McKinsey Accelerates LA Funding Diversity🚀

🔦Spotlight

In the US of A, the vibrant start-up world paints a dazzling picture of innovation and potential. However, beneath the surface of glitz and glamour lies a troubling reality—a pervasive societal inequity that takes center stage. The numbers don't lie: in 2022, Black and Latino founders were left with a mere 1% and 1.5% slice of the VC funding pie. Meanwhile, women-founded teams, secured only a slightly larger share at 1.9%. At the time of exit, White male founders average an astonishing $210 million each, leaving our underrepresented counterparts to juggle with a mere 43% of that staggering sum, $91.1 million. It's a sobering tale of missed opportunities and systemic biases, one that deserves our serious attention…McKinsey is here to address this with the InLA Accelerator🚗🤸🏾♀️👻

McKinsey’s InLA partners with SoCal’s underrepresented founders to tackle their toughest challenges and fuel sustainable, inclusive growth. On Friday, July 14th the inaugural Demo Day was conducted to narrow down the final 3 ventures to receive 3 months of hands-on consulting to fuel their growth. The winners?

  • ChargerHelp!: ChargerHelp! is a national EV charging infrastructure operations and maintenance service provider that hires and reskills black and brown workers to participate in the green economy. Series A - $20M raised
  • Expect Fitness: Expect connects pre and post natal mothers with OB GYN approved on demand fitness workouts to minimize the risk of complications and promote maternal health. Pre-Seed - $300K raised
  • Ghost: Ghost is a B2B marketplace for leading retailers and wholesalers to buy and sell surplus consumer goods to reduce the $160B+ pool of global excess inventory discarded each year. Series A - $18M raised

Follow their journeys and Learn more about this incredible initiative!

🤝Venture Deals

LA-based Startups
LA-based Funds
  • Cymbal, a crypto startup that allows users to view and search the Ethereum blockchain for transactions, addresses, tokens, prices and other activities, raised $18.5M in funding round joined by CAA Connect, and UTA Ventures - learn more
  • Whop, a startup building a marketplace for people to sell access to digital products, raised $17M in a Series A joined by Insight Partners, Zinal Growth, and The Chainsmokers - learn more
  • UpLift, a health insurance provider for virtual psychotherapy and psychiatry services, raised $10.7M in a Series A led by Ballast Point Ventures and joined by B Capital - learn more
  • Gushwork.ai, an operational workflow outsourcing platform, raised $2.1M in pre-seed funding led by Lightspeed and joined by B Capital - learn more

⚒️Open Roles

VP of Sales @ HostGPO

Fresh off a $6M funding round, LA-based HostGPO is hiring a VP of Sales. This role will work closely with the executive team and oversee all of Sales Operations, developing sales strategies and driving revenue growth. This role is remote. HostGPO is the market-leading platform for vacation rental owners to manage their purchases. Reach out if you’re interested, and we’ll connect you to the team, or apply directly here.

Director of Sales @ First Resonance

LA-based First Resonance is hiring a Director of Sales. This role is hands on leading a team of business development reps, while growing the team and creating a sales pipeline. Founded by engineers from companies like SpaceX, NASA, Apple, and Toyota, First Resonance is creating a faster and more dynamic world for manufacturers. Reach out if you’re interested, and we’ll connect you to the team, or apply directly here.

Are you a tech firm, startup, or VC with open roles? Reach out to be featured on next week’s Newsletter!

📅LA Tech Calendar

Friday, July 28th

  • Drunk Theatre LA - Tired of creating content? Watch someone else do it: A comedian takes five shots of whiskey in a row and tries to perform an improvised play with five sober comedians. What could go wrong?

Saturday, July 29th

  • Web3 Innovation Club Meetup @ USC🗽 - If you are curious about cutting-edge technologies and yearn to join a like-minded community, this is the golden ticket you've been looking for!
  • Venice Beach Games 2023🗽 - Join the pickleball craze or any of the 80+ events. Free fitness classes, competitions, games and more!

