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

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.

Today:

  • 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 signage Photo 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 Monday.vc 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.

    Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

    When Meg Whitman spoke to dot.LA in April, the Quibi CEO struck a tone of cool patience. "I'm very focused on 'where are we after a year?'," she said. Ultimately, Whitman never got that perspective. Quibi shut down less than seven months after its launch.

    The high-flying, $1.75 billion mobile streaming service attracted investors from Hollywood studios to Goldman Sachs and is now grappling with how to return whatever capital it has left. Meanwhile, investors and those inside the company are asking how it all happened.

    Read more Show less
    • L.A.-based Output, a bootstrapped business founded in 2013 to help musicians overcome writer's block, announced its first ever fundraise, of $45 million from Summit Partners.
    • The company serves a range of musicians from hobbyists to professionals, providing them a library of loops and samples that they can then manipulate into unique songs of their own.
    • Immediate plans are to nearly double its staff and expand its product platform, with future goals of leading the evolution of digital music production.

    Gregg Lehrman was no stranger to music composition. He had worked under world-famous composers such as Hans Zimmer writing music for film and TV and had produced big projects with BMG music publishing. But after setting out on his own, he found himself suffering from writer's block.

    So, he said, "I made a piece of software for myself, as a music-maker — with no intention of starting a company."

    Read more Show less

    After $300-million and 11 years, the nation's largest county rolled out the first publicly-owned voting system earlier this year, promising "transparency, accessibility, usability, and security."

    Los Angeles County's new voting system — dubbed "Voting Solutions for All People," or VSAP — has raised concerns from election security experts. Dozens of advocacy groups have warned California's top election official that the electronic touchscreen system used for in-person voting relies on QR codes to tabulate votes. QR codes are vulnerable to hackers and system malfunctions and cannot be easily verified by most voters, U.S. government and outside experts have found.

    Read more Show less
    RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS

    Trending