December, 2022

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Praying to the God of Valuation

Both Sides of the Table

Something happened in the past 7 years in the startup and venture capital world that I hadn’t experienced since the late 90’s — we all began praying to the God of Valuation. It wasn’t always like this and frankly it took a lot of joy out of the industry for me personally. What happened? How might our next phase of the journey seem brighter, even with more uncertain days for startups and capital markets?

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Micromobility in limbo: Takeaways from Paris and LA

TechCrunch LA

Shared electric scooters came onto the scene five years ago with a promising vision of getting people out of cars and onto greener modes of transportation. Yet despite billions in VC money and plenty of hype , the future that micromobility companies promised still hasn’t quite arrived. In cities like Paris, most people aren’t replacing car trips with shared e-scooter jaunts in a meaningful way; the cost of riding scooters makes them an expensive option for last-mile transit connections and equit

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Clues: How to think like a growth CEO

Berkonomics

Growth CEOs differ from those who merely station–keep their way into the status quo, protecting the enterprise by reducing risk and cost – without creating a vision and action plan for growth. Here is how to test yourself. Here is a way to test yourself with a tool useful for any leader seeking to create positive change. Authors Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Oglivie have created a framework for creation of a new product or service – one worth spending at least a cycle of time for review.

Design 156
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5 Keys To Satisfaction When Starting A New Business

Startup Professionals Musings

According to a classic Gallup survey , job satisfaction for employees has reached an all-time low. Only 13 percent of workers are fully engaged in their job. The sad part is that it seems to be getting worse, rather than better. One alternative is to become an entrepreneur. As a mentor to many aspiring entrepreneurs, I’m often asked what it takes to get satisfaction from this lifestyle.

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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.

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Six Tech Startups to Look Out For in 2023

Tech.Co

With over 305 million start-ups being created every year globally, standing out from the crowd is a huge challenge. Only companies with cutting-edge concepts and crystal-clear market strategies stand a chance of surviving through their first year, let alone making a profit. We've scoured the startup scene to find out which budding businesses have made big waves in 2022 — and whose growth is showing no signs of slowing down.

Startup 118
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EDF Renewables North America Inks Renewable Energy Investment From Munich Re

socalTECH

San Diego-based renewable energy developer EDF Renewables North America said on Wednesday that the company has closed on a strategic investment, where Munich Re will acquire a 50 percent stage in two, renewable energy projects in California. According to the company, the projects include a total of 310 megawatts (MWdc) of solar and 50 MW / 200 MWh of battery storage.

Riverside 113

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Customer loyalty comes in four special forms.

Berkonomics

Repeat customers, raving fans, angry backlashers, commodity shoppers. Wow, what a range of loyalty these represent. And in your years, you may have experienced all of these. First, negative kinds of loyalty: Here’s another way to look at the ladder to an ideal customer loyalty relationship. But first, let’s examine the three kinds of loyalty you don’t want to engender….

Customer 156
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Rinse and repeat: revitalizing your business

Berkonomics

Here’s a statement that you never thought would apply to your business planning. . Sometimes we get stuck in the muck with our marketing, product, management focus, and in keeping up with trends. It is natural for executives and entrepreneurs with lots on their plate and little extra time – to just keep up the same activities that have made the company a success.

Activity 156
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Meetings insight: Just three actionable items!

Berkonomics

How do you get your team to focus and move forward effectively? . A fellow CEO recently told me of her method of assuring positive movement within her team. She holds a weekly meeting of her direct reports and asks them to find three important but actionable items for the group to work on if not complete during the following week. This works for live meetings or those using video team meetings.

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A Lesson: It’s what you ask, not what you know.

Berkonomics

A true story with a moral for all of us. A friend recently told me a story that had nothing to do with business, but unintentionally had a great lesson for all of us. He had asked his arborist if he could move a mature tree from one part of his property to another – to make room for an addition to his home. “Yes,” replied the professional. “And how much would it cost?

Email 156
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7 Keys To Heightening Your Business Team Engagement

Startup Professionals Musings

I was shocked to read an old Gallup study that indicates only 13 percent of employees worldwide are actively engaged at work, and more recent data shows only a small change in the right direction. In my own experience as a startup advisor and mentor, I find that entrepreneurs who can’t attract and maintain a highly motivated team rarely even get off the ground.

Examples 145
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7 Stages In The Evolution Of A Startup To A Business

Startup Professionals Musings

As a business advisor, I have too often seen technical entrepreneurs get a product or service off the ground with ease, but then struggle mightily when their business reaches a couple of million in annual sales, or the employee count grows beyond a handful. It’s at this stage that the job changes from creative and tactical to managerial and strategic.

Startup 137
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8 Strategies To Drive Your Startup To Profitability

Startup Professionals Musings

A common pain of startups after an exhilarating first surge of early adopters is a long and frustrating plateau of slow growth, where it seems like nothing you do will get your business to profitability. Too many entrepreneurs don’t know what to do at this point, largely accounting for a disappointing 50 percent of startups that fail in the first five years, according to InvoiceTracker.

