LA Tech Updates: TikTok pays Creators as Rivals Dig In, Amazon Reportedly Eyes Sears, J.C. Penny Stores
- TikTok Pays Creators as Rivals Dig In
- Amazon Wants to Use Sears and J.C. Penny Stores as Fulfillment Centers: WSJ
TikTok Doles Out Money to Creators, Batting Away Rivals
Tiktok announced today the first receipts of a $200 million creator fund including several Los Angeles-based app stars. It comes as the social app faces increased competition from those trying to lure away talent and the threat of an outright ban.
The company has promised to up their funds for rising U.S. creators to $1 billion over the coming three years.
Among the 19 selected so far is Los Angeles-based Alex Stemplewski, a photographer who shares the impromptu photo shoots he has with strangers in public with his 9.6M followers.
There's also Justice Alexander, one of the top Latino creators on the app, who captures quick video of the many pranks he plays on his girlfriend and daughter with his 5.4M followers.
Well-known TikTok-er David Dobrik recently gave away a Tesla to one of his more than 20M followers as part of a sweepstakes for the most heartfelt story.
The Creator Fund will open their applications in the middle of the month for anyone 18 years or older looking to expand their work on Tiktok. To be considered, creators must have 10,000 followers or at least 10,000 video views in the last 30 days and follow community guidelines.President Trump recently signed an executive order that will ban the Chinese-owned company by September 20th unless it's sold to an American company before that date. TikTok has responded by threatening legal action.
Amazon Wants to Use Sears and J.C. Penny Stores as Fulfillment Centers: WSJlive.staticflickr.com
Amazon is in talks with mall operator giant Simon Property Group to convert Sears and J.C. Penney department stores into package distribution centers, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
The discussions come as Amazon continues to grow its e-commerce empire which has helped contribute to the downfall of brick-and-mortar retailers including Sears and J.C. Penney, which both filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. That trend accelerated with the pandemic as malls closed and millions of consumers rely on Amazon for online shopping.
Shares of Simon Property Group, which has 21 malls in California including the Del Amo Fashion Center, Brea Mall and Ontario Mills, jumped on the news. The company is set to report earnings after Monday's market close.
Adding more warehouses would help Amazon speed up deliveries as the company plans to offer its Prime members 1-day delivery of their orders. Amazon posted $5.2 billion in profits in the second quarter, doubling its bottom line from the same quarter a year ago, despite spending more than $4 billion on COVID-19 initiatives.
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Shawn Gunn has been waiting for gaming to get to this moment for 20 years.
He ran e-tournaments from his college dorm in the 1990s, long before esports exploded. Since then, Gunn has worked on Wall Street as a trader, at Nokia as the head of monetization and at HERE Technologies, before founding his first company, GUNN Inc, in 2008.
All the while, he watched as video games became lucrative for top competitors. And he decided to find a way to make them profitable for average gamers like himself.
Last year, Gunn founded PLLAY Labs Inc. with Christine Krzyzanowski. The video game wagering app lets users play video games like Fortnite and Call of Duty against each other for money. Since its launch in June, PLLAY has added 10,000 users, bringing its total user base to 60,000.
Skill-Based Betting<p>PLLAY uses an artificial intelligence-driven platform to monitor video game matches, detect cheating and guarantee payment to winners. It is not considered gambling under federal law because players make bets on their own performance in a skill-based game.</p><p>Gunn said there is already a lot of peer-to-peer betting happening online, with or without the app. The wagering is often informal and done through game chats, with no guarantee the other player will send money via CashApp or PayPal. PLLAY ensures that each player is paid appropriately from pooled money that PLLAY secures in escrow.</p><p>PLLAY's background check process also ensures wagering laws in users' states are honored and confirms users are 18 or older.<br></p><p>Beal — a PLLAY investor, two-time NBA All-Star and shooting guard for the Washington Wizards — is a gamer off the court and away from his day job, as is Easterling.</p><p>"They're both gamers, in their own regard, and they fit our profile. So they're not professional gamers, obviously, they have other really cool day jobs," said Gunn. "But they know how big the gaming market is and where it's going."</p><p>Gunn said he sought out high net-worth investors that were passionate about gaming.</p><p>"I'm not just investing in a product; I'm investing in people. I believe in supporting minority- and women-owned businesses," said Beal in a statement, adding that Gunn and Krzyzanowski "have built more than a gaming platform, they've built a diverse and creative culture at PLLAY that fuels their vision."<br></p>
Every year has defining moments, but no one could have predicted the world changing and paradigm shifting developments that have taken place over the course of the past year. They include combatting COVID-19, working from home, waves of social unrest, emerging technologies and more.
Join us Wednesday, December 16th at 11:00 a.m. PT for the closing dot.LA Strategy Session of the year as we reflect on L.A.'s emerging tech trends, challenges and predictions for 2021.
Upfront Managing Partner Mark Suster and dot.LA Senior Finance Reporter Ben Bergman will kick off the event with a one on one conversation. More speakers to be announced.
Mark Suster, Managing Partner at Upfront
Mark Suster, Managing Partner at Upfront<p><br>Mark Suster has been a managing partner at Upfront since 2007, where has led notable investments in companies including Bird, Invoca, Density, Nanit, and Maker Studios (acquired by Disney). He previously was the founder & CEO of two successful enterprise software companies, the most recent of which was sold to Salesforce.com, where Mark became VP of products. Prior to being a founder, Mark was a software developer at Accenture while living and worked in Europe, Japan and the U.S. Mark is a graduate of UCSD and has an MBA from the University of Chicago.</p>
Ben Bergman, dot.LA Senior Reporter
Ben Bergman, dot.LA Senior Reporter<p>Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior reporter/host at KPCC, a producer at Gimlet Media and NPR and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times. Bergman was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. He enjoys skiing, playing poker and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.</p>
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Virgin Orbit announced plans for its second attempt to shoot its LauncherOne rocket into orbit on Dec. 19 carrying with it small NASA research satellites. The first attempt failed in May after a propellant line ruptured after the first-stage ignition.
The Richard Branson-founded company said it's run a list of tests and upgraded various systems in advance of next month's launch.