April, 2020

Curative received FDA emergency use authorization for its novel COVID-19 tests

TechCrunch LA

The diagnostics startup Curative has received an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for its novel test to determine COVID-19 infection. The company says that its tests have already been used by the City of Los Angeles since late March and have tested over 53,000 city residents. Curative’s tests use an oral-fluid sample collected by having the subject cough to produce sputum, which release the virus from deep in the lungs, according to a spokesperson.

Three questions to answer about your COVID response


Most of us are affected by this current crisis. Many businesses threatened with closure forever. Small businesses are the most vulnerable, even though most have furloughed employees. Rent and other fixed costs continue, even when revenues have dried up – a fatal combination. So, here are three urgent questions for you. FINANCIAL: Do you have twelve to eighteen months of cash to cover your “burn rate” now and as you recover?

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Hard Decisions Require Empathy

Both Sides of the Table

In the past two weeks we have entered perhaps to most surreal experience in any of our lives. I think intuitively many of us believe it may be a more lasting impact than just “60 days at home,” which is why we almost have a nervous laughter when we call (Zoom!) somebody we haven’t spoken to since before the crisis and acknowledge how bizarre we all feel right now.

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Virgin Orbit to Make Ventilators for Covid-19 Patients

L.A. Business Journal

Virgin Orbit will start making a "bridge ventilator" for partially recovered Covid-19 patients at its Long Beach manufacturing facility

Can You Ask for Office Rent Relief? How to Manage Your Lease During COVID-19

Office leases are one of companies’ largest expenses, and if your whole team is working from home with no clear end in sight, you may be wondering what to do about your lease.

Elon Musk Goes Off Rails On Earnings Call


Elon Musk , the founder of Hawthorne-based SpaceX , in addition to Tesla , appeared to go off script and off the rails on the Tesla earnings call on Wednesday. Musk--while answering questions about when Tesla might resume production in the Bay Area--suddenly called the Bay Area's "shelter in place" order "fascist" and said that is "not why people came to America or pulled this country--what the f**k?".

10 Keys To Enabling Your Startup For Unicorn Growth

Startup Professionals Musings

Investors will tell you that they love to put money into startups that are scalable, and ready to become the next unicorn. But what does that really mean? Simply stated, it means that your business has the potential to multiply revenue with minimal incremental cost. Ready to scale is when you have a proven product and a proven business model, about to expand to new geographies and markets.

More Trending

Have you lost (some) enthusiasm for the job?


So, you’ve been at this for years through thick and thin, great days and days in which you’ve had better times. Much of your job has become routine. But it feels good to see your “baby” grow and others buy into your vision. That daily routine. It is human nature for you and every entrepreneur to fall into a routine of taking care of day to day issues, meetings, communicating with customers and shareholders.

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How to Make Sense of the PPP Loan Program for VC-Backed Startups

Both Sides of the Table

There is so much confusion and misinformation out there about the government sponsored “payroll protection plan” loans to companies that the heads of every small business CEO in the country must be spinning. We have been advising a lot of entrepreneurs so I thought I’d “open source” some of the advice I have been sharing. I am not claiming to be the world expert on this. But I have been in close contact with the NVCA, many of the major law firms and many of the major VC firms.

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Oil Price Drop Hits Businesses

L.A. Business Journal

The sudden collapse in oil prices has roiled the local oil industry, prompting producers to start shutting down wells, oil well service companies to lay off staff and refineries to reduce operations

HyperX Adds Fortnite Streamer As Brand Ambassador


Fountain Valley-based HyperX is jumping into the world of Fortnite, saying this morning that it has signed up Fortnited streamer Soleil "Ewok" Wheeler as one of its brand ambassadors. According to HyperX, Ewok will use HyperX gaming keyboards, mice, mousepads, SSDs, and memory modules while streaming as part of the sponsorship deal. Other details on financial arrangements for the sponsorship were not announced.


10 Stumbling Blocks To Innovative Business Thinking

Startup Professionals Musings

Successful entrepreneurs are the ones who think the most creatively, not only in their initial product or service, but more importantly all through the stages of growth from startup to maturity. But even the best of them can easily slip into some bad decision habits that limit or hurt their business, due to natural human tendencies and the pressures of business challenges.

An LA-led, public-private partnership pitches a $150B green infrastructure package to Congress

TechCrunch LA

Representatives from the government and the utility managing the power of Los Angeles are proposing a sweeping infrastructure package worth roughly $150 billion centered on the broad electrification of transportation and industry.

