The L.A. tech and startup community was active as ever this week. dot.LA chief host and correspondent Kelly O'Grady takes you through the key points of the top five headlines:

  • Green Rush: The Incredible Rise and Fall of L.A.'s Genius Fund
  • President Trump Signs Order Banning TikTok Unless it Sells to U.S. Company
  • Curative Inc is Bringing COVID-19 Test Kiosks to L.A.
  • dot.LA x Pitchbook: L.A.'s 50 Hottest Startups - Who Made It?
  • Investing Round-Up: Syntiant, GoodRx and Studio Alive Ventures
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The health and wellness market has boomed in recent years as more consumers become conscious of how the choices they make in everyday life impact their long-term health. The industry has done particularly well in Los Angeles, where juice bars and supplement companies pop up regularly. But how do you differentiate yourself in a market where companies promise consumers the world?

According to one CEO, the answer is data.

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After California voted to legalize recreational cannabis in late 2016, companies rushed in to be the first big mover in the multi-billion-dollar market. L.A.-based Genius Fund, run by two inexperienced twenty-somethings from well-to-do families and backed by a billionaire Russian oligarch, had the means and positioning to feed growing demand across the state, but things played out differently.

In a rural town just across the California border from Reno, Nevada, in the northernmost portion of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Genius Fund set up an outpost in early 2019 called Nature's Holiday. There, the company planned to grow 1,000 acres of hemp — which executives wanted to be the largest such farm in the state — for use in CBD products, according to former employees, corporate documents and the company's website.

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