Sunday, July 30th

Monday, July 31st

  • BGC Los Angeles In-Person Summer Camp - Calling tech parents! Black Girls CODE's two week camp provides hands-on, project-based instruction, where campers ages 12-17 engage in tech instruction!

Tuesday, August 1st

  • Tacos & Tech Happy Hour🗽 - drinks, tacos, music, and conversation with different health innovators across Los Angeles, from venture-backed startups to innovative health organizations!

Wednesday, August 2nd

Thursday, August 3rd

Other events to add to the calendar

🗽 - Free

Have an awesome event coming up? Reach out to be featured on next week’s Newsletter!

🌍Around The Internet

Calling all LA-based healthcare, fintech, climate, and technology founders! In partnership with the Annenberg Foundation, Pledge LA, and the California Healthcare Foundation, join Founders + Funders of Color for this special multi-day event. 📣🤝🧠

The convening will bring together innovative early-stage founders, emerging fund managers, and thought leaders for three days of candid conversations, targeted education, and curated matchmaking.

  • Participants engage with peers, investors, and ecosystem leaders
  • Reverse VC pitch day to highlight different funds
  • Leaders share best practices across both nonprofit and for profit

Register to reserve your spot! Only 30 spots left

📙What We’re Reading

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🏰 Disney's Epic Investment Stands Out Amidst Gaming Industry Layoffs

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

🔦 Spotlight

In the midst of widespread gaming industry layoffs, a glimmer of positive news emerges as Disney announces a significant move: a $1.5 billion investment in Epic Games. 🏰💰🐭

Image Source: Disney

Disney's $1.5 billion investment in Epic Games, disclosed late Wednesday, signals a strategic alignment aimed at expanding the success of "Fortnite." The deal enhances Epic's growth prospects after financial setbacks, including layoffs, and strengthens the partnership between the two companies. With Disney gaining a larger equity stake in Epic, the collaboration will broaden the integration of beloved Disney franchises like Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Avatar into the game, potentially boosting its appeal and longevity. This significant investment underscores Disney's commitment to interactive entertainment and signifies a shift towards games as a primary revenue stream, aligning with the growing trend of digital engagement among younger demographics. Moreover, the potential for crossover sales of physical Disney products within "Fortnite" and the exploration of new content distribution channels are just some of the opportunities arising from this partnership.

For LA tech, the Disney-Epic Games partnership represents a validation of the region's burgeoning tech and gaming ecosystem. The substantial investment in Epic, who maintains a large Los Angeles office with 1,000+ employees (according to LinkedIn), reflects confidence in the LA’s talent pool and innovation potential. Additionally, this partnership between two industry giants fosters an environment for further collaboration, investment, and growth within LA's tech sector. As Disney and Epic Games deepen their ties and explore new avenues for content integration and distribution, it not only elevates the prominence of LA as a tech hub but also stimulates economic growth and job creation in the region. This partnership highlights LA's unique position as a hub where technology and entertainment converge. With its ability to integrate diverse industries, LA is driving innovation and expansion in digital entertainment. 🚀💸🎮

