, legal staff and even its customer support team.

    "Family concierge" startup Yohana launched in L.A. this week, aiming to save overwhelmed parents 8 to 10 hours a week.

    It’s already partnered with Jack in the Box and Chipotle. Now, Miso Robotics is working with Amazon to turn its prototypes into functional products at a much faster rate.

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