Luis Gomez

Neo-bank Dave makes it debut on the Nasdaq with a billboard.

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 >>

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After Dave, Another LA Fintech Plans to Go Public

By Pat Maio

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.

E3 Will Be Online-Only Again This Year

By Samson Amore

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.

Upfront Ventures Secures $177 Million for New Continuation Fund

By Harrison Weber

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.

ChargeNet Raises $6 Million to Put EV Chargers in Fast Food Parking Lots

By Samson Amore

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 >>

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What to Expect at CES 2022

By Decerry Donato

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 Raises $500 Million for New Fund

By Harrison Weber

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 Is Raising a $10 Million Fund

By Harrison Weber

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.

Amazon Backs Home Robotics Startup Labrador Systems' Seed Round

By Keerthi Vedantam

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.

How Ambercycle's CEO Hopes to Reinvent the Fashion Industry

By Camay Abraham

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 Snags Former Apple Executive

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 >>

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Dave Sets Its Sights on Crypto

By Pat Maio

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 Postponed Until March Over Omicron Fears

By Harrison Weber

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.

Liquid Death Raises $75 Million, Reaches a $500 Million-Plus Valuation

By Rey Mashayekhi

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.

Meet LA's Top Startup Incubators and Accelerators

By Samson Amore

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 Hires Microsoft Executive for Its 3D-Printed Rocket Ambitions

By Alan Boyle, GeekWire

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.