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"This came out of nowhere."

First, the bad news: Senior reporter Ben Bergman confirms dozens of workers at Sweetgreen's Culver City headquarters were unceremoniously laid off at the end of March.

Now, some good: Rachel Uranga reports the FDA has approved an L.A.-based startup to continue developing mail-in saliva tests. That could be a big win for patients and health providers trying to get a handle on the pandemic. Also, Pasadena's Wavemaker 360 venture firm, who wsa represtented at our recent strategy session on health tech in L.A., announced today that they've raised a $100-million fund focused on health care.

Finally, entertainment reporter Sam Blake looks at Corto.ai, which has come out of stealth mode to focus on applying artificial intelligence to Hollywood scriptwriting.

Sweetgreen Lay Offs 

Sweetgreen, the trendy fast casual salad chain, has cut 10% of the staff at its Culver City headquarters, dot.LA has learned. Dozens of terminated workers were read a pre-written script and were then logged-out of their Slack and email accounts. Read more >>

FDA Approves Curative's COVID-19 Test

Curative Inc.'s saliva test has been greenlit for emergency use — opening up the door to larger-scale distribution. That's good news for the possibility of developing mass at-home testing that could in turn help open up the country's economy. Read more >>

Can AI Change How Hollywood Tells Stories? 

Corto.ai, a stealth-mode startup that uses AI to help storytellers in the entertainment industry better understand their content and audience, has come out of the shadows. Working side-by-side with the Entertainment Technology Center, a think tank founded by George Lucas, the company hopes to persuade Hollywood to trust metrics along with the muse. But not everyone's on board. Read more >>

Wavemaker 360 Health Doubles Fund for Health Startups

The fund will be aimed at digital health and health tech startups. It's double the amount that had been planned prior to the global pandemic and five times the size of the venture group's current fund, which covers more than two dozen companies. Read more >>

Join Us For Our Next Virtual Roundtable on 'Investing in Uncertain Times'

The venture capital landscape has changed dramatically, with the balance of power shifting from founders to investors for the first time in years. How are investors changing their strategies to adapt to the new reality? What sorts of companies will emerge from this era? Please join us on April 21st @ 11 am PST as dot.LA senior finance reporter Ben Bergman leads a virtual roundtable with an all star lineup of VCs. Register here; space is limited!

Speakers Include: Kara Nortman, partner at Upfront Ventures, and Carter Reum, cofounder of M13. Read more about them here.

Sign Up To Watch Our Next Startup Pitch Showcase

Join us for dot.LA's next virtual pitch showcase featuring emerging startups in the gaming space — Thursday, April 23rd at 11:00 a.m. PST. Register here!

Contact Annie@dot.LA with any questions. Thank you!

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