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CALIENT Acquired By Chunxing

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Santa Barbara-based CALIENT , the developer of optical MEMs switching technology, has been acquired by Chinese company Suzhou Chunxing Precision Mechanical Co., Ltd. , the two said this morning. Financial terms of the acquisition were not announced. According to the two, Chunxing buys a controlling stake in the company, and will also provide manufacturing services to CALIENT as part of the acquisition. CALIENT said it will remain in Goleta.

Syneron Candela Goes Private In $400M Deal With Apax

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Irvine-based aesthetic medical device developer Syneron Medical announced late Monday evening that it has become a private company, in a $400M go-private deal with Apax Partners. According to Syneron Medical, funds advised by Apax Partners paid $11.00 per share in cash for the company. The deal had originally announced on April 3rd. As part of the go-private deal, Syneron said that Geoffrey Crouse has been appointed CEO of the company, and also has joined its board.

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Beachbody Snags CIO From Red Bull

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Santa Monica-based health and fitness company Beachbody says it has named Bryan Muehlberger as the company's new Chief Information Officer. Muehlberger joins the company from Red Bull North America, where he was Chief Information Officer and Vice President of Information Technology. According to Beachbody, Muehlberger will lead its Enterprise Technology team, reporting to President and COO Robert Gifford.

TeleSign Acquired By BICS For $230M

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Los Angeles-based TeleSign , which uses phone calls and related information for mobile identity management, authentication, and other cloud services, has been acquired by Brussels-based BICS , in a deal worth $230M in cash plus unspecified earnout. BICS said that TeleSign has annual revenues of around $100M. As part of the deal, BICS said that TeleSign will continue to operate independently as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company, led by current CEO Aled Miles.

Ground Control Aims At Voice Activated Entertainment, Backed By CAA

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Los Angeles- and Vancouver-based Ground Control , a new startup led by LA technology veteran Mike Macadaan, said on Wednesday that it has launched with the backing of the Creative Artists Agency. According to the startup, is is developing "voice-activated entertainment experiences" and interactive audio technology, which will tape into well-known personalities across entertainment, sports, politics, music and beyond.

Famous Birthdays In Growth Mode

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Los Angeles-based Famous Birthdays , which operates an online service which lets you look up the birthdays of famous people, says it has now passed 13 million unique visitors, based on numbers from December. The company also says it now has a staff of 20 full-time staffers working out of its Santa Monica office. The startup, which recently relaunched its website to add video on its many profiles, is led by Evan Britton. READ MORE>>.

MobileCause Raises $15M For Nonprofit Software

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Los Angeles-based nonprofit fundraising and crowdfunding software platform developer MobileCause has raised $15M in a Series B funding, according to the company. The funding came from growth equity firm Level Equity. As part of the funding, Levil Equity's Sarah Sommer has joined the company's board. MobileCause said the new funding will go towards "aggressive" product innovation and expansion in the US and internationally. MobileCause is led by CEO Sean MacNeill. READ MORE>>.

Interview with Jeff Kukowski, SecureAuth

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In a world where there seems likes there is a major, security breach every day, where usernames and passwords are just not enough because they keep getting stolen, and where hackers have even started to hijack people's mobile phones to break into accounts, what do you do? Irvine-based SecureAuth (www.secureauth.com) has its own approach and opinions on what ought to be done.

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Interview with Shaan Sethi, Jaanuu

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It's fairly unusual to see an apparel company with venture backing, and particularly unusual to see one with the strong lineup of investors that LA-based Jaanuu (www.jaanuu.com) has behind the company.

Elevate Launches Analytics Team In San Diego

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San Diego-based Elevate Credit , a fintech startup aimed at providing credit to non-prime customers, said it has launched a new "Advanced Analytics" center in San Diego. The company said the San Diego team has more than 35 data scientists, including more than 25 member with advanced degrees, and eight with PhDs.

TigerText Names Two Healthcare Vets To Exec Team

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Santa Monica-based TigerText has hired on two new healthcare veterans to its executive team, the company said this week. According to TigerText, it has named Kirk Kirman as President of Client Organization, heading up sales and customer support; and Kelli Castellano as Chief Marketing Officer, leading the company's marketing strategies. Kirkman was previously VP of Enterprise Solutions at athenalheath, and also has served at TamberHealth, Zix Corporation, and Amicore.

