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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    Luxury electric carmaker Karma has found a lifeline with $100 million in new funding as the company and its parent look to cash in on the popularity of Tesla in order raise $300 million, Bloomberg reported.

    The Chinese-owned company formerly known as Fisker Automotive has struggled to break out in the capital-intensive world of carmaking. Owned by auto-supplier Wanxiang Group, which bought the company in 2014, Karma is selling stakes to private equity partners, according to the report. By raising cash from U.S. investors, Karma officials aim to reduce Chinese ownership below 50%, making it easier to win government fleet contracts.

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    Nomad Homes, which is building a managed marketplace to allow users to not just search but also finance and complete the paperwork for residential real estate, announced Wednesday it has raised a $4 million seed round led by Comcast Ventures with participation from Abstract Ventures, Partech, Precursor Ventures, WndrCo, and Class 5 Global.

    The company was started in Palo Alto by Helen Chen, a former Blackstone private equity investor who dropped out of the Stanford Graduate School of Business to start the company after she discovered how outdated property technology was in the Middle East and Europe. Nomad is now headquartered in Dubai but the engineering team is based in Los Angeles, led by Yury Velikanau, who was formerly the lead engineer at PeerStreet. The seed round will be used to grow Nomad's engineering team as well as grow its marketplace and services.

    "L.A. has a deep pool of engineering talent across all verticals, but especially in fintech (e.g., PeerStreet, Open Listings now Opendoor, and Tala)," Chen wrote in an e-mail. "What really stood out to us is that many of the engineers we spoke to also have a passion for real estate, which aligns well with Nomad's mission."

    Other co-founders include Chief Product Officer Dan Piehler, previously a senior product manager at Addepar, and Chief Operating Officer Damien Drap, an early employee at Uber who launched and lead Uber Eats across the Middle East.

    "Helen and the team bring a unique blend of Silicon Valley DNA, real estate insights and on-the-ground operating experience," said Daniel Gulati, a Managing Director at Comcast Ventures. "We are excited to support Nomad's quest to deliver a superior experience for all market participants with a technology-first approach."

    Nomad is focusing on Dubai and eventually other Middle Eastern and European cities because shopping for real estate is much more difficult without the MLS listings that Zillow and Redfin use to create a more user friendly experience in the United States.

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    Riders Share is AirBnB for motorcyclists.

    The motorcycle rental platform that launched two years ago as a way to help fanatics enjoy a ride without the high cost has now raised $2 million in Series A funds led by LiveOak Venture Partners.

    Created by a UCLA alumna, Riders Share will use the cash infusion to expand their customer service and marketing, along with developing new products. The company operates a sharing platform where users can rent out their own motorcycles or rent someone else's. Based in Austin, the company already has more than 10,000 listings. Los Angeles, where it was born, is among its largest market.

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