Popshop Live Became Essential for LA Boutiques During the Shutdown. Now It’s Got $3M to Grow

Leslie Ignacio

Leslie Ignacio is dot.LA's editorial intern. She is a recent California State University, Northridge graduate and previously worked for El Nuevo Sol, Telemundo and NBC and was named a Chips Quinn Scholar in 2019. As a bilingual journalist, she focuses on covering diversity in news. She's a Los Angeles native who enjoys trips to Disneyland in her free time.

Popshop Live Became Essential for LA Boutiques During the Shutdown. Now It’s Got $3M to Grow
Popshop Live

Retail is now live streaming.

Popshop Live, which raised $3 million led by Floodgate and Abstract Ventures, wants users to shop on their phones as if they're browsing through products and interacting with clerks in a store. The live-streaming service takes a new twist on home shopping.

Launched last year by CEO and founder Danielle Li, Popshop Live will use the funds to help build out its audience as the company tries to convince shop owners to set up mini-studios inside their businesses. In all the company has raised $4.5 million.


The idea of the application came to Li back in 2016, after watching hundreds use Snapchat and Periscope to live stream an Obama speech she attended. While online commerce continues to grow, it often lacks that kinetic energy that is found from being around others. And sellers struggle to grow amid a crowded online marketplace.

Popshop Live allows businesses to expand beyond traditional e-commerce engagement, giving customers the chance to be in a store along with thousands of other virtual guests.

Popshop Live Demo Reel

"I think our mission is really to inspire and empower people to expand their identity, experience and connection," she said.

Since the COVID-19 breakout, Li saw a jump in users joining the platform as businesses sought to keep their stores afloat.

Los Angeles boutiques such as Japan LA, Popkiller, 3D Retro, Leanna Lin's Wonderland, Poketo and BellaBar were forced to shut down their physical stores amid the pandemic. Instead, they turned to Popshop Live for support.

"We definitely feel honored that we have an opportunity to become a part of the recovering process for several local stores affected by not only COVID, but also by looting in Los Angeles," said Li.


The application allows shops to share their livestream via their social platforms or to embed it online, while shoppers purchase directly from the stream.

Investors also include Long Journey Ventures, Cyan and Scott Banister, Shrug Capital, Backend Capital and Halogen Ventures. Local Los Angeles investors Watertower Ventures and AET Fund joined in the round.

"Danielle and the Popshop Live team have created the best consumer shopping experience at a time when community and virtual connectedness are needed more than ever," said Ann Miura-Ko, co-founding partner at Floodgate, a seed stage venture capital firm in announcing their support.

Popshop Live is looking beyond brick-and-mortar stores and will host anyone looking to expand their audience from influencers to national retailers. But for now, it's invite only.

"We would like to see Popshop like a platform that people come to have fun, get inspired and connect to their community," said Li.

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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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GrayMatter Is Building Industrial Robots To Take Over the Jobs Humans Hate

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.

​GrayMatter robotics working
Andria Moore courtesy of GrayMatter

GrayMatter Robotics, a startup based in Gardena (and definitely not a “Breaking Bad” reference, the founders assure us) is looking to disrupt the industrial finishing and sanding industry by programming robotic arms with artificial intelligence software to automate this labor.

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