MarqVision Raises $20M to Stop Online Counterfeiters

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He 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 samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter at @Samsonamore. Pronouns: he/him

MarqVision Raises $20M to Stop Online Counterfeiters
Image Courtesy of MarqVision

Any Angeleno who’s been duped by a false designer item in the Fashion District understands the value of knowing exactly what is on sale – especially since to the average untrained eye, it’s hard to tell the difference between an authentic and a scam.


As ecommerce continues to grow and the global market is expected to hit $5.5 trillion this year, more brands are turning to digital loss prevention to stem losses – and prevent getting a bad rap for faulty fake products.

One local startup based in West Hollywood is betting that using artificial intelligence is the key to identifying counterfeit items and removing them from the marketplace by scanning over 1,500 online retailers across 115 different countries and comparing the minute details of their products to original items in order to weed out fakes.

MarqVision raised $20 million this week to continue developing its software that scans for counterfeit items in a bid to prevent fraud. It will also use the funding to expand its operations, with plans to open its first European outpost in Paris this fall (the company already has offices in Boston and South Korea).

The MarqVision platform. Image of what the MarqVision platform looks like. Image Courtesy of Marqvision

The company was incubated and funded by Y Combinator and launched two years ago. According to Pitchbook data, it has raised just over $28 million following this round from investors including SoftBank and South Korean firm Bass Investment.

CEO and Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumni Mark Lee co-founded MarqVision with Chief Business Officer Do Kyung Lee in 2020. Since then the company’s attracted clients including Niantic’s Pokemon, Seoul-based jewelers Didier Dubot and Ralph Lauren. MarqVision claims it removed $1 million worth of counterfeit Ralph Lauren merchandise in online marketplaces aimed at Korean shoppers as part of a case study.

Lee told TechCrunch Tuesday that the platform has a 97% accuracy rate and claimed the software can “process thousands of reports every hour” without the need for humans manually sorting and filing the paperwork to brands once they detect a fraudulent item. He also hinted that alongside physical merchandise, MarqVision might soon expand its platform’s capability to recognize counterfeit NFTs.

“Creative assets are under assault in today’s digital world, with content owners left largely unprotected as consumers get hoodwinked into buying fake goods and NFTs by sophisticated counterfeiters,” Lee told TechCrunch. “Unlike our competitors, which are forced to review manually in time-consuming processes, MarqVision’s process end-to-end is mostly automated.”

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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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Inflation Reduction Act Officially Passes the Senate, Revamping Electric Vehicle Pricing

David Shultz

David Shultz is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara, California. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside and Nautilus, among other publications.

The Capitol at Sunset
Courtesy of Mike Stoll via Unsplash

Over the weekend Senate Democrats officially passed the Inflation Reduction Act in what amounts to President Biden’s biggest legislative win so far. The bill includes a host of broad-spectrum economic policy changes and completely reworks the subsidies for electric vehicle purchases. The law still has to get through the House, but this should be a much smaller hurdle.

dot.LA covered the bill in depth as it neared the goal line at the end of July, and the final iteration doesn’t change much. To recap:

1. The rebate total stays $7,500 but is broken into two $3,750 chunks tied to how much of the car and its battery are made in the US.

2. The manufacturer caps are eliminated, meaning even EV companies that have sold more than 20,000 vehicles are once again eligible.

3. Rebates will now only apply to cars priced below $55,000 and trucks/SUVs below $80,000

With the new system placing a renewed emphasis on American manufacturing and assembly, the calculus of which vehicles cost how much is still being worked out. The most comprehensive (but unofficial!) list I’ve seen has come from Reddit user u/Mad691.

In addition to the EV rebate program, the bill also includes a number of economic incentives aimed at curbing emissions and accelerating the country’s transition to electric vehicles.

There’s $20 billion earmarked for the construction of new clean vehicle manufacturing facilities and $3 billion will go help electrify the USPS delivery fleet. Another $3 billion will go to electrifying the nation’s ports. Then there’s $1 billion for zero-emission trucks and buses.

Now that the bill is about to be codified into law, VC investment in the sector might heat up in response to the new money flowing in.

“I do anticipate more climate funds standing up to invest in EV infrastructure,” says Taj Ahmad Eldridge, a partner at Include Ventures and the director at CREST an ARES Foundation initiative with JFF/WRI that aims to provide training for people in the new green economy. “However, we do see funds being a little more thoughtful on diligence and taking their time to fund the right investment.”

The sentiment seems to be shared across Southern California. ChargeNet CEO and Co-Founder Tosh Dutt says the Inflation Reduction Act “super charges” the company’s effort to build infrastructure across the country.

“This investment accelerates the transition to renewable energy and gives companies like ChargeNet Stations the confidence to expand more rapidly, especially in underserved communities,” says Dutt.

For Rivian, the bill’s passage has left would-be customers in a sort of limbo. Because many of their models will exceed the $80,000 cap for trucks and SUVs after options, customers who’ve preordered are scrambling to sign buyers’ agreements to take advantage of the current EV rebate scheme which doesn’t include price caps. As I noted in the previous article, if you buy an EV before the bill is signed, you’re eligible for the current rebate system even if the vehicle isn’t delivered until 2023. Any existing contracts under the current system will remain valid.

With the legislation seemingly on the fast track to become law, it’s unclear whether or not Rivian will expedite the purchasing process to allow customers to sign the buyers’ agreement before the new rebate program becomes the law of the land. Tick tock!

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