L.A. Tech Updates: L.A. Seed Rounds Are Getting Bigger; the Future of Facial Recognition Technology
- Anaheim's 'Star Wars' Celebration is Canceled
- L.A. Congressman Looks to Limit Police Use of Facial Recognition Technology
- L.A. Seed Rounds Are Getting Bigger
Anaheim's 'Star Wars' Celebration is Canceled
Chalk up another disappointment to the coronavirus. The organizers of Anaheim's 'Star Wars Celebration' are calling it off this year, due to concerns about hosting an indoor event in the midst of a global pandemic. Would-be attendees can exchange their tickets for the 2022 event (plus a limited edition stormtrooper pin), trade them for merch or get a refund. You can find more information at their website.
L.A. Congressman Looks to Limit Police Use of Facial Recognition Technology
Amazon, IBM and Microsoft either pulled sales of their facial recognition technology to law enforcement or halted their business last week as pressure from civil rights leaders, companies and legislators grew over how the surveillance technologies were being used.
The issue has played out for years in the Los Angeles communities Congressman Jimmy Gomez represents. Activists regularly object to the use of technology that has the potential to exacerbate racial bias. Now, it has exploded anew on the national stage in the aftermath of the George Floyd protests.
Gomez, who sits on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, told Politico last week he's drafting legislation that would place restrictions on local and state police from using the technology.
"If facial recognition is considered the future of policing, it's just going to perpetuate the same biases that are already out there because it's in and of itself is biased," he told VentureBeat in a separate interview. "It's been flawed. It's been shown to be flawed and can [misidentify] people of color, mainly black women, Latinos, African Americans — and the darker the skin color, the more mistakes it makes. That's going to lead to more negative interactions between law enforcement and people of color, which can lead to deadly consequences."
Gomez told the outlet Amazon gave him the run around as Congress probed the issue.
"We need them to cooperate and give us data so we can be better informed on how to craft this legislation," he said. "If not, we'll just work with the civil rights groups, and we'll just try to pass it through, and they're going to most likely try to oppose it, in my opinion, at the end of the day if they don't like it."
L.A. Seed Rounds Are Getting Bigger
Image from Amplify.LA
In the first quarter of this year, 19 Los Angeles startups raised seed rounds of more than $2.5 million. The average seed round raised was $4 million, according to Amplify.LA's latest LA Seed Report.
"While nothing new for larger ecosystems like SF and NY, it's a relatively new phenomenon here in L.A.," wrote Conner Sundberg, an associate at Amplify.LA.
Amplify also found seed activity in Q1'20 was nearly double that of Q1'19. 38 companies closed seed rounds in the first quarter while fintech re-emerged as one of the top dealmaking sectors.
"Since starting this project years back, we've noted more funds being raised in L.A., a higher percentage of capital coming from local investors, and early stage teams tackling more varied verticals," wrote Sundberg.
— Ben Bergman
- Los Angeles Venture Deal Activity Is Up in Q1 - dot.LA ›
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When the founders who lead the ten young startups selected for the 2020 Techstars LA class begin their three month accelerator program Monday, they won't be gathering in the Mid-Wilshire office and shaking hands as every other class has done. Like the rest of us, they will be working at home because of the coronavirus. Dinners, meetings, socializing, and mentoring sessions will all be online.
"A big part of the magic of the program is the relationships that are from proximity and from everyone working together in the same space and so what we're doing is we're endeavoring to create as much as that connection in the virtual world as possible," said Anna Barber, managing director of Techstars LA.
Pod People<p><a href="https://podpeople.com/" target="_blank">Pod People</a> is a full-service podcast production and staffing agency with a network of over 700 audio professionals across the globe.</p><p><a href="https://brdg.app/s/o56p6c" target="_blank">Contact the founder >></a> <br></p>
JoyHub<p><a href="https://www.joyhub.io/" target="_blank">JoyHub</a> 's enterprise software integrates multifamily operator systems into a single, centralized data platform. </p><p><a href="https://brdg.app/s/io9a3s" target="_blank">Contact the founder >></a> </p>
Ayana Therapy<p><a href="https://www.ayanatherapy.com/" target="_blank">Ayana Therapy</a> provides online therapy for minorities with an emphasis on intersectionality. </p><p><a href="https://brdg.app/s/gdwa78" target="_blank">Contact the founder >></a></p>
CLLCTVE<p><a href="http://cllctve.com/" target="_blank">CLLCTVE</a> is a platform connecting college creatives with brands targeting Gen-Z consumers. </p><p><a href="https://brdg.app/s/bgc9pp" target="_blank">Contact the founder >></a></p>
Lactation Lab<p><a href="https://www.lactationlab.com/" target="_blank">Lactation Lab</a> provides breast milk analysis and personalized recommendations for mothers to optimize their child's health and nutrition. </p><p><a href="https://brdg.app/s/t0173z" target="_blank">Contact the founder >></a></p>
Preveta<p><a href="https://www.preveta.com/" target="_blank">Preveta</a> is transforming cancer care by arming clinicians with data and insights to improve outcomes, and blazing a trail for providers to deliver value-based care.</p><p><a href="https://brdg.app/s/odhs9o" target="_blank">Contact the founder >></a></p>
Shop Latinx<p><a href="https://shoplatinx.com/" target="_blank">Shop LatinX</a> is the leading fashion and beauty lifestyle brand with products designed by and for the Latinx community. </p><p><a href="https://brdg.app/s/0luryb" target="_blank">Contact the founder >></a></p>
Sike Insights<p><a href="https://sikeinsights.com/" target="_blank">Sike Insights</a> powers remote teams to work better together. Our first product, Kona, is an AI-powered Slackbot that helps you communicate. </p><p><a href="https://brdg.app/s/d5ejl2" target="_blank">Contact the founder >></a></p>
StatsHelix<p><a href="http://statshelix.com" target="_blank">StatsHelix</a> is a B2B gametech company focused on esports and streaming. </p><p><a href="https://brdg.app/s/j4yp3j" target="_blank">Contact the founder >></a></p>
Thrive Education<p><a href="https://thrive-education.co/" target="_blank">Thrive Education</a> provides remote tele-assessments for learning differences (LDs) such as dyslexia, ADHD, and autism. </p><p><a href="https://brdg.app/s/1dn2dc" target="_blank">Contact the founder >></a></p>
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- Super Hi-Fi's AI transports the skills of a trained radio DJ to digital music playlists. Spotify's former head of research Tristan Jehan recently joined as an advisor
- Founded in 2018 by veterans of the digital music business, the company's customers include iHeartMedia, Sonos, Peloton and Octave Music Group
- Its leaders envision a new audio listening experience — where everyone has a personalized, curated playlist, with artful, AI-generated sequences and layers of music, voice clips (e.g. news and podcasts), and branded messaging that drives new revenues to the music industry
Before the beat from "Baby Got Back" that underpins Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" fades to silence at the song's end, a sound clip pops up, right on rhythm and with a similar energy, telling the listener what streaming service they're listening to. A new track seamlessly takes the baton from the Minaj song before the brief branded message concludes, and continues the upbeat mood as a music bed for a rapid sequence of audio clips – first a voice imploring listeners to get hyped, then a word from Kanye about his interview with Beyoncé, a snippet from that interview, and another in-the-spirit advert – before blending into the intro of the next song, Kanye's "Stronger": all of it interwoven as if it were a single track produced in a recording studio.
Super Hi-Fi's customers include iHeartMedia,