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Andria is the social and engagement editor for dot.LA. She previously covered internet trends and pop culture for BuzzFeed, and has written for Insider, The Washington Post and the Motion Picture Association. She obtained her bachelor's in journalism from Auburn University and an M.S. in digital audience strategy from Arizona State University. In her free time, Andria can be found roaming LA's incredible food scene or lounging at the beach.
Six years ago, Africa didn’t have any unicorns. Today, there are seven.

The arrival of these new creatures — ”unicorns” is a term for private tech companies with a value of over $1 billion — is due in part to the efforts of founders like Gabriella Uwadiegwu.
Uwadiegwu is an investor and co-founding partner at Archangel Fund. She’s made it her life’s mission to fund and support women in the tech space in Africa. Archangel Fund writes check of between $25,000 to $100,000 to early-stage startups created by women.
On Wednesday, Uwadiegwu discussed Archangel Fund’s mission at L.A. Tech Week and offer her thoughts on the evolving tech landscape in Africa.
“Right now, Africa is tracking about five years behind South East Asia in venture funding,” Uwadiegwu said. Last year alone, African tech companies raised over $4 billion.
Uwadiegwu believes now is the most “exciting time” to invest in African startups because of the “potential” and the continent’s emerging dominance in the global tech market.
However, the continent’s tech industry is almost completely dominated by men: Only 3% of all the investments made into African startups between 2013 and 2021 went to startups led by women. Archangel Fund is trying to reduce that inequality, starting at the pre-seed phase.
Because the startup scene in Africa is so male-dominated, Archangel has been able to find a nice niche for itself. Uwadiegwu thinks the lack of competition is because other investors don’t know where to look to find women-led startups, but as a Nigerian woman with a background in software engineering, she feels uniquely qualified in this space.
“We know where to look,” she said.
Archangel Fund invests in everything from logistics to fintech, and everything in between. Jetstream, one of their portfolio companies, is a supply chain platform that helps African businesses to trade for supplies. Uwadiegwu said it’s companies like this that are helping to introduce African startups into global commerce and trade.
Although most of Archangel’s investments range in the $25,000 to $50,000 range, Uwadiegwu said they are currently expanding, working to raise $5 million for funding purposes. In her view, it’s money well spent. Her analysis indicates that women often perform better than their male counterparts despite having less access to funding. She hopes that her work with Archangel will help to reshape the tech landscape in Africa.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Archangel Fund is a nonprofit.
Andria is the social and engagement editor for dot.LA. She previously covered internet trends and pop culture for BuzzFeed, and has written for Insider, The Washington Post and the Motion Picture Association. She obtained her bachelor's in journalism from Auburn University and an M.S. in digital audience strategy from Arizona State University. In her free time, Andria can be found roaming LA's incredible food scene or lounging at the beach.
Despite the company’s decision this week to lay off 11,000 workers worldwide, Meta still appears to be actively recruiting in Los Angeles.
Most of the roles appear to call for skills in augmented and virtual reality, either working directly for Meta Reality Labs — the division focused on VR hardware and the online community Horizon Worlds — or another aspect of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s planned metaverse. The platform's recruitment isn't limited to L.A.; the company's careers site also lists jobs in AR/VR and other divisions located all over the world.
The open roles paint a picture of Meta’s intended virtual reality future. One listing is for an L.A.-based art manager who will work on Meta’s "Avatars" project, which allows users to create a digital likeness that will represent them throughout Meta’s platforms — including the VR platform Horizon Worlds.

Another listing calls for a technical artist that will design the “lighting workflows and key setups” of Meta’s Avatars. The platform also appears to be hiring for a number of different L.A.-based engineering roles, both at Meta Reality Labs and throughout other Meta platforms.
Though these listings remain active, Meta’s AR and VR businesses — which the company has spent over $36 billion on expanding — were not spared from the company-wide cuts. A number of Reality Labs and other VR employees were laid off this week, though Meta has not disclosed how many. It’s unclear whether Meta is now seeking to replace those exact same roles or whether the AR/VR listings are for different ones.
It’s no surprise, however, that Meta is still continuing to hire new people amid layoffs. During the platform’s third-quarter earnings call back in October, Meta’s Chief Strategy Officer David Wehner noted that the company plans to shrink some teams and invest in higher-priority items on its agenda. While hiring at Meta will be “dramatically” slower than usual, Wehner noted that Meta plans to keep its workforce at its current levels or slightly smaller.
“We are holding some teams flat in terms of headcount, shrinking others and investing headcount growth only in our highest priorities. As a result, we expect headcount at the end of 2023 will be approximately in-line with third quarter 2022 levels,” Wehner said during the earnings call.
But prospective job candidates should probably wait for the dust to settle before applying. This week, Meta reached out to a number of recently-hired individuals to revoke their job offers,
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.
Out in the desert in Riverside County, 15 miles north of Temecula, a new way of living is under development. It won’t be the first Californian community to place an emphasis on sharing, but instead of property or spouses, these neighbors will share something else: electrons.
As part of a $6.65 million grant from the Department of Energy, Los Angeles-based homebuilding company KB Home has announced that it will partner with SunPower, University of California, Irvine (UCI), Schneider Electric, and Southern California Edison (SCE) to build a community of more than 200 new homes in Menifee, California each connected to its neighbors in a microgrid that generates and shares electricity. Greg Young, a Program Manager with Clean Coalition who was not involved in the project, says the community looks “like a great residential case study.”

