LA Poised for Jobs Jump as Electric Vehicle Industry Surges Across State

Joe Bel Bruno
Joe Bel Bruno is dot.LA's editor in chief, overseeing newsroom operations and the organization's editorial team. He joins after serving as managing editor of Variety magazine and as senior leadership in spots at the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and Associated Press. He's a veteran journalist that loves breaking big stories, living back in L.A., a good burrito and his dog Gladys — not necessarily in that order.
LA Poised for Jobs Jump as Electric Vehicle Industry Surges Across State
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Los Angeles County is cementing its position as the nation's center of the electric vehicle industry, where some 118,000 jobs working on everything from car design to better batteries.

The Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. said Monday, in its study on the industry, that L.A. controls 43% of California's massive EV industry. The growth helps the state compete with Michigan in what the LAEDC is calling a "hometown industry."


Looking ahead, economists predict the state's goal to have five million electric vehicles on the road by 2030 will help the state create more jobs. The LAEDC projects the number Californians working in the EV industry will rise from 275,000 in 2018 to 312,000 by 2023.

"There's no other ecosystem like this in the U.S., and we need to protect, support and build good policy to ensure this ecosystem thrives and continues to create great jobs," said Judy Kruger, Senior Director of Industry Development at the LAEDC.

The report, which was funded from a sponsorship by Southern California Edison and others, also highlighted that the jobs pay well. The average annual wage for EV workers hit $80,900 in 2018, well above the average annual wage of $60,400 across all industries.

LAEDC

Though, the region's transition into the modern-day Detroit of the electric vehicle world has not come without risk.

Of the six main EV companies operating in L.A., three of them have filed for bankruptcy protection in recent years: Mid City-based Coda Automotive in 2013, Torrance-based Fisker Automotive in 2013, and Irvine-based Karma Automotive in 2014.

Some formerly failed companies have revitalized themselves and come under new ownership. Karma, for instance, was bought for $150 million by Chinese auto-parts maker Wanxiang Group in 2014, and its Karma Revero GT is expected to hit roads this year.

Data provider Pitchbook said in a report last year that it expects the total market for plug-in hybrid and battery powered electric vehicles to exceed $440 billion in 2025, up from $95 billion through the first half of 2019. This would result in an increase in electric vehicle market penetration to roughly 11% of new car sales in 2025 from about 2% through the first six months of last year. "We expect this to be driven by a continuation in declining battery manufacturing costs increasing affordability," according to the report. "The development of charging infrastructure and the entrance of major automakers into the market will in turn increase consumer awareness and drive electric vehicle adoption."

"Clean energy investments, including electrifying transportation, mean thousands of stable, good-paying jobs across the value chain—from skilled and craft to high-tech and innovation positions—for Southern Californians," said Michael Backstrom, managing director of Energy and Environmental Policy for Southern California Edison.

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Derek Jeter’s Arena Club Knocked a $10M Funding Round Right Out of the Park

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is dot.LA's 2022/23 Editorial Fellow. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

sports trading cards
Arena Club /Andria Moore

Sports trading card platform Arena Club has raised $10 million in Series A funding.

Co-founded by CEO Brian Lee and Hall of Fame Yankees player Derek Jeter, Arena Club launched its digital showroom in September. Through the platform, sports fans can buy, sell, trade and display their card collections. Using computer vision and machine learning, Arena Club allows fans to grade and authenticate their cards, which can be stored in the company’s vault or delivered in protective “slabs.” Arena Club intends to use the new cash to expand these functions and scale its operations.

The new funding brings Arena Club’s total amount raised to $20 million. M13, defy.vc, Lightspeed Ventures, Elysian Park Ventures and BAM Ventures contributed to the round.

“Our team is thankful for the group of investors—led by M13, who see the bright future of the trading card hobby and our platform,” Lee said in a statement. “I have long admired M13 and the value they bring to early-stage startups.”

M13’s co-founder Courtney Reum, who formed the early-stage consumer technology venture firm in 2016 alongside his brother Carter Reum, will join Arena Club’s board. Reum has been eyeing the trading card space since 2020 when he began investing in what was once just a childhood hobby.

The sports trading card market surged in 2020 as fans turned to the hobby after the pandemic brought live events to a standstill. Since then, prices have come down, though demand remains high. And investors are still betting on trading card companies, with companies like Collectors bringing in $100 million earlier this year. Fanatics, which sells athletic collectibles and trading cards, reached a $31 billion valuation after raising $700 million earlier this week. On the blockchain, Tom Brady’s NFT company Autograph lets athletes sell digital collectibles directly to fans.

As for Arena Club, the company is looking to cement itself as a digital card show.

“Providing users with a digital card show allows us to use our first-class technology to give collectors from all over the world the luxury of being able to get the full trading card show experience at their fingertips,” Jeter said in a statement.

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