Sat.Mar 21, 2020 - Fri.Mar 27, 2020

Private tech companies mobilize to address shortages for medical supplies, masks and sanitizer

TechCrunch LA

Startups across the nation and around the world are looking for ways to relieve shortages of much-needed personal protective equipment and sanitizers used to halt the spread of COVID-19.

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Could you be your company’s bottleneck?


So many tasks; so little time. As a manager, you have a number of critical tasks that are general to your position as opposed to specific to your industry.

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Feet First Entertainment Launches New Virtual Event For Remote Employees


Culver City-based Feet First Events , which runs corporate team building events, says it has launched a new "virtual game" aimed at helping businesses adapt their teams to working remotely. According to the company--which normally runs in-person, corporate team building events--its new "Cyber Sleuths" virtual game uses video and web-conferencing platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Team, Google Hangouts learn the tools to succeed working remotely for the first time.

5 Entrepreneur Lifestyle Drivers That Lead To Success

Startup Professionals Musings

As a startup advisor, I see many aspiring entrepreneurs whose primary motivation seems to be to work part time, or get rich quick, or avoid anyone else telling them what to do.

500 Startups moves to rolling admissions instead of cohorts

TechCrunch LA

500 Startups is scrapping its cohort model for accelerating companies and moving to a rolling admissions process, the accelerator said during its latest demo day.

Mixed Results for SpaceX

L.A. Business Journal

The latest effort by Hawthorne-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp. to increase its international broadband internet service produced mixed results

Bird Dumps 400 Employees Via Zoom


Santa Monica-based Bird reportedly let 400 of its employees go on Friday, via a pre-recorded Zoom meeting, according to a report. The on-demand scooter company said it laid off 30% of its staff, saying "Layoffs are never easy or comfortable to do" and saying that the layoffs were done as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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News-reading app Flipboard expands local coverage, including coronavirus updates, to 12 more US metros

TechCrunch LA

Earlier this year, personalized news aggregation app Flipboard expanded into local news. The feature brought local news, sports, real estate, weather, transportation news and more to 23 cities across the U.S. Today, Flipboard is bringing local news to 12 more U.S.

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Bio Roundup: Clinical Trials Paused, New MS Drug, Kallyope’s Cash & More


Finding and enrolling patients for clinical trials is always challenging. The coronavirus pandemic has made it nearly impossible.

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Zovio Boosts Hiring In San Diego


Chandler, Arizona-based Zovio , a provider of education technology services, says it plans to boost hiring in San Diego, as well as in Chandler, Arizona and Denver, Colorado, as a result of soaring unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company said it provides personalized learning products for higher education institutions.

6 Keys To Managing Funding From People Close To You

Startup Professionals Musings

In their passion to succeed, too many entrepreneurs treat friends and family investments as “low-hanging” fruit, only to find out later, after a stumble, that the pain of lost relationships is greater than the loss of their beloved startup.

Los Angeles-based Ficto launches its Quibi competitor — with Niantic as a content partner

TechCrunch LA

Consumers now have their first chance to sample the wares of a short-form streaming service — and it’s not Quibi.

Forge Inks Roche Deal For Antibiotic Aimed at Drug-Resistant Infections


Forge Therapeutics has set an agreement with Roche that gives the Swiss pharma giant the option to license a new antibiotic Forge is developing to treat serious drug-resistant bacterial lung infections.

XPRIZE Launches Pandemic Alliance To Tackle COVID-19


Marina del Rey-based XPRIZE has launched a new effort, the XPRIZE Pandemic Allaince , which it says will help scale the impact and promise of solutions to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Acording to the group--which normally runs competitions to spur development in technology--says the new group is open to the world's innovators, clinicians, researchers, data scientists, institutions, and experts, to help push breakthroughs, research, tap into a network of supports and partners, and more.

10 Strategies For Attracting Investors That Will Fail

Startup Professionals Musings

Many new entrepreneurs are so excited by their latest idea that they can’t resist contacting every investor they know, assuming the investor will be equally excited and want to contribute immediately.

