'There's a Real Energy in This City': The Chainsmokers on LA's Tech Scene

Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.

'There's a Real Energy in This City': The Chainsmokers on LA's Tech Scene

It seems everyone wants to be a VC these days, so why can't the Chainsmokers join the line-up?

Earlier this year, the electronic DJ and production duo, Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, announced the debut of their $35 million early-stage fund.

Being a DJ and a startup VC would appear to have little in common, but at a lunchtime panel on the first day of the dot.LA Summit, the pair said there are actually a number of parallels.

"We built the Chainsmokers from nothing and so we think of ourselves as founders, too," said Taggart, who added that personal chemistry is key in both music and startups. "The luckiest thing was to meet each other."


That luck has turned into a lucrative career that will be hard to top in the startup world. The Chainsmokers became the highest-earning DJ act in the world last year, earning over $46 million in a single year, according to Forbes.

Chainsmokersyoutu.be

Taggart also talked about their decision to sell their entire catalog of 32 songs last year, saying they got "a great price" (which was not disclosed.) He also is not sure their music will be worth as much in years to come because he sees music tastes as increasingly fickle.

"I don't know if kids ten years from now will listen," Taggart said.

Their fund has a name, Mantis, more befitting a band. Mark Cuban, Keith Rabois, Jim Coulter Ron Conway and dot.LA Chairman Spencer Rascoff, who moderated the panel, are all investors.

One of Mantis' first investments was in the L.A. based fitness app FitOn, and Pall said he's excited about joining the city's tech scene.

"There's a real energy in this city that people are beginning to take notice of," Pall said. "We're pumped to be a part of it."

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

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.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

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.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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INDIEV Teams Up With Foxconn To Launch Electric SUVs

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

INDIEV Teams Up With Foxconn To Launch Electric SUVs
Photo Courtesy of IndiEV

INDIEV, a startup based in Vernon, announced this week it will partner with Taiwanese tech conglomerate Foxconn to build its first prototypes of its upcoming electric SUV, nicknamed the INDI One.

The debut makes it the seventh consumer electric vehicle company to enter Los Angeles’s crowded cohort of green carmakers.

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