🤝 Venture Deals

LA Companies

  • ProducePay, a financing and marketplace platform for the fresh produce market, raised a $38M Series D led by Syngenta Group Ventures joined by Commonfund, Highgate Private Equity, G2 Venture Partners, Anterra Capital, Astanor Ventures, Endeavor8, Avenue Venture Opportunities, Avenue Sustainable Solutions, and Red Bear Angels. - learn more
  • Blush, an invite-only dating app that drives users to local businesses on dates, raised a $7M Seed Round from individuals like Naval Ravikant. - learn more
  • Mogul, a startup founded last year that provides an overview of an artist's royalty earnings and identifies areas where money is owed but has not yet been collected, raised a $1.9 million seed round from Wonder Ventures, United Talent Agency, AmplifyLA, and Creator Partners. - learn more
  • Avnos, a hybrid direct air capture startup, raised a $36M Series A led by NextEra Energy and joined by Safran Corporate Ventures, Shell Ventures, Envisioning Partners, and Rusheen Capital Management. - learn more
  • AI.fashion, startup whose mission is to help retailers enhance the online shopping experience by providing consumers with virtual try-ons and personalized fashion recommendations, raised a $3.6M Seed Round led by Neo. - learn more
  • Suma Wealth, startup that aims to demystify financial topics and provide culturally relevant content, virtual experiences, and resources to help Latino users navigate financial challenges and opportunities, raised a $2.2M Seed Round . Radicle Impact led, and was joined by Vamos Ventures, OVO fund and the American Heart Association Impact Fund. - learn more
  • 222, a startup that helps users discover their city and meet new people through unique social experiences, raised a $2.5M Seed Round. Investors included 1517 Fund, General Catalyst, Best Nights VC, Scrum Ventures, and Upfront Ventures. - learn more
  • LimaCharlie, a security operations cloud platform, raised a $10.2M Series A led by Sands Capital. - learn more
  • Polycam, an app that uses a smartphone’s sensors to capture 3D scans of objects, raised an $18M Series A co-led by Left Lane Capital and Adjacent, and joined by Adobe Ventures and individuals like Chad Hurley and Shaun Maguire. -learn more.

LA Venture Funds

Actively Raising

  • ReelCall, Inc., an entertainment technology company focused on powerful apps and platforms that help build and maintain the professional network of connections vital to career growth, is raising a $850K Pre-Seed Round. - learn more
  • CZero, a startup building software to decarbonize logistics for logistics businesses and goods business through a vetted marketplace and optimization software. - learn more
  • Couri, a technology startup addressing last-mile delivery issues, is raising a $450K Pre-Seed Round at a $2.2M post money valuation. - learn more
  • Sweetie, a marketplace to help people plan date nights, is raising a $1.5M Pre Seed Round. - learn more
  • StartupStarter, an investment platform that provides real-time data and analytics on startups, is raising an $850K Angel Round. - learn more

If you’re a founder raising money in Los Angeles, give us a shout, and we’d love to include you in the newsletter!

Venture Waves, Climate Tech Wins, and Silicon Beach's Ongoing Evolution

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Anduril Seeks $1.5B in VC Funds

Defense company Anduril Industries Inc., based in Costa Mesa and founded by Palmer Luckey, is seeking to raise $1.5 billion in fresh funds to boost its valuation to $12.5 billion or more, according to sources quoted by The Information. This fundraising effort, if successful, would mark one of the largest venture capital rounds of the year.

Image Source: Anduril

Anduril recently secured a contract to develop and test small unmanned fighter jet prototypes under the Air Force’s Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) program, beating out major defense companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. Alongside General Atomics, Anduril will design, manufacture, and test these aircraft, with a final multibillion-dollar production decision expected in fiscal year 2026. This program aims to deliver at least 1,000 combat aircraft to fly in concert with manned platforms and is part of the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance initiative. Central to Anduril’s success in this contract is the Fury autonomous air vehicle, acquired through the purchase of Blue Force Technologies. This victory underscores Anduril's rapid advancement in the defense sector, aligning with Luckey's vision of building faster and more cost-effective defense assets. - learn more

Los Angeles Ranks Number 1 in Emerging Climate Tech Hub

The 2024 Emerging Climate Tech Hubs Report by Revolution highlights Los Angeles as a burgeoning center for climate tech innovation. LA's growth in this sector is driven by its diverse talent pool, strong research institutions, and a culture of environmental consciousness. The city's unique mix of legacy industries, such as entertainment and aerospace, alongside emerging tech companies, positions it as a pivotal player in the climate tech landscape. This shift reflects a broader trend of decentralized climate tech funding across the U.S., reducing the historical dominance of California's traditional hubs. - learn more

Silicon Beach: Looking Back, Moving Forward

Assessing the overall health of the startup market is challenging, especially as venture capital funding has decreased by an average of 61% from 2021 to 2023 across the top VC markets in the US. Markets with robust ecosystems in AI, SaaS, Biotech, Healthtech, and Fintech appear to be weathering the downturn better than those focused on Consumer and Gaming industries, areas where Los Angeles traditionally excels.

