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Dating app S’More adds blurred video calling and launches in LA


Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast.”,”slug”:”alex-wilhelm”,”links”:”facebook”:”http://www.facebook.com/alex.wilhelm”,”twitter”:”http://twitter.com/alex”,”linkedin”:”http://www.linkedin.com/in/alexwilhelm/”,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/alex-wilhelm”,”position”:”Contributor”,”cbDescription”:”

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Alex Wilhelm is Senior Editor at TechCrunch. He previously worked for Crunchbase News as Editor in Chief as well as The Next Web, TechCrunch, and 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LA investors discuss the city’s post-COVID-19 prospects”,”content”:{“rendered”:”

When it comes to venture capital, Los Angeles is a city on the rise.n

In the past year, it’s seen one of the most profitable venture-backed exits of any tech ecosystem (with the $4 billion sale of Honey to PayPal) and investors are minting billion-dollar companies in the region at a torrid pace. It’s also the city where investors are spending the most money outside of venture capital’s big major hubs: San Francisco, Boston and New York.n

While Los Angeles has a lot going for it, that also means it potentially has a lot to lose in the current economic downturn. California continues to be hard-hit by COVID-19, despite local and state officials working to reopen businesses.n

TechCrunch surveyed some of the city’s leading investors in sectors like property technology and cannabis to get their take on how the city may survive — and potentially thrive — in a new era ushered in by the response to the pandemic.n

From larger fund investors like Mark Suster and Kara Nortman at Upfront Ventures to Dana Settle at Greycroft Partners; to early-stage investors like Will Hsu at Mucker Capital; TX Zhuo at Fika Ventures, the responses were generally upbeat about the future opportunities for Los Angeles startups.n

Even specialist fund investors like Karan Wadhera of the cannabis-focused investment firm Casa Verde Capital and Brendan Wallace at the real estate-focused firm Fifth Wall believe that Los Angeles will thrive in the post-COVID world.n

As Mucker Capital co-founder Hsu writes, “There are far more great companies than there are venture dollars here in LA. Investors in other cities should continue to see LA as an underserved ecosystem with huge opportunities.”n

    n

  • Mark Suster, managing partner, Upfront Venturesn
  • Kara Nortman, partner, Upfront Venturesn
  • Will Hsu, Mucker Capitaln
  • Dana Settle, Greycroftn
  • Karan Wadhera, Casa Verde Capitaln
  • Brendan Wallace, Fifth Walln
  • TX Zhuo, Fika Venturesnn
    "LA

    Image Credits: Getty Images/ROBYN BECK/AFPn

    Mark Suster, managing partner, Upfront Venturesn

    How much is Upfront focused on investing in the local LA ecosystem versus less geographically focused?u00a0n

    Upfront invests about 40% of its investment dollars in the great LA market and invests about 40% split between the Bay Area and NYC. Upfront has always invested nationally and internationally with the final 20% and we have produced significant exits in Chicago, Baltimore, Paris, London and Las Vegas to name a few.n

    Where we do invest outside of LA of course we bring all of our contacts and relationships to bear, which makes us a logical choice for any startup raising capital where having access to the biggest influencers, media companies, academic institutions and medical professionals can help propel the companyu2019s success.n

    How do you think COVID-19 will change entrepreneurial activity in Los Angeles?n

    Itu2019s true that some startup businesses have been impacted by this pandemic but as weu2019re learning a few short months in, there has been much more acceleration of the trends leading toward technology growth that were already in place.n

    Specifically addressing some LA-based companies we can share with you the trends we see directly with demand data:n

    We already knew that telemedicine made sense for doctors and patients and now this trend has accelerated, regulations being lessened and cultural barriers overcome. We see a huge growth in food production and preservation (Apeel Sciences, for example) and food distribution (such as ChowNow). The need to reduce people in warehouses has propelled demand for robotics/automation for companies like inVia Robotics and the need for remote monitoring has helped LA-based DroneBase.



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