Triller Eyes at Least Three SPACs to Take It Public, Considers Acquisition

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

Triller Eyes at Least Three SPACs to Take It Public, Considers Acquisition

TikTok competitor Triller is in advanced talks with at least three blank-check companies to go public at a valuation between $3 billion and $6 billion, according to sources familiar with the matter.

That range is broad because the L.A.-based viral video app is seeking to acquire one of its strategic partners, a U.S. subsidiary of a foreign-listed company, before merging with a special purpose acquisition company or SPAC, those sources said. The target company is a tech business that Triller already works with to help monetize its app. If that acquisition goes through, one source said, Triller's revenues would increase from around $100 million to $300 million, and its valuation could be on the higher end of the reported range.


Triller livestreamed this past weekend's eight-round showdown between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. at the Staples Center in collaboration with Fite.TV. The event exceeded revenue expectations and convinced company insiders that Triller had enough momentum to make a successful run on Wall Street.

Since April, Triller has been working with bicoastal boutique investment banking firm Farvahar Partners to pursue a $250 million fundraise at a valuation of $1.25 billion. Triller has raised over half that amount, one source said.

But over the summer, several SPACs expressed interest in Triller, as rival TikTok faced a potential shutdown by the Trump administration. When TikTok's parent company ByteDance revealed it sought a $60 billion valuation for the acquisition of its subsidiary – and reputable companies like Oracle, Walmart and Microsoft still wanted to buy it – the interest intensified, one source said. (The deadline for a TikTok sale has been extended to Dec. 4.)

Farvahar Partners brought in M. Klein & Company, another boutique investment banking firm, to be a co-advisor because of its expertise with SPACs. M. Klein's majority partner, Michael Klein, also directs Churchill Corp, a SPAC, but Churchill is not one of the SPACs that Triller is currently considering, the people said.

SPACs are empty-shell companies that raise money to go public with the intention of eventually merging with a private company. To those private companies, going public via a SPAC typically offers a simpler and cheaper route to the public markets than an IPO. SPACs have grown particularly popular this year following several high-profile and successful SPAC mergers, such as DraftKings and Virgin Galactic.

Founded in 2015 and acquired by Proxima Media in 2019, Triller told dot.LA it currently has around 18 million daily active users and 65 million monthly active users. The company recently faced accusations from former employees that it has inflated its user numbers, but the company denies those allegations. Either way, its numbers are a sliver of TikTok's estimated 800 million monthly active users.

Prior to Triller's current funding round, the company had raised rounds of $50 million and $28 million. In total, the company says it has raised around $225 million.

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Sam Blake primarily covers media and entertainment for dot.LA. Find him on Twitter @hisamblake and email him at samblake@dot.LA

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Los Angeles’ Wage Growth Outpaced Inflation. Here’s What That Means for Tech Jobs

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.

Los Angeles’ Wage Growth Outpaced Inflation. Here’s What That Means for Tech Jobs

Inflation hit cities with tech-heavy workforces hard last year. Tech workers fortunate enough to avoid layoffs still found themselves confronting rising costs with little change in their pay.

Those national trends certainly touched down in Los Angeles, but new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the city of angels was the only major metro area that saw its wage growth grow by nearly 6% while also outpacing the consumer price index, which was around 5%. Basically, LA was the only area where adjusted pay actually came out on a net positive.

So, what does this mean for tech workers in LA County?

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samsonamore@dot.la

Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups
Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash

The Inflation Reduction Act contains almost $400 billion in funding for clean energy initiatives. There’s $250 billion for energy projects. $23 billion for transportation and EVs. $46 billion for environment. $21 billion for agriculture, and so on. With so much cash flowing into the sector, the possibilities for investment and growth are gigantic.

These investment opportunities, however, have typically been inaccessible for everyday retail investors until much later in a company’s development–after an IPO, usually. Meaning that the best returns are likely to be captured by banks and other institutions who have the capital and financing to invest large sums of money earlier in the process.

That’s where Pasadena-based Energy Shares comes in. The company wants to help democratize access to these investment opportunities and simultaneously give early-stage utility-scale energy projects another revenue stream.

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How These Ukranian Entrepreneurs Relocated Their Startups to LA and Found Success

Aisha Counts
Aisha Counts is a business reporter covering the technology industry. She has written extensively about tech giants, emerging technologies, startups and venture capital. Before becoming a journalist she spent several years as a management consultant at Ernst & Young.
How These Ukranian Entrepreneurs Relocated Their Startups to LA and Found Success
Joey Mota

Fleeing war and chasing new opportunities, more than a dozen Ukrainian entrepreneurs have landed in Los Angeles, finding an unexpected community in the city of dreams. These entrepreneurs have started companies that are collectively worth more than $300 million, in industries ranging from electric vehicle charging stations to audience monetization platforms to social networks.

Dot.LA spent an evening with this group of Ukrainian citizens, learning what it was like to build startups in Ukraine, to cope with the unimaginable fear of fleeing war, and to garner the resilience to rebuild.

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