Accruent Founder Friedman Steps Away From CEO Role, Shifts To Chairman

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Real estate management software developer Accruent , which was founded 20 years ago in Los Angeles by Mark Friedman, said today a that Friedman--its CEO for nearly 20 years--is shifting to become Chairman of the board. John Borgerding becomes CEO of the company. Friedman is stepping away from the CEO role four months after the company was acquired by Genstar Capital. Accruent still has offices in Los Angeles, but recently has been headquartered in Austin, Texas. Accruent was founded in 1995.

Interview with Robert Blatt, MomentFeed

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For today's interview, we thought we'd catch up with Robert Blatt , the CEO of Los Angeles-based MomentFeed (www.momentfeed.com), which recently announced a $16.3M funding led by Level Equity. It's been quite a few years since we spoke with the company. What is MomentFeed up to nowadays? Robert Blatt: We say to people that we do customer experience for multi-location brands.

Announcing The Socaltech 50: Southern California's Up-and-Comers

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We''re proud to announce the Socaltech 50 , our list of the 50, up-and-coming people in Southern California''s technology ecosystem.

LegalZoom Says Its Services Are Legal In New Jersey

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Glendale-based online legal referral provider LegalZoom says it is legal in New Jersey, despite a recent opinion issued by the New Jersey Supreme Court. According to LegalZoom, recent reports on the opinion of the New Jersey Supreme Court "misinterpret the findings", and that New Jersey attorneys can continue to ethically work with LegalZoom.

Loot Crate Adds Maker's Ynon Kreitz As Chairman, Hits Profitability

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Los Angeles-based subscription e-commerce startup Loot Crate , which offers up monthly deliveries of curated "mystery boxes" to fans, said on Friday that former Maker Studios CEO Ynon Kreitz has joined the company's board as Chairman. The company also said it has become profitable for the first time. Kreitz served as CEO of Maker Studios from 2013 through its acquisition in 2015 by Walt Disney, and was one of its original investors.

How OneStop Internet Is Powering Ecommerce For Brands

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If you''re a brand or retailer, needing to get online, there are a lot of things to deal with to run your e-commerce business smoothly--everything from your e-commerce site itself, to taking photos of your products, packing and shipping, to digital marketing.

How Phyn Is Bringing The World Of High Tech To Water Conservation, With Ryan Kim

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The world of plumbing is not known for its high tech products. However, that makes it an area ripe for technology innovation. We spoke this morning with a Los Angeles startup, Phyn (www.phyn.com)--which recently spun out of Belkin in a joint venture with Uponor--to talk about the company's water monitoring devices, which apply some remarkably sophisticated research and computer technology to monitor the usage of all of a home's water--all through monitoring a single water pipe.

LA, and Southern California's Surge In Venture Capital Funds

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Kixer's Co-Founders On Mobile Ads and Early Exits

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It's not all that often that you hear of a local startup being acquired after only raising less than $1M in funding, because the company was growing so fast, rather than because an idea didn't pan out.

Interview with Jonathan Zweig, AppOnboard

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Our interview this morning is with Jonathan Zweig , the CEO of Los Angeles-based AppOnboard (www.apponboard.com), which has created software which allows mobile app developers--and in particular, mobile game developers--to create demos of those games which can be played without having to download and install those apps.

Zynga Funds Effort At USC To Support Diversity In Video Game Industry

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Social games developer Zynga has funded a new effort to increase the diversity in the video game development industry, through a partnership with the University of Southern California , Zynga said on Tuesday. According to Zynga, it has provided a "substantial gift" to USC's School of Cinematic ARts' Interactive Media & Games Division, to support diversity, inclusive game production, and the creation of "innovative social mobile gameplay."

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Jun Group Expands In Orange County, Los Angeles

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New York-based mobile ad platform developer Jun Group is expanding in both Orange County and Los Angeles, saying it is looking to tap into a hotbed of engineering talent in Orange County. The company, which focuses on native, brand-safe video ad placements, serves such clients as Chevrolet, McDonald's, Purina, Microsoft, and others. The company said it will open up a new Orange County office focused on software development, led by Jeremy Ellison, and also including a number of developers.

