wonder ventures

The livestream shopping craze continues.

Los Angeles-based Whatnot, an ecommerce app for collectibles and card games, has raised a $20 million Series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz's Connie Chan.

Whatnot's platform — like other livestream apps on the market — allows sellers to demo products and make sales online. The company specializes in collectibles like Pokemon cards and Funko Pops, and uses real-time video to "capture the excitement of the in-person collector experience," Whatnot said in a press release.

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Jiake Liu is the founder of a startup outdoor furniture company, but lately he feels like he's running a second company one that's helping supply local hospitals with thousands of protective masks and, in the process, rallying Los Angeles' tech community.

Liu started SoCal Tech for Hospitals in early March with the goal of raising $60,000 to purchase 30,000 masks for hospitals facing shortages. He's now helped raise nearly $200,000, delivered 50,000 hospital-grade masks and is looking to up the ante with the region's vast tech community to do good beyond the pandemic.

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One early-stage venture capital fund is launching a new initiative Tuesday: Helping Los Angeles entrepreneurs who have suddenly found themselves out of work as the coronavirus pandemic sideswipes the job market and freezes the amount of money flowing into startups.

Wonder Ventures, the Santa Monica-based firm that's carved a niche by writing checks to young companies below the radar of bigger VCs, has committed to fund at least three Los Angeles founders in the next month with checks starting at $100,000. The new WFH program -- which stands for Wonder from Home -- is aimed at those newly laid off from tech companies who have an idea they want to pursue.

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