Space incubators, Google campuses and Tinder secrets — here's what you missed this week

by Hannah Levy
February 14, 2019
Jib Jab screenshot from Instagram
photo via jobjab instagram

JibJab, the original cut-and-paste animated selfie, just got acquired by a major LA VC  

Remember that dancing elf video from the early aughts? Packaged as a custom-made e-card, with heads copy-and-pasted on top of dancing elf bodies, the videos were a smash hit and went viral. Today, the company behind the silliness, JibJab, has been acquired by LA-based VC firm Catapult Capital. According to Crunchbase, JibJab raised a total of $17.9 million pre-purchase. In recent years they’ve launched an app, branched into children’s entertainment and have a show on Netflix.

“With the addition of our product, operational, and distribution resources to support the company’s evolution, we intend to accelerate JibJab’s new growth phase,” Catapult partner Gary Hsueh said in a statement. [Tech Crunch]


Astronaut in space
photo via shutterstock

Techstars launched a new accelerator — in space (kind of)

Space-related technologies raked in an estimated $2.3 billion in venture capital in 2018. It’s no wonder then that LA’s tech scene is looking up — literally, looking way way up. One group with stars in their eyes: Techstars. The well-known incubator launched a new aerospace program this week in collaboration with investor and consulting firm Starburst Aerospace. The product of their collaboration, Techstars Space Accelerator, begins accepting applications this week. [Built In LA]


Buzzfeed news HQ in NYC
photo via shutterstock

Buzzfeed’s newsroom has plans to unionize

According to a report from the New York Times, the media company’s news bureau is seriously considering plans to unionize. Buzzfeed — which has a large LA campus, primarily focussed on video production — is part of a growing trend in the news industry of online sites and papers joining union ranks. Union membership in the sector has seen a 20-fold increase since 2010 according to a report in the Harvard Business Review. “It’s not all fun and memes,” Buzzfeed’s union organizing committee said in a statement. The group has been floating the idea of unionizing since 2015 according to the NYT reporting. [The New York Times]


Phone with dating apps open
photo via shutterstock

Some math-based Tinder advice in advance of Valentine’s Day

“If there’s one thing I know about love, it’s that people who don’t find it have shorter life spans on average.” So begins the article by Vox writer Kaitlyn Tiffany on the importance of nailing one’s Tinder strategy. This advice comes, she argues, as an increasing portion of the American public is poised to download the app — and hinge their romantic futures on their swipe performance. Her roadmap includes tips for how many super likes are too many and the magic power of nine consecutive swipes. [Vox]


The outside of the Google campus
photo via shutterstock

Google is on track to have data centers in 24 out of 50 states

This week Google announced plans to build offices and data centers across new U.S. states including Nebraska, Nevada and Oklahoma. There are more than 10,000 construction jobs in the works in those areas funded by Google, and total infrastructure investments ladder up to around $13 billion. In a blog post announcing the news, CEO Sundar Pichai said, “With this new investment, Google will now have a home in 24 total states,” adding that “2019 marks the second year in a row we’ll be growing faster outside of the Bay Area than in it.” [The Verge]


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