PopID Wants You to Ditch Your Cards and Pay With Your Face

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

PopID Wants You to Ditch Your Cards and Pay With Your Face
Courtesy of PopID

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There are few activities that necessitate a working phone more than live concerts and events: It’s how you show your tickets, pay for food and merchandise, coordinate with friends and post on social media. Once a battery dies, an attendee is out of luck (and Instagram stories).

Enter PopID, a facial recognition software company that allows consumers to check in and pay with their face at partnered businesses. While it sounds high-tech, the service is as simple as signing up and uploading a selfie to PopID’s website. Once the user saves their payment information, PopID creates a “token” linking a user’s face to that payment method.

The Pasadena-based startup announced on Thursday that it has partnered with ASM Global, the Los Angeles-based venue and event management company, and Levy, a Chicago-based food-and-beverage retailer for venues, to install its PopPay pay-by-face technology and PopEntry authentication software at venues around the world.

Founded in 2016, the concept for PopID was born, as many great ideas are, in line for a Taylor Swift concert. Founder and CEO John Miller was waiting in line outside the venue with his daughter when a low phone battery threatened their night out.

A consumer uses her face to pay for her drink via PopPay. Courtesy of PopID

“I was scared to death that my phone was going to die by the time we got to the front of the line, and I wasn't going to be able to pull up the QR code in the ticketing app,” Miller told dot.LA. “And then we weren't going to get in, and boy, was she going to be mad at me.”

PopPay is already in use at mom-and-pop restaurants such as Daddy’s Chicken Shack in Pasadena, Fair Oaks Burger in Altadena and California-based restaurant chain Lemonade. The first ASM venue that will implement the technology is Pechanga Arena in San Diego beginning this summer—though the venue operator has plans to launch it at facilities as far-reaching as Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena.

PopID’s focus this year is to distribute its proprietary platform through national restaurant and fast food chains and also expand internationally. The startup has found traction on college campuses; it currently has 85,000 registered users across campuses including USC, UC Santa Barbara, Pasadena City College and San Diego State.

The company has also partnered with Japanese electronics manufacturer Panasonic, which provides the hardware for self-ordering kiosks that allow customers to walk up to a PopID device, scan their face and pay on the spot.

“The best way to prove out a face-pay platform, where you can register once and use it everywhere you go, would be to focus on creating dense networks,” Miller said. “In college communities, we can get lots of students enrolled because they love the idea of taking a picture of themselves to pay, because they've grown up doing TikTok and Snapchat and things like that.”

The attendees ticket is verified after scanning her face.Courtesy of PopID

Facial recognition software can be a controversial topic. Clifford Neuman, director of USC’s Center for Computer Systems Security, said PopID’s technology raises potential issues because “a lot of the things we hear about facial recognition, from the privacy perspective, have a lot to do with all these video cameras we've got everywhere, and identifying individuals that haven't been specifically enrolled into the system.”

“You're going to have what we call false positives,” Neuman added. “That is, identifications that are incorrect. The danger of a false positive is that your accounts are going to get charged when it wasn't you that made the purchase.”

Miller does not share that concern. “We’ve made such a huge investment in our security infrastructure that I feel like we can sell this platform to the FBI,” he said. “We've hired some of the best security engineers in California to make sure the payment system is impenetrable.”

That may not do a lot to soothe concerns for privacy advocates—but for Swifties? Huge news.

🚁 One Step Closer to Air Taxis in LA
Image Source: Joby Aviation

🔦 Spotlight

Joby Aviation, a pioneering electric air taxi company, has achieved a significant milestone by successfully flying a hydrogen-electric aircraft demonstrator for 523 miles with only water as a byproduct. This groundbreaking flight showcases the potential for emissions-free regional travel using vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, eliminating the need for traditional runways. The company's innovative approach combines its existing battery-electric air taxi technology with hydrogen fuel cells, paving the way for longer-range, environmentally friendly air travel.

For LA residents, this development holds exciting implications for future transportation options. Joby's technology could potentially enable direct flights from LA to destinations like San Francisco or San Diego without the need to visit conventional airports, offering a cleaner and more convenient alternative to current travel methods. The company's progress in both battery-electric and hydrogen-electric aircraft positions it at the forefront of next-generation aviation, promising to revolutionize urban and regional mobility.

Notably, Joby Aviation has already made strides in Southern California by securing an agreement with John Wayne Airport earlier this year to install the region's first electric air taxi charger. This strategic move sets the stage for LA to be among the initial markets where Joby will launch its electric air taxi service. With plans to commence commercial operations as early as 2025 using its battery-electric air taxi, LA residents may soon have access to a fast, quiet, and environmentally friendly mode of transportation that could significantly reduce travel times and traffic congestion in the region. In the not too distant future, LA might find itself in an identity crisis without traffic and excess smog 🤞🤞.

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Fuel Innovation: 7 Unforgettable Team Building Experiences in LA
Image Source: Discover LA

In today's competitive business landscape, team building activities have emerged as a crucial tool for fostering a positive work environment, enhancing productivity, and crucially, improving employee retention. Studies have shown that such activities help employees feel valued, with one report indicating that 93% of those who felt appreciated were more motivated at work. Importantly, team building events may improve retention rates, as employees who feel connected to their colleagues and company culture are more likely to stay long-term. With these benefits in mind, let's explore some of the most engaging and effective team building activities available in Los Angeles.


