LA Tech ‘Moves’: MeWe Taps Apple Co-founder, Aspiration Swipes Tesla Director

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern 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’: MeWe Taps Apple Co-founder, Aspiration Swipes Tesla Director
Photo by James Opas | Modified by Joshua Letona

“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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Aspiration, a sustainable financial services company, appointed former Tesla director Tim Newell as its first chief innovation officer. Prior to leading teams at Tesla, Newell also worked under the Clinton Administration as a deputy director for policy in the White House office of science and technology.

All-electric vehicle manufacturing company Phoenix Motorcars hired industry veterans Lewis Liu as senior vice president of program management office and business development. Phoenix also hired Mark Hastings as senior vice president of corporate development and strategy and head of investor relations.

Counterpart, a management liability platform, welcomed Claudette Kellner as insurance product lead and Eric Marler as head of claims. Kellner served at Berkley Management Protection as vice president, while Marler previously served as an assistant vice president at the Hanover Insurance Group.

Legal tech and eDiscovery veteran Mark Wentworth joined compliance software company X1 as external vice president of sales and business development.

Sameday Health, a testing and healthcare provider, named Sarah Thomas as general counsel. Thomas previously served at digital health company Favor.

MeWe, an ad-free and privacy-first social network, tapped the co-founder of Apple Steve Wozniak to its advisory board, and co-founder of Harvard Connection Divya Narendra to its board of directors.

Internet marketplace Ad.net, welcomed former Interpublic CEO David Bell to its board of directors.

Science and technology company GATC Health, appointed addiction specialist Jayson A. Hymes as a new advisory board member.

AltaSea, a non-profit organization that aims to accelerate scientific collaboration, added South Bay philanthropist Melanie Lundquist to its board of trustees.

Correction:An earlier version stated Divya Narendra was added to MeWe's advisory board.

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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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Former Amazon and Lyft Execs Launch Incubator and Tech Talent Hybrid Startup

Steve Huff
Steve Huff is an Editor and Reporter at dot.LA. Steve was previously managing editor for The Metaverse Post and before that deputy digital editor for Maxim magazine. He has written for Inside Hook, Observer and New York Mag. Steve is the author of two official tie-ins books for AMC’s hit “Breaking Bad” prequel, “Better Call Saul.” He’s also a classically-trained tenor and has performed with opera companies and orchestras all over the Eastern U.S. He lives in the greater Boston metro area with his wife, educator Dr. Dana Huff.
Former Amazon and Lyft Execs Launch Incubator and Tech Talent Hybrid Startup
Photo by Ryz Labs

RYZ Labs wants to be a one-stop shop for startups looking to scale up and add new talent.

California natives Jordan Metzner and Sam Nadler created RYZ Labs, and their résumés make it clear they’ve got the knowledge and experience necessary to help others hit the ground running. In 2006, the pair launched California Burrito Co., a chain restaurant with international reach; in 2013, they founded the “Uber for Laundry,” Washio. Add in Metzner’s five years at Amazon and Nadler’s time at Lyft, and you have a potent combination of industry savvy and entrepreneurial flair.

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