Dan Bridleman the SVP of sustainability and technology at KB Home stipulates however that the idea isn’t to create a community that operates independent of the grid. But rather one that works in concert with it. What he means is that the project will work on a net metering concept, in which homes generate solar power and sell the energy back to the grid in order to offset whatever they consume.
To achieve this goal, every home will come with a 4.9 to 6.3 kilowatt solar panel system and a 13 kWh battery. The entire community shares another, larger 2.3 MWh battery. With an energy-efficient home operating under normal conditions with lots of sun (and without using a ton of air conditioning) the setup should allow owners to offset nearly all of their power needs.
KB Home microgrid house KB Home microgrid house courtesy of KB Home
Smart load panels provided by Schneider Electric act as the brain behind the operation. The panels manage the microgrid at the house and community level, to ensure that electrons get where they need to go as efficiently as possible. For example, if a heat wave causes another energy crisis in Southern California like it did last September, or if high winds force grid operators to shut down equipment to prevent wildfires, the microgrid will be able to keep the lights on in the neighborhood for hours or even days at a time. According to KB Home regional vice-president of public relations and communications Craig LeMessurier, each home’s battery should last 10-15 hours even without additional charging from the solar panels. How long the whole microgrid can survive on its own, however, will be born out through testing once the project goes online.
“Menifee is a location that, if you look at it on the Southern California Edison maps, is in the high wind danger area,” says Jacob Atalla, VP, Sustainability Initiatives at KB Home. The town has faced blackouts in the past as utility companies are forced to shut down equipment to stave off the risk of wildfires.
Ten houses in the community will also be part of a smaller experiment with Kia and receive bi-directional electric vehicle chargers. As the name suggests, this additional infrastructure would not only allow homeowners to charge their vehicles, but also run the microgrid with the vehicles battery. This is an important distinction since compared to the 13 kWh battery that each house will come equipped with, EV batteries are huge: A Rivian R1S with the extended range clocks in at 135 kWh. Or 10 times bigger than the 13 kWh battery. That extra energy can be used to power the house (or a vasectomy). But it can also be sold back to the grid for money when energy is in demand. More importantly , Bridleman says it adds another layer of flexibility. “I can pull power from the grid, I can pull power from my car, I can pull power from my battery, I can pull power from my community. It gives you like six or seven different points of failure to keep your lights on,” he says.
For now, KB Home is targeting first-time home buyers and attempting to reach price parity with other homes in the region. The company won’t say what it costs them to build each house, but it’s hoping to sell them in the $490,000-$590,000 range. Having the Department of Energy grant money to subsidize the project, however, makes deciphering their exact margins a bit more challenging. Bridleman says that while costs are “certainly way less” than the sales price, the development should be viewed as a research project. Adding that, “we want to figure out how to do this in the right way, so it can be affordable.”
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.
Kristin Snyder is dot.LA's 2022/23 Editorial Fellow. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.
LA-based restaurant The Red Chickz first began to post videos on TikTok in 2019—four months before a generation of young people experiencing isolation seized on the new platform. In one of their first videos, an employee slams a large piece of fried chicken into a container of sauce. The product spills over the edges wasting half the product. But there would be no disgruntled customer complaining about being stiffed—this portion was set aside just for filming purposes.
The viral video quickly spiraled into 17,000 followers. Today, the restaurant has over 1 million, and customers come in just because of the food they’ve seen on the video-sharing platform.
“[Instagram] feels like a professional business thing, whereas TikTok is like the little kid having fun,” says The Red Chickz co-founder Nima Christensen.
red chickz The Red Chickz chicken salad @theredchickz
Though the restaurant paricipates on other social media platforms, Christensen credits the restaurant’s success to its TikTok content. The co-founder has since hired an in-house social media team to produce more videos of crunchy fried chicken being sliced open with a knife—content that kicked off the restaurant’s viral TikTok presence. Even videos as simple as a sandwich being constructed with a Quavo song in the background have gotten over one million views, with people taking to the comments to state how hungry the video made them.
And despite TikTok’s reputation as an app for Gen Z, it’s hardly just teens using the platform as a search engine for food recommendations. Of TikTok’s millennial users, 53% said they visited a restaurant after seeing it on the video app.
Sure, many of those users turn to the vast number of accounts dedicated to showing off the best brunch spots or rooftop bars. But increasingly, restaurants are taking matters into their own hands and providing the same tantalizing shots of food or ingredient prep without needing to tap influencers to create the content.
“You'll see people fighting [in the comments] about ‘why do you put coleslaw on a sandwich’ and they sit there all day and keep fighting about it,” he says. “We’re really focused on getting content that will start a conversation underneath that post.” In other words, Christensen says, on TikTok even negative comments are a boon for business.
Stephanie Diaz, an employee who oversees social media content for the hot dog restaurant Dirt Dog says creating content often requires chefs to change how they prepare the food.
“For certain styles, we either do something silly or we change the steps of how things are made just to make it more appealing,” she says.
For example, to create a more intriguing video, Diaz will instruct chefs to remove the bacon surrounding a hot dog and re-wrap it for the camera. Or, pour beer into a sauce that was actually prepared off-site. Diaz then couples the video with music from Coolio or Snoop Dogg—artists the restaurant already plays in the restaurant who also trend on TikTok.'

