This Week in ‘Raises’: Genies Lands $150M To Make Metaverse Avatars

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Genies
Photo courtesy of Genies.

This week in “Raises,” virtual avatar startup Genies—which recently welcomed Bob Iger as board member—landed fresh funding from tech-focused private equity firm Silver Lake. Meanwhile, cybersecurity startup Obsidian received backing from a trio of Silicon Valley VCs.


Venture Capital

Genies, which makes metaverse startups for celebrities, raised a $150 million Series C funding round led by Silver Lake.

SaaS cybersecurity firm Obsidian Security raised a $90 million Series C funding round led by Menlo Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners and IVP.

Studio, an online learning platform providing creative courses taught by famous artists, raised a $50 million Series B round led by Human Capital.

Feminine care and beauty brand Rael raised $35 million in new funding, per an SEC filing.

Welcome Tech, a fintech startup providing financial tools and services for immigrants, raised $30 million in funding led by TTV Capital.

Virtual diabetes clinic 9am.health raised $16 million in Series A funding co-led by 7Wire Ventures and Human Capital.

Web3 game developer Digital Insight Games raised $7.5 million in Series A funding co-led by Hivemind Capital and Griffin Gaming Partners.

Biotech startup Pictor raised $6.1 million in funding led by K1W1 and Marko Bogoievski.

Plant-based food producer Mikuna Foods raised $5.6 million in seed funding from athlete angel investors including Leticia Bufoni, Mick Fanning and Sage Kotsenburg.

Winden, which provides digital banking services for entrepreneurs, raised $5.3 million in seed funding led by Accel.

Music tech startup Trac raised $2.5 million in pre-seed funding led by Zrosk.

Biotech startup Sampling Human raised $2 million in funding led by i&i Biotech Fund.

Raises is dot.LA’s weekly feature highlighting venture capital funding news across Southern California’s tech and startup ecosystem. Please send fundraising news to Decerry Donato (decerrydonato@dot.la).

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Los Angeles’ Wage Growth Outpaced Inflation. Here’s What That Means for Tech Jobs

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.

Los Angeles’ Wage Growth Outpaced Inflation. Here’s What That Means for Tech Jobs

Inflation hit cities with tech-heavy workforces hard last year. Tech workers fortunate enough to avoid layoffs still found themselves confronting rising costs with little change in their pay.

Those national trends certainly touched down in Los Angeles, but new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the city of angels was the only major metro area that saw its wage growth grow by nearly 6% while also outpacing the consumer price index, which was around 5%. Basically, LA was the only area where adjusted pay actually came out on a net positive.

So, what does this mean for tech workers in LA County?

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samsonamore@dot.la

Energy Shares Gears Up To Bring Equity Crowdfunding to Retail Investors

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Energy Shares Gears Up To Bring Equity Crowdfunding to Retail Investors
Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash

The Inflation Reduction Act contains almost $400 billion in funding for clean energy initiatives. There’s $250 billion for energy projects. $23 billion for transportation and EVs. $46 billion for environment. $21 billion for agriculture, and so on. With so much cash flowing into the sector, the possibilities for investment and growth are gigantic.

These investment opportunities, however, have typically been inaccessible for everyday retail investors until much later in a company’s development–after an IPO, usually. Meaning that the best returns are likely to be captured by banks and other institutions who have the capital and financing to invest large sums of money earlier in the process.

That’s where Pasadena-based Energy Shares comes in. The company wants to help democratize access to these investment opportunities and simultaneously give early-stage utility-scale energy projects another revenue stream.

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How These Ukranian Entrepreneurs Relocated Their Startups to LA and Found Success

Aisha Counts
Aisha Counts is a business reporter covering the technology industry. She has written extensively about tech giants, emerging technologies, startups and venture capital. Before becoming a journalist she spent several years as a management consultant at Ernst & Young.
How These Ukranian Entrepreneurs Relocated Their Startups to LA and Found Success
Joey Mota

Fleeing war and chasing new opportunities, more than a dozen Ukrainian entrepreneurs have landed in Los Angeles, finding an unexpected community in the city of dreams. These entrepreneurs have started companies that are collectively worth more than $300 million, in industries ranging from electric vehicle charging stations to audience monetization platforms to social networks.

Dot.LA spent an evening with this group of Ukrainian citizens, learning what it was like to build startups in Ukraine, to cope with the unimaginable fear of fleeing war, and to garner the resilience to rebuild.

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