peter pham

As Thanksgiving approached, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti implored residents to stay home and halt all nonessential travel as COVID-19 cases skyrocketed.

But on Thanksgiving Day, Peter Pham, one of L.A.'s most prominent early-stage investors and the co-founder of Science Inc, a Santa Monica startup studio and early-stage venture fund that manages over $100 million and recently launched a $310.5 million SPAC, posted a selfie of himself atop Las Vegas' High Roller ferris wheel.

He was clutching a can of Liquid Death, the bad boy-themed canned water brand that has improbably become Science's buzziest startup. Pham guzzles six cans a day, because he says he does not trust municipal tap water.

"I'm not afraid of dying," Pham told me recently. "There's risk for everything and COVID is a risk that I feel very confident in my ability to deal with. I could be wrong and that's OK. I am OK if I fucked up and I die from it."

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Michael Jones and Peter Pham, the founders of Science Inc., officially joined the SPAC frenzy on Tuesday, with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) of their own valued at $270 million.

In an announcement, Jones and Pham said their SPAC, Science Strategic Acquisition Corp. Alpha, would debut on the NASDAQ today by selling 27 million units at $10 a share. The SPAC plans on merging with a company in the direct-to-consumer (DTC) services space and/or mobile and entertainment sectors.

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California has seen a major surge in unemployment insurance claims and is bracing for a continued spike as a result of the global spread of COVID-19, which has forced a statewide shelter-in-place order for the Golden State's nearly 40 million residents, state officials said.

As of Thursday, California's Unemployment Development Dept. reported "a huge spike in the number of claims coming in from impacted Californians" with the 58,208 claims processed in the week prior, from Sunday March 8 through Saturday March 14, up from 43,385 claims the week prior, according to EDD spokesman Barry C. White. Those numbers dwarf the roughly 41,000 claims that have the recent average over the last few months.

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