hot dog from Dirt Dog

hot dog from Dirt Dog

Image from @dirtdogla

But not every restaurant’s TikTok success is so food-focused. Morgan Walsh, who owns Cupid’s Hot Dogs, often posts footage from inside the restaurant from her personal account, says her early viral videos showed employees delivering a tray of hot dogs wearing roller skates.

“I'm often more inspired by the other things going on than just chili dogs—which are great—but I can only take so many videos of me pouring chili,” Walsh says.

Those videos catapulted her follower numbers from 50,000 to 331,400 followers over the last two years.

Every time a video goes viral, Walsh says her hot dog stand gets a rush of customers. In one particular case, a customer who saw one of her TikToks came all the way from Minnesota.

Walsh’s success on the platform has led her to view TikTok as crucial for any small business. Her videos, she says, have garnered more customers than when her restaurant was featured on The Kelly Clarkson show.

But TikTok fame can be fleeting, and restaurant owners who get complacent with their online presence may not be able to maintain that level of excitement. Just as TikTok has surpassed other platforms, Christensen knows that something new could replace it any day. Which is why his social media team is constantly trying to find new ways to present their food, encourage comments and keep up with the algorithm—all while trying to highlight the food’s crispy crunch. At the end of the day, he says, “there’s only so many things you can do with fried chicken."

hot dog from Dirt Dog
Image from @dirtdogla
But not every restaurant’s TikTok success is so food-focused. Morgan Walsh, who owns Cupid’s Hot Dogs, often posts footage from inside the restaurant from her personal account, says her early viral videos showed employees delivering a tray of hot dogs wearing roller skates.
“I'm often more inspired by the other things going on than just chili dogs—which are great—but I can only take so many videos of me pouring chili,” Walsh says.
Those videos catapulted her follower numbers from 50,000 to 331,400 followers over the last two years.
Every time a video goes viral, Walsh says her hot dog stand gets a rush of customers. In one particular case, a customer who saw one of her TikToks came all the way from Minnesota.
Walsh’s success on the platform has led her to view TikTok as crucial for any small business. Her videos, she says, have garnered more customers than when her restaurant was featured on The Kelly Clarkson show.
But TikTok fame can be fleeting, and restaurant owners who get complacent with their online presence may not be able to maintain that level of excitement. Just as TikTok has surpassed other platforms, Christensen knows that something new could replace it any day. Which is why his social media team is constantly trying to find new ways to present their food, encourage comments and keep up with the algorithm—all while trying to highlight the food’s crispy crunch. At the end of the day, he says, “there’s only so many things you can do with fried chicken."
Kristin Snyder is dot.LA's 2022/23 Editorial Fellow. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.
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