LA Tech Updates: Starbucks, Obama Alums Join Sweetgreen Board: GOAT Ad Airs During NBA Playoffs

Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.

LA Tech Updates: Starbucks, Obama Alums Join Sweetgreen Board: GOAT Ad Airs During NBA Playoffs

Here are the latest updates on news affecting Los Angeles' startup and tech communities. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for more.

Today:

  • GOAT Uses NBA Playoffs to Launch Brand Campaign
  • Jarrett and Burrows Join Sweetgreen Board

      GOAT Uses NBA Playoffs to Launch Brand Campaign

      Online sneaker reseller GOAT will air their first television ad campaign during the NBA playoffs this week as the fast-growing Culver City company looks to build its audience beyond sneaker heads.

      The company has been amping up their buzz around the profitable NBA market, where players like LeBron James are tastemakers and drive sales for shoe companies, since it scored a $100 million investment from tennis shoe giant retailer Footlocker.

      Since then, GOAT sealed a deal with the Brooklyn Nets allowing it to plaster the signage, content and more along the team's path during home and away games. It extended its agreement with Los Angeles Lakers Kyle Kuzma to represent the brand by wearing their shoes and apparel. And earlier this year, GOAT added Rui Hachimura of the Washington Wizards, 2019 rookie of the year, as a brand representative.

      The 30-second ad directed by Daniel Sannwald, who has worked with Rhianna, Travis Scott and Nike, opens up with a sound like a live wire that breaks into a beat and features a battery of silhouettes in sneakers and oversized coats. Sneakers, apparel accessories, the ad reads then says. Past, present, future.

      Begun by college friends five years ago, GOAT tapped into the massive sneaker resale market with a platform that "authenticates" shoes. It has since expanded into apparel and accessories and states that it has 20 million members.

      Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz ranked the company 16 on its top 100 largest and fastest-growing consumer startups and private companies earlier this year.

      GOAT takes its name from the sports acronym for "Greatest of All Time."

      Jarrett and Burrows Join Sweetgreen Board

      Valerie Jarrett, a former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, has joined Sweetgreen's board of directors, along with Cliff Burrows, former group president of Starbucks' Siren Retail business, which includes the coffee maker's Reserve Roasteries and Princi bakeries.

      Jarrett is currently is a Senior Distinguished Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School and a senior advisor to the Obama Foundation.

      Last month, Sweetgreen's CEO, Jonathan Neman, told dot.LA his goal was to build the company into being the "Starbucks of real food."

      Burrows spent two decades at Starbucks before exiting last year and was most recently responsible for elevating the customer and employee experience. Prior to that, he was Group President of Starbucks Coffee U.S. and Americas and President of the U.S. Retail Operation.

      In May, Sweetgreen brought on Chris Carr, a former Starbucks executive, as its chief operating officer.

      The hires come as Sweetgreen, valued at $1.6 billion, seeks to expand well beyond its current 108 stores to over 1,000 locations.

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      LA Tech ‘Moves’: Saviynt Gains New CEO, The FIFTH Taps Agency Veteran to Lead Creative Team

      Decerry Donato

      Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

      LA Tech ‘Moves’: Saviynt Gains New CEO, The FIFTH Taps Agency Veteran to Lead Creative Team
      LA Tech ‘Moves’:

      “Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (sharmineh@dot.la). Please send job changes and personnel moves to moves@dot.la.

      ***

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      Los Angeles’ Wage Growth Outpaced Inflation. Here’s What That Means for Tech Jobs

      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.

      Los Angeles’ Wage Growth Outpaced Inflation. Here’s What That Means for Tech Jobs

      Inflation hit cities with tech-heavy workforces hard last year. Tech workers fortunate enough to avoid layoffs still found themselves confronting rising costs with little change in their pay.

      Those national trends certainly touched down in Los Angeles, but new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the city of angels was the only major metro area that saw its wage growth grow by nearly 6% while also outpacing the consumer price index, which was around 5%. Basically, LA was the only area where adjusted pay actually came out on a net positive.

      So, what does this mean for tech workers in LA County?

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      samsonamore@dot.la

      Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups

      David Shultz

      David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

      Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups
      Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash

      The Inflation Reduction Act contains almost $400 billion in funding for clean energy initiatives. There’s $250 billion for energy projects. $23 billion for transportation and EVs. $46 billion for environment. $21 billion for agriculture, and so on. With so much cash flowing into the sector, the possibilities for investment and growth are gigantic.

      These investment opportunities, however, have typically been inaccessible for everyday retail investors until much later in a company’s development–after an IPO, usually. Meaning that the best returns are likely to be captured by banks and other institutions who have the capital and financing to invest large sums of money earlier in the process.

      That’s where Pasadena-based Energy Shares comes in. The company wants to help democratize access to these investment opportunities and simultaneously give early-stage utility-scale energy projects another revenue stream.

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