Category Archives: News

2019 LA CFA Society Portfolio Conference

In this video – produced by Oaktree Capital – CEO of the global alternative investment management firm, Jay Wintrob engages in a “fireside chat” with Jane Wells, Special Correspondent at CNBC.  Discussions took place in conjunction with this year’s Portfolio conference of the LA CFA Society, that is each year aimed at LA’s investment community and the industry at large.

3L Capital Investments

Last month an announcement was made by 3L Capital (an equity investment company) concerning the $217 million equity fund it had raised in order to continue its investments into local firms seeking growth. The firm – based in Westwood – will be putting the monies raised toward companies looking for a Series B/later investments.

Investments in the past have been made in Wheels Lab Inc. – an e-bike operator in West Holywood; The Young Turks, a Carthay LA neighborhood online talkshow and Culver City retailer SnackNation.

3L was founded roughly two years ago by Shawn Colo, former chief executive for Demand Media; Kerry Kellogg; and Dave Leyrer, founder of Boulevard Capital Management. Its previous investments include West Hollywood-based e-bike operator Wheels Labs Inc.; Carthay-based online talk show The Young Turks; and SnackNation, a Culver City-based snack retailer.

From Hollywood to the Holyland: Nighttime Light Show

Photographer Mozes Victor Konig is no stranger to nighttime light shows.  A Tel Aviv, Israeli native, it is perhaps surprising therefore that the only nighttime light show he had  experienced until now was the Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle, that lightens up Universal Studios on select nights over the summer.  Statistics show however that it is usually tourists who make the most of local city attractions, rather than the locals themselves.

This year, Konig decided to make the most of summer offerings close to home and took a trip to Jerusalem to enjoy the holy city’s Spectacular Sound and Light Show.  And, as its title suggests, it was – in Konig’s own words, “spectacular.”

“Don’t get me wrong, the Universal Studios’ Hogwarts Castle was really great.  It’s just that for me – being in the capital of our country – seeing what is right at my doorstep seemed somehow that bit more spectacular.  Plus, it offers an incredible history lesson. You get to see the old city walls just light up and get used as a dramatic stage for the beautification of Jerusalem’s 4,000 year old history!  It’s not just a cool, fun gimmick; this is real.  You see archaeological remains, listen to stories of Biblical King David, the Crusaders, Muhammad and more.  As well as being “spectacular” it truly is a lesson in history without sitting at your classroom desk.”

So if you are making your way this summer from Hollywood to the Holyland, make sure you get your tickets for the Night Spectacular.   While really enjoying your evening, you will also return home with knowledge of the history of Jerusalem…without even having realized you were being educated!

Leading US Tech Hubs have LA Addresses

Employment opportunities are growing in the west coast more than any other part of the nation in the science, tech, engineering and math (STEM) industries. According to statistics from CBRE there was a 8.2 percent increase in this industry in LA – fastest of any US metropolitan area.

Furthermore, in the 2018 fiscal year, Los Angeles County received nearly $1.1 billion in funding from the National Institutes of Health.  This is the largest amount of all California counties. As such, growth in the number of employment opportunities in laboratory services and research industry has reached 11 percent.  90,000 people have gotten jobs in the sector in 2018.

There are also many tech companies that offer amazing employee benefits in the LA region as detailed in this recent article.

Los Angeles Cyclists

Bicycle path

Over $40 million in state funding has been earmarked for the creation of new bicycle and pedestrian groundwork.  The work will be carried in both South LA and the San Fernando Valley. $18.8 million of the funding will create three miles of paths for cyclists and walkers alongside the LA River, beginning at Reseda’s Vanalden Avenue to Burbank Boulevard.

According to Bob Blumenfield, a member of the LA council, these grants will go a long way toward transforming the river into: “an amazing linear park that all Angelenos can enjoy.” The ultimate goal is to create a biking path along all 51 miles of the river, stretching from Canoga Park to Long Beach.   Another council member, Marqueece Harris-Dawson referred to it as the: “largest known public investment in this neighborhood in generations.”

The other goal– known as Twenty-Eight By `28 Project – is the completion of 28 major transportation enterprises before the Olympics of 2028 to be held in LA.  Alongside the pedestrian/cycling paths, wheelchair/stroller access will improve with new ADA access ramps; urban shade will be added along the corridor and more.  As Harris Dawson explained:

“We are glad to see South Los Angeles getting the investment it deserves. This may be the largest known public investment in this neighborhood in generations. We are committed to making up for lost time. The project will transform this community into a safe and vibrant part of Los Angeles, while also improving mobility, creating a cleaner environment, and increasing access to transportation and jobs.”

Some Business Success Stories

Los Angeles has often gotten a reputation for being a difficult place to start a business.  Given that it was ranked among the 10 least affordable metro areas, rendering an increase in business costs, one could understand why they may be put off from starting a company in the region.   As such, in this article we point to a couple of recent good news stories for the business world in LA.

On its very first day trading on Wall Street, Beyond Meat (BYND)’s investors sent shares up to 163%.  With shares going opening at $46 and closing on May 2 at $65.75, this was a huge success for the vegetarian based food producer.  This resulted in a market value for the firm of $3.8b.

