Here Are the Largest Raises in Los Angeles in 2020

Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.

Here Are the Largest Raises in Los Angeles in 2020

Makers of rockets and video games — and a now-notorious short-form streaming service that ended in spectacular failure — dominated the list of biggest L.A. venture deals in 2020.

The top ten raises amounted to more than $5.3 billion, according to data from Pitchbook. Of the top ten biggest raises, Elon Musk's SpaceX dominated the list. The rocket maker went back to the venture capital well three times this year, most recently in August when it raised $1.9 billion of Series N venture funding from Capital Partners and Legendary Ventures at $44.10 billion valuation.


The company is now reportedly in talks to raise yet another round at an estimated post-money valuation of $92 billion, which would nearly triple its valuation from its January Series L. The company got a boost this month when the Federal Communications Commission awarded it $885.5 million to provide satellite internet service to 642,925 rural homes and businesses over the next decade and more government contracts are likely on the way. Will SpaceX finally go public next year? Some analysts think so.

Those looking for a space play at a lower valuation have turned to Relativity Space, which uses 3-D printers to make rockets. Founded by SpaceX alum Tim Ellis out of Y Combinator in 2015, the Long Beach company raised a $500 million Series D round led by hedge fund Tiger Global Management last month that values the company at $1.8 billion. Ellis said it was the largest Series D in Los Angeles history and it was also one of the largest raises of any kind of 2020.

While SpaceX and Relativity Space continue to soar higher, Quibi crashed and burned after a disastrous April debut. Despite a costly marketing budget that included a Super Bowl spot and high-profile talent deals, the Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman-led venture was never able to make a mark in the highly competitive streaming wars.

The company closed a $750 million funding round in March but investors Alibaba Group, Hollywood Studios International, Pegasus Tech Ventures and WndrCo will likely see little of that money ever again. Quibi quietly shut down earlier this month, after Katzenberg said in October that he did not see a successful path forward.

Two beneficiaries of the stay-at-home economy round out the list of the biggest raises in 2020. Zwift, a Long-Beach based online fitness platform raised nearly half a billion dollars in Series C funding in September. And then there's Scopely, which raised $340 million in Series E funding in October at a $3.3 billion valuation, which nearly doubled the company's $1.7 billion post-money valuation from a $200 million deal in March.

The latest raise makes Scopely one of the most valuable tech companies in Los Angeles, which is a victory – on paper for now – for seed investors Greycroft, The Chernin Group and TenOneTen ventures. They all got in on the ground floor at a $40 million post-money valuation in 2012. Upfront Ventures, BAM Ventures and M13 got in on the 2018 Series C at a $710 post-money valuation.

LA's Top Ten Raises of 2020

Lead art by Candice Navi

https://twitter.com/thebenbergman
ben@dot.la

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

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.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

Read moreShow less

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

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.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

Read moreShow less

Motional Links With Uber to Make Robotaxis a Reality

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Motional
Image courtesy of Motional

Motional, a self-driving taxi startup backed by Hyundai, will partner with Uber to bring its robotic taxis to cities throughout the United States within the next decade as part of its push to get people more comfortable with the concept of taking a ride in a driverless electric vehicle.

Read moreShow less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending