'I Tricked You All': Paris Hilton Opens Up at the Upfront Summit

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.

'I Tricked You All': Paris Hilton Opens Up at the Upfront Summit
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The Upfront Summit heads into its second day on Thursday. But, there's still a bit of buzz from an unlikely speaker who closed out last night's roster of keynotes -- a surprisingly shy Paris Hilton, who said she was intimidated speaking to a room of hundreds of investors.

"I'm very nervous up here," she said. "I'm used to being at Tomorrowland or Ibiza with a thousand people dancing. Everyone is so serious here."


Hilton emphasized her serious side, pointing out that she is very different in real life than the character she played on reality TV.

She says she exercises full control over her 19 product lines and spends 250 days a year flying around the world making appearances, which reportedly earn her up to a million dollars a piece (a figure she wouldn't confirm).

"I didn't get this far being a dumb blonde, just pretending to be," said Hilton. "I tricked you all." Speaking about how she approached her first reality show, The Simple Life, which debuted in 2003, Hilton put it this way: "I was trying to be entertaining on the show. I knew exactly what I was doing. It was all very planned and calculated."

Hilton said she is actually a tomboy who enjoys outdoor activities more than partying in clubs.

"The media mostly just sees the glitz and glam, but that's not really my thing," she said.

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 Chief Executive Meg 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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Motional Links With Uber to Make Robotaxis a Reality

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and 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 @Samsonamore.

Motional
Image courtesy of Motional

Motional, a self-driving taxi startup backed by Hyundai, will partner with Uber to bring its robotic taxis to cities throughout the United States within the next decade as part of its push to get people more comfortable with the concept of taking a ride in a driverless electric vehicle.

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