LA Tech Updates: EV-Makers Rivian, Fisker, Karma Get Super-charged; Facebook issue crashes TikTok

Rachel Uranga

Rachel Uranga is dot.LA's Managing Editor, News. She is a former Mexico-based market correspondent at Reuters and has worked for several Southern California news outlets, including the Los Angeles Business Journal and the Los Angeles Daily News. She has covered everything from IPOs to immigration. Uranga is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism and California State University Northridge. A Los Angeles native, she lives with her husband, son and their felines.

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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.

Today:

  • Tesla shares soar, Fisker rumored to go public, Karma gets $100m
  • Facebook issues crash TikTok, Pinterest, Spotify

      A Super-Charged Electric Vehicle Market: Rivian, Fisker and Karma Rake in Funds

      Rivian Automotive is the maker of electric pickup trucks.

      Tesla's success has super-charged investor interest in the electric vehicle market.

      Exhibit A is the two Southern California-based electric car makers, Fisker and Karma, which secured millions in funding this week as they sought to ramp up production. Then came word Fisker, created by one-time Aston Martin designer Henrik Fisker, is now in talks to go public through a sale to a so-called blank-check acquisition company, Reuters reported on Thursday.

      Today, Detroit-based Rivian Automotive, maker of electric pickup trucks that's backed in part by Ford Motor Co., announced that it secured $2.5 billion in funding from private investors.

      The race to push out more electric vehicles comes as after Tesla supplanted Toyota as the most valuable car maker. Its shares have been soaring and it now has a market cap that stands at over $285 billion despite controversies and a much lower production volume.

      Spartan Energy is bidding against other special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs as they are called, to bring Fisker public through a reverse merger, according to the report. Spartan is backed by Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm.

      With a freshly secured $50 million in private funds, Fisker plans to sell the Fisker Ocean luxury electric SUV at a starting price of $37,500 in 2022. Fisker's previous venture Fisker Automotive fell into bankruptcy in 2013 and was bought by a Chinese group that rebranded it Karma. That company, which has been struggling after several layoff rounds and restructuring, is Karma and earlier this week secured $100 million from investors. It hopes to use that to raise a total of $300 million and roll out a line of electric vehicles.

      Facebook issue crashes Spotify, TikTok, Pinterest

      farm5.staticflickr.com

      If you were trying to use a handful of iOS apps including Spotify, TikTok and Pinterest Friday morning chances are you couldn't get in because of a Facebook log-in issue.

      The hiccup came from Facebook's software development kit (SDK), which several apps rely on to operate. Developers use SDK for users who want to sign in with their Facebook account.

      "Earlier today, a code change triggered crashes for some iOS apps using the Facebook SDK," Facebook's developer site announced. "We identified the issue quickly and resolved it. We apologize for any inconvenience."

      The crash hit some of the biggest apps.

      "Something's out of tune," Spotify's Status account said on Twitter in the early morning. "We're currently investigating, and we'll keep you posted here!"

      It's the second time this year the Facebook interface has caused a crash.

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      TikTok Parent ByteDance Eclipses $1B in Mobile Games Sales

      Kristin Snyder

      Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

      TikTok Parent ByteDance Eclipses $1B in Mobile Games Sales
      Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

      TikTok parent company ByteDance’s big bet on mobile gaming is paying off.

      The Chinese tech giant’s growing portfolio of mobile games has brought in more than $1 billion in revenue over the past 12 months, according to a report by data analytics company Sensor Tower, which examined player spending from Apple’s App Store and Google Play dating back to June 2021.

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      Netflix Turns To Asia To Boost Its Stalled Subscriber Growth

      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.

      Netflix Turns To Asia To Boost Its Stalled Subscriber Growth

      Netflix will invest more in Asia in a bid to revive its sluggish subscriber growth, betting on the lone region where the company added customers during an otherwise disappointing first quarter.

      Bloomberg reported Monday that the streaming giant will grow its investment in Asia despite plans to reign in spending overall across the company. That will include financing the production of local films and series for that market, Tony Zameczkowski, Netflix’s vice president of business development for Asia Pacific, told the news outlet.

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      Kid Cudi Is Betting Artists—And Fans—Want Live Shows on Their Smartphones

      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.

      Kid Cudi Is Betting Artists—And Fans—Want Live Shows on Their Smartphones
      Photo courtesy of Encore

      Live performance app Encore, co-founded by rapper Kid Cudi, wants to put concerts in people’s pockets.

      The Culver City-based company is among a bunch of virtual concert startups to emerge as the pandemic forced musicians to cancel or postpone in-person shows. But unlike competitors that are producing shows for virtual reality headsets or putting pay-per-view concerts on computers, Encore is betting fans will watch their favorite artists on smartphones. Think of it as a higher quality Instagram Live, with artists performing before augmented reality (AR) backgrounds and video chatting with fans.

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