New Years Tech Predictions: What to Expect in 2022

Eric Zassenhaus
Eric Zassenhaus is dot.LA's managing editor for platforms and audience. He works to put dot.LA stories in front of the broadest audience in the best possible way. Prior to joining dot.LA, he served as an editorial and product lead at Pacific Standard magazine and at NPR affiliate KPCC in Los Angeles. He has also worked as a news producer, editor and art director. Follow him on Twitter for random thoughts on publishing and L.A. culture.
New Years Tech Predictions: What to Expect in 2022

Last year brought big changes to L.A.'s startup and tech scene, from video streaming to blockchain technology to a boom in electric vehicles and the sectors supporting them, 2021 was a year that saw entire industries pivot to embrace a new tech landscape put in place by the pandemic. We asked experts from across the tech and startup world what they see coming for the city and its startup scene in 2022.

Check back for new posts. We'll be adding more predictions daily, and let us know what you see over the horizon; share with us on Twitter and Instagram.


The Streaming Wars Were Quaint. In 2022, Hollywood Will See an Era of Unorthodox Consolidation

As 2022 dawns, the Justice Department’s long-awaited decision on the Discovery/ WarnerMedia/ AT&T merger shines most brightly on the entertainment industry’s horizon.

Read more

2022 Will Be the Year Automation Changes Fast Food for Good

Restaurant innovation to improve customer convenience will continue to grow at a rapid pace around things like autonomous delivery vehicles, unmanned and automated 24/7 open food kiosks and app-based ordering and paying. Diners are embracing automation more than ever before and are open to change if it means added safety, convenience and efficiency, as well as consistency in the quality of food they receive.

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In 2022, ‘Fan-Centric’ Accounting Will Bring Emerging Artists More Money from Streaming Music

Streaming subscribers and revenues hit new heights this past year. Label valuations climbed. Song catalogs from artists including Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young were purchased for record sums. Yet in the midst of this booming music economy, many artists felt that they were not receiving their fair share of the rewards.

In 2022, that will change. As pressure mounts from fans and rival services that offer a different model for payment, streaming music stalwarts will begin to change how the billions in streaming revenues get divvied up to benefit emerging musicians and bands with the most dedicated fans.

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The Creator Economy and Social Commerce Proved Itself This Past Year. In 2022, Watch as It Booms!

With more than 50 million content creators across the globe and social media using new monetization tools and social commerce features, 2022 will witness an explosion of creative energy and the birth of a new type of online economy.

It has never been a better time to be a content creator: the cost for entry is incredibly low –sometimes totally free. You just need a device and an internet connection, social media platforms from TikTok to YouTube started creator funds in 2021, including incentives and monthly payments based on performance. The goal: to encourage creators to continue making content that keeps readers on their platforms and enables them to make a living out of it.

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In 2022, Get Ready for a Battle of Kitchen Robot Concepts

The coming year will be a proving year around all the hype of robotics in food that was created in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, the reality will set in that the labor shortage in restaurants is not a fleeting issue, though it may become less acute than it had been during the height of the pandemic. Restaurants will need to expand their robotics and AI pilots and roll-out new solutions.

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This Will Be the Year We See Tech Equity Make Its Mark and Move Beyond Gesture

2022 will be a year of growth and momentum around tech equity and ethics.

Independent efforts for racial and gender equity through tech flourished in 2021. Many of us chafe at using the term “DEI” (which stands for “diversity, equity and inclusion”) as it’s become a marketing slogan for some. Instead, we’re designing ways to do things differently so that we can better tackle the ways that tech can be used to enforce inequalities.

Already there are some shining examples of efforts underway. Researchers, activists and journalists are looking into how they can use big data and AI to aid in these efforts.

Read more

'Billionaires in Space' Is Boring; 2022 Will See Entire Industries Go Galactic

This last year was a watershed for the commercial space economy. An incredible amount of capital was invested in the new aerospace economy, surpassing the likes of legacy space heavyweights Boeing and Airbus. The year saw incredible financial exits from California-based companies Momentus, Planet, Rocket Lab and Astra, among others (Long Beach-based Virgin Orbit is set to go public in 2022). And it captured the public’s attention with billionaires floating in microgravity.