Percent Change In VC Funding By Region

CB Insights

LA Times paints a rather bleak outlook on the Los Angeles tech scene noting venture capital funding in Greater Los Angeles plummeted 73% from 2021 to 2022. Silicon Beach, once a vibrant tech corridor, currently faces high vacancy rates and lacks late-stage financiers, especially in the AI sector. However, there are positive signs, including growth in aerospace startups and increased venture capital investment in early 2024, suggesting a potential rebound for LA's tech ecosystem.

While LA may not be exceeding expectations during this period, its tech ecosystem warrants a nuanced evaluation, given the broader market dynamics and its strong performance in specific sectors. Reach out to us with your thoughts.

🚀 SpaceX gears up for another stellar year, active raises, and more

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Happy Friday Los Angeles! You made it through the first week of 2024!

🔦 Spotlight

Elon Musk may be a divisive (albeit entertaining) figure, but the continued success of SpaceX is pivotal for the aerospace industry in Los Angeles and more broadly around the world.

Image Source: SpaceX webcast

What happened with SpaceX in 2023?

  • Elon Musk challenged Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg to a cage fight.
  • SpaceX launched 96 successful missions with its Falcon series of rockets, a 57% increase over its previous annual record.
  • SpaceX conducted two test flights of the largest and most powerful rocket ever built, Starship.
  • Roughly two-thirds of SpaceX's launches in 2023 were devoted to building out Starlink, the company's satellite-internet megaconstellation.
  • Isaacson’s Elon Musk biography was published in September including everything from Musk’s tumultuous relationship with his father to his work ethic and “demon mode”.

Moving forward what can we expect from SpaceX and its controversial founder? Continued innovation pushing the aerospace industry to new limits? Yes. More drama? Without a doubt.

Here is some of what is to come in 2024:

🤝 Venture Deals

Just Announced

Check back next week!

LA Exits

  • CG Oncology, an Irvine, CA-based developer of immunotherapies for bladder cancer, filed for a $100M IPO. It plans to list on the Nasdaq (CGON) with Morgan Stanley as left lead underwriter, and has raised around $317m in VC funding. - learn more
  • McNally Capital agreed to sell Advanced Micro Instruments, a Costa Mesa, CA-based maker of gas analyzers and sensing technologies, to Enpro (NYSE: NPO). - learn more

Actively Raising

  • ReelCall, Inc., an entertainment technology company focused on powerful apps and platforms that help build and maintain the professional network of connections vital to career growth, is raising a $850K Pre-Seed Round. - learn more
  • CZero, a hard-tech startup that is developing a technology for decarbonizing natural gas, is raising a $1.5M Seed Round. - learn more
  • Couri, a technology startup addressing last-mile delivery issues, is raising a $450K Pre-Seed Round at a $2.2M post money valuation. - learn more
  • Sweetie, a marketplace to help people plan date nights, is raising a $250K Angel Round. - learn more
  • StartupStarter, an investment platform that provides real-time data and analytics on startups, is raising an $850K Angel Round. - learn more

If you’re a founder raising money in Los Angeles, give us a shout, and we’d love to include you in the newsletter!

📅 LA Tech Calendar

Sunday, January 7th

Wednesday, January 10th

  • Startup Cafe: Networking with a Kick - Entrepreneurs, Startups, and Tech Enthusiasts join together to meet and connect with like-minded people, industry professionals and investors, while enjoying a nice cup of coffee in Venice at The KINN. This week’s interactive discussion about AI’s evolution in entertainment will feature Dr. Sam Khoze and Rachel Joy Victor.
  • Venice Tech Happy Hour- Join Startup Coil and FoundrHaus Wednesday evening and enjoy the sunset from the rooftop, grab a bite overlooking Abbot Kinney, and mingle with other tech enthusiasts and entrepreneurs by the bar on the patio.

Have an awesome event coming up? Reach out to be featured on next week’s Newsletter!

📙 What We’re Reading

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