Rocket Lab postpones next mission due to coronavirus pandemic

TechCrunch LA

Rocket Lab is the latest new space company to feel the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic: The small satellite launcher announced on Tuesday that it would be suspending its next launch, a mission called ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ that was set to take-off from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia peninsula on March 30. The launch is a rideshare mission that includes satellites from a range of customers, including NASA, as well as the US.

FDA Approves Bristol Myers MS Drug, But Pandemic Will Delay Launch


A multiple sclerosis drug that came to Bristol Myers Squibb via its acquisition of Celgene last year was approved Thursday but don’t expect it to reach patients any time soon. The company says the drug’s launch will be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

3Diligent Aims To Coordinate 3D Printer Response To Pandemic


El Segundo-based 3D printing services provider 3Diligent says it is looking to help coordinate digital manufacturing and 3D printing efforts to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to healthcare workers, as a severe shortage of the protective equipment has emerged in the United States. The company said it will offer up its Shopsight ERP software for free to both companies and individuals, and coordinate rapid manufacturing of PPE to meet demand.

7 Tips To Maximize Breakthrough Thinking In Business

Startup Professionals Musings

Most of you realize that survival in business today requires grabbing hold of tomorrow’s opportunities with disruptive innovation , before your competition or a new startup gets there. The challenge is to create a culture of forward thinking in your company, and avoid the traps of following the paths of least resistance and most comfort that appear in every mature company.

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Volvo’s Polestar begins production of the all-electric Polestar 2 in China

TechCrunch LA

Polestar has started production of its all-electric Polestar 2 vehicle at a plant in China amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has upended the automotive industry and triggered a wave of factory closures throughout the world. The start of Polestar 2 production is a milestone for Volvo Car Group’s standalone electric performance brand — and not just because it began in the midst of global upheaval caused by COVID-19, a disease that stems from the coronavirus.

Investors Shaken by Coronavirus Sow Seeds of M&A, Financing Slowdown


The coronavirus pandemic is narrowing the avenues open to biotechs for financing their endeavors, according to some industry veterans. “I I think that fear of losing out has pretty much gone out the window right now,” said Equillium (NASDAQ: EQ ) CEO Bruce Steel in a phone interview with Xconomy, speaking generally of investor appetite. “I

Xencor Licenses Antibody Technology To Vir Biotechnology For COVID-19 Treatment


Monrovia, California-based Xencor , a biopharmaceutical company which develops engineered monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune disease, says it is extending a license for its technology to Vir Biotechnology , in use in developing antibodies to treat COVID-19, the disease cased by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Financial details of the deal were not announced.

Social Bluebook was hacked, exposing 217,000 influencers’ accounts

TechCrunch LA

A social media platform used to match advertisers with thousands of influencers has been hacked. Social Bluebook, a Los Angeles-based company, allows advertisers to pay social media “influencers” for posts that promote their products and services. The company claims it has some 300,000 influencers on its books. But in October 2019, the company’s entire backend database was stolen in a data breach.

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Report: News/Talk Streaming Audio Grows Due To COVID-19


Los Angeles-based Triton Digital , which provides technology to help the digital audio and podcasting industry with streaming and advertising, says that news and talk format streaming is growing as a result of the ongoing disruption due to COVID-19. According to Triton Digital, it saw a 14 percent increase in the share of streaming attributable to News/Talk formatted radio station, on both AM/FM streaming and station formats.

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Catasys Sees Surge In Telehealth Enrollment Due To Pandemic


Santa Monica-based Catasys , a provider of artificial intelligence and technology-enabled healthcare products used for telehealth services, says it is seeing a surge in enrollment in its programs, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. According to the company, it is surpassing a weekly rate of 500 member enrollments for the month of March for its OnTrak programs. The company says it historically sees approximately $6,500 net revenue per enrolled member.

Ingram Extends Credit, Financing To Partners Due To COVID-19 Impact


Irvine-based technology distributor Ingram Micro says it is looking to help the many U.S. and Canadian small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) it serves, who are facing a cash crunch due to the ongoing COVID-19 disease outbreak.

Thirdwayv Bolsters Advisory Board


Irvine-based Thirdwayv , a developer of connectivity and security products for the IoT industry, said it has named a new advisory board, adding five people to help guide the company. The group includes David C. Klonoff, M.D., the founder of Diabetes Technology Society; David Kleidermacher; Google's Vice President of Engineering and former Chief Security Officer at BlackBerry; Raafat Fahim, Ph.D, president of REFF Consulting and former president and CEO of Nabi Biopharmaceuticals; Michale L.

