weekly recap

weekly recap

Elementary Robotics

Machine learning startup Elementary CEO Arye Barnehama believes his robots can fill in the worker shortage gaps that have hobbled companies. Elementary Robotics was born out of the Pasadena-based IdeaLab accelerator and it is rapidly expanding its headcount and product offerings. It recently raised a $30 million Series B raise, led by Tiger Global.

LA Startups To Watch 

Duffl: The UCLA-born quick delivery service joins other emerging brands in what market researchers have dubbed the instant needs sector of quick commerce.

GTLA: Could fashion ever be equitable and less wasteful? The Los Angeles startup has set its ambitions on raising the bar for one of the top fashion manufacturing capitals in the U.S.

Queue: The newly launched iOS app is a response to the rush of new streaming series and movies that can often feel like a firehose. Its goal is to save users time and avoid FOMO.

#TechLA's Movers & Shakers This Week 

The pandemic hasn’t sapped demand for high-end rentals. And it’s helping proptech companies like AvantStay raise more money.

FlickPlay has turned Santa Monica into a metaverse playground, making it the first U.S. city of its kind to enter the emerging digital space.

Motional and Uber are collaborating to launch food delivery service in Santa Monica using a fleet of robotaxis.

LA Tech and Venture Capital News 

TeleSign, a digital identity verification and fraud prevention company used by companies like TikTok and GoFundMe, plans to go public through a merger with a blank-check firm at an enterprise value of $1.3 billion.

Immix Biopharma Inc., a Santa Monica-based biotechnology company, got slammed in its trading debut this week, losing 27% of its value in its first day of trading on Nasdaq.

The fragmented systems for paying rent, utilities and for health care services that are scattered across online portals in the U.S. has made it fertile ground for a service like Papaya to deploy and flourish.

As more people emerge from their COVID cocoon to travel during the spring and summer, Sensible Weather is looking to grow. It announced this week it raised $4 million.

Rocket Lab paid $80 million to acquire SolAero, a New Mexico-based company that makes solar cells and panels to power devices in outer space.

The biggest piece of advice entrepreneur Spencer Rascoff is giving to startups is: “Raise more capital. Raise it now if you can. And raise as much as possible.”

Listen Up 

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

As climate change forces industries to radically shift its approach, FullCycle Climate Partners’ Kyle Adkins joins LA Venture this week to discuss eagerly investing in the tech that can address the crisis. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

On this episode of "Office Hours" we talk with Allison Ellsworth, co-founder of Poppi, a soda alternative that promotes gut health. Her company picked up distribution from Whole Foods and made a splash on ABC's “Shark Tank."


The COVID vaccine has opened the door for a slew of uses for mRNA. And scientists are just getting started.

OpenX, a Pasadena-based ad tech company, agreed to pay $2 million to settle allegations that it amassed troves of data on children as it flaunted regulations intended to protect data privacy.

Activision Blizzard released a trove of data on gender representation in its workplace this week that showed that women account for 26% of Activision, Blizzard and King’s executive leadership.

Blizzard Entertainment, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, is now at the center of new sexual harassment complaints brought forward by a current employee. At a press conference joined by her lawyer, high-profile attorney Lisa Bloom, the employee accused Blizzard of ignoring her complaints about "unwanted sexual advances" and the retaliation she faced after she complained to higher-ups.

"When I complained to my supervisors, I was told they were just joking and that I should get over it," she said.

LA Startups To Watch 👀

👉 First Resonance. The L.A.-based startup, which is led by a former SpaceX engineer, has been impressing investors with its revenue growth. This week it raised an additional $14 million to build out its flagship platform, ION.

👉 NZXT. The startup, based in City of Industry, this week raised $103.5 million to keep up with gamer demand of PC components.

#TechLA's Movers & Shakers This Week 📢

➡️ Connect Airlines hopes to start flying passengers around in a hydrogen-powered plane as soon as 2025, thanks to a deal announced this week with Hawthorne-based Universal Hydrogen.

➡️ dotLA has a new map of L.A.'s startup scene.

LA Tech and Venture Capital News 🗞

🗞 If you’re curious about who’s forking over cash to startups in Southern California, this recently updated investor list is a solid place to start.