Startup 134
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Virgin Orbit Gets UK Licenses For Launch

socalTECH

Mojave-based Virgin Orbit is getting set for its first launch in the United Kingdom, and has just obtained the required licenses from the UK for that effort. Acording to the UK Civil Aviation Authority, Virgin Orbit has "has taken all reasonable steps to ensure safety risks arising from launch activities are as low as reasonably practicable." Virgin Orbit's space launch system is based suspending a rocket on a modified 747.

Activity 113
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Avidity Biosciences Ups Public Offering Size

socalTECH

San Diego-based biopharmaceuticals company Avidity Biosciences said on Thursday that it has upsized its public offering, and will be offering up 12,000,000 shares of its common stock at a price to the public of $17.25 per share, and is now expecting to raise $207M for the company. The company said it plans to use the new funding to fund the research and development of its development programs, to continue development work associated with advancing its AOC platform and for working capital and gen

San Diego 113
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TuSimple Names Permanent CFO, Names New Board Members

socalTECH

San Diego-based autonomous driving technology developer TuSimple -- which has been fighting a possible deslisting after firing its CEO -- said it has named a new FO, and named multiple people to its board, as well as reconstituted its audit committee. The company said it has named Michael Mosier as its Government Security Director; Mosier was most recently Acting Director of at the U.S.

San Diego 113
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AllGear Digital Raises $40M

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based AllGear Digital--which owns media sites GearJunkie, Switchback Travel, Bikerumor, and others--said on Thursday that it has raised $40M in a funding round. The funding was led by Bardin Hill Investment Partners. The company--run by co-founder and CEO Eric Phung--was previously known as Lola Digital Media. The company said the new funding will go to "organic growth initiatives" and to bring on additional publishers.

Media 113
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Appia Bio Names Scientific Advisory Board Member

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based biotechnology company Appia Bio said this morning that it has named Robert S. Negrin, M.D., to its Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Negrin is a professor of medicine and former chief of the Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation at Stanford University. Appia Bio says it is developing allogeneic chimeric antigen receptor natural killer T (CAR-NKT) cell therapies for cancer patients; its founders include Nobel laureate David Baltimore, Ph.D., who is president emeritus and dis

CalTech 113
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Docupace Launches New Product

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based Docupace, a developer of cloud-based software for the wealth management industry, said today that it has launched a new product. The company said its RIA Productivity Suite is aimed at advisory firms to help them digitize, streamline, connect, and automate their operations. Pricing on the new product was not announced. The company said its software includes everything from client onboarding, to CRM, doument storage, digital signatures, and more.

Product 113
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GoGuardian Names Co-President, COO

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based GoGuardian, which develops software for the K-12 education market, said on Monday that it has named Michael Jonas as Co-President and Chief Operating Officer (COO). Jonas has been the CFO of GoGuardian since 2019. Jonas was previously CFO of ThriftBooks and spent 14 years at Microsoft.

Education 113
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Maxwell Biomedical Buys Cardialen

socalTECH

San Diego-based Maxwell Biomedical announced this morning that it has acquired Cardialen, a Minneapolis-based company that develops a low-energy defibrillation and cardioversion therapy designed to treat atrial fibrillation (AFib) and ventricular tachycardia (VT). Financial details of the transaction were not announced. Maxwell Biomedical was founded in 2019, and says it is working on an atrial pacing device that automatically detects AFib and imperceptibly delivers SRT to restore and maintain a

San Diego 113
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Beni Raises $5M For Secondhand Shopping Software

socalTECH

Santa Barbara-based Beni, a startup which lets users find and buy secondhand apparel and accessories, said this morning that it has raised $5M in funding. According to the company, the funding was spit between a seed round of $4M, and earlier pre-seed and seed funding. The new seed funding was led by Bouyant Ventures, and also included Better Ventures,XYZ Venture Capital, Chingona Ventures, and Starting Line Ventures.

Software 113
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Fisker Unveils New Vehicle, The Fisker Ronin

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based electric vehicle manufacturer Fisker has unveiled an image of a new vehicle, the Fisker Ronin, a new, convertible, electric vehicle. Fisker--which has just started ramping up production of its first vehicle, the Fisker Ocean--says it hopes to start production in late 2023 for the new vehicle, with shipments in 2024. Fisker is claiming that the Ronin will have a 660 mile range between recharges.

Startup 113
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Pack Picks Up $3M For Ecommerce Tools

socalTECH

San Diego-based Pack, a developer of e-commerce tools, says it has raised $3M in a seed funding round. The funding was led by Norwest Venture Partners, and also included Alpaca and Vanterra Ventures. Pack says it is developing what it calls "headless commerce", which helps brands create personalized shopping experiences. The company said the funding goes towards engineering, product, design, and go-to-market.

