Joshua Letona

Image by SvetaZi/ Shutterstock

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It was another rough week for stocks, and SoCal startups haven't been immune. Walnut-based fintech Albert laid off a chunk of its staff Friday. Earlier this week, Santa Monica-based Bird cut almost a quarter of its workforce.

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This is the web version of dot.LA’s weekly newsletter. Sign up to get the latest news on Southern California’s tech, startup and venture capital scene.

Disney appears to be looking at a play for the metaverse.

The Mouse has been beefing up its Next Generation Storytelling creative experiences team in recent months. The team focused on “interconnected consumer experiences across immersive new storytelling canvases,” a Disney spokesperson said. On Friday, Disney poached a top gaming executive from Apple. Mark Bozon, a 12 year veteran of Apple who most recently worked at the tech giant’s video game service, will become the team's vice president. In February, the company named a senior vice president for the group.

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Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

YouTube and TikTok are going head-to-head on new ways to pay their content creators.

YouTube Shorts will now incorporate an expanded array of ads on its short-form video feed. which could potentially lead to Shorts creators receiving a cut of ad revenue. Meanwhile, TikTok is beta-testing LIVE Subscription, a new model which allows fans to directly compensate creators.

As TikTok and YouTube stars gain popularity, both companies are seeking to advance monetization models that will keep creators on their apps. Social media influencers, for their part, are incentivized to spread their content across multiple platforms—as evidenced by Santa Monica-based Snap poaching TikTok stars for its own original content. (Snap has also introduced a new ad revenue initiative for creators this year.)

The race for new content, new talent and new revenue models to keep them happy is just gearing up.

Here’s What Happened in LA’s Entertainment Tech World This Week 🍿

It may be cutting in other areas, but Netflix says it’s going full bore into gaming. Next week’s release of “Exploding Kittens - The Game” will expand its catalog to 22.

Workers at a Wisconsin-based Activision Blizzard subsidiary have voted to form the first union at a major video game publisher in the U.S. In the wake of that success, Activision workers in L.A. sent a list of demands to the company's CEO.

AR startup Jadu raised a $38 million round to let players roam real world landscapes with their NFT avatars.

Musician Halsey called out their record label for refusing to allow them to release their latest song until “they can fake a viral moment on TikTok.”

Actor Seth Green scored a coveted Bored Ape NFT he planned to use in a new show. But—plot twist!—the NFT was stolen, giving us all got a lesson in intellectual property and the blockchain.

Transportation 🚗

Angelenos may soon be able to enjoy dinner and a short movie as they wait for their Tesla to charge, if a new proposal from the automaker goes through.

Lime, Lyft and Spin have changed the terms of their city-mandated low-income programs. Community advocates say they were left largely unaware—both of the recent changes and of the equity programs themselves.

Faraday Future disclosed its first-quarter earnings, and in it revealed only 401 people have paid for the company’s first EV.

Consumers are worried about electric vehicles' batteries running out on them. But new research suggests 90% of drivers mobility's needs can be met with a range capacity of just 124 miles.

Venture Capital 💰

Buena Park-based beauty brand Rael landed the "largest amount raised in the U.S. feminine care category to date."

While some local VCs are pulling back on startup investments as they await a market correction, others are doubling down.

CropSafe raised $3 million in seed funding to help develop and scale its remote crop-monitoring capabilities for farmers.

You have an idea for your startup. You even gave it a name. Zillow co-founder Spencer Rascoff has some tips on the next step: pitching it to investors.

🎧 Listen Up 

On this week’s episode of the Behind Her Empire podcast, Illumix founder Kirin Sinha discusses how augmented reality changes the ways people engage with the space around them.

On this episode of the LA Venture podcast, Cedars Sinai Health Ventures’ Maureen Klewicki discusses price transparency, the labor shortage crisis and emerging models for health care.


Glendale's Americana at Brand mall will be home to a new kind of shopping experience: Amazon Style, as the ecommerce giant makes its first foray into a brick-and-mortar apparel retail.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center recently tested an artificial intelligence program that examines, identifies and classifies stool samples, and the verdict is in: The AI knows its 💩.


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