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1212 Santa Monica was jam packed with roughly 700 founders and VCs on Wednesday night. As music pumped through the speakers, attendees of SUPERCHARGE LA: Access to Capital & Cocktails mingled throughout the two-story restaurant tasting sliders and tacos from chef Luca Maita.
The passionate crowd, clustered in the hollowed-out center space, along the balcony lining the walls and spilling onto the promenade was full of excitement. When Grammy Award winning singer Miguel took the stage to speak about how collaborations with other musicians and entrepreneurs inform his creative process, the attendees listened closely.
When asked by dot.LA executive chairman Spencer Rascoff to respond to musician Will.i.am’s prediction that more artists will turn to AI, Miguel wasn’t so swayed by the idea.
“[AI] will impact the industry from the business side but it will never have that spirituality,” Miguel said.
That’s not to say that the chart topping musician has entirely shied away from technological innovation in the music industry. “The business of music will have its use for AI,” he said. “Industrialization, through human history, has always been the thing that we gravitate towards, because we like convenience, and there's a way to make money out of that.”
For the time being then, Miguel is primarily focused on how web3 can revolutionize community ownership. Which is why, last year, he joined the web3 studio T3MP0 as the company’s global creative director. During the discussion, Miguel said the company, which focuses on connecting fans with creators though metaverse experiences and NFTs, allows him to flex his entrepreneurial muscles.
“It all stems from growing up here in Los Angeles, being Black and Mexican—feeling underrepresented and knowing that people have such a one dimensional way of looking at the world,” Miguel said.
As people leaned over the balcony to snap photos of Miguel, T3MP0 CEO Roger Chabra said tech people are constantly seeking to “create new rules,” as we saw with web3. But when it comes to NFT’s waning popularity, Chabra was quick to acknowledge that although T3MPO isn’t “as relevant as we used to be,” the company remains relevant to partners like Miguel, Dipolo and Marshawn Lynch, who are still looking for innovative ways to connect with fans.
Other Los Angeles companies are also trying to change the relationship between creators and fans. Prior to Miguel and Chabra’s discussion, Rascoff spoke with LA Chargers running back Austin Ekeler to discuss his community platform Eksperience. Through the platform, fans can connect with Ekeler and other athletes and influencers to video chat, receive signed merchandise or be sent a personalized video. After he amassed over 28,000 followers on Twitch, Ekeler said he was inspired to find more direct ways to connect with fans.
“I can't sign everyone's jersey here, so let me create an environment where I can control that and actually get those things done,” Ekeler said.
As part of the event, Anna Barber, Qiana Patterson, Elianne Rodriguez and Marcos Gonzalez from PledgeLA also announced their 50 in 5 initiative. Their goal? To direct at least half of LA’s VC funding to female, Black and Latino/a founders in the next five years by creating a pre-seed fund for underrepresented founders and a VC internship.
Before the night was capped off with DJ set from the iconic D-Nice who took over to set the musical vibe for the remainder of the evening, Rascoff reminded the crowd what makes the LA tech scene different from anywhere else in the world.
“All the people I've gotten to know in this community don’t have sharp elbows,” Rascoff said. “Instead we're all trying to lift up the LA tech community to reach its full potential.”
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