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.


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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LA Tech Week's Climate Panel Unveils Funding Secrets for Green Startups

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College. Send tips or pitches to and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

LA Tech Week's Climate Panel Unveils Funding Secrets for Green Startups
Samson Amore

In a region known for being a national trailblazer when it comes to climate policies, there’s no shortage of green energy startups in L.A. looking for funding. There’s also a plethora of investors and incubators, which means founders looking for cash flow should be extra specific about their value proposition when they pitch to cut through the noise. At least that was the message coming from the panelists at the UCLA Anderson School of Management on Tuesday.

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Here's What People Are Saying About Day Two of LA Tech Week
Evan Xie

L.A. Tech Week has brought venture capitalists, founders and entrepreneurs from around the world to the California coast. With so many tech nerds in one place, it's easy to laugh, joke and reminisce about the future of tech in SoCal.

Here's what people are saying about day two of L.A. Tech Week on social:

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LA Tech Week: Technology and Storytelling for Social Good

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.

LA Tech Week: Technology and Storytelling for Social Good
Photo taken by Decerry Donato

On Monday, Los Angeles-based philanthropic organization Goldhirsh Foundation hosted the Technology and Storytelling For Social Good panel at Creative Visions studio to kick off LA Tech week.

Tara Roth, president of the foundation, moderated the panel and gathered nonprofit and tech leaders including Paul Lanctot, web developer of The Debt Collective; Alexis Cabrera, executive director of 9 Dots; Sabra Williams, co-founder of Creative Acts; and Laura Gonzalez, senior program manager of Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI).

Each of the panelists are grantees of Goldhirsh Foundation’s LA2050, an initiative launched in 2011 that is continuously trying to drive and track progress toward a shared vision for the future of Los Angeles. Goldhirsh’s vision is to make Los Angeles better for all and in order to achieve their goal, the foundation makes investments into organizations, creates partnerships and utilizes social capital through community events.

The panelists shared how the work they are doing in each of their respective sectors uses technology to solve some of society's most pressing challenges and highlight the importance of tech literacy across every community.

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