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ObEN Shows Off Singing, Talking AI Personality

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Pasadena-based artificial intelligence software developer ObEN has rolled out a new, singing and talking "AI personality" based on Chinese singing group SNH48 , the company said today. The company said it has created the "world's first celebrity personal AI" based on one of the members of the Chinese music group, Aijia. ObEN's AI personality sang a duet with her real-life counterpart at a conference in China this week.

Bonfire Ventures Aims To Raise New, $20M Fund, Bonfire Ventures Select I

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Los Angeles-based venture investor Bonfire Ventures , the venture capital fund led by SoCal VC veterans Jim Andelman and Mark Mullen, has launched a fundraising effort for a new fund, Bonfire Ventures Select I , according to a regulatory filing from the firm this week. Details on the new fund have not been announced by the investment fund. The regulatory filing indicates the first sale in the fund has yet to occur.

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Bird Planning Massive International Expansion

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Santa Monica-based on-demand scooter rental service Bird is planning a massive, international expansion, and has been hiring in dozens of cities overseas , according to the Financial Times. The paper says that Bird's hiring plans include dozens of cities across both Asia and Latin America, including such cities as Mumbai, Mexico City, Hong Kong, and elsewhere. READ MORE>>. bird scooter ondemand international expansion rental smartphone

Procore Acquires BIManywhere

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Carpinteria-based cloud software developer Procore , which develops software used in managing construction projects, has acquired BIManywhere , a developer of software used for construction and facilities management. Financial details of the buy were not announced. According to Procore, BIManywhere's platform offers up a 3D viewing engine for helping with communications across project teams, through both a mobile app and web application.

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Semtech Boosts Board

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Camarillo-based analog and mixed-signal semiconductor maker Semtech has added two new board members, the company said on Monday afternoon, adding Rodolpho Cardenuto and Saar Gillai to the board. The company now has 10 members on its board of directors. Cardenuto is President of SAP's Global Partner Operations (GPO) organization; Gilai is CEO of Teridion, and also has served at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP Cloud, and 3Com; Gillai also is on the boards of SpaceIQ and Xilinx. READ MORE>>.

Inseego Names Enterprise VP

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San Diego-based Inseego says it has named John Weldon as Senior Vice President of its Enterprise Saas Solutions business, leading up its cloud asset management and tracking solutions business. The business operates under the Ctrack brand. Weldon reports to chairman and CEO Dan Mondor. Weldon was previously working in Verizon's connected vehicle and workforce management arm, and also served as VP of Product Strategy at Telogis, among other companies. READ MORE>>.

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Snapchat Lets Users Take Photos, Get Products Via Amazon

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Venice, California-based Snap has rolled out a new integration deal with Amazon , saying on Monday that it has added a new feature which lets users takes photos of physical products or barcodes, and automatically have those products ordered from the Snapchat camera. According to Snapchat, the new feature lets users point there camera at a product or barcode, and a link to that product--or similar ones--from Amazon will appear on their phone.

Acuant Acquired By Audax Private Equity

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Los Angeles-based Acuant , a developer of identity verification software, has been acquired by private equity investor Audax Private Equity. Financial details of the acquisition were not announced. Acuant was owned by Insight Venture Partners, Lightview Capital and Egis Capital Partners. Audax said it acquired a controlling interest in Acuant in the deal.

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HG Data Buys Pivotal iQ

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Santa Barbara-based HG Data says it has acquired Pivotal iQ , a provider of IT contract data, spend intelligence, and related information. Financial details of the acquisition were not announced. Pivotal iQ was based in London, with offices in New York and India. HG Data said the acquisition will help it expand its enrichment offerings. Pivotal iQ's information includes information on IT contracts, contract values, and renewal dates--used by companies to target upcoming sales opportunities.

Drinks Picks Up $15M Funding Round

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Los Angeles-based Drinks , which operates a number of subscription, direct-to-consumer wine delivery services, has raised $15M in a Series B funding round, according to the company. The funding was led by Beverly Pacific and also included Shea Ventures and others. The company was founded by Zac Brandenberg, and operates the Wine Insiders wine delivery club and the Martha Stewart Win Co.

Not Impossible Labs Links With Avnet

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Los Angeles-based R&D lab and "content studio" Not Impossible Labs said this week that it has linked with technology distributor Avnet. Not Impossible--which says it is focused on creating "technology for the sake of humanity"--will tap into Avnet's product development expertise and resources. Financial details of the partnership were not.

Pavemint Literally Makes Parking In LA A Musical

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Los Angeles-based parking marketplace Pavemint wants to make parking in Los Angeles like a musical--quite literally.

