weekly recap

California assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez from San Diego has emerged as one of the California legislature's fiercest critics of Silicon Valley's giants. This week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that targets Amazon's surveillance of warehouse employees. Earlier this month, another bill appeared on his desk, this one allowing restaurants to provide customers an itemized breakdown of the fees charged by delivery apps.

Both bills aim to take on big tech. And both were authored by Lorena Gonzalez. Read our profile on the legislator writing California's new laws that take on tech's biggest players.

LA Startups To Watch ๐Ÿ‘€

A new travel app out of Los Angeles made its Apple store debut this week. Welcome, a sort of Yelp app for people planning vacations and trips, this week also raised $3.5 million in funding.

StreamElements, a streaming services company with leadership in Los Angeles, saw a surge in users during the pandemic thanks to a rise in streamers. The company raised $100 million led by Softbank's Vision Fund 2 this week.

The video game industry is plagued with an issue called crunch where employees work more than 12 hours a day. FuzzyBot Games, a new gaming company in L.A. created by former EA Games employees, raised a $3.5 million

to make its first game with as little crunch as possible.

#TechLA's Movers & Shakers This Week ๐Ÿ“ข

Soylent is rebranding itself as a "complete nutrition company."

CreatorIQ, a marketing analytics company, is acquiring Tribe Dynamics for about $70 million. Both companies have used A.I. to analyze marketing trends.

Karman Missile & Space Systems, an L.A.-based aerospace company, this week acquired Systima Technologies as part of Karman's push into the markets for space and hypersonic system infrastructure.

LA Tech and Venture Capital News ๐Ÿ—ž

Cybersecurity threats have gotten worse during the pandemic, with so many people working from home and using their personal computers to access corporate networks. El Segundo-based cybersecurity vendor Saviynt is positioning itself to cater to that growing market.

Former Tinder chief marketing officer Justin Mateen secured $247.5 million at his firm JAM Fund.

Listen Up ๐ŸŽ™

Need a podcast recommendation this weekend? Here are some new pods we have for you:

๐ŸŽ™ This week on Behind Her Empire, Yasmin Nouri talks with CEO and co-founder of Mojuri Noura Sakkijha about the jewelry market, reaching burnout and selling 1.8 million pieces of jewelry since the start of the company.

๐Ÿšจ โ€‹EXTRA EXTRA ๐Ÿšจ

This week, the Pfizer vaccine showed signs that it's safe for children between the ages of 5 and 11. Now the company hopes for a quick FDA approval.

Los Angeles County on Friday began administering CDC- approved third doses of the vaccine for certain groups, including frontline workers.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek acknowledged the tensions developing with its high profile talent this week during a Goldman Sachs Conference. He said Disney is undergoing "a bit of a reset" in the way companies do talent deals.

Los Angeles County is investing $10 million in a bioscience hub, one of several projects through out the county that leaders hope will raise L.A.'s biotech profile.

Though firefighters remain overworked and underpaid, they may soon have some help in their Sisyphean task thanks to Playa del Rey-based KSI Data Sciences and other drone companies that are increasingly on the frontlines.

The SEC launched an investigation this week into video game publishing giant Activision Blizzard, which is engulfed in allegations that company executives ignored reports of sexual misconduct and discrimination against women employees.

LA Tech and Venture Capital Events ๐Ÿ’ฌ

Check out these upcoming Southern California events in the tech and startup scene in October:

Is your organization having an event? Let us feature it in our newsletter! Email luis@dot.la.

Am I doing this right? ๐Ÿค”

Throw me feedback, compliments or questions on this newsletter at luis@dot.la or on Twitter at @rungomez.

Southern California's startup scene set a new record in the first half of this year with $330 million in seed deals, according to data from Amplify's latest LA Seed Report. When compared to the first half of 2020, seed deal volume in the city spiked 35% in 2021. Among the big winners in Southern California were ecommerce and consumer-focused startups.

By sector, software-as-a-service (SaaS) startups continue to absorb the most seed dollars in L.A. They raised $121.2 million across 44 companies in the first half of the year. Take our Twitter poll and tell us, what type of startup you'd back if you were an early-stage VC.

