Justin Han

Some 15-odd years ago, the Alliance for SoCal Innovation put on a workshop for academics looking to wade into the world of commercialized technology.

Fast forward to 2022 and the Alliance is gearing up for the latest edition of its annual First Look SoCal Innovation Showcase, taking place Tuesday at the Skirball Cultural Center. This year’s lineup of 24 early-stage life sciences and tech startups—tapped from the Alliance’s network of universities and incubators—will have the chance to pitch their ventures and meet with potential investors, mentors and industry executives as they look for what, in most cases, will be their first round of commercial funding.

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Photo provided by Gritty In Pink

Shira Yevin’s lifelong crusade against a male-dominated music industry began with a pink RV.

After attending the Vans Warped Tour in 2004 and seeing far too few women on the bill, the punk rocker decided to take matters into her own hands: She crashed the tour by parking a pink RV on the campus of Cal State Fullerton and performing on a makeshift stage with her band, Shiragirl. The impromptu show was such a hit that Warped Tour welcomed Yevin back to run an official “Shiragirl Stage,” where female-fronted bands—including artists like Joan Jett and Paramore—performed in the following years.

Now, Yevin is taking an entrepreneurial approach to carve out more space for women in music. She’s the founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based startup Gritty In Pink, which runs an online “marketplace network” that connects music industry professionals with female talent—from musicians and songwriters to engineers and producers. Having launched in beta earlier this year, the startup’s InPink platform lets employers search for talent by skill and demographic.

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Courtesy of Thatgamecompany

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Santa Monica-based indie gaming studio Thatgamecompany has raised $160 million as it seeks to parlay games like “Sky: Children of Light” into a “theme park”-like metaverse experience.

The funding was led by private equity giant TPG—which invested through its tech-focused, $1.5 billion Tech Adjacencies fund—and venture firm Sequoia Capital. Thatgamecompany plans to use the capital to expand its roughly 100-person staff to more than 150 people and develop upcoming games, co-founder and CEO Jenova Chen told VentureBeat.

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