Tech Moves: Brainbase Beefs Up C-Suite; Headspace Adds Former Quickbook Exec

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

Tech Moves: Brainbase Beefs Up C-Suite; Headspace Adds Former Quickbook Exec

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  • Rights Management Platform Brainbase Beefs Up C-Suite, Following $8M Raise
  • Former QuickBook Executive to Lead Headspace's International Operations as Global Audience Grows

    Headspace Adds Former QuickBook Executive as Global Audience Grows     

    Headspace makes meditation app free for the nation's 23 million unemployedShutterstock

    In the world of meditation, there is no time like the present. That's especially true for Santa Monica, Calif.-based Headspace.

    The mindfulness and meditation company, with more than 65 million users in 190 countries, has seen its consumer product's downloads double since March, which was the same month the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a global pandemic.

    Headspace for Work, its corporate mental health offering, has also seen a 500% increase in interest, as companies like Tesco, Hewlett Packard Enterprises and Publicis signed on. Europe has become the fastest-growing region for such corporate partnerships worldwide.

    That global growth led Headspace to announce Tuesday plans to expand its executive staff, appointing Jolawn Victor to the newly-created role of chief international officer.

    "The need for mindfulness and meditation to mitigate stress and anxiety to care for our mental health, is more prevalent now than ever," said CeCe Morken, president and COO of Headspace, in a statement. "Whether we are reaching members through our work-place solutions, or the curated content in-language, we are more committed than ever to our goal of making mindfulness accessible to all, regardless of where they may be."

    Victor, who is London-based, previously worked at Intuit QuickBooks where she served as the head of emerging markets and global expansion and led operations across 150 countries. Victor has also worked at PepsiCo, Kraft and General Mills. She said in a statement that she is thrilled to "help increase the awareness of mental health and wellness in existing and emerging markets" especially today.

    The stats tell the tale of stress, anxiety and isolation that has brought users to Headspace.

    Since mid-March through the end of May, Headspace reports it saw live group meditation up by 70%, 10 times the numbers of users beginning the company's stressed meditation program and 12 times the users doing a "reframing anxiety at-home" workout. Headspace also found a 33% increase in sleep music usage.

    Earlier this year, the meditation company announced a Series C funding raise of $93 million with an extension of $47.7 million that Headspace said it applied this June.


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    Rights Management Platform Brainbase Beefs Up C-Suite, Following $8M Raise


    Brainbase, an L.A.-based tech company aiming to simplify and streamline the management of intellectual property like copyrights and patents, announced two executive hires on Tuesday. The moves follow the company's $8 million Series A in May, led by Bessemer Venture Partners and Nosara Capital.

    Gautam Godse, former vice president of product at Glendale-based LegalZoom, which offers technology to replace lawyers for some legal tasks, is now Brainbase's senior vice president of product. He is charged with expanding Brainbase's product suite to help brands further monetize their intellectual property.

    "There is a tremendous opportunity to modernize the intellectual property space using advanced machine learning and AI techniques," Godse said in a statement. "I am excited to join the team and start building these new product experiences in the legal tech industry."

    Henri Kroosmann, the former engineering manager at enterprise sales software provider Pipedrive joins Brainbase as vice president of engineering. He will focus on optimizing the product, recruiting engineers and positioning the company for long-term growth.

    "I want to use my experience to take the company to the next level in terms of quality, scalability and performance," Kroosmann said.

    Brainbase is helmed by mid-20s wunderkind Nate Cavanaugh, who called this moment "an important inflection point for the company." It counts among its clients BuzzFeed, the Vincent Van Gogh Museum and Sanrio (of Hello Kitty and friends fame).

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    Two LA Startups Participate in Techstars 2023 Health Care Accelerator

    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.

    Two LA Startups Participate in Techstars 2023 Health Care Accelerator
    Courtesy of Techstars

    Earlier this month, Techstars announced that their 2023 accelerator program will have two simultaneous cohorts–Techstars health care and L.A. As previously reported on dot.LA, Techstars has brought on board returning partners Cedars Sinai, United Healthcare, along with new partners that include UCI Health and Point32Health for its health care cohort.

    “For our healthcare program, this is the first time we've had multiple partners as sponsors,” Managing Director Matt Kozlov said. “This allows us to support and mentor a wider diversity of companies than we've been able to help historically.”

    The in-person program is taking place in Los Angeles and two out of the twelve companies accepted into the health care program are based in Southern California.