Have you fallen into the buggy whip trap?


Surely, you’ve heard the buggy whip analogy. A business making those necessary items ignored the signs of progress and found itself without a market. Perhaps that happened to sword smiths upon the invention of the rifle, and certainly to the makers of cassette tapes upon the dawn of the CD. And CD’s with the advent of streaming. My stories of unexpected change. I found myself in the middle of such a slow-rolling change twice in my career. First, in the. Source: Wikipedia Common license.

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My Thoughts on the Current Market: on 20-Minute VC

Both Sides of the Table

Several years ago I made an appearance in a burgeoning new podcast called “20 Minute VC,” which by now needs no introduction. Harry was gracious enough to invite me back so this past week we recorded an episode discussing the current market environment. Please download the episode here , if for no other reason than to make Harry happy :) but I’ve also included some quick notes below including a few notes I didn’t share in the podcast (and vice versa by the way?—?if

Miso Seeking $30M Round

L.A. Business Journal

Miso Robotics Inc., a Pasadena-based robotics and artificial intelligence company, is seeking to raise a $30 million Series C through crowdfunding on the SeedInvest platform

Q-CTRL Connects With Investment From In-Q-Tel


Los Angeles-based Q-CTRL , a company that is developing quantum computing and control technology, has received a strategic investment from In-Q-Tel (IQT), the investment arm of the U.S. intelligence community. Size of the funding was not announced. According to Q-CTRL, the new funding will go towards accelerating quantum technology for national security applications. Size of the funding was not announced.

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6 Reasons Why More Is Not Better In Your Next Startup

Startup Professionals Musings

Many passionate entrepreneurs fight to add more features into their new products and services, assuming that more function will make the solution more appealing to more customers. In reality, more features will more likely make the product confusing and less usable to all. Focus is the art of limiting your scope to the key function that really matters for the majority of customers. YouTube did it with videos, Instagram did it with photos, and Amazon did it with books.

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Electric charging gets more juice as Soros Fund Management makes a bet on Amply Power

TechCrunch LA

Even as oil companies are getting crushed by the collapse of demand for energy in the wake of international shutdowns responding to the global pandemic, investors representing one of the world’s savviest financiers are placing a small bet on electric charging as the future of transportation. Soros Fund Management, the financial investment vehicle led by famed investor George Soros, is placing a small, $13.2

Especially now: Play nice!


To survive this nasty Covid 19 surge facing businesses of all types, leaders must make decisions that hurt but are necessary. Keep the employees for the SBA PPP requirements regarding loan forgiveness, or furlough or let good employees go, so they can file unemployment claims? And what about termination decisions you make affecting just the few you wanted to eliminate anyway? I am reminded of the term, “Play Nice!”

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AlchemyLeads Helps Businesses Increase Both Traffic And Web Conversions


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) increases both the quantity and quality of traffic to a website. It provides businesses with the visibility they need to attract customers. SEO consists of multiple strategies,… The post AlchemyLeads Helps Businesses Increase Both Traffic And Web Conversions appeared first on AllTopStartups. Enterprise STARTUPS SEO

Riot Games Acquires Hypixel Studios

L.A. Business Journal

Riot Games acquires Canadian video game developer Hypixel Studios

HyperX Links With Music's HIT COMMAND


Fountain Valley-based gaming products brand HyperX says it is in a collaboration with HIT COMMAND , a subsidiary of Red Light Management, to bring music and entertainment celebrities from HIT COMMAND to the world of gaming and esports. According to the two companies, they are "creating a new experience that merges entertainment and gaming." The two said that HyperX will become the "Preferred Peripherals Partner" for several live and online events in development between the two companies.

6 Habits to Become a More Empathetic Business Leader

Startup Professionals Musings

In my experience as a business and entrepreneur advisor over many years, I’m convinced that the days of the “ command and control ” business leader are gone. Your employees have higher expectations of you than just defining their job – they want inspiration, motivation, and purpose. They respond with trust and commitment if they sense empathy for their needs and feelings. A premier example of the “old-school” command-and-control leadership was Jack Welch in his leadership at GE.

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Manufacturing startup Divergent 3D reduces staff by one-third

TechCrunch LA

Divergent, the Los Angeles-based startup aiming to revolutionize vehicle manufacturing, has cut about one-third of its staff amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has upended startups and major corporations alike. The company, which employed about 160 people, laid off 57 workers, according to documents filed with the California Employment Development Department. Founder and CEO Kevin Czinger didn’t provide specific numbers.