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EV Sales Will Soar in 2022 as New Models Flood the Market

Overall light vehicle sales plummeted last year because of pandemic-related supply chain issues, but electric vehicle sales are set to surge in 2022.

EVs are expected to reach over 450,000 sales in 2021, and EV sales through November were up 88% compared to 2020 EV sales through last November. This huge increase is due to a few key new models arriving in the marketplace this year, such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4. In its first full year, Tesla’s Model Y was by far the EV sales leader in 2021.

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In 2022, Robots Will Conquer Food Delivery and Distribution

In 2022, the food service industry will experience more labor challenges as restaurant and hospitality workers continue to leave in droves.

Fortunately, food technology has come a long way in developing robotics and automation in these last 18 months. Automated solutions in the kitchen will be well established by Q3 of 2022 and more vending style machines will appear in high-foot-traffic areas such as airports and schools, but also in the lobbies of high-rise buildings.

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In 2022, Expect More Cross-Platform Livestreaming from Creators

TikTok’s short form videos are ideal for discovering new audiences. Meanwhile long-form platforms such as Twitch and YouTube are perfect for maintaining, engaging and growing a community of fans. The marriage of these elements will change the game for creators in the new year.

Read more

From our Fingertips to Outerspace: Spencer Rascoff's 2021 Predictions

I started my journey as both an angel investor and founder over 20 years ago.

A handful of successful companies and hundreds of investments later, I realized a few common themes throughout my portfolio. One in particular stands out: democratization.

Democratization, or making things more accessible to more people, has been a considerable factor in much of my decision making as a founder and investor.

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🏰 Disney's Epic Investment Stands Out Amidst Gaming Industry Layoffs

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

🔦 Spotlight

In the midst of widespread gaming industry layoffs, a glimmer of positive news emerges as Disney announces a significant move: a $1.5 billion investment in Epic Games. 🏰💰🐭

Image Source: Disney

Disney's $1.5 billion investment in Epic Games, disclosed late Wednesday, signals a strategic alignment aimed at expanding the success of "Fortnite." The deal enhances Epic's growth prospects after financial setbacks, including layoffs, and strengthens the partnership between the two companies. With Disney gaining a larger equity stake in Epic, the collaboration will broaden the integration of beloved Disney franchises like Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Avatar into the game, potentially boosting its appeal and longevity. This significant investment underscores Disney's commitment to interactive entertainment and signifies a shift towards games as a primary revenue stream, aligning with the growing trend of digital engagement among younger demographics. Moreover, the potential for crossover sales of physical Disney products within "Fortnite" and the exploration of new content distribution channels are just some of the opportunities arising from this partnership.

For LA tech, the Disney-Epic Games partnership represents a validation of the region's burgeoning tech and gaming ecosystem. The substantial investment in Epic, who maintains a large Los Angeles office with 1,000+ employees (according to LinkedIn), reflects confidence in the LA’s talent pool and innovation potential. Additionally, this partnership between two industry giants fosters an environment for further collaboration, investment, and growth within LA's tech sector. As Disney and Epic Games deepen their ties and explore new avenues for content integration and distribution, it not only elevates the prominence of LA as a tech hub but also stimulates economic growth and job creation in the region. This partnership highlights LA's unique position as a hub where technology and entertainment converge. With its ability to integrate diverse industries, LA is driving innovation and expansion in digital entertainment. 🚀💸🎮

