Mark Suster, managing partner of the granddaddy of L.A. venture capital firms and impresario of the annual Upfront Summit, could have chosen from any number of venues to host this year's version of the Coachella of venture capitalism. But why pick an ordinary conference center or hotel when you can rent out the entire Rose Bowl?

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In his first public remarks about the death of Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer called the NBA superstar's death "a tragedy of tragedies" at a gathering of venture capital investors in Pasadena.

"It's obviously a tragedy anytime someone dies that young let alone the number of people who passed away," Ballmer said, before adding that Clippers players have been personally affected.

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  • Upfront Summit will bring together top names in media, tech and finance from singer John Legend to Quibi CEO Meg Whitman
  • Sustainability, climate change, white privilege and streaming are on the agenda
  • The Takeaway: Upfront set to attract investors backed with billions in capital

Upfront Ventures kicks off its technology and startup conference on Wednesday, and this year's lineup includes everyone from Clippers chairman Steve Ballmer to Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos. And, given the event is in Hollywood's back yard, musician John Legend, Ice Cube, and even Paris Hilton are set to speak.

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