Cash control during these strange times


And these are indeed strange times, especially if you haven’t lived through 2000-2002 and 2007-2008 recessions and difficulty in finding money from banks and investors. The simple economic truth. Here is a simple economic truth. Fixed overhead continues to eat into your cash month after month. It doesn’t differentiate facile, efficient businesses from slow, disorganized, quality-challenged ones. A shocking example of operations affecting cash control.

How One Co-Working Space is Dealing with the Pandemic


The current Covid-19 pandemic has had an epochal effect on businesses, and even the humble office space has taken a blow, with millions of us now working from home. While most companies are able to continue operating with employees remote working, what about those businesses where the office itself is the revenue model? One such business is LABS, a shared office space company that has eight locations in London, plus one in Tel Aviv.

Pray.com Answers Call for the Digital Faithful

L.A. Business Journal

Pray is among a fortunate handful of companies whose businesses have actually benefited from the statewide shutdown. The platform's monthly active users grew 50% from February to March

Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health Launches New Fund


Pasadena-based Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health , a healthcare innovation fund led by Jay Goss and Dr. John Nackel, says it has launched a new venture capital fund, Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health Fund II. Size of the new fund was not announced. According to Wavemaker 360, the fund focuses on healthcare start-ups seeking seed-stage investment, and importantly avoids biotech.

10 Keys To Results With Social-Local-Mobile Marketing

Startup Professionals Musings

The world of marketing is changing faster than technology these days. Winning entrepreneurs have long since supplemented conventional print and video “push” marketing with digital online interactive “pull” marketing, and a while back added social-local-mobile ( SoLoMo ) to the mix. Mobile and global are driving all of these in innovative new ways to grow your business.

GM exits car-sharing business and shuts down Maven

TechCrunch LA

GM’s experiment with car sharing is over. The automaker Tuesday said its Maven car-sharing service, which launched in 2016, will shut down for good. Maven had paused service due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company sent an email to customers Tuesday that after examining the business, the car-sharing industry and COVID-19, it decided to shutter the service permanently. The Verge was the first to report the story.

Flagship Adds $1.1B for New Meds, More AI, & “Health Security”


Flagship Pioneering founder and CEO Noubar Afeyan didn’t know a global pandemic was in the cards for 2020 when he and his team laid out three new thematic areas of focus for the company last fall. One proved eerily prescient: The notion of “health security,” or the development of new products and therapies to treat health concerns before they arise or escalate. On Thursday the Cambridge, MA-based venture capital firm, best known for starting and spinning out biotechs, announced it had added $1.1

Amazon Quietly Slashes Affiliate Rewards


Amazon has discreetly made massive changes to its affiliate rewards scheme, with huge implications for sites that have come to depend on monetizing this way. The Amazon affiliate reward program, which pays websites with commissions in return for sending users to Amazon, is used by thousands of websites (including Tech.co) to generate revenue. The buyer doesn't incur any extra cost, but Amazon does have to split some of its healthy-looking profits with other websites.

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Snap Planning $750 Million Offering

L.A. Business Journal

Snap Inc. announced a $750 million debt offering the day after reporting a jump in first-quarter earnings and daily active users

Interview with Guy Friedman, SteadyMD


It's an unusual time for the startup world, however, despite the ongoing health emergency, companies are still announcing funding. One of the companies to recently raise funding is SteadyMD (www.steadymd.com), a developer of an online telehealth service which matches up people with their own, personal doctors they can access via video, text, and phone.

5 Keys to Results in the Current Marketing Revolution

Startup Professionals Musings

Most small businesses I advise still rely on traditional advertising models, assuming they can create enough media “noise” to get customers attention and sway them. You don’t realize that person-to-person noise now dominates all channels through social media, effectively hiding business marketing messages. You now need a personal context in your marketing to get results. For example, the company GoPro makes cameras, yet now rarely ever talks about cameras in its marketing.

Los Angeles-based Frame launches mental health gateway for a pandemic-stricken generation

TechCrunch LA

The story behind Frame, the startup aiming to be the nation’s gateway into the world of therapy and mental wellness, seems like a tailor-made story of American entrepreneurial success. Its co-founders, Kendall Bird and Sage Grazer, ran their first business in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles years ago, selling out their entire inventory of lemonade to a captive audience of eager parents.