🗞 The surge for wine might be waning post-pandemic as Winc, a wine subscription service, dipped in sales in its third quarter.

🗞 Blink Mobility is boosting up its fleet of electric vehicles from 60 vehicles to 300 to expand the BlueLA car-sharing program in Los Angeles despite complaints from users.

🗞 While other companies have piloted drone programs that deliver to pickup sites, El Pollo Loco wants to do it differently: deliver food to your backyard.

🎙 Listen Up 💬

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

🎙 At the age of 16, Sophia Rascoff is one of the youngest entrepreneurs to launch a social media app focused on food. Listen to her take on social media's evolution and what young users are looking for in a new app on the PCH Driven podcast.

🎙 From a real estate company to investing in startups. Plug and Play CEO and founder Saeed Amidi comes on to this week’s LA Venture to talk about the evolution of the company. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

🎙 Halogen Ventures’ founding partner Jesse Draper came on to this week’s Behind Her Empire to talk about betting big on early-stage, female-founded companies. Listen on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radio or wherever you get your podcasts.


🗞 Internet users struggled using some of their favorite sites on Tuesday as Amazon Web Services experienced issues.

🗞 Embattled video game publisher Activision Blizzard faced its third work stoppage in the last five months at its subsidiary studio Raven Software walked out to protest layoffs of its quality assurance testers.

Am I doing this right? 🤔

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

California Is Getting New Fueling Stations for Hydrogen Cars, But Who Will Use Them?

In California, virtually the only state with hydrogen cars on the road, about 47 active fueling stations serve a trickle of early hydrogen adopters who mostly cruise around Los Angeles and the Bay Area today. These hydrogen-powered passenger vehicles aren’t anywhere near as popular as electric cars, but that isn’t stopping California from spending millions of dollars to support them. Read more >>

LA Startups To Watch 👀

👉 Romeo Power. The electric battery maker has big plans for its new Cypress lab space: to electrify the pollution-emitting trucking industry, one fleet at a time.

👉 Phoenix Motors. SPI Energy filed regulatory papers this week to spin out its electric vehicle unit with hopes of raising $150 million in the public market.

👉 Tagger. Based in Santa Monica, the influencer marketing platform that helps companies search for creators to promote their services or products.

#TechLA's Movers & Shakers This Week 📢

➡️ Snap Inc. is expanding its startup accelerator program to two cohorts a year, offering a $150,000 investment.

➡️ United Talent Agency launched its first SPAC on the Nasdaq exchange on Thursday as it moves into gaming and the creator economy business.

➡️ After serving four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Jake Wood built a nonprofit that sent military veterans to disaster relief. The CEO is calling on corporate America to give back, too.

LA Tech and Venture Capital News 🗞

🗞 Tinder's co-founders settled their lawsuit against Match after claiming in court that the company cheated them out of billions of dollars worth of stock options.

🗞 Qai Qai, a character co-created by Invisible Universe, is the focus of tennis star Serena Williams' first book for children. The L.A.-based startup hopes to make it into the next hit cartoon character on social media and become “the Pixar of social media.”

🎙 Listen Up 💬

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

🎙 At one time, it was crazy to think a venture capital firm could survive outside of Silicon Valley, but Dana Settle moved to Los Angeles and tried it anyway. On this episode of Office Hours, Settle comes on to talk about the booming L.A. tech scene and her investment firm Greycroft.

🎙 On this episode of LA Venture, Kairos Venutre’s Alex Andrianopoulos talks about why he believes in investing in research coming out of the nation’s top universities. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

🎙On this week’s episode of Behind Her Empire, Dr. Mary Pardee has made gut health her life’s work, culminating in the founding of her telemedicine and virtual wellness company, Modrn Med. Listen on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radio or wherever you get your podcasts.


🗞 Cyber Monday sales were down this year as retailers offered fewer discounts and out of stock items.

🗞 Metro’s answer to Uber, Lyft will be coming to Westwood/UCLA on Dec. 12 with the expansion of its rideshare service Metro Micro.

🗞 This week, L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced he would not use L.A.-based Fulgent Genetics to test his employees, saying he fears the information would be shared with the Chinese government.

Am I doing this right? 🤔

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