Meg Whitman Defends Quibi's $1.4 Billion Investment as 'A Big Bet'

Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.

Meg Whitman Defends Quibi's $1.4 Billion Investment as 'A Big Bet'
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With the highly-anticipated launch of the byte sized mobile streaming service Quibi a little more than two months away, CEO Meg Whitman defended the company's massive $1.4 billion fundraising total in front of a roomful of investors and company founders in Pasadena.

"There's no question it's a big bet," she said. "We had to raise enough money to create at launch a completely immersive experience."


Whitman pointed out that Quibi is the first streamer to start without a library, so everything has to be made from scratch. The service will launch April 6th with 50 shows. There are a total of 175 shows planned. "We're actually creating content uniquely shot for the phone, not crammed onto it," she said.

Quibi is offering generous terms to creators, which is why it has been able to attract A-listers like Steven Spielberg and Reese Witherspoon.

"We made it super financially attractive to them," said Whitman. She said Quibi is paying up to $6 million dollars an hour for shows that will be divvied up into episodes that are a few minutes long. In an unusual arrangement, Quibi pays production costs and creators get 20 percent of profits. Most crucially, creators own their own intellectual property after six years.

The Upfront Summit is expected to attract more than 1,200 attendees flocking to the Rose Bowl Jan. 29-30. The invite-only event brings together a diverse mix of entrepreneurs networking with venture players armed with billions of dollars in capital, and headlined by presentations from business leaders including Steve Ballmer, Quibi's Whitman, and Union Square Ventures' Fred Wilson.

Links to the conference agenda and the livestream can be found here.

Upfront Ventures holds a non-controlling, minority interest in 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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