LA Tech Updates: Peacock Launches Olympics Stream; Twitter Cracks Down on QAnon; Startup Job Board 'The Interchange' Launches

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

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Here are the latest updates on news affecting Los Angeles' startup and tech communities. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for more.


  • Peacock Launches 24-Hour 'Road to Tokyo' Olympics Stream
  • Could Twitter's QAnon Crackdown Be Followed by Others?
  • 'The Interchange' Launches to Connect L.A. Startups to Potential Recruits
  • LA-Based CreatorIQ Marketing Platform Picks up $24M

    Peacock Launches 24-Hour 'Road to Tokyo' Olympics Stream

    multicolored signagePhoto by Kyle Dias on Unsplash

    As NBCUniversal prepared for its entry into the streaming wars, it looked to the 2020 Summer Olympics as a valuable tool to build interest and win over viewers. Because the company owns the rights to broadcast the games, it planned to use them to give what would ultimately be called Peacock some wind beneath its wings.

    The coronavirus pandemic took the air out of those plans, but with the Tokyo Olympics having moved to the summer of 2021, the streaming service has adjusted. Peacock has launched a new 24/7 stream devoted to the games, which the service announced in a statement on Wednesday.

    With the new "Road to Tokyo" channel, Peacock viewers will have access to continuous content "dedicated to Olympic and Paralympic classic moments, documentaries and studio programming," the statement said. This "pop-up channel" is one of Peacock's so-called linear feeds, where users tune into the channel but don't choose what they watch. Other channels include feeds centered around Saturday Night Live, The Office and Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

    Peacock also announced it will feature a collection of NBC Olympics documentaries on its app, and produce three exclusive new specials "to prepare fans for what could be the most meaningful Olympics ever."

    The games are now scheduled to begin on June 23, 2021. Although their delay has hindered NBCU's ability to market Peacock, the company is still turning to them as a tool to attract subscribers and goose excitement for its prized assets.

    Could Twitter's QAnon Crackdown Be Followed by Others?

    QAnon protesters

    Wikimedia Commons

    Twitter announced Tuesday evening that it began cracking down on accounts related to QAnon, the conspiracy theory that has gained traction across social media platforms. And there's a good chance other companies will follow suit, USC professor Nenad Medvidovic told dot.LA.

    The company pledged to suspend accounts tweeting about "these topics that we know are engaged in violations of our multi-account policy, coordinating abuse around individual victims, or are attempting to evade a previous suspicion."

    "What Twitter did is not entirely unilateral," Medvidovic, a computer science professor, told dot.LA. "There's actually a concerted effort in connection with other media platforms. The pressure definitely does build."

    Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat are independent companies that make their own decisions related to First Amendment issues, Medvidovic said. Still, it seems many of them are working off the same playbook when it comes to addressing and managing misinformation.

    QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory that revolves around unfounded claims of a "deep state" attack against President Trump. An individual going by the name "Q" first posted his theories back in 2017. The group has since falsely accused actors and politicians of running a child sex trafficking ring. Recently, attacks fell on celebrity Chrissy Teigen after she spoke out against Twitter critics who claimed the company was wrongfully censoring users.

    Medviovic says that while QAnon is considered mostly a fringe movement, its messaging and actions are reaching the mainstream. Once it begins to incite violence, First Amendment protections are no longer guaranteed, Medviovic said.

    Plus, Twitter is a private platform that can set its own rules and restrictions.

    "I think the issue here is that it was bleeding into the real world and potentially encroaching on people's safety," Medviovic said. "I can definitely see something like QAnon being checked more consistently across the board."

    Twitter says it no longer highlights QAnon posts in search and trending topics and will block URLs associated with the conspiracy theory from being shared on its site.

    "As we work at scale to protect the public conversation in the face of evolving threats, we'll continue to lead with transparency and offer more context on our efforts," Twitter wrote.