🤝 Venture Deals

LA Companies

  • ProducePay, a financing and marketplace platform for the fresh produce market, raised a $38M Series D led by Syngenta Group Ventures joined by Commonfund, Highgate Private Equity, G2 Venture Partners, Anterra Capital, Astanor Ventures, Endeavor8, Avenue Venture Opportunities, Avenue Sustainable Solutions, and Red Bear Angels. - learn more
  • Blush, an invite-only dating app that drives users to local businesses on dates, raised a $7M Seed Round from individuals like Naval Ravikant. - learn more
  • Mogul, a startup founded last year that provides an overview of an artist's royalty earnings and identifies areas where money is owed but has not yet been collected, raised a $1.9 million seed round from Wonder Ventures, United Talent Agency, AmplifyLA, and Creator Partners. - learn more
  • Avnos, a hybrid direct air capture startup, raised a $36M Series A led by NextEra Energy and joined by Safran Corporate Ventures, Shell Ventures, Envisioning Partners, and Rusheen Capital Management. - learn more
  • AI.fashion, startup whose mission is to help retailers enhance the online shopping experience by providing consumers with virtual try-ons and personalized fashion recommendations, raised a $3.6M Seed Round led by Neo. - learn more
  • Suma Wealth, startup that aims to demystify financial topics and provide culturally relevant content, virtual experiences, and resources to help Latino users navigate financial challenges and opportunities, raised a $2.2M Seed Round . Radicle Impact led, and was joined by Vamos Ventures, OVO fund and the American Heart Association Impact Fund. - learn more
  • 222, a startup that helps users discover their city and meet new people through unique social experiences, raised a $2.5M Seed Round. Investors included 1517 Fund, General Catalyst, Best Nights VC, Scrum Ventures, and Upfront Ventures. - learn more
  • LimaCharlie, a security operations cloud platform, raised a $10.2M Series A led by Sands Capital. - learn more
  • Polycam, an app that uses a smartphone’s sensors to capture 3D scans of objects, raised an $18M Series A co-led by Left Lane Capital and Adjacent, and joined by Adobe Ventures and individuals like Chad Hurley and Shaun Maguire. -learn more.

LA Venture Funds

Actively Raising

  • ReelCall, Inc., an entertainment technology company focused on powerful apps and platforms that help build and maintain the professional network of connections vital to career growth, is raising a $850K Pre-Seed Round. - learn more
  • CZero, a startup building software to decarbonize logistics for logistics businesses and goods business through a vetted marketplace and optimization software. - learn more
  • Couri, a technology startup addressing last-mile delivery issues, is raising a $450K Pre-Seed Round at a $2.2M post money valuation. - learn more
  • Sweetie, a marketplace to help people plan date nights, is raising a $1.5M Pre Seed Round. - learn more
  • StartupStarter, an investment platform that provides real-time data and analytics on startups, is raising an $850K Angel Round. - learn more

If you’re a founder raising money in Los Angeles, give us a shout, and we’d love to include you in the newsletter!

Venture Waves, Climate Tech Wins, and Silicon Beach's Ongoing Evolution

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Anduril Seeks $1.5B in VC Funds

Defense company Anduril Industries Inc., based in Costa Mesa and founded by Palmer Luckey, is seeking to raise $1.5 billion in fresh funds to boost its valuation to $12.5 billion or more, according to sources quoted by The Information. This fundraising effort, if successful, would mark one of the largest venture capital rounds of the year.

Image Source: Anduril

Anduril recently secured a contract to develop and test small unmanned fighter jet prototypes under the Air Force’s Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) program, beating out major defense companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. Alongside General Atomics, Anduril will design, manufacture, and test these aircraft, with a final multibillion-dollar production decision expected in fiscal year 2026. This program aims to deliver at least 1,000 combat aircraft to fly in concert with manned platforms and is part of the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance initiative. Central to Anduril’s success in this contract is the Fury autonomous air vehicle, acquired through the purchase of Blue Force Technologies. This victory underscores Anduril's rapid advancement in the defense sector, aligning with Luckey's vision of building faster and more cost-effective defense assets. - learn more

Los Angeles Ranks Number 1 in Emerging Climate Tech Hub

The 2024 Emerging Climate Tech Hubs Report by Revolution highlights Los Angeles as a burgeoning center for climate tech innovation. LA's growth in this sector is driven by its diverse talent pool, strong research institutions, and a culture of environmental consciousness. The city's unique mix of legacy industries, such as entertainment and aerospace, alongside emerging tech companies, positions it as a pivotal player in the climate tech landscape. This shift reflects a broader trend of decentralized climate tech funding across the U.S., reducing the historical dominance of California's traditional hubs. - learn more

Silicon Beach: Looking Back, Moving Forward

Assessing the overall health of the startup market is challenging, especially as venture capital funding has decreased by an average of 61% from 2021 to 2023 across the top VC markets in the US. Markets with robust ecosystems in AI, SaaS, Biotech, Healthtech, and Fintech appear to be weathering the downturn better than those focused on Consumer and Gaming industries, areas where Los Angeles traditionally excels.

