'Raises': Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo Seeking New $450M Fund

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.

'Raises': Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo Seeking New $450M Fund
Courtesy of Upfront Summit 2022

This week in “Raises”: A tech company that creates exclusive travel experiences featuring the likes of Justin Bieber and Duran Duran landed a big Series C round. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s venture capital firm is raising $450 million for its second fund.


Venture Capital

Pollen, a startup that curates travel experiences featuring entertainers like Justin Bieber and Duran Duran, raised $150 million in Series C funding led by Sienna Capital.

Carlsmed, a medical tech company specializing in spinal surgery, raised a $30 million Series B funding round led by B Capital Group.

Climate tech startup Enervee raised a $30 million Series B funding round led by Kerogen Capital and JPMorgan.

Energy drink startup A SHOC Energy raised a $29 million Series B funding round led by prominent athletes including Aaron Judge, Michael Strahan, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau, among others.

Playable Worlds, an online game developer, raised $25 million in Series B funding led by Kakao Games Corp.

Advertising platform tvScientific raised a $20 million Series A funding round led by Norwest Venture Partners.

Music tech startup Stem raised $20 million in new funding led by QED Investors. Block, the Jack Dorsey-led fintech company formerly known as Square, also participated.

Trust, a digital adtech startup founded by Snap alums, raised $5 million in funding from Sapphire Sport and former Venmo executive Michael Vaughan.

Web3 banking startup MetaLend raised $5 million in seed funding led by Pantera Capital.

Vyng, an Android app that lets users earn Bitcoin when making phone calls, raised $5 million in funding from March Capital Partners, Newbound Venture Capital, Alpha Edison and Omidyar Network.

NFT startup Afterparty raised a $4 million funding round from investors including Paris Hilton, Jason Calacanis, Blockchange, Acrew Capital and TenOneTen Ventures.

Soundful, an AI-powered music creation platform, raised $3.8 million in seed funding from individual investors affiliated with Microsoft, Disney and Universal Music Group, among other companies.

Creator economy startup Superjoi raised a $2.5 million pre-seed funding round from investors including Ascension Ventures, QED Investors, Systema VC, Tomahawk and Modern Venture Partners.

Music NFT platform SoundMint raised a $1.7 million seed round led by Animoca Brands.

Digital content monetization startup Ink raised a $1.5 million pre-seed funding round from investors including Mark Cuban and Sound Ventures.

Direct-to-consumer golf club company Robin Golf raised a $1.5 million seed round led by Pentland Brands.

Funds

WndrCo, the venture capital firm founded by former Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, is looking to raise $450 million for its second fund, according to an SEC filing.

Cultivate Next, a new venture fund launched by fast food chain Chipotle, raised $50 million to fund early-stage food tech startups.

Raises is dot.LA’s weekly feature highlighting venture capital funding news across Southern California’s tech and startup ecosystem. Please send fundraising news to Decerry Donato (decerrydonato@dot.la).

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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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AmazeVR Wants You To Attend K-Pop Concerts Virtually

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

AmazeVR Wants You To Attend K-Pop Concerts Virtually
Photo courtesy of AmazeVR

Virtual reality startup AmazeVR now has $17 million to further expand its VR concert experience.

The West Hollywood-based company’s latest funding amounts to a bet that virtual shows, a staple of the pandemic, are here to stay. Mirae Asset Capital led the Series B funding round, with Mirae Asset Financial Group subsidiary (Mirae Asset Venture Investment), CJ Investment, Smilegate Investment, GS Futures and LG Technology Ventures investing again. Mobile game maker Krafton joined the group—but South Korean entertainment company CJ ENM’s stake reveals AmazeVR’s plans to expand into K-pop world.

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