Join us at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 23rd for our next edition of "Female Founders Stories: to Live and Work in L.A." We'll talk with Tea Drops co-founder and CEO Sashee Chandran along with Skylar CEO Cat Chen.
Join dot.LA chief cost and correspondent Kelly O'Grady as we talk with women leaders and entrepreneurs here in the L.A. startup community. We will be exploring how they got started, triumphed over challenges, as well as their favorite success stories and what they love most about living and working in L.A.
Sashee Chandran, Founder & CEO at Tea Drops
Sashee Chandran, Founder & CEO of Tea Drops<p>Sashee is founder and CEO of Tea Drops, which creates bagless loose leaf teas — shedding about 20% less waste than traditional tea bag packaging. Tea Drops has become a favorite among new and experienced tea drinkers alike, launching innovative tea experiences that merge flavorful blends, food art and edgy design. Tea Drops are now available in close to 1,500 retailers — and are loved by Oprah Magazine, Chrissy Teigen, and former first lady Michelle Obama. Sashee is a 1st Place $20K WFN Fast pitch winner, 1st Place $100K Tory Burch Fellow Grant winner, and the 1st place $50K PepsiCo WomanMade Challenge winner. She has also raised over $2.5M in VC funding for Tea Drops. </p>
Cat Chen, Founder & CEO of Skylar
Cat Chen, Founder & CEO of Skylar<p>Founded in April 2017, Skylar is affecting change in the dirty and unregulated $46 billion fragrance industry by creating a whole new world of better-for-you fragrances and body care products. Skylar products are clean, hypoallergenic, and cruelty-free. Our products are inspired by women and a portion of our proceeds go toward Step Up, a non-profit organization benefiting women. In addition to creating innovative products, we're also creating a more convenient and personal way to shop, content that helps women lead a clean lifestyle, and a supportive and engaged community.<br></p><p>Skylar is backed by Upfront Ventures, FirstMark Capital, Amplify LA, and Gingerbread Capital. Other notable investors include Brian Lee (The Honest Company Founder), Karen Katz (former Neiman Marcus CEO), Jake Kassan (Mvmt Watches Founder & CEO), and Jeff Kearl (Stance Socks Founder & CEO).</p><p>Cat started her career in management consulting at Bain & Company and continued honing her skills at Apple and Activision Blizzard. She earned a BS in Management Science from MIT and an MBA in Marketing and Operations from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.</p>
Kelly O'Grady, Chief Host and Correspondent
Kelly O'Grady, Chief Host and Correspondent at dot.LA<p>Kelly O'Grady is dot.LA's chief host & correspondent. Kelly serves as dot.LA's on-air talent, and is responsible for designing and executing all video efforts. A former management consultant for McKinsey, and TV reporter for NESN, she also served on Disney's Corporate Strategy team, focusing on M&A and the company's direct-to-consumer streaming efforts. Kelly holds a bachelor's degree from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. A Boston native, Kelly spent a year as Miss Massachusetts USA, and can be found supporting her beloved Patriots every Sunday come football season.</p>
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- Anaheim's 'Star Wars' Celebration is Canceled
- L.A. Congressman Looks to Limit Police Use of Facial Recognition Technology
- L.A. Seed Rounds Are Getting Bigger
Anaheim's 'Star Wars' Celebration is Canceled<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://dot.la/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM5NjA4OS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNDQ2ODU4NH0.LPvmGRsGbslqcx53_BTGjVK4FsB3fQAJZnpRmLTmM-M/image.png?width=980" id="484eb" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="066b55f131795e50ab5333d212481ba4" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
L.A. Congressman Looks to Limit Police Use of Facial Recognition Technology<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://dot.la/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM5NjAwNS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNjI3NjczM30.NvxtsBP9zgWledc_WhUxnmWLWb_hNJDM4DohcOmZhv8/image.jpg?width=2000&coordinates=0%2C564%2C0%2C1539&height=1500" id="3e4af" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6844a1cd6aa6e804f0fb1b78cdde4c03" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p>Amazon, IBM and Microsoft either pulled sales of their facial recognition technology to law enforcement or halted their business last week as pressure from civil rights leaders, companies and legislators grew over how the surveillance technologies were being used.</p><p>The issue has played out for years in the Los Angeles communities Congressman Jimmy Gomez represents. Activists regularly object to the use of technology that has the potential to exacerbate racial bias. Now, it has exploded anew on the national stage in the aftermath of the George Floyd protests. </p><p>Gomez, who sits on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, <a href="https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/13/facial-recognition-congress-316235" target="_blank">told Politico </a>last week he's drafting legislation that would place restrictions on local and state police from using the technology. </p><p>"If facial recognition is considered the future of policing, it's just going to perpetuate the same biases that are already out there because it's in and of itself is biased," he told <a href="https://venturebeat.com/2020/06/13/rep-jimmy-gomez-on-the-future-of-facial-recognition-regulation-in-congress/" target="_blank">VentureBeat</a> in a separate interview. "It's been flawed. It's been shown to be flawed and can [misidentify] people of color, mainly black women, Latinos, African Americans — and the darker the skin color, the more mistakes it makes. That's going to lead to more negative interactions between law enforcement and people of color, which can lead to deadly consequences."</p><p>Gomez told the outlet Amazon gave him the run around as Congress probed the issue. </p><p>"We need them to cooperate and give us data so we can be better informed on how to craft this legislation," he said. "If not, we'll just work with the civil rights groups, and we'll just try to pass it through, and they're going to most likely try to oppose it, in my opinion, at the end of the day if they don't like it."</p>
L.A. Seed Rounds Are Getting Bigger<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://dot.la/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM5NTU4Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NDczNDc0N30.nhjwavls4HXV4ESNMds8Ar6qQTGKiv8sx4exehIxpuE/image.jpg?width=980" id="ad3cf" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="86120e1aa6b35af5718787a31535cca1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image from Amplify.LA<p>In the first quarter of this year, 19 Los Angeles startups raised seed rounds of more than $2.5 million. The average seed round raised was $4 million, according to <a href="https://blog.amplify.la/la-funding-up-despite-slowdown-q1-la-seed-deal-report-58a29f48adfd" target="_blank">Amplify.LA's latest LA Seed Report</a>.</p><p>"While nothing new for larger ecosystems like SF and NY, it's a relatively new phenomenon here in L.A.," wrote Conner Sundberg, an associate at Amplify.LA.</p><p>Amplify also found seed activity in Q1'20 was nearly double that of Q1'19. 38 companies closed seed rounds in the first quarter while fintech re-emerged as one of the top dealmaking sectors.</p><p>"Since starting this project years back, we've noted more funds being raised in L.A., a higher percentage of capital coming from local investors, and early stage teams tackling more varied verticals," wrote Sundberg.</p><p><em>— Ben Bergman</em></p>
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Los Angeles in general — and the San Fernando Valley specifically — are not exactly known for being hotbeds of enterprise software competition, but two of the world's leading providers of a niche type of accounting software are duking it out for market share and the competition is escalating during the coronavirus pandemic.
One is a startup that has raised $90 million in venture funding and the other is a publicly traded corporation with a market capitalization of $3.4 billion. Their headquarters are about five miles apart, the incumbent in Woodland Hills and the startup in Sherman Oaks.
"This is nuts to me," said Mike Whitmire, co-founder and CEO of FloQast. "It's the weirdest battle that you would never expect L.A. to have, with just the 405 between us."
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