Over at investment management firm Aristotle, the firm’s Managing Director and Chief Innovation Officer Robert R. Womack Jr. was just named 2019’s Corporate CIO of the Year by the Los Angeles Business Journal.  He received this award for his “ tremendous accomplishments over the past few years, which included creating and leading Aristotle’s Business Solutions team during a period of rapid growth, executing a multi-year transformative initiative firmwide, and building Aristotle’s best-in-class technology platform to meet the needs of the company, its affiliates, and most importantly, Aristotle’s valued clients.”

And then there is Proper Hospitality co-founder and The Kor Group President Brian De Lowe who does not seem to be put off by doing business in California.  Later this year he is due to open two luxury hotels: one offering 270 rooms (and an 8,000 sq.ft rooftop) and the other with 148 rooms (and a 5,000 sq.ft rooftop), both in Santa Monica.

Rick Garcia of CBS News

To be a great news anchor you need to know how to really tell a story. It’s so much more than just reading out news.  This is even more the case today when new technologies and mobile devices are storming the news reporting world.  Experts agree that journalists and reporters ultimately need to know how to really tell a story. One example of this is Rick Garcia CBS (as he’s been called).  He has been recognized for his ability to tell a story as a news anchor through Emmy awards and other channels. 

Sometimes the storyteller themselves need to have a story. “Rick Garcia CBS” was a perfect example of this with how he managed to upsurge rankings through his anchoring.  In particular, he did this  with KCAL9.

The Rick Garcia CBS experience began in 2011. This was at a time when it was found that local TV was “the most popular source for the two topics that almost everyone is interested in—weather and breaking news.” Garcia began hosting the 6pm News show at CBS and also working at KCAL9, causing their ratings to jump so high that the station’s prime time news show became the most-watched for Southern California in 2010-11. Rick Garcia’s CBS news career took place at CBS2 News at three time slots: 5, 6 and 11. 

Rick Garcia’s CBS career spanned over two decades. He was also the host for FOX Overtime at KTTV’s NFL post-game show.

Representing Women in LA

Los Angeles has been – and continues to be – criticized for its lack of representation of women in various industries.  Indeed, just yesterday an article came out in The LA Times entitled UCLA diversity report finds women and minorities still underrepresented in film and TV.

Despite this finding, we are simultaneously seeing these groups thrive in the region.  One example was seen in Top Chef’s Season 16 whereby four of the five spots in the final competition were held by women.  And that shouldn’t really be a surprise since over the last few years, LA has become home to many of Top Chef female contestants who have substantially contributed to the region’s culinary scene.  Examples include Brooke Williamson, Betty Fraser and Kuniko Yagi of Pikunico.

Meanwhile over in Hollywood it’s not all doom and gloom.  Thanks to the show Queer Eye, women will be recognized with a special Circle of Empowerment video clip as a tribute to International Women’s Day.  In this clip, Karamo Brown introduces Jody to a group of diverse women who “want to share how they view themselves and how they show themselves love.”

Forgotten to Shop? Try Something Different

Christmas cards are making a comeback

It might not be the most environmentally-friendly way of saying ‘Merry Christmas,’ but it seems (vintage) Christmas card giving is making a comeback.  For those who have completely forgotten to go gift shopping and are perhaps at a loss as to what to get the friend/partner who has everything just use the old “it’s lost in the mail” excuse and run out to pick up a card.

According to a recent article by Lauren Zumbach in The Chicago Tribune:

“…old-fashioned paper greeting cards, delivered via snail mail, remain a holiday staple…. the idea of taking the time to exchange tangible tokens of holiday cheer is more appealing than ever at a time when buzzing and pinging digital devices never seem to cease demanding our attention. That’s true even if finding the perfect card now involves sitting at a laptop, editing digital photos and clicking through dozens of template designs.”

The numbers speak for themselves.  Executive director of the Greeting Card Association, Peter Doherty found that every year, consumers purchase approximately 6.5 billion greeting cards and 1.6 billion cards. Plus, over the last five to six years, greeting card sales throughout the nation have remained pretty stable.

With the feel of e-cards being “too fleeting,” many are returning to the old-fashioned way to send meaningful holiday cheer.

Remembering the Las Vegas Massacre

Rick GarciaOn October 1, 2017 a 64 year old man opened fire on a Nevada concert.  Stephen Paddock killed 58 people (including himself) and injured a further 851.  Today his motives still remain unknown. At the time of the tragedy, together with colleague Pat Harvey, Rick Garcia documented the Las Vegas mass shooting in depth. Rick Garcia began the report by saying: “It was 10 minutes of terror on the Vegas strip [at which people were] stunned and sickened by the violence.”  With 22,000 people at the concert who will all, as Harvey noted “be haunted for life, with memories of the horrific violence.” A year later, Pat Harvey returned to the scene for a live reporting of the Strip that went dark “in remembrance of the 58 people killed in [the] mass shooting there one year ago.” Although Rick Garcia didn’t return a year later, Harvey wasn’t alone in her memorial visit.  Chuck Henry reported for NBC4 News at 9pm on September 30, 2018 about the upbeat hashtag created for the tragedy:  #VegasStronger is what is the city’s new phrase a year later. The hashtags will be seen on every part of the LA strip to commemorate the event. The event was ranked America’s “deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual.”