    Read moreShow less

    The Creator-To-Podcaster Pipeline Is Ready to Explode

    Nat Rubio-Licht
    Nat Rubio-Licht is a freelance reporter with dot.LA. They previously worked at Protocol writing the Source Code newsletter and at the L.A. Business Journal covering tech and aerospace. They can be reached at
    The Creator-To-Podcaster Pipeline Is Ready to Explode
    Evan Xie

    It’s no secret that men dominate the podcasting industry. Even as women continue to grow their foothold, men still make up many of the highest-earning podcasts, raking in massive paychecks from ad revenue and striking deals with streaming platforms worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

    But a new demographic is changing that narrative: Gen-Z female influencers and content creators.

    Read moreShow less

    NASA’s JPL Receives Billions to Begin Understanding Our Solar System

    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.

    NASA’s JPL Receives Billions to Begin Understanding Our Solar System
    Evan Xie

    NASA’s footprint in California is growing as the agency prepares for Congress to approve its proposed 2024 budget.

    The overall NASA budget swelled 6% from the prior year, JPL deputy director Larry James told dot.LA. He added he sees that as a continuation of the last two presidential administrations’ focus on modernizing and bolstering the nation’s space program.

    The money goes largely to existing NASA centers in California, including the Pasadena-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory run with Caltech, Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley and Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base.

    California remains a hotspot for NASA space activity and investment. In 2021, the agency estimated its economic output impact on the region to be around $15.2 billion. That was far more than its closest competing states, including Texas ($9.3 billion) and Maryland (roughly $8 billion). That same year, NASA reported it employed over 66,000 people in California.

    “In general, Congress has been very supportive” of the JPL and NASA’s missions, James said. “It’s generally bipartisan [and] supported by both sides of the aisle. In the last few years in general NASA has been able to have increased budgets.”

    There are 41 current missions run by JPL and CalTech, and another 16 scheduled for the future. James added the new budget is “an incredible support for all the missions we want to do.”

    The public-private partnership between NASA and local space companies continues to evolve, and the increased budget could be a boon for LA-based developers. Numerous contractors for NASA (including CalTech, which runs the JPL), Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX and Northrop Grumman all stand to gain new contracts once the budget is finalized, partly because NASA simply needs the private industry’s help to achieve all its goals.

    James said that there was only one JPL mission that wasn’t funded – a mission to send an orbital satellite to survey the surface and interior of Venus, called VERITAS.

    NASA Employment and Output ImpactEvan Xie

    The Moon and Mars

    Much of the money earmarked in the proposed 2024 budget is for crewed missions. Overall, NASA’s asking for $8 billion from Congress to fund lunar exploration missions. As part of this, the majority is earmarked for the upcoming Artemis mission, which aims to land a woman and person of color on the Moon’s south pole.

    While there’s a number of high-profile missions the JPL is working on that are focused on Mars, including Mars Sample Return project (which received $949 million in this proposed budget) and Ingenuity helicopter and Perseverance rover, JPL also received significant funding to study the Earth’s climate and behavior.

    JPL also got funding for several projects to map our universe. One is the SphereX Near Earth Objects surveyor mission, the goal of which is to use telescopes to “map the entire universe,” James said, adding that the mission was fully funded.

    International Space Station

    NASA’s also asking for more money to maintain the International Space Station (ISS), which houses a number of projects dedicated to better understanding the Earth’s climate and behavior.

    The agency requested roughly $1.3 billion to maintain the ISS. It also is increasing its investment in space flight support, in-space transportation and commercial development of low-earth orbit (LEO). “The ISS is an incredible platform for us,” James said.

    James added there are multiple missions outside or on board the ISS now taking data, including EMIT, which launched in July 2022. The EMIT mission studies arid dust sources on the planet using spectroscopy. It uses that data to remodel how mineral dust movement in North and South America might affect the Earth’s temperature changes.

    Another ISS mission JPL launched is called ECOSTRESS. The mission sent a thermal radiometer onto the space station in June 2018 to monitor how plants lose water through their leaves, with the goal of figuring out how the terrestrial biosphere reacts to changes in water availability. James said the plan is to “tell you the kind of foliage health around the globe” from space.

    One other ISS project is called Cold Atom Lab. It is “an incredible fundamental physics machine,” James said, that’s run by “three Nobel Prize winners as principal investigators on the Space Station.” Cold Atom Lab is a physics experiment geared toward figuring out how quantum phenomena behave in space by cooling atoms with lasers to just below absolute zero degrees.

    In the long term, James was optimistic NASA’s imaging projects could lead to more dramatic discoveries. Surveying the makeup of planets’ atmospheres is a project “in the astrophysics domain we’re very excited about,” James said. He added that this imaging could lead to information about life on other planets, or, at the very least, an understanding of why they’re no longer habitable.