    'The Interchange' Launches to Connect L.A. Startups to Potential Recruits

    VC firm Crosscut announced Wednesday the launch of a new, free platform for L.A.-based jobseekers, built in partnership with PledgeLA and the Annenberg Foundation.

    The listings of L.A. startup jobs is called the "Interchange." It aggregates startup jobs across the city in an effort to make early-stage tech opportunities more open and accessible.

    PledgeLA is an initiative sponsored by the Annenberg Foundation and the mayor of Los Angeles to promote civic engagement and diversity within the tech community. Its 222 signatories span L.A.'s venture capital and tech community, all of whom have pledged to work toward improving equity and transparent reporting on their diversity efforts.

    The Interchange uses the platform, which is now called Getro, to aggregate regional startup jobs rather than relying on companies to post opportunities on job boards or LinkedIn, said Calvin Selth, AnnenbergTech's program lead. The platform automatically scrapes each company's career page daily to make sure its listings are up to date.

    One result from PledgeLA's 2nd annual survey found that underrepresented minorities were less likely to get their jobs through referrals. Interchange is an attempt to offer "a place to direct local underrepresented jobseekers to startup opportunities here in LA," Selth said. "We felt like this was a way to increase transparency about available roles while also helping startups that need build more diverse talent pipelines."

    The platform focuses on startups that have fewer than 1,000 employees, is primarily a tech company, headquartered or has a technical team in L.A., makes more than $1 million in annual revenue or raises more than $1 million in venture capital, was founded after 2010 and is privately held, Selth said.

    Crosscut head of platform, Nick Kim, said that early-stage tech startups are often cash constrained so post jobs on their own boards or use their networks to fill the top of hiring funnels.

    "For marginalized or underrepresented people looking for high growth opportunities in tech, this means they might never see the best jobs before they're filled," Kim said. "Our goal is for all communities in LA, especially those who are not well represented in tech, to have access to the opportunities tech startups are hiring for. We hope that Interchange becomes a starting point for the promising talent that might have previously had less access to opportunity."

    LA-Based CreatorIQ Marketing Platform Picks up $24M

    CreatorIQ is expanding their cloud after announcing today that they raised $24 million in a series C round.

    The investment was led by Kayne Partners Fund with contributions from Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P., TVC Capital and Unilever Ventures.

    The Los Angeles-based marketing software company was founded in 2014 and recently named a leader in the "Forrester New Wave: Influencer Marketing Solutions Report." It's now among Forrester's list of rapidly growing software programs.

    CVS, Disney, H&M, Mattel, Salesforce, Sephora and Unilever are some of the many well-known companies that already use CreatorIQ's platform to collect and analyze their marketing data for discovery, workflow and privacy.

    The $24 million raised will allow the company to enter new partnerships with Collectively, Digital Brand Architects, Everywhere Agency, ShopStyle Collective and Sway Group. The funds will also allow CreatorIQ to expand its current data offerings and further develop elements of their system's user experience, data science and paid media components.

    "As Marketing leaders accelerate their transformation strategies to close their in-house gaps across their marketing capabilities, they are uniting best-in-class technologies with leading data providers," said Igor Vaks, CreatorIQ's founder and CEO in a press release.

    The company will also soon introduce a new learning machine it said will use analytics to power visual insights and, in turn, increase brand safety, content prediction, and recommendations. Called One60, the program will allow CreatorIQ's companies to host their own technology and data in one place.

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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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    Behind Her Empire: AAVRANI Co-Founder Rooshy Roy On Redefining Success and Embracing Identity

    Yasmin Nouri

    Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

    Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

    AAVRANI Co-Founder Rooshy Roy
    Photo courtesy of AAVRANI

    Growing up in the suburbs of Detroit, Rooshy Roy said, as the only Indian girl in school, she spent a lot of time feeling like an outsider and like she wasn’t meeting others’ expectations of “how an Indian girl should behave.”

    Flash forward 20 years, and the differences Roy was once ashamed of are now the inspiration for her skincare company.

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