Tool 113
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RepairSmith Acquired By AutoNation For $190M

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based mobile automotive repair and maintenance startup RepairSmith has been acquired by automotive retailer AutoNation said on Monday. According to AutoNation, it will pay $190M for RepairSmith, in a deal which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023. AutoNation says RepairSmith has significant operational footprint in the southern and western United States.

Mobile 113
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Rivian Pauses Deal with Mercedes-Benz

socalTECH

Irvine-based electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian said this morning that it will "no longer pursue" the Memorandum of Understanding with Mercedes-Benz, where it would co-produce electric vans in Europe with Mercedes-Benz. According to Rivian, the deal--which it only announced a few weeks ago--was paused so it can "pursue the best risk-adjusted returns on our capital investments", and so it can focus on its "current consumer product development roadmap and manufacturing capacity expansion as well

Invest 113
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FTC Files Suit To Block Microsoft's Activision Blizzard Buy

socalTECH

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said on Thursday that it is looking to block the acquisition of Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard by Microsoft Corp., saying the buy will "harm competition in high-performance gaming consoles and subscription services". According to the FTC, the $69 billion deal will "enable Microsoft to suppress competitors to its Xbox gaming consoles and its rapidly growing subscription content and cloud-gaming business.

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Ecotrak Launches New Software

socalTECH

Irvine-based Ecotrak announced this morning that it has launched a new mobile application, which it says connects service technicians with business customers. The company said its new Techtrak software enables field service technicians to manage work orders, assets, create proposals, communicate with customers and send invoices. Pricing on the product was not announced.

Software 113
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Drata Raises $200M In Series C, Now Worth $2 Billion

socalTECH

San Diego-based security and compliance automation software developer Drata announced this morning that it has raised $200M in its Series C funding round, at a valuation of $2 billion. According to the company, the funding was co-led by ICONIQ Growth and GGV Capital, and also included Salesforce Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, S Ventures (SentinelOne), Silicon Valley CISO Investments (SVCI), and FOG Ventures (Operators Guild)pus angels Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn), Frank Slootman (Snowflake), Jennifer Teja

San Diego 113
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Ad.net Buys IntentX

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based digital performance advertising firm Ad.net announced on Wednesday morning that it has acquired IntentX. Financial details of the acquisition were not announced. According to Ad.net, IntentX's publishing partners include Accuweather, DailyMail, Fandom, and PCWorld. IntentX was founded in 2019 by Mom Chan and Vamsu Putrevu. Ad.net is backed by private equity investor Clarion Capital, and is led by CEO Jon Waterman.

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Sega Opens New Offices In Irvine

socalTECH

Irvine-based Sega of America announced on Wednesday that it is opening up new offices in Irvine, which includes 31,700 square feet, and will house up to 235 local employees. The company said the new headquarters in Irvine includes members of its publishing departments, as well as its ATLUS GAMES subsidiary. The company said its new space is designed to "facilitate onsite collaboration, creative ideation and media streaming opportunities.".

Design 113
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AtlasJobs Wins Healthcare Operator

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based AtlasJobs, a developer of a white-label web and mobile app for talent acquisition, said it has signed up healthcare operator PAM Health as a customer. Financial details of the win were not announced. AtlasJobs said that PAM Health has a network of over 100 specialty hospitals and outpatient clinics across the United States. AtlasJobs is led by Dr.

Web 113
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ThreatHunter.ai Claims Bump In Cyber Attacks

socalTECH

Brea-based cybersecurity software developer ThreatHunter.ai says it has seen a "significant increase" in the number of cyber-attacks targeting organizations over the last 12 months. The company--which develops artificial intelligence (AI) powered cybersecurity products says its customers have seen a "dramatic increase" in attack attempts over the past year.

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Slingshot Aerospace Picks Up $40.85M More For Space Tracking Systems

socalTECH

El Segundo, California and Austin, Texas-based Slingshot Aerospace announced this morning that it has raised $40.85M in a funding round, a Series A2 funding. The company--which develops orbital space tracking systems--said the funding was led by Sway Ventures and included participation from others, including C16 Ventures, ATX Venture Partners, Lockheed Martin Ventures, Valor Equity Partners, and Draper Associates.

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RemotePC Upgrades Help Desk Product

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based RemotePC, the remote help desk service run by IDrive, said it launched a new version of its product last week. According to the company, the new version of its software simplifies its user interface, provides enhanced performance, and also includes logs of activities performed within its app. The company's software allows IT administrators to connect to PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android devices for remote IT support.

Help 113
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Los Angeles Rams Adds In-Stadium Augmented Reality

socalTECH

The Los Angeles Rams have teamed up with a company to provide in-stadium augmented reality (AR) at SoFi Stadium, in a deal with an AR company called ARound. According to Around, it provides "3D spatial computing" to provide localized content to SoFi's stadiums 70,000 attendees, offering up real-time 3D effects and other features on the field. The company said those effects include experiences tied to when a touchdown is scored, or when a team takes the field, and also special effects for particu