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 ›
- The Fund Launches a Venture Capital Firm in Los Angeles - dot.LA ›
- Los Angeles' Tech and Startup Scene is Growing. - dot.LA ›
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Minutes into filling out my absentee ballot last week, I was momentarily distracted by my dog Seamus. A moment later, I realized in horror that I was filling in the wrong bubble — accidentally voting "no" on a ballot measure that I meant to vote "yes" on.
It was only a few ink marks, but it was noticeable enough. Trying to fix my mistake, I darkly and fully filled in the correct circle and then, as if testifying to an error on a check, put my initials next to the one I wanted.
Then I worried. As a reporter who has previously covered election security for years, I went on a mini-quest trying to understand how a small mistake can have larger repercussions.
As Los Angeles County's 5.6 million registered voters all receive ballots at home for the first time, I knew my experience could not be unique. But I wondered, would my vote count? Or would my entire ballot now be discarded?
My distractingly sweet dog, Seamus.
Photo by Tami Abdollah
Los Angeles invests hundreds of millions each year to alleviate homelessness, but the networks that underlie those efforts are often held together by legal pads and spreadsheets.
It took a person who's suffered through the system to try to update it, so that the homeless and their advocates can get what they need, when they need it.
Anthony Greco is the founder of the Get Help app.