LA Startups To Watch ๐Ÿ‘€

๐ŸŽฎ A new L.A. gaming startup founded by two Riot Games alums is getting backing from VC heavyweights Andreessen Horowitz and Galaxy Interactive. Elodie Games this week announced it raised $32.5 million in a Series A round.

๐Ÿ‘œ Tracy DiNunzio wants to kill fast fashion. And her peer-to-peer online fashion marketplace Tradesy is winning the hearts of investors by focusing on environmentally conscious fashion.

๐Ÿค“ Geek ecommerce app Whatnot reached a $1.5 billion valuation after its latest round of funding. But can it compete with GOAT, the high-flying Los Angeles-based sneaker shop valued at $3.7 billion?

#TechLA's Movers & Shakers This Week ๐Ÿ“ข

๐Ÿ”Ž CreatorIQ uses artificial intelligence to determine how engaged social media stars are and with which audiences. This week, it raised $40 million to build out its brand and influencer software.

๐Ÿ’ธ Charity fundraising platform Omaze, which offers celebrity meet-and-greets and other fundraising experiences, landed its most high profile client this year: billionaire Richard Branson. It's hoping to take off with the backing of celebrity backers including Bono, Tom Brady, Kerry Washington and others.

๐ŸŒญ Appetize, a Playa Vista-based mobile ordering service that delivers food at Dodgers games and other large venues, was gobbled up for $415 million by SpotOn.

๐Ÿ  Pacaso wants to sell you a stake in a top-tier second home, and it just raised $125 million to do so โ€” that is, if you're among the minority of homeowners who can afford one.

LA Tech and Venture Capital News ๐Ÿ—ž

๐Ÿ’ฐ A new influx of funds to VC firm Fifth Wall's Early-Stage Climate Technology Fund is helping it gain on its goal of $200 million.

๐Ÿšš San Francisco-based autonomous trucking company Embark is is partnering on a new pilot program in Los Angeles with computer hardware giant HP Inc.

๐Ÿช‘ Outer is expanding to furnish hotels, shopping malls and other business with its throw pillows and outdoor couches. The company announced on Thursday that it raised $50 million in a Series B round.

๐Ÿ•ถ Virtual reality is for more than just gaming. A recent study found children who used VR during procedures felt less pain and anxiety, opening the door to a new role for the technology in pain management.

Listen Up ๐ŸŽ™

Need a podcast recommendation this weekend? Here are some new pods we have for you:

๐ŸŽ™ Threshold Ventures' Chirag Chotalia talks about his journey in the venture capital world on this episode of LA Venture. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

๐ŸŽ™ Logan Hollowell grew up in North Carolina's Outer Banks, moved to California at 17 and is now the founder and CEO of a fast-growing jewelry startup. Hollowell talks about how her humble background helped spur her to success on this week's episode of Behind Her Empire. Listen on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radio or wherever you get your podcasts.

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๐Ÿ—ณ Gov. Gavin Newsom beat the recall this week. His victory suggests the state's cozy ties to the tech industry will go uninterrupted โ€” at least until voters flock to polls again to select a governor on November 8, 2022.

๐Ÿ›ฐ The defense industry soared in the years since 9/11. We look at six ways Southern California companies grew during the war years.

๐Ÿ’‰ This week, L.A. County set new requirements for indoor venues including clubs, bars and wineries by requiring proof of vaccination.

โšก๏ธ The upcoming LA Auto Show will be all about electric vehicles and a rapidly changing automotive industry. Here's a preview.

๐Ÿš€ A tech billionaire and three other non-professional spacefliers blasted off today to begin the first non-governmental, philanthropic mission carrying a crew to orbit. Meet its "all civilian" crew and read a recap of this week's launch.

LA Tech and Venture Capital Events ๐Ÿ’ฌ

Check out these upcoming Southern California events in the tech and startup scene in October:

Is your organization having an event? Let us feature it in our newsletter! Email luis@dot.la.

Am I doing this right? ๐Ÿค”

Throw me feedback, compliments or questions on this newsletter at luis@dot.la or on Twitter at @rungomez.