Reflections on 2016: Jaspar Weir, TaskUs

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This holiday season, we are again sharing the reflections on 2016 from Southern California's technology ecosystem. Today's contribution is from Jaspar Weir , co-founder of TaskUs (www.taskus.com), which powers much of the back office and customer support behind some of the best known startups here in Southern California--not to mention the rest of the world, and for many established companies, too. You can see all of our holiday reflections here.

FairClaims Finds $1.8M For Online Dispute Resolution

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Los Angeles-based FairClaims has raised $1.8M in a funding round, to go towards the startup's online dispute resolution services. According to the company, the funding came from Fika Ventures, Crosslink Capital and Greycroft. The funding came on top of an earlier, $285,000 in seed funding the company received from Brian Liu (co-founder of legalzoom), Mark Goldstein, and Mark Goines (NOLO, Intuit Turbotax). FairClaims is led by CEO Stephen Kane.

Noramay Cadena, Make In LA: Accelerating Hardware Startups

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One of the big advantages of starting up a new company in the region in recent years has been a large number of startup accelerators, who have been driving a lot of the new startups in the area. One of those accelerators�focused exclusively on hardware�is Make In LA (www.makeinla.com).

Western Digital Leads $33M Investment In Tegile Systems

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Irvine-based Western Digital is the lead investor in a $33M funding round for flash storage array developer Tegile Systems this morning. Tegile says its big funding round was led by Western Digital Corp., and also included current investors Meritech Capital, Capricorn Investment Group, and Cross Creek Capital, bringing its total raised to $178M.

General Assembly To Open New Location In Irvine

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General Assembly , the provider of technical skills training, which has an active campus in Santa Monica, says it is will be opening up a new location in Irvine. General Assembly said it has not yet finalized the precise location and opening date, but says it will start hosting events and short workshops throughout Irvine ahead of the new location. The expansion is part of a global expansion for General Assembly, which is expanding to a total of 25 campuses, up from its current 12 locations.

Interview With Mike Mothner, Wpromote On Growth, Acquisitions

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Last week El Segundo-based Wpromote acquired fellow marketing agency Standing Dog, in a deal which brings the company to 260 employees, and continues to grow the company. We caught up with founder and CEO Mike Mothner --who we first interviewed back in 2007 --to catch up with the company, gets some hints and tips on growing a company, the challenges of bootstrapping, and why Wpromote hopes to be buying more companies in the future.

BlockFraud Finds $5M For Anti-Fraud Software

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Santa Monica-based BlockFraud , a developer of machine learning and artificial intelligence software used for detecting mobile fraud, has reportedly raised $5M in a Series A funding, the company disclosed on Wednesday. The funding was led by Palisades Venture Capital. BlockFraud is led by CEO Massimo Cristini. READ MORE>>. blockfraud antifraud software artificial intelligence machine learning venture capital

cloudvirga Raises $15M More For Mortgage Automation Tools

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Irvine-based Cloudvirga , a developer of automated mortgage lending software, announced this morning that it has raised $15M more in a Series B funding. The funding was led by Incenter, a Blackstone Group portfolio company. The company said the funding goes to scale its technology and product offerings. The company has now raised $22.5M in total. Cloudvirga was founded by Bill Dallas, Kyle Kamrooz and Mark Attaway.

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Interview with Lior Elazary, Invia Robotics

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As e-commerce continues to grow, one part of that business, one area continues to be a very difficult area to scale efficiently--the labor intensive, back end warehouse, shipping, and fulfillment operation. Our interview this morning is with Lior Elazary , co-founder and CEO of Agoura-based Invia Robotics (www.inviarobotics.com), who tells us how the company is hoping to make automation and robotics available to even mid-sized e-commerce operators.

HelloTech Powers New Service For Altice

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Los Angeles-based HelloTech , the startup providing in-home, technical support and related services, is powering a new in-home installation and service offering from broadband communications and video service provider Altice, the two said this morning.