Pandemic, Strained U.S. China Relations Force Investors to Pivot
Francesca Billington is a dot.LA editorial intern. She's previously reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. Before joining dot.LA, she was a communications fellow at an environmental science research center in Sri Lanka. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.
Tensions between the U.S. and China — the world's two largest economies — and the pandemic are making U.S. investors rethink supply chains once largely dependent on Asia.
That's one of the takeaways from a virtual panel hosted Thursday by the Asia Society Southern California and dot.LA on venture capital in Southern California and Asia.
"Only 63% of U.S. manufacturing is fully utilized," said Eric Manlunas, founder and managing partner of Wavemaker Partners. His firm has recently invested in companies that are helping bring manufacturing back to the United States, after years of offshoring.
Especially during the pandemic, many want to become less reliant on Asian supply chains, he said. "All the saber-rattling Trump has done has created some need for some of these large product suppliers and manufacturers to start looking into on-shoring a lot to the U.S."
Investors are closely watching the strained trade relations between the U.S. and China, from the Trump Administration's ban on TikTok to the recent export restrictions targeting state-owned enterprises.
Many are betting tensions will all blow over soon and not have an overall chilling effect.
"This will subside. Americans have very, very shallow memories and this will be forgotten pretty quickly," Manlunas said.
Chinese investment has flourished in Los Angeles. Companies like Baidu, Tencent, Alibaba and Wanda Group are putting money behind startups that want a toehold in the Asian market.
Wavemaker Partners, co-headquartered in Santa Monica and Singapore, announced last month it would close its third and largest fund focused on Southeast Asia.
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Proptech startup Pacaso emerged from stealth mode Thursday, aiming to make it easier for a larger swath of the population to own a second home, or at least a portion of one.
The company announced a $17 million seed round led by venture capital firm Maveron, with participation from Global Founders Capital, L.A.'s Crosscut and individual investors such as former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, real estate coach Tom Ferry, former Zillow executive Greg Schwartz, and Amazon CEO of Consumer Worldwide Jeff Wilke. Pacaso also raised $250 million in debt financing to purchase homes.
The Pandemic Has Changed the Music Industry Forever. Meet the LA Music-Tech Startups Poised to Reshape It.
- The pandemic has ravaged the music industry, but music-tech companies are poised to drive its growth into an industry where a music company is much more than music.
- Los Angeles is home to a bustling ecosystem of startups empowering musicians through a variety of next-generation technologies.
- The Takeaway: Innovations in music-tech offer new tools to independent artists to help them create music, manage money, reach fans and share their music in vivid, immersive ways.
Musicians' Jammcard profiles help them to collaborate
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