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HyperX Ships New Product, ChargePlay Clutch for Mobile


Fountain Valley-based HyperX , the gaming product division of Kingston Technology, says it has shipped a new product, the ChargePlay Clutch for mobile. The gaming controller uses the Qi wireless cahrging standard and a detachable battery pack. HyperX said the new product is available for $59.99 MSRP, through both its own online store as well as Amazon. The company said the new gaming controller also support USB charging, and fits most smart phones. READ MORE>>.

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Chipotle Shifts eSports Competition Online


Newport Beach-based restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill says it is shifting its eSports competition, the 2020 Chipotle Challenger Series , into an online tournament format. The eSports tournament--which was in person in Dallas, Texas last year--will include both professional gamers and celebrities, and will offer up $50,000 in prizes and free Chipotle for a year. The company said the eSports tournament will have a finale on April 25th, which will be broadcast on Twitch and YouTube.

Seek Thermal Rolls Out Temperature Screening System


Santa Barbara-based Seek Thermal , which develops thermal imaging products, says it has rolled out a new, low-cost thermal imaging system which automates temperature screening using skin temperature. The company said its new product, Seek Scan, delivers accurate skin temperature measurements, automatically detecting faces, and alerts if someone is warmer than a customizable alarm temperature.

GoodRx Launches Marketplace For Online Doctor's Visits


Santa Monica-based online healthcare marketplace operator GoodRx , which operates online marketplaces for prescriptions, doctors, and other healthcare services, is expanding its marketplace to include online doctor's visits (telehealth). The company said the GoodRx telehealth marketplace will make it easier for patients to find online medical providers. GoodRx said the service will let patients compare prices, review prescription delivery options and receive discounts.

Slingshot Aerospace Gets $3M


Los Angeles-based Slingshot Aerospace , a developer of software which combines satellite, aerial, drone and other data, has raised $3.0M in a combination of venture capital and a Small Business Innnovation Research contract, the company said on Thursday. According to the company, it received $1.5M in funding from ATX Venture Partners and Revolution's Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, and $1.5M from the U.S. Air Force via the SBIR contract.

Cloudbreak Integrates With Zoom


Los Angeles-based telemedicine provider Cloudbreak Health , which provides telemedicine and video medical interpretation services, says it has integrated the popular Zoom video conferencing service into its telemedicine platform. According to the company, the integration makes it easier for healthcare providers to access its services, including secure, live remote interpretation in roughly 250 languages.

Verizon To Provide LA Students With Free, Unlimited Internet


Verizon and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) say that they will provide students with free, unlimited Internet connectivity to students who currently have no access to the Internet from home, as part of a plan to make sure students can continue learning even as the LAUSD has closed its campuses, the two said this week. Financial details of the deal between LAUSD and Verizon were not disclosed by the companies.

SpaceX Parachute Test Issue Likely To Delay Crew Launch


The recent issue during a parachute test of the SpaceX Crew Dragon is likely to cause a delay to the plans of the Hawthorne, California-based company to launch astronauts the International Space Station, according to a report on Wednesday. According to a report from Parabolic Arc, an abnormal condition early in March during a parachute test for the Crew Dragon potentially delays the SpaceX launch to the ISS until June.

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Green Dot Names New CEO


Pasadena-based Green Dot Corporation , the provider of banking services--which is best known for its prepaid debit cards--said it has named Dan Henry as the company's Chief Executive Officer. Henry also will join the company's board. Henry was previously CEO of Netspend, another provider of prepaid debit cards, where he was until 2014; Henry had also been involved in Netspend's IPO in 2010. Henry also was the co-founder of Euronet Worldwide, is chairman of Paysign Inc.,

AWM Smart Shelf Launches Automated Market In OC


Santa Ana-based AWM Smart Shelf (Adroit Worldwide Media), which develops computer vision and machine learning technology, says it has opened up its very first "autonomous micromarket" in Santa Ana, which lets residents of the Nineteen01 luxury apartment community shop for sodas, water, juice, food, and more--all without the need for a clerk.