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Luis Gomez is dot.LA's Engagement Editor. Prior to joining the dot.LA team, he served as the audience growth consultant for Capital & Main. He has also previously worked as a digital producer for The San Diego Union-Tribune, NPR affiliate KPCC in Los Angeles and Yahoo. Follow him on Twitter at @RunGomez.
Fintech startup Dave had a tumultuous debut on the Nasdaq today. Shares traded at $8.27 upon opening, giving the company a market capitalization of roughly $3 billion. After initially swooning near $7 per share, Dave’s stock rebounded above the $9 mark before closing the day at $8.53. Read more >>
Here’s what else we're reading in the news:
- Snap is suing the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office after it rejected a trademark registration for its “spectacles."
- Allen Media Group, an L.A.-based media company, has launched a free-streaming platform that aggregates content from various sports channels.
- WarnerMedia is exploring creating a media measurement platform to compete with Nielsen.
- GreenPower Motor Company has delivered six of its electric buses to the Thermalito Union Elementary School District in Oroville, California.
- ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia are exploring a sale of their jointly-owned broadcast network, The CW.
- Popcorn Time, an app that allowed users to watch pirated content, has shut down for good.
- The USDA has changed rules that allow some genetically modified foods to be labeled as “bioengineered” or “derived from bioengineering.”
The Los Angeles-based startup Dave made its debut on the Nasdaq today but is hardly the only fintech looking to go public this year. Marina del Rey-based Aspiration, which offers banking services with an environmentally-conscious angle, is pursuing a similar route and aims to make its market debut by the end of March.
The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo—better known as E3—will be an online-only affair this summer, instead of its usual blowout event at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Downtown L.A. The organizer cited the coronavirus pandemic amid the rapid, ongoing spread of the omicron variant.
Santa Monica-based venture capital firm Upfront Ventures has raised $176.5 million for a new fund, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Earlier this week, Upfront postponed its annual tech conference from late January to early March, citing the rapid spread of the omicron coronavirus variant.
Electric vehicle charging startup ChargeNet raised a $6.2 million seed round from local investors including the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, as it looks to expand its network of charging hubs at fast food restaurants across California.
Big tech companies like Google and Microsoft are skipping CES 2022 in Las Vegas this week due to concerns over the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases, but the massive consumer tech expo is still an opportunity for Southern California tech firms to unveil new products. Among those at CES this week are Santa Monica-based micromobility company Bird and electric automaker Fisker. Read more >>
- A subsidiary of Activision Blizzard is suing EngineOwning to shut down software that allows players to cheat on its games.
- HBO Max and HBO amassed 73.8 million subscribers in 2021, AT&T said.
- Stefanie Schwartz, a Viacom veteran, is joining Jellysmack as its head of platform partnerships.
- Netflix discouraged recruiters from discussing Dave Chappelle’s special with job candidates, according to an internal memo.
- Some restaurants, liquor stores, and other shops are selling COVID-19 rapid tests at marked-up prices through delivery apps.
This year’s hybrid edition of CES, which runs Jan. 5-7, is a more abbreviated than the usual four-day affair. Still, more than 2,200 exhibitors, including major Southern California tech firms, are expected to attend in-person following last year’s virtual-only event. Additionally, attendees are being given complimentary COVID-19 self-testing kits.
Smash Ventures, a late-stage venture capital firm founded by former Disney executives, has raised $500 million for a new venture fund, according to a regulatory filing. The firm, led by co-founders and managing partners Eric Garland and Evan Richter, has backed Fortnite-creator Epic Games, sports betting giant DraftKings, conspicuously-named grooming brand Manscaped, and search engine DuckDuckGo.
Launch House, a startup accelerator inspired by the rise of content houses and TikTok mansions, is raising a $10 million venture fund. The company revealed its plans in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, but has yet to disclose any actual money raised for the fund.
Calabasas-based Labrador Systems announced that it has raised an additional $3.1 million in seed funding led by Amazon and iRobot Ventures, bringing its total amount raised to date to $5.5 million. The funding will go toward growing the company’s engineering team and accelerating its manufacturing efforts.
Los Angeles-based startup Ambercycle raised a $21.6 million Series A round to tackle one of the fashion industry's worst effects on the environment: the reliance on natural resources that put a strain the planet. Its new funding will go to ramping up production of the company’s fiber regenerative technology, which it created and piloted in a manufacturing plant Downtown.
Dave, which is valued at $4 billion and backed by billionaire investor Mark Cuban, anticipates closing its merger with blank-check firm VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings III this Wednesday. If all goes according to plan, it will begin trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange on Thursday. The Los Angeles-based fintech company is looking to deploy some of the $465 million raised from the SPAC deal to explore cryptocurrency product offerings for its 11 million customers. Read more >>
- Los Angeles-based venture capital firm Fifth Wall raised more than $1.1 billion in 2021.
- Ambercycle, an L.A.-based materials science company that recycles textile waste, raised $21.6 million.
- Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner sold the Topps trading card business to Fanatics for a sum believed to be $500 million.
- Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has purchased a $133 million Los Angeles estate.
- Cornerstone OnDemand, a cloud software company based in Santa Monica, has named Himanshu Palsule as its new CEO and member of its board of directors.
- Review Wave, a medical software company, is leaving Southern California and relocating its headquarters to McKinney, Texas.
One of the ways Los Angeles-based banking app Dave might get into crypto is through money transfers, Dave’s chief financial officer Kyle Beilman said. He cited the U.S.-Mexico remittance corridor, which is among the largest in the world with more than $40 billion sent from the U.S. to Mexico in 2020, according to Mexico’s central bank.
Upfront Summit—the extravagant tech and venture capital conference known for its prominent attendees from the worlds of business and entertainment—said its annual summit has been postponed by five weeks, to March 1-2, due to concerns over the highly contagious omicron variant.
Canned water brand Liquid Death has raised $75 million in a new Series C funding round that values the Santa Monica-based firm at $525 million. The funding round was led by Science Inc., which helped launch Liquid Death via a $2.3 million seed round in 2019, according to PitchBook data.
As Southern California becomes home to more tech startups, innovators rely on locally supported incubators and accelerators to help new business owners develop their vision and launch the next billion-dollar enterprise. Reporter Samson Amore compiles a list of the top programs in Los Angeles that are helping new startups get off the ground.
Relativity Space, a startup that is building 3D-printed rockets in Southern California, has hired Microsoft executive Scott Van Vliet to lead the Los Angeles team charged with the project.
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