LA Tech Updates: GoodRx IPO?; Trump Gives Green Light for  Microsoft to Acquire TikTok

Rachel Uranga

Rachel Uranga is dot.LA's Managing Editor, News. She is a former Mexico-based market correspondent at Reuters and has worked for several Southern California news outlets, including the Los Angeles Business Journal and the Los Angeles Daily News. She has covered everything from IPOs to immigration. Uranga is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism and California State University Northridge. A Los Angeles native, she lives with her husband, son and their felines.

LA Tech Updates: GoodRx IPO?; Trump Gives Green Light for  Microsoft to Acquire TikTok
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

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:

  • Reuters reports GoodRx is looking to go public
  • If American company doesn't buy Tiktok by Sept. 15, Trump said "it will be out of business."

          If U.S. Company Doesn't Buy Tiktok by Sept. 15, Trump Said "It Will be Out of Business."

          TikTok got at least a temporary reprieve in the ongoing battle between the U.S. and Chinese governments over its fate.

          President Donald Trump said Monday TikTok could be bought by an American company after threatening to ban it in the U.S. on Friday. The move opens the door to a Microsoft acquisition but if no deal is reached by September 15th, Trump said TikTok "will be out of business in the United States."

          Trump also added a new wrinkle to the negotiations, saying that "a very substantial portion" of the purchase would have to go to the U.S. Treasury, "because we're making it possible for this deal to happen." It is not yet clear how that would work.

          Trump's remarks follow a recent conversation with Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella about his firm's intentions to potentially acquire the Chinese-owned company, Microsoft wrote in a blog post Sunday. The President stated he will hold off banning TikTok while Microsoft negotiates with its Chinese parent company, ByteDance.

          According to Microsoft's statement, the two companies are exploring a proposal wherein the Seattle-based software behemoth would purchase and operate TikTok's operations in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The acquisition could also include participation from minority investors.

          In its statement, Microsoft touted its ability to add "world-class security, privacy and digital safety protections" to TikTok, which could assuage the national security concerns of many U.S. government officials over the Chinese government's access to TikTok's data.

          Specific security measures mentioned in Microsoft's statement include ensuring that TikTok's data on American users is transferred to and remains in the U.S., and that any American user data in servers outside the country is deleted.

          Microsoft underscored that the discussions are preliminary. "We do not intend to provide further updates until there is a definitive outcome to our discussions," the statement said.

          The two companies have given notice of their intent to pursue a deal to the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which is already investigating whether ByteDance's 2018 acquisition of L.A.-based Musical.ly threatens national security.

          Republican Senator Lindsey Graham called the discussions "a win-win in the making" while Senator Marco Rubio, who has been critical of TikTok, has said if the company and its data can be "purchased & secured by a trusted U.S. company that would be a positive & acceptable outcome."

          GoodRx is Reportedly Looking to Go Public

          shallow focus photography of prescription bottle with capsulesPhoto by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

          The prescription marketplace platform GoodRx Inc has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a potential initial public offering, Reuters reported Sunday.

          The Santa Monica-based company was valued at $2.8 billion in 2018 when private equity firm Silver Lake took a stake. Reuters reported the company is hiring IPO advisers and the listing could come later this year or early 2021.

          Last year, the company purchased HeyDoctor, a telemedicine service that has expanded its care options.


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          Cadence

          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.

          Read moreShow less

          Inflation Reduction Act Officially Passes the Senate, Revamping Electric Vehicle Pricing

          David Shultz

          David Shultz is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara, California. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside and Nautilus, among other publications.

          The Capitol at Sunset
          Courtesy of Mike Stoll via Unsplash

          Over the weekend Senate Democrats officially passed the Inflation Reduction Act in what amounts to President Biden’s biggest legislative win so far. The bill includes a host of broad-spectrum economic policy changes and completely reworks the subsidies for electric vehicle purchases. The law still has to get through the House, but this should be a much smaller hurdle.

          dot.LA covered the bill in depth as it neared the goal line at the end of July, and the final iteration doesn’t change much. To recap:

          1. The rebate total stays $7,500 but is broken into two $3,750 chunks tied to how much of the car and its battery are made in the US.

          2. The manufacturer caps are eliminated, meaning even EV companies that have sold more than 20,000 vehicles are once again eligible.

          3. Rebates will now only apply to cars priced below $55,000 and trucks/SUVs below $80,000

          With the new system placing a renewed emphasis on American manufacturing and assembly, the calculus of which vehicles cost how much is still being worked out. The most comprehensive (but unofficial!) list I’ve seen has come from Reddit user u/Mad691.

          In addition to the EV rebate program, the bill also includes a number of economic incentives aimed at curbing emissions and accelerating the country’s transition to electric vehicles.

          There’s $20 billion earmarked for the construction of new clean vehicle manufacturing facilities and $3 billion will go help electrify the USPS delivery fleet. Another $3 billion will go to electrifying the nation’s ports. Then there’s $1 billion for zero-emission trucks and buses.

          Now that the bill is about to be codified into law, VC investment in the sector might heat up in response to the new money flowing in.

          “I do anticipate more climate funds standing up to invest in EV infrastructure,” says Taj Ahmad Eldridge, a partner at Include Ventures and the director at CREST an ARES Foundation initiative with JFF/WRI that aims to provide training for people in the new green economy. “However, we do see funds being a little more thoughtful on diligence and taking their time to fund the right investment.”

          The sentiment seems to be shared across Southern California. ChargeNet CEO and Co-Founder Tosh Dutt says the Inflation Reduction Act “super charges” the company’s effort to build infrastructure across the country.

          “This investment accelerates the transition to renewable energy and gives companies like ChargeNet Stations the confidence to expand more rapidly, especially in underserved communities,” says Dutt.

          For Rivian, the bill’s passage has left would-be customers in a sort of limbo. Because many of their models will exceed the $80,000 cap for trucks and SUVs after options, customers who’ve preordered are scrambling to sign buyers’ agreements to take advantage of the current EV rebate scheme which doesn’t include price caps. As I noted in the previous article, if you buy an EV before the bill is signed, you’re eligible for the current rebate system even if the vehicle isn’t delivered until 2023. Any existing contracts under the current system will remain valid.

          With the legislation seemingly on the fast track to become law, it’s unclear whether or not Rivian will expedite the purchasing process to allow customers to sign the buyers’ agreement before the new rebate program becomes the law of the land. Tick tock!

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