This week, Sweetgreen CEO Jonathan Neman walked back remarks he made on a social media post that garnered a lot of backlash. The now-deleted LinkedIn post particularly irked a lot of people over his remarks about the COVID-related mortality rate among those who are overweight โ€” or fat-shaming, as some people said.

Neman's new post on LinkedIn this week took a different tone.

"Words matter and the words I chose were insensitive and oversimplified a very complex issue that is impacted by larger socioeconomic factors," wrote Neman, adding that he promised to "learn forward" as the startup he leads is poised to go public in the near future.

LA Startups To Watch ๐Ÿ‘€

๐Ÿ˜ฌ John Pham's orthodontics startup InBrace is positioning itself to compete with Align Technology and Smile Direct Club as a "Zoom effect" is fueling a wave of dental procedures.

๐Ÿ”‹ Looking to close a $1.6 billion deal in the first quarter of 2022, Energy Vault, a startup that uses gravity to store renewable energy, is going public following its merger.

#TechLA's Movers & Shakers This Week ๐Ÿ“ข

๐Ÿ’ฐ HoneyBee is joining the growing number of fintech companies that offer "rainy day loans." But the L.A.-based startup is particularly interested in helping women of color get back on their feet.

๐Ÿ“ฑ Piper Rockelle, the social media influencer who's drawn controversy over her images, launched her new web-based app, Rare, this week that allows creators to promote and monetize exclusive content like photos and videos.

๐ŸŽถ A former TikTok employee found a way to tap into the creator scene by giving music makers an easy tool to make tunes through his new app Mayk.it.

LA Tech and Venture Capital News ๐Ÿ—ž

๐Ÿ” Ferret.ai acts like a search engine that makes it easier for its clients to see publicly available -- but difficult to find -- legal and criminal histories of contacts in their immediate network. But even investors have concerns about the app's ethics.

๐ŸŽฎ Mobile game giant Jam City is courting Hollywood after its acquisition of Canadian gaming company Ludia for $165 million this week.

๐Ÿ’• David Park, an ex-Wall Street trader and Raya engineer, saw social gaming as the new way to date, so he created Kippo โ€” a dating app for gamers.

Listen Up ๐ŸŽ™

Need a podcast recommendation this weekend? Here are some new pods we have for you:

๐ŸŽ™ Julie Wroblewski had her dream job leading a venture capital investment strategy. With her focus on caregiving innovation, she saw ways to grow in the care economy and became the co-founder of Magnify Ventures. Hear her journey on LA Venture. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

๐ŸŽ™ When she was a kid, Jenna Lyons discovered her passion by sewing her own clothes. The reaction Lyons got from her classmates gave her the confidence she needed that eventually led her to be the fashion icon she is today. Listen to her journey on Behind Her Empire as she worked at J.Crew for almost 30 years then started her own beauty brand. Listen on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radio or wherever you get your podcasts.

๐Ÿšจ โ€‹EXTRA EXTRA ๐Ÿšจ

๐Ÿ’‰ In a 7-0 vote by the LAUSD this week, students 12 and older must be vaccinated to attend classes in-person. Students must get their first dose by Nov. 21 and their second dose by Dec. 19.

๐Ÿ’‰ President Biden announced on Thursday a sweeping vaccine mandate that would affect as many as 100 million workers. So, who exactly has to get vaccinated in L.A.? And what about mask mandates? Reporter Keerthi Vedantam has some answers to your most pressing workplace mandate questions.

๐Ÿค– According to a Brookings Institution report, Los Angeles is emerging as one of the nation's top hubs for "early adopter" artificial intelligence businesses.

๐Ÿ—ณ With the recall election days away, workers from big tech are overwhelmingly giving their support to Gavin Newsom.

โš–๏ธ This week, dot.LA spoke with Berkeley Law professor Catherine Fisk about what the overturning of Proposition 22 could mean for the gig economy.

LA Tech and Venture Capital Events ๐Ÿ’ฌ

Check out these upcoming Southern California events in the tech and startup scene in September:

Is your organization having an event? Let us feature it in our newsletter! Email luis@dot.la.

Am I doing this right? ๐Ÿค”

Throw me feedback, compliments or questions on this newsletter at luis@dot.la or on Twitter at @rungomez.

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