Meet Snap's 2021 Accelerator Class of Startups

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

Meet Snap's 2021 Accelerator Class of Startups
Sam Blake

Nine-second news stories, podcasts designed for road trippers and digital companions for those suffering from a chronic illness. These are some of the ideas behind the latest cohort accepted to Snap's Yellow Accelerator.

The nine companies chosen will each receive $150,000 and participate in a 14-week curriculum to help develop their businesses. The program will culminate in late April with a demo day.


Launched in 2018 and now on its fourth class, Snap's accelerator targets companies at the intersection of tech and creativity. It's part of Snap's Yellow program, a strategy to connect the Santa Monica-based company to players working in adjacent industries like entertainment, ecommerce and mobile apps.

HeMobile entertainment app HearHere tells roadtrippers stories about the places through which they pass.

He

This new cohort will be 100% remote. Five of the nine companies are run by founders of color, Snap said.

Elly Health: The L.A.-based digital health app is focused on supporting patients with chronic conditions. Users receive mobile content tailored to their physical issues like daily meditations, exercise routines, symptom management tips and psychosocial support. Founded in 2019, the company has backing from Google and Bayer.

Givingli: Conceived after planning their 2017 wedding, Nicole Emrani and Ben Green founded this L.A.-based gift-giving company to facilitate customized, digital greeting cards and e-gifts. Givingli also participated in Snap's most recent Yellow Collabs programs, for which it developed a Snap Mini app that lives in Snapchat.

HearHere: Launched in August 2020, this mobile entertainment app tells roadtrippers stories about the places through which they are traveling. With 3,500 stories at launch, focused on the United States' southern and western regions, the company plans to publish more 10,000 stories from across the U.S. in 2021.

Kargoo: Helping users shop online in foreign markets by connecting them to travelers who fulfill the delivery, either by bringing it directly to the user or via Kargoo. This L.A.-based company founded in 2018 uses a network of verified gig-worker travelers and offers a tech solution for order tracking.

Popcrn: An L.A.-based professional marketplace designed for models, stylists and film specialists. Users can showcase their creative portfolio; publish projects and find collaborators; and follow other creators, brands and industries for inspiration.

StarNews: This company aims to unlock Africa's mobile video market. With offices in Santa Monica and South Africa and distribution and marketing partnerships with pan-African mobile operators like MTN and Orange, StarNews connects celebrities, brands and content makers with the tens of millions of youth across Africa.

Vinohead: A wine newsletter aiming to become a lifestyle brand geared toward Millennial and Gen Z wineheads. It provides reviews and recommendations, and hosts meetups and events to help younger vinophiles discover, experience and purchase wine.

Volv: A media company that provides nine-second articles using a combined human + AI approach with a goal of removing all hints of bias, Volv aims to make reading the news "as easy as swiping on Tinder." The L.A.-based media company founded in 2019 is now expanding beyond news into other categories as well, like cryptocurrency and mental health.

Waffle Journal: A platform for group journaling, designed to help long-distance families and friends stay connected by sharing their thoughts and milestones in writing with each other.

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Henrik Fisker Says Tesla Price Cuts Haven’t Fazed Ocean Rollout

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

A Fisker electric vehicle.​
Courtesy of Fisker

Last week in the dot.LA newsletter I wrote about Tesla’s decision to slash prices by as much as 20% on their vehicles and how the decision might impact Southern California’s EV startups. I called the price cuts a “tough pill to swallow” for Fisker in particular since they would make many of Tesla’s price points more competitive with Fisker’s first production model, The Ocean.

The Ocean is currently undergoing homologation, but Henrik Fisker, the company’s CEO, confirmed to dot.LA that the company hopes the process to be completed at the end of February. From there, it could take several weeks to ship the SUVs from Austria to the United States.

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Office Hours: Former Lawyer Turned CEO Diankha Linear on Cultivating Community

Spencer Rascoff

Spencer Rascoff serves as executive chairman of dot.LA. He is an entrepreneur and company leader who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, dot.LA, Pacaso and Supernova, and who served as Zillow's CEO for a decade. During Spencer's time as CEO, Zillow won dozens of "best places to work" awards as it grew to over 4,500 employees, $3 billion in revenue, and $10 billion in market capitalization. Prior to Zillow, Spencer co-founded and was VP Corporate Development of Hotwire, which was sold to Expedia for $685 million in 2003. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 100 companies and is incubating several more.

​Diankha Linear
Diankha Linear

On this episode of Office Hours, Community CEO Diankha Linear joins host Spencer Rascoff to discuss her foray into the startup world and the strategic approaching to scaling up.

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