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.

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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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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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Body Complete Rx Founder Samia Gore On How She Turned Her Fitness Journey Into a Multi-Million Dollar Company

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

Body Complete Rx Founder Samia Gore
Courtesy of Behind Her Empire, Samia Gore

Samia Gore was a mother of four when she decided to take a shot at starting her own business.

On this episode of the Behind Her Empire podcast, the Body Complete Rx founder discusses how her personal journey with health and fitness became the catalyst for a booming business.

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