Percent Change In VC Funding By Region

CB Insights

LA Times paints a rather bleak outlook on the Los Angeles tech scene noting venture capital funding in Greater Los Angeles plummeted 73% from 2021 to 2022. Silicon Beach, once a vibrant tech corridor, currently faces high vacancy rates and lacks late-stage financiers, especially in the AI sector. However, there are positive signs, including growth in aerospace startups and increased venture capital investment in early 2024, suggesting a potential rebound for LA's tech ecosystem.

While LA may not be exceeding expectations during this period, its tech ecosystem warrants a nuanced evaluation, given the broader market dynamics and its strong performance in specific sectors. Reach out to us with your thoughts.

🚀 SpaceX gears up for another stellar year, active raises, and more

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Happy Friday Los Angeles! You made it through the first week of 2024!

🔦 Spotlight

Elon Musk may be a divisive (albeit entertaining) figure, but the continued success of SpaceX is pivotal for the aerospace industry in Los Angeles and more broadly around the world.

Image Source: SpaceX webcast

What happened with SpaceX in 2023?

  • Elon Musk challenged Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg to a cage fight.
  • SpaceX launched 96 successful missions with its Falcon series of rockets, a 57% increase over its previous annual record.
  • SpaceX conducted two test flights of the largest and most powerful rocket ever built, Starship.
  • Roughly two-thirds of SpaceX's launches in 2023 were devoted to building out Starlink, the company's satellite-internet megaconstellation.
  • Isaacson’s Elon Musk biography was published in September including everything from Musk’s tumultuous relationship with his father to his work ethic and “demon mode”.

Moving forward what can we expect from SpaceX and its controversial founder? Continued innovation pushing the aerospace industry to new limits? Yes. More drama? Without a doubt.

Here is some of what is to come in 2024:

🤝 Venture Deals

Just Announced

Check back next week!

LA Exits

  • CG Oncology, an Irvine, CA-based developer of immunotherapies for bladder cancer, filed for a $100M IPO. It plans to list on the Nasdaq (CGON) with Morgan Stanley as left lead underwriter, and has raised around $317m in VC funding. - learn more
  • McNally Capital agreed to sell Advanced Micro Instruments, a Costa Mesa, CA-based maker of gas analyzers and sensing technologies, to Enpro (NYSE: NPO). - learn more

Actively Raising

  • ReelCall, Inc., an entertainment technology company focused on powerful apps and platforms that help build and maintain the professional network of connections vital to career growth, is raising a $850K Pre-Seed Round. - learn more
  • CZero, a hard-tech startup that is developing a technology for decarbonizing natural gas, is raising a $1.5M Seed Round. - learn more
  • Couri, a technology startup addressing last-mile delivery issues, is raising a $450K Pre-Seed Round at a $2.2M post money valuation. - learn more
  • Sweetie, a marketplace to help people plan date nights, is raising a $250K Angel Round. - learn more
  • StartupStarter, an investment platform that provides real-time data and analytics on startups, is raising an $850K Angel Round. - learn more

If you’re a founder raising money in Los Angeles, give us a shout, and we’d love to include you in the newsletter!

📅 LA Tech Calendar

Sunday, January 7th

Wednesday, January 10th

  • Startup Cafe: Networking with a Kick - Entrepreneurs, Startups, and Tech Enthusiasts join together to meet and connect with like-minded people, industry professionals and investors, while enjoying a nice cup of coffee in Venice at The KINN. This week’s interactive discussion about AI’s evolution in entertainment will feature Dr. Sam Khoze and Rachel Joy Victor.
  • Venice Tech Happy Hour- Join Startup Coil and FoundrHaus Wednesday evening and enjoy the sunset from the rooftop, grab a bite overlooking Abbot Kinney, and mingle with other tech enthusiasts and entrepreneurs by the bar on the patio.

Have an awesome event coming up? Reach out to be featured on next week’s Newsletter!

📙 What We’re Reading

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