Reality TV Meets Robinhood: 'Going Public' Raises Another Round; Adds a New Contestant

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

going public streaming show

Normally, pre-IPO investments are reserved for wealthy angel and institutional investors who stand to cash out once a company goes public.

But Todd Goldberg and Darren Marble, the team behind the forthcoming Shark Tank-like series "Going Public," have a plan to level the playing field.

Just as Robinhood increased retail investors' access to Wall Street, Marble and Goldberg are calling Going Public the "Robinhood for angel investing."

The series will give viewers the chance to invest in one of five startups it follows as the founders strive toward a potential IPO on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

Goldberg and Marble are the co-CEOs of Crush Capital, the Beverly Hills-based investment company behind the show that's set to stream this fall on

Their pitch to investors is that Crush democratizes access to IPOs. Investors seem to be buying it: Crush Capital has raised $2.75 million in its second round of funding, led by AYA Capital Holdings with participation from Zilliqa Capital. The latest raise brings its total to $6 million.

"One thing that tied the folks who decided to invest, whether in the seed round or in this round, was that they got it right away," Goldberg said.

Among the five startups to appear on the show will be music streaming company Trebel, which Marble said has four million monthly unique users and a valuation of $150 million; Proven Skincare, which uses AI to create personalized skin care blends and which Goldberg said is on track to make up to $40 million in revenue this year and NexGenT, an edtech company formed by Air Force veterans who formerly taught teenagers how to build network infrastructure in the middle of war zones, and which Goldberg said earned $17 million in revenue last year.

More participants will be announced in the coming weeks. All will have valuations between $100 million and $500 million and be authorized by the SEC to receive funding from non-accredited investors in accordance with crowdfunding legislation passed in 2015 known as Regulation A.

"Whereas American Idol pioneered text-to-vote, we're pioneering click-to-invest for a series that allows viewers to follow founders on their capital-raising journey and invest into their deals or IPOs while they watch," Marble said.

Viewers will be able to buy equity via Crush Capital's investment platform and will be charged a $15 transaction fee, Marble said.

That's a departure from the no-fee services that have become standard among retail-investment platforms like Robinhood. But Goldberg sees the fees as an opportunity to further differentiate "Going Public" from what he considers a shady business practices.

"If you're not paying for the product, you are the product," he said, referring to the selling of user data that numerous no-fee brokerages practice. "We think the small transaction fee is worth paying to know that you are not the product."

Correction: An earlier version of this story said users of the Going Public investment platform could purchase stock warrants for competing companies. Users can only purchase stock shares in those companies. It also incorrectly stated Trebel's valuation.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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INDIEV Teams Up With Foxconn To Launch Electric SUVs

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 and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

INDIEV Teams Up With Foxconn To Launch Electric SUVs
Photo Courtesy of IndiEV

INDIEV, a startup based in Vernon, announced this week it will partner with Taiwanese tech conglomerate Foxconn to build its first prototypes of its upcoming electric SUV, nicknamed the INDI One.

The debut makes it the seventh consumer electric vehicle company to enter Los Angeles’s crowded cohort of green carmakers.

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