Upfront Summit Postponed to March Over Omicron Fears

Harri Weber

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to harrison@dot.la.

Upfront Summit Postponed to March Over Omicron Fears
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Upfront Summit—the extravagant tech and venture capital conference known for its prominent attendees from the worlds of business and entertainment—is now the latest in-person event disrupted by the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases.

Conference organizer Upfront Ventures informed ticket holders on Tuesday that the annual summit has been postponed by five weeks, to March 1-2, due to concerns over the highly contagious omicron variant. Santa Monica-based Upfront, among the largest VC firms in Los Angeles, canceled last year’s conference due to the pandemic; in 2020, it held the Upfront Summit at the Rose Bowl in an event that featured fireworks, dance performances, steaks from Wolfgang Puck, and even a zip line.

“Based on global trends and other projections from medical experts, we feel good about coming together in two months,” Upfront said in an email sent to attendees. “But … we don’t have a crystal ball! Like all of you, we will be keeping a close eye on COVID trends and if we feel like we cannot safely gather, we will of course let you know any updated plans.”

Upfront said in December that it expected 1,200 investors, entrepreneurs, and influencers to attend the invitation-only event, which was originally slated for January 26-27 and will be held this year at Los Angeles FC’s Banc of California Stadium in Exposition Park. Scheduled speakers include entertainment figures like Natalie Portman and Scooter Braun, as well as tech investors like Alexis Ohanian and Chamath Palihapitiya.

The Upfront Summit isn’t the only major L.A. tech event to be delayed this year due to the coronavirus. Several months ago, March Capital announced that it was pushing back its annual Montgomery Summit in Santa Monica from March to May 2022, in order to “give more time for the vaccination of children and other at-risk groups,” organizers said.

The omicon variant is now responsible for more than 95% of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.

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