Scopely Acquires PierPlay as Video Game Market Surges Amid COVID-19 Lockdown
The deal culminates a close partnership that began in 2016 when Scopely turned to PierPlay to help develop a Scrabble game to compete with with Zynga's popular Words with Friends, an off-brand word game that Hasbro has been trying to shut down since it launched in 2009.
Scrabble GO launched in 150 countries last month, becoming the biggest word game launch ever, though it still trails Word with Friends on Apple's app store.
"Our goal is always to have the best team in the world build a game, where it's internal or external," Tim O'Brien, Scopely's chief revenue officer, told dot.LA. "We knew these guys were a great team. We were always planning on acquiring the studio."
O'Brien says the deal was underway long before the coronavirus, but a pandemic that has everyone stuck at home and only able to connect with friends virtually is ideal for the addictive Scrabble GO and Scopely's larger portfolio, which has seen revenue increase 10% since before the virus.
"The timing couldn't have been better for us to launch," said O'Brien. "People are downloading more games and playing games longer. For a game like Scrabble GO that's highly social and highly competitive, it's the perfect game right now for people to play."
One concern is that Scopely makes a substantial amount of money from advertising, which is threatened as struggling companies reduce their marketing spend. But O'Brien says rates have already recovered after a brief dip last month.
Before the pandemic sent workers home, many of PierPlay's 25 employees were already working at Scopely's headquarters on a new game that has yet to be announced. PierPlay co-founder and Chief Executive Lorenzo Nuvoletta will continue to manage the game studio.
"The success we've seen with Scrabble GO has been amazing and we look forward to tackling more exciting projects in the development slate," Nuvoletta said in a statement. Scopely says more than 2.5 million people are playing Scrabble GO daily, with the average session lasting over 100 minutes per day.
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Nearly a year into the worst pandemic in a century, Los Angeles companies expecting to snap up office space on the cheap may be disappointed.
L.A. office rents have held steady or even gotten pricier since COVID, even as more space has become available as most employees continue to work from home.
"I honestly thought rents would have dropped by now," said Michael Soto, research director at the brokerage Savills Inc. "For a lot of tenants, they are still seeing a bit of sticker shock that prices haven't dropped yet."
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On today's episode of Office Hours, I'm excited for you to get to know Austin Allison, my co-founder and CEO of our company, Pacaso.
Birds were the first dwellers Austin served with his boyhood bird-house business. Now, with Pacaso, our goal is to democratize second-home ownership by enabling people to co-own an amazing second home --- for 1/8 the cost.
Hear his take on what it meant to have his first company acquired, his number one tip on how to keep his crew focused and how to best navigate what seems like weekly iterations of the start-up environment.
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Sweetgreen has pledged to be carbon neutral in six years by cutting its carbon output in half. Santa Monica and the L.A. Cleantech Incubator launched the nation's first zero-emissions delivery zone, a project meant to encourage companies to embrace EV transportation. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for more updates.
- Sweet Green wants to get greener
- Santa Monica opens emission-free delivery zone in downtown
Sweetgreen Promises Carbon Neutrality by 2027<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzEzODQ3MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNTc4NjQxNn0.sad0ogJEI_n5zonFpimBFFqqkA6NSvjXVhk3ckIyeUo/img.jpg?width=980" id="e77aa" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="0997ff2630815ab1b3505090cfdb38ca" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />LA Tech Updates: Sweetgreen to Go Carbon Neutral by 2027; Santa Monica Opens Zero-Emission Zone<p>Sweetgreen wants to be greener. </p> <p>The Culver City-based fast casual unicorn has pledged to be carbon neutral in six years by cutting its carbon output in half.</p> <p>"We believe that climate change is the defining challenge of our generation, posing a real and systemic threat to the health of people and the planet," Sweetgreen's founders <a href="https://medium.com/@sweetgreen/our-commitment-to-be-carbon-neutral-by-2027-875a29698252" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">wrote in a blog post.</a> "As restaurant leaders in an industry that drives 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it is our responsibility to use our platform and resources to confront this crisis head on."</p> <hr><p>The company says it started measuring its carbon output in 2019, which helped it identify areas where it could save energy. It was already well ahead of most other restaurants because of its heavy use of low impact fruits and vegetables rather than beef, but it wanted to do more.</p> <p>Sweetgreen will now use carbon output as a metric for deciding what to put on its menu. It will also work with suppliers to be more environmentally friendly.</p> <p>"To truly future proof our company, we must evolve our supply network and fix our relationship to the soil — and cultivate an environment that benefits the entire agricultural ecosystem: our food partners, customers, team members, and the planet," the founders wrote. </p>
Santa Monica Opens Nation's First Zero-Emissions Delivery Zone<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTY5MDU3OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NTI1NTIxOH0.T3W4XNFrl3_7TZ-fPB9kBRheOBEh-WeZY3LdoouwhdU/img.jpg?width=980" id="7afd5" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d0d1afe8b6f9d941da5b2c303f975ba3" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="kiwibot Santa Monica" data-width="1080" data-height="1080" /><p>Ikea, Shopify and the yerba mate brand Guayaki are just a few of the companies that vow to cut pollution in Santa Monica by using electric vans and delivery robots to fulfill orders.</p><p>The seaside city and the L.A. Cleantech Incubator launched the nation's first zero-emissions delivery zone on Thursday, a project meant to encourage companies to embrace EV transportation by giving drivers access to 20 reserved parking and loading spots. The one-square mile radius will span Downtown Santa Monica and Main Street. </p><hr><p>City officials will be watching for changes in traffic and pollution with an eye towards introducing permanent zones down the line.</p><p>To do that, <a href="https://dot.la/automotus-2650510029.html" target="_self">they've hired Automotus</a>, a venture-backed software startup that monitors curbside traffic. The company will install 20 small video cameras on street lamps lining the parking spots to collect data on factors like congestion and safety. Plus, the technology will alert drivers to open parking spots through an app. </p><p>Automotus' CEO says the cameras will not pick up personally identifiable information. In other cities, however, the software has been used to automate parking violations and issue tickets. </p><p>Santa Monica Mayor Sue Himmelrich said in a statement that the pilot comes at a "critical moment" in the city's recovery. </p><p>"Beyond reducing carbon and congestion, the added bonus is that restaurants can keep higher margins of sales on delivered food items," Himmelrich added. </p><p>To encourage use of the space, local businesses will be given access to two Nissan electric vans and ecommerce software company Shopify will equip merchants in the area with <a href="https://dot.la/kiwibot-delivery-robot-2649919954.html" target="_self">Kiwibot delivery robots</a> to help drop off orders.</p>
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