Catch Up With This Week's Startup News in Our Video Recap

Lots happened in the L.A. tech and startup community this week. In a rundown of the top headlines, Chief Host and Correspondent Kelly O'Grady takes you through the key stories:

  • George Floyd Protests: L.A. Companies Across Industries Show Support, Snap Stops Promoting President Trump
  • Equity Crowdfunding is Thriving During the Pandemic
  • Media: Hollywood Proposes Reopening Guidelines, TikTok Addresses App Glitch
  • dot.LA & PledgeLA -- A Special Townhall on Building Equality in L.A. Tech


    Weekly Recap: Media & Tech Respond to Protests, Crowdfunding Thrives, Hollywood Plans to Reopen www.youtube.com

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    With an ambitious goal to building the Youtube of audio, Los Angeles-based Vurbl announced Monday it has closed its $1.3 pre-seed round with lead investor AlphaEdison with participation from Halogen Ventures and Ten13. The funds will be used to launch a platform later this year with millions of pieces of audio and podcasts.

    "We know how user generated content works, we know how social and SEO work, we know how digital advertising work, and most importantly, we keenly understand the particular way you must stitch them all together to make a great UX for listeners, creators AND advertisers," founder and CEO Audra Gold wrote in an email to dot.LA.

    As opposed to audio streaming companies such as Spotify and Luminary which have spent millions acquiring shows, Vurbl plans to differentiate itself by providing mostly cheaper user-generated content. It says it will also be the first scaled open market, realtime programmatic audio ad platform, doing for audio what has been so lucrative for video on Youtube.

    "Because of this, Vurbl is poised to revolutionize the world of digital audio advertising," Gold said.

    Gold previously founded Product N, a product management consulting and recruitment firm, and led product teams at Rubicon Project, The Mighty, Pluto TV, Fourthwall Studios and Defy Media (formerly Break Media). She also held senior product roles at WeddingChannel/TheKnot, Viviendi Universal's online division, and IGN.com.

    Apple owns the dominant podcasting platform even though audio is low on its list of priorities. Spotify has been on a spending spree to acquire more big name podcasts like Joe Rogan. Luminary raised more than $160 million to fund a subscription model with a hefty marketing budget but has burned through cash and struggled to attract subscribers.


    President Donald Trump told reporters he approved a deal in concept between Oracle and TikTok's parent company ByteDance in which Oracle and Walmart would partner with the app in the U.S. The move could avert the ban in U.S. app stores that was set to go into effect on Sunday.

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    I deeply appreciate David's approach to life and work. On this episode of LA Venture, hear Fleck talk about founding FreeFlow in order to invest in startups coming out of Caltech that have the potential to improve our world.

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