LA Tech Updates: Jukin Media Gets a New Co-CEO; Snap Expands Developer Program

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Today:

  • Jukin Media Promotes Lee Eisner to Co-CEO
  • Snap's Accelerator Program Expands with 'Yellow Collabs'

    Lee Essner, is co-chief executive officer of Jukin Media

    Jukin Media Promotes Lee Eisner to Co-CEO

    Jukin Media, a global entertainment company focused on user-generated content, has promoted its former president and chief operating officer, Lee Essner, to co-chief executive officer, the company announced Thursday.

    Essner will split the top title with Jonathan Skogmo, Jukin Media's founder. The company also announced the promotion of two other key executives on Thursday, including Anton Reut, who served as Jukin's former executive vice president and chief product officer and fills Essner's shoes as COO; and Civonne Ahal, who served as VP for rights management who will become a senior VP in that role.

    Essner began working with Jukin in 2013 and has helped the company grow from a 20-person startup solely at its headquarters in Los Angeles to more than 200 people at offices in L.A., New York, London and New Delhi, the company said in a news release.

    As co-CEO, Essner will continue overseeing Jukin's brand, sales, corporate business development, operations, legal and finance operations. Skogmo will oversee the company's licensing business, original productions, marketing, creative, development and culture.

    The company has fared well during the pandemic but recently said it needed to take Paycheck Protection Program funds to help save some jobs.

    Snap's Accelerator Program Expands with 'Yellow Collabs'

    Snap announced its taking applications for its remote, 13-week program aimed at companies and their developers. Dubbed Yellow Collabs, the program, which runs September 21 through December 18, lets developers work closely with the Snap team to better understand how to build on its platform. The deadline is for applications is August 16.

    Participants will get weekly office hours with Snap experts, as well as access to a monthly speaker series and other networking events. At the end of the program, each company will present their developed products in a showcase event.

    Two years ago, the Santa Monica-based social media startup introduced its Yellow Accelerator developer platform with the goal of filling "a need to support startups at the intersection of creativity and technology," Snap spokesperson Liz Goodno said.

    Over the past year, the launchpad provided support to 10 companies with an $150,000 investment in exchange for equity and led them through a three-month program offering funding, mentorship, commercial partnerships, networking events and office space. The Yellow Collabs program is an extension of this effort, allowing select companies who weren't selected for the full Accelerator Program to attend the trainings, Snap said.

    "While the first touch point with our community has been the Yellow Accelerator, our mission has evolved to build an ecosystem facilitating the connectivity between three main participants: Founders, Investors & Snap," Snap spokesperson Liz Goodno said. "Yellow Collabs focuses specifically on integration with Snapchat through our portfolio of developer tools, while widening the scope of companies (i.e. stage and size) we can engage with."

    Today, more than 800 apps have integrated into Snap's platform — and almost 150 million app users engage with these integrations each month.

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    An L.A. security startup that has already signed on clients in tech, gaming, cannabis and entertainment is coming out of stealth mode just as the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol and this week's presidential inauguration has brought safety to the forefront.

    HiveWatch provides companies with a central platform that uses multiple sensors across buildings to help better respond to physical security threats.

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    It's almost 90 degrees outside in Los Angeles as lines of cars pull up to Dodger Stadium, home to a mass vaccination site that opened Friday.

    "Please make sure that they're not under the sun in the cart," Edith Mirzaian is telling a volunteer as she directs the person to put ice packs on coolers that hold up to 20 COVID vaccines. Mirzaian is a USC associate professor of clinical pharmacy and an operational lead at one of California's largest vaccination sites.

    Dodger Stadium alone — once the nation's largest COVID-19 testing site — is slated to vaccine up to 12,000 people each day, county and city health officials said this week. Officials plan to finish vaccinating some 500,000 health care and assisted care employees by the end of this month before opening appointments up to people 65 and older.

    Mirzaian is desperately trying to make sure that the vaccines don't spoil.

    "We have to be the guardians of the vaccine," she said.

    Earlier this month, hundreds of vaccinations were lost after a refrigerator went out in Northern California, forcing the hospital to rush to give out hundreds of doses. Mirzaian's task tells a larger story of the difficult and often daunting logistical process required to roll out a vaccine that requires cold temperatures.

    "You know they can't be warm so just keep an eye out," she gently reminds the volunteer.

    The volunteers and staff from USC, the Los Angeles Fire Department and CORE Response prepared enough doses to vaccinate around 2,000 residents on Friday and they plan to increase capacity each day after.

    Local health officials are holding the vaccination syringes in coolers after they leave the air-conditioned trailers. The coolers are then covered in ice packs and wheeled on carts to clinicians administering shots to health care workers and nursing home staff eligible under the state's vaccination plan.

    "Vaccines are the surest route to defeating this virus and charting a course to recovery, so the City, County, and our entire team are putting our best resources on the field to get Angelenos vaccinated as quickly, safely, and efficiently as possible," said mayor Eric Garcetti in a statement announcing the plan.

    Health officials around the world are racing against time as the virus mutates and poses greater dangers.

    "We have a little bit of borrowed time here right now because these variants are not here in great numbers from what we can tell," said Susan Butler-Wu, an associate professor in clinical pathology at USC's Keck School of Medicine of USC.

    Curbing the spread of the virus is a vital way to prevent mutant strains from developing, she said.

    Mirzaian, who arrived at the site before it opened at 8 a.m., said that there were logistical challenges as volunteers scrambled to assemble what will likely be the hub of the region's vaccination efforts.

    "It's challenging to make sure that everyone knows what the process is and what we're doing and what to tell the patients who receive the vaccines."

    After a few hours, the procedure moved quicker.

    Residents have to show identification and proof of employment before they're taken through a list of pre-screening questions and given the vaccine through their car window. They're required to then wait for 15 minutes while clinicians monitor them for side effects.

    Mirzaian said the process took each car about an hour. While eligible residents can walk-in for vaccinations, she recommends they make appointments so that enough doses are made available each day.

    "As long as people have their appointments, they will get in," she said. "We are ready. We are like an army ready to give vaccines."

    An earlier version of this story misidentified CORE Response.

    Snap promoted executive Ben Schwerin to be its new senior vice president of content and partnerships, as the company seeks to grow its content business to challenge rival TikTok.

    As part of the reorganization, Chief Strategy Officer Jared Grusd, who previously oversaw content, will become a strategic advisor to Snap CEO Evan Spiegel.

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