PayPal-backed fintech startup Tala has raised $145 million in a Series E round to expand its financial services in countries in emerging markets and to develop a mass-market crypto product.

The raise was led by lending platform Upstart with participation from the Stellar Development Foundation, bringing the total raised by the Santa Monica-based company to more than $350 million.

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Despite — or in many cases because of — the raging pandemic, 2020 was a great year for many tech startups. It turned out to be an ideal time to be in the video game business, developing a streaming ecommerce platform for Gen Z, or helping restaurants with their online ordering.

But which companies in Southern California had the best year? That is highly subjective of course. But in an attempt to highlight who's hot, we asked dozens of the region's top VCs to weigh in.

We wanted to know what companies they wish they would have invested in if they could go back and do it all over again.

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