Startups The PISLA Beat

The Plug In South LA Beat: Audio-Based Apps on the Rise

Welcome to the Plug In South LA Beat, a regular curation of can’t-miss innovation and technology news for our community. Recently we heard that audio-based apps are on the rise.

During our virtual community event last week, Squad founder and CEO Isa Watson talked about Ense and Clubhouse. Watson, like many of us, is getting tired of constant video calls. She shared that she started using audio apps to switch up her personal and professional routines.

Although Clubhouse is still in beta and lacks a public website, CNBC’s Ari Levy and Salvador Rodriguez reported that the company was just valued at nearly $100 million.

“If you tuned into the Clubhouse app Monday night, you could have heard a lively discussion on how the coronavirus is affecting the prison population. Speakers included MC Hammer, political commentator Van Jones, writer and activist Shaka Senghor, and venture capitalists Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz,” they wrote.

“Those in the exclusive beta group describe the Clubhouse experience as a mashup of listening to a podcast while scrolling through your Twitter feed and attending a conference remotely.”

Find out more about why the audio-based social network is getting so much buzz:

Silicon Valley is Going Crazy for Clubhouse

Clubhouse Voice Chat Leads a Wave of Spontaneous Social Apps

What Is Clubhouse, and Why Does Silicon Valley Care?

Startups The PISLA Beat

Introducing the Plug In South LA Beat: Must-Reads on Tech Innovation in Our Community

Establishing Conversations and Connection Points for the Plug In South LA Community 

As our community navigates the Covid-19 crisis, Plug In South LA is here to help focus on moving forward together effectively. That’s why we’re introducing the Plug In South LA Beat, a regular curation of can’t-miss innovation and technology news.

Each Beat highlights an article that takes a closer look at the current state of funding and investment for entrepreneurs in our community.

We’re kicking things off with an Inc. Magazine piece that dives into the disconnect between the record number of new Latinx entrepreneurs and the funding available for their startups.

“Unless we solve the ‘scaling gap,’ we’re missing out on the opportunity to grow employment and GDP,” writes staff reporter Guadalupe Gonzalez. Continue reading to find out more about this mystery — and what we can do to unravel it:

The Number of Latinx-Run Startups Is Rocketing. Their Funding Is Not. Here’s Why That’s a Big Problem



Verizon Signs on as Urban Tech Connect Crowdfunder Sponsor

Global technology and communications leader Verizon became a crowdfunder sponsor for Urban Tech Connect // Forward taking place September 16 and 17, 2020.

Verizon is collaborating with Plug In South LA to bring city stakeholders, business leaders, and the next generation of local startup founders together. Through this partnership, Verizon will facilitate conversations about what tomorrow looks like for tech-focused entrepreneurs.

Plug In South LA founder Derek Smith says he’s proud to partner with one of the world’s largest communication technology companies. “Verizon supports bold new business ideas in many different effective ways,” he said. “By working together, we’re helping entrepreneurs forge meaningful new connections.”

Urban Tech Connect, the premier tech conference focused on Latinx and African American founders, was moved to the fall. The Plug In South LA team is monitoring CDC recommendations to finalize logistics for the conference. Expect workshops, activation, and learning components aimed at serving founders’ needs, Smith says.

Confirmed speakers include LeaseQuery CEO George Azih, Mahmee CEO Melissa Hanna, SoLo Funds CEO Travis Holoway, Squad CEO Isa Watson, Lisnr CCO Rodney Williams, TechCrunch Editor Jonathan Shieber, Greycroft Senior Associate Brentt Baltimore, Rapper & Entrepreneur Stix, Ying Founder Karla Ballard, VSEDC and South LA Best Buy Teen Tech Center lead tech consultant Cassie Betts, and OPV partner Austin Clements.

Verizon will also be taking part. Last December, the company switched on its speedy 5G network in Los Angeles — one of the select cities to access the wireless technology before 2020. At Urban Tech Connect // Forward, Verizon plans to share details about the work the company is doing in South LA, and how 5G can empower local businesses.

“At Verizon, we’re on a mission to move the world forward together for good,” said Rudy Reyes, West Region vice president and associate general counsel at Verizon. “Verizon is excited to partner with Plug In South LA to make cutting-edge connectivity and technology more accessible, an initiative that will help prepare our communities for the future of work, reduce social disadvantages, and increase economic opportunity for everyone.”