FabFitFun Debuts Interactive, Live Programming

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West Hollywood-based FabFitFun is launching new, interactive, live programming, behind the company's women's lifestyle brand, intended to help showcase its products, including beauty demonstrations, DIY projects, and a gameshow, the company said on Monday. According to FabFitFun, the new FfF Live programming will run Monday through Friday on its Facebook page. The company said the content goes to help differentiate the company by leveraging the Facebook platform, to interact with its audience.

BluFocus Buys The Master QC Group

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Burbank-based BlueFocus , a provider of digital technology, hardware and software to Hollywood, said on Monday that it has acquired The Master QC Group LLC , a provider of file-based master quality control for Hollywood studios and production houses. Financial details of the buy were not announced. BlueFocus is led by Ceo Paulette E. Pantoja, and is part of Blue, a provide of digital supply cahin, distribution, and testing services for the entertainment industry. READ MORE>>.

Foresee Medical Finds $3.8M

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San Diego-based Foresee Medical , a startup developing software for healthcare reimbursement tracking, has raised $3.8M in a funding round, according to a regulatory filing by the firm. Details on the funding have yet to be announced by the company. The filing indicates Foresee's funding round remains open, and is targeted at raising approximately $10M in total for the company. The initial investment tranche includes 6 investors, according to the filing.

ATTN Adds $15.0M

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Los Angeles-based ATTN , an online media company focused on important societal topics, has raised $15.0M in a funding round, part of an ongoing $18.264M funding round, according to a regulatory filing from the company. Source of the funding--which came from a single investor--has not yet been announced.

Hulu Hits More Than 1M Live TV Streaming Subscribers

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Los Angeles-based streaming television provider Hulu said last week that it now has more than 1 million subscribers to its live TV streaming service, bringing its total subscribed base to around 20 million users. Hulu's live TV service behaves much like traditional linear television does, whether broadcast TV or cable, in that users have access to just live television streams. The service lets users "flip" between different channels.

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Semtech Rolls Out 5G Optical IC

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Camarillo-based Semtech , which develops analog and mixed signal semiconductors, said today that it has launched a new optical chip for use in 5G wireless systems. According to the company, it has started shipping a high speed optical transceiver IC, the ClearEdge CDR, to its customers. The company said it expects the chip will be used in early 5G deployment in Europe, starting in 2019. READ MORE>>. semtech optical analog mixed signal semiconductor wireless

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HyperX Launches New SSDs For Gamers

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Fountain Valley-based HyperX , which makes products for the videogaming market, said today that it has rolled out two new solid state disks (SSDs) specifically aimed at videogamers. According to the company--which is the gaming division of Kingston Technology--it has rolled out the FURY RGB SSD and SAVAGE EXO SSD, two diferent solid state drives specifically aimed at both accelerating read and write speeds for gamers--and also to enhance gaming systems with "more color and LED lighting".

EDF Renewables Buys Half Of EnterSolar

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San Diego-based EDF Renewables North America , which develops and manages renewable energy projects, said this morning that it has acquired 50 percent of EnterSolar , a provider of distributed solar generation to commercial and industrial customers. According to EDF Renewables, the investment comes alongside a strategic partnership which will target corporate clients seeking distributed generation solar solutions.

Insights and Opinions: Top Five Venture Debt Pitfalls For Startups

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For today's Insights and Opinions piece for the site, we have a contribution from Kaäre Wagner of Silicon Valley Bank, taking about the Top Five Venture Debt Pitfalls For Startups. I love lists. My personal catnip is reading through an arbitrary ranking of anecdotes, experiences and pop culture. Blame social media, my short attention spanwhatever. Just feed me listicles and don't bother me with long narratives.

Lyft Launches Scooter Rentals In Santa Monica

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Lyft just launched its own on-demand, electric powered scooter program in Santa Monica on Tuesday morning, as the on-demand scooter business continues to heat up. The launch is only the second city for Lyft's service, which also is available in Denver, Colorado. Lyft has some stiff competition in Santa Monica--the home of Bird--which already has scooters from Bird and Lime.

uBeam CEO Steps Aside As Firm Pivots Towards Technology Licensing

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Meredith Perry , the CEO of Los Angeles-based uBeam , has stepped down from her post, and will shift to become a senior advisor and board member of the company, according to Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures, one of the company's backers. uBeam, which had been working on technology to wirelessly charge phones using sound waves, also is pivoting into the B2B market, and intends to license its technology to others rather than build its own products.