Image Source: Modern Luxury Angelino

Pickleball is a fantastic team bonding activity because of the easy-to-grasp rules and gentle pace make it perfect for everyone, regardless of age or fitness level. The game thrives on communication and teamwork, as players must collaborate and strategize to outplay their opponents, boosting team cohesion. Plus, the lively, fast-paced action sparks friendly competition and laughter, creating a fun and spirited atmosphere that brings everyone closer together. Los Angeles boasts numerous pickleball courts that are easy to rent if you have your own equipment. If you need additional assistance organizing your pickleball outing, there are plenty of full-service companies ready to handle every detail for you.

Resources: Pickle Pop, Corporate Pickle

Escape Room

Image Source: The Escape Game

Escape rooms are a great way to build camaraderie. They require participants to work together, combining their problem-solving skills and creativity to overcome challenges and puzzles. The immersive and time-sensitive nature of escape rooms fosters collaboration and communication. Additionally, the shared experience of tackling complex tasks and reaching a common goal helps build trust and foster positive emotions among colleagues.

Resources: The Escape Game, 60Out

Day Trip to Catalina Island

Image Source: Love Catalina

Catalina Island is a perfect day trip for a team because it provides a break from the usual work environment, allowing team members to relax and connect in a new setting. Shared experiences during the trip, such as exploring new places and participating in fun activities, help build stronger relationships and foster a sense of camaraderie. There are numerous team-building activities such as an arboreal obstacle course, an island tour, scavenger hunts and more.

Resources: Catalina Island Group Activities

Top Golf

Image Source: Topgolf

Topgolf is an excellent team building event because it provides an inclusive, relaxed atmosphere that accommodates players of all skill levels, fostering personal connections and improving team morale. The unique blend of competition and entertainment creates an ideal setting for building trust, enhancing communication, and revealing hidden skills among team members. Additionally, Topgolf offers structured team building packages with guided activities, discussion prompts, and lessons on culture, change, collaboration, and strategy, making it a versatile and effective platform for strengthening relationships and boosting overall team performance.

Resources: Topgolf El Segundo

SoFi Stadium Tour

Image Source: Discover LA

A SoFi Stadium tour offers a unique, behind-the-scenes experience of one of the world's most advanced sports venues, allowing team members to explore exclusive areas like premium suites, team locker rooms, and the player tunnel together. The tour provides a shared, memorable experience that can foster camaraderie and spark conversations among team members, regardless of their interest in sports. Additionally, the stadium's state-of-the-art features and impressive architecture can inspire creativity and innovation, while the group setting encourages interaction and collaboration, making it an engaging and enjoyable activity for teams of various sizes and backgrounds

Resources: SoFi Stadium Group Tours

Corporate Volunteering

Image Source: L.A. Works

Volunteer work serves as an excellent team building activity by uniting employees around a shared, meaningful cause, fostering a sense of purpose and collective accomplishment. It provides opportunities for team members to collaborate in new ways, often revealing hidden strengths and leadership qualities that may not be apparent in the regular work environment. Additionally, engaging in community service can boost morale, enhance the company's reputation, and instill a sense of pride among employees, leading to improved workplace relationships and increased job satisfaction.

Resources: Habitat for Humanity, L.A. Works, VolunteerMatch

Corporate Improv Sessions

Image Source: Improv for the People

A corporate improv class encourages spontaneity, creativity, and quick thinking, skills that are valuable in the workplace. It promotes active listening and collaboration, as participants must work together to create scenes and respond to unexpected situations, fostering better communication and trust among team members. Additionally, the playful and often humorous nature of improv helps break down barriers, reduces stress, and creates a shared positive experience that can improve team morale and cohesion long after the event.

Resources: Improv-LA, Groundlings, Improv for the People

🎬 Paramount and Skydance Are Back On
Image Source: Paramount

Happy Friday Los Angeles! Hope you all had a fantastic Fourth!!

🔦 Spotlight

Paramount and Skydance Media have rekindled talks to merge after negotiations abruptly halted in June. The proposed deal, contingent on approval from Paramount’s board, aims to combine Paramount’s extensive media holdings—including CBS, MTV, and Nickelodeon—with Skydance’s film expertise showcased in hits like "Top Gun: Maverick." This merger signals a potential transformation in the media landscape, positioning the new entity to compete more effectively amid challenges from streaming services and the decline of traditional cable TV.

Led by Shari Redstone, Paramount’s controlling shareholder via National Amusements, the deal represents a pivot towards revitalizing Paramount’s strategic direction amidst financial struggles and shareholder concerns. The involvement of major investors like RedBird Capital Partners and David Ellison underscores the financial backing aimed at stabilizing Paramount’s operations and addressing its $14 billion debt burden. Importantly, the agreement includes provisions to protect National Amusements from potential legal challenges, addressing previous hurdles that stalled earlier negotiations.

The deal also includes a 45-day period for Paramount to explore alternative offers, highlighting continued interest from other potential buyers like Barry Diller’s IAC and media executive Edgar Bronfman Jr. This flurry of activity underscores the significant stakeholders’ interest in Paramount’s future and its potential as a key player in a rapidly evolving media industry.

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  • Sidecar Health, a startup that offers personalized health insurance plans to businesses that allow members to see any doctor and pay directly at the time of service, raised a $165M Series D led by Koch Disruptive Technologies. - learn more

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