Applied Information Expands In LA

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Applied Information, Inc. , a developer of "intelligent" transportation systems and Internet-of-Things mobility technology, says it has named a new VP for the company in Los Angeles, to head up business development in the western states. According to Applied Information, it named Alan Clelland as Vice President, West, to manage the company's business development efforts in the western United States.

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OpenX Expands Video Exchange To Japan, APAC

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Pasadena-based advertising technology provider and ad exchange operator OpenX said last night that it has made an expansion to Japan and the Asia Pacific market, launching a new, programmatic video exchange to the region. According to OpenX, publishers and marketers in Japan and the APAC can now access its video inventory through its OpenX Exchange. OpenX said it opened up a new office in Japan earlier this year. READ MORE>>. openx japan video advertising exchange marketplace programmatic

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SnapMD Finds $7.1M More

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Los Angeles-based SnapMD , which provides enterprise telehealth technology, announced this morning that it has raised $7.1M in a Series B funding. Names of the investors in the company were not announced, however, the company said that participating investors included its original investment syndicate. The company says it has now raised a total of $16.3M. SnapMD develops telehealth software, which allows healthcare providers to offer up telehealth services.

March Capital Leads $13.6M Round In ioTium

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Los Angeles-based venture capital investor March Capital is the lead investor in a Series B funding round for software-defined, converged infrastructure startup ioTium. ioTium announced this morning that it has raised $13.6M in a Series B funding, which it says was led by March Capital Partners, and also included Honeywell Ventures, John Chambers' JC2 Ventures and Hanna Ventures plus GE Ventures and Juniper Ventures.

Port of Los Angeles Wins $41M For Hydrogen Fuel Cell Project

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The Port of Los Angeles reported late Friday that it has received a preliminary award of $41M, from the California Air Resource Board (CARB), for a high tech hydrogen fuel cell freight project.

Elon Musk Sued By Thai Cave Diver

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Technology mogul Elon Musk , the founder and CEO of Hawthorne-based SpaceX , has finally been sued by Thai cave rescue diver Vernon Unsworth, over statements Musk made on Twitter claiming that Unsworth was a "pedo" and "child rapist". Musk--who made the statements after beign shut out of the rescue efforts in Thailand--is being sued for $75,000, the statuatory minimum for defamation.

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Fair Launches New Adjustable Payments For Cars

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Los Angeles-based Fair --a technology-enabled startup which lets people get access to a car with none of the traditional limitations and handcuffs of a lease--is making it even easier for people to get a car through its service, saying it has started to let drivers choose how much they want to spend each month for a vehicle. According to Fair, it has now started letting its car shoppers adjust the start fee and monthly payments on a car, to better fit their budgets.

Faraday Future Names Former Tesla Exec As VP Technology, Product

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Los Angeles-based electric car maker Faraday Future has named a new VP to head up its product and technology products, according to the company. According to Faraday Future, it has named Jeff Risher as the company's Vice President of Product, Technology, and IP Strategy. Risher was previously head of intellectual property and litigation at Tesla. According to Faraday Future, Risher will focus on overall product strategy, advanced technology adoption, and strategic relationships.

CoreLogic: Hurricane Florence Caused Between $20 Billion And $30 Billion In Loss

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Irvine-based property information provider CoreLogic estimates losses from Hurricane Florence hitting properties in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia at between $19 billion and $28.5 billion, including both residential and commercial properties, storm surge and inland flooding, plus wind losses.

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SpaceX Names Passenger For Around The Moon Trip

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Hawthorne-based SpaceX has unveiled the name of the person who has booked an around the Moon trip on its BFR rocket on Monday evening, saying that it's Japanese fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa. According to SpaceX, Maezawa has paid a "substantial" deposit on the trip on the yet-to-launch BFR, the SpaceX manned rocket which is being designed to take a large number of humans to space--and potentially, as far as Mars.

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X1 Discovery Names New CEO

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Pasadena-based X1 Discovery , which develops e-discovery and search software for the legal industry, has named Craig Carpenter as its new CEO, according to the company. Carpenter was most recently CEO of Fronteo, and also served at Kroll Ontrack, Recommind, and AccessData. Carpenter--who also is an attorney--had been a quarterback for UCLA. X1 Discovery is one of the companies out of Pasadena's Idealab startup incubator, and shares its headquarters with Idealab.

Miso Robotics Enhances Cooking Assistant

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Pasadena-based Miso Robotics , which is developing robots intended to replace human labor in quick serve restaurants and commercial kitchens, has enhanced its robot line. The company said Thursday that it has added support for frying cooking tasks, in addition to receiving a number of certifications, including NSF international sanitation standards, and UL electrical safety certification.