Sat.Oct 27, 2012 - Fri.Nov 02, 2012

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How Enervee Is Making Shopping For Products Energy Smart, with Matthias Kurwig

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Are you someone who'd like to save money, energy, and maybe the environment while shopping for your new television, appliance, or other electronic product? If so, how do you figure out what the better choice is when you're making those purchase decisions?

StoryBots Brings Edutainment to Second Screens | Delighting Kids

Tech Zulu Event

The Spiridellis brother-founder team behind the popular JibJab eCard line featuring personalization Starring You®, (think Elf Yourself )—have grown up and now have children of their own.

Storytelling and Startup Fundraising

Steve Reich

Every startup has an elevator pitch, but what comes next? Do potential investors’ eyes glaze over when you get beyond the quick, punchy one liner and try to REALLY describe your company? Successful fundraisers tell a complete, engaging story and close the deal. Last week, the WSJ ran a great article (add link) on the value of college humanities courses, and used comments from a successful entrepreneur to make their case.

Discount your projections. Make surprises positive.

Berkonomics

Lots of people do or will depend upon your leadership in driving growth, stability, and profitability. There will always be times when salespersons or associates provide you with projections for future sales that reflect their inherent optimism.

Arborbridge Helps International Students With Test Prep

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Hoping to help foreign students better prepare themselves to get into U.S. colleges, a new, Santa Monica startup, ArborBridge , has recently begun to ramp up its online tutoring service for the standardized SAT and ACT tests. Arborbridge, founded by Tim Urban and Andrew Finn, connects those foreign students with one-on-one, live online SAT and ACT test preparation help from tutors.

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Disney Buys Lucasfilm

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Burbank-based The Walt Disney Company has acquired Lucasfilm Ltd. , the film company owned by George Lucas, in a deal worth $4.05 billion, Disney said Tuesday afternoon. Disney said it would pay stock and cash for Lucasfilm, with approximately half in cash and 40M in shares. Lucasfilm owns the rights to Star Wars. According to George Lucas, the move came as it was time to "pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers."

Mix and Mingle | LA Startups Shows Some Bite

Tech Zulu Event

If you weren’t able to make it out to Wokcano to mix and mingle with the hottest startups this week, you missed out. Not to worry because we’ll recap the night with some information on the demos from these up and coming companies located in LA. Want to connect with dog lovers around you?

BeachFront Media Adds Windows 8 Support

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Burbank-based Beachfront Media , the firm which operates the MeFeedia video discovery site, has upgraded its tools and platform to support Windows 8. The firm said it now supports Windows 8 App creation, deployment, and management via its Beachfront Builder tool. Beachfront Builder is a tool which lets video producers, TV networks, and others create their own custom video applications; the tool is based on Beachfront Builder's work in creating the MeFeedia.

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Amazon Studios Options Another Comedy Series

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Amazon Studios , the content production arm of Amazon.com, said Monday that it has optioned another comedy series. Amazon said that it has optioned "Those Who Can't", a comedy show written by Andrew Orvedahl, Adam Cayton-Holland, and Benjamin Roy, the writers behind the web series The Grawlix. Amazon has been in the process of optioning different content projects, which it intends to turn into original content for its streaming video service.

Unusual Perk For SoCal Technology Firm: Unlimited, Paid Vacation

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In what might be one of the more unusual perks for a Southern California high tech company, LRN , a developer of enterprise compliance and ethics software, has an unlimited, paid vacation policy. The firm's policy recently came to light in a WSJ article. The firm--which looks to be recruiting Java Developers, project managers, and UX/UI designers in its LA location--apparently lets employees take off as much time as they feel like they need, as one of the perks for working for the company.

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Friday Tech Video Roundup for Southern California for November 2, 2012

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Some of the highlights from this week from socalTECH's video section , where we're currently featuring community videos from and about local startups:  Perfect Market's Gangnam Style Halloween.

Lowercase Capital Boots Up New LA Investment Fund

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Another, Silicon Valley investor-- Chris Sacca --has his eyes on investments in Los Angeles, saying that his super angel fund, Lowercase Capital , has just hired a full time director in Los Angeles to make investments in local startups. The news came at a PandoDaily event Thursday evening.

NewEgg Kicks Off Early Holiday Shopping Season

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Red 5 Studios Lands $15M More

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Aliso Viejo-based videogame developer Red 5 Studios has just raised $15M in a debt funding round, according to a regulatory filing by the company. Details on the funding have not yet been announced by the company.

Invested.in Gets $830K More In Seed Funding

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Invested.in , the developer of a web-based platform for crowdfunding which is part of AmplifyLA, is announcing today that it has raised $830,000 more in a seed funding round. The round was led by Kamran Pourzanjani, the founder of PriceGrabber who is now head of Bestcovery.

The Resumator Gets $2.1M From Rincon

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Rincon Venture Partners , the Santa Barbara-based venture capital fund run by Jim Andelman , John Greathouse , and Brian Kelly , has led the investment in a developer of social recruiting software tools for companies, The Resumator. According to Resumator, the Series B round was led by Birchmere Ventures , Rincon Venture Partners and Salesforce.com, and also included Innovation Works and ff Venture Capital.

Stacking Up Southern California's Cheap/Free 4G Wireless Providers

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A number of services have emerged in Southern California in the last few months, offering up free, or very inexpensive, 4G wireless connections.

Boingo Extends VPN Support To Windows, Mac

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Boingo Wireless , the Wi-Fi network operator, said Friday that it has added virtual private network (VPN) support to the Mac and Windows version of its Wi-Finder app. The new feature helps users protect themselves from possible security issues when using wireless networks.

Tech Coast Angels Top Angel Group Investments In First Half

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The Tech Coast Angels was the most active group in the first half of the year, in terms of investments, the group said Friday, citing a the HALO Report from Silicon Valley Bank, Angel Resource Institute and CB Insights.

Club W Doubles Down On Accelerators With Investment From 500Startups

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Club W , the personalized wine subscription service at AmplifyLA, has doubled down with accelerators, and is part of a new class of startups announced by 500Startups earlier this week.

Hurricane Sandy Provides More Woes For Fisker Automotive

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It looks like Hurricane Sandy didn't limit its damage to the East Coast.

Fisker Automotive Offers Up Parking Lot For Hurricane Recovery

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Hurricane Sandy may have kicked the auto firm while it was down, but Fisker Automotive is fighting back by offering up the parking lot of its Wilmington, Delaware automotive plant as a headquarters location for utility crews looking to reconnect power on the East coast.

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MINDBODY Raises $35M

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San Luis Obispo-based MINDBODY has raised a big, $35M venture capital round this morning, led by Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), along with Catalyst Investors (Catalyst) and Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP).

Boingo Wins Dallas Love Field

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Boingo Wireless , the Wi-Fi hotspot network operator, has scored a win at the Dallas Love Field airport, the company said today. The Los Angeles company said that it will will install, manage and operate neutral host Wi-Fi and DAS networks for the airport as part of a modernization initiative.

GRP Partners Hits $148.6M In New Fund, GRP IV

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GRP Partners , the venture capital firm managed by Steven Dietz, Brian McLoughlin, Yves Sisteron, and Mark Suster, seems to be making good progress on its newest fund, GRP IV, according to a regulatory filing from the firm filed Wednesday. The regulatory filing indicates GRP has raised $148.6M

Video: Darth Vader Goes To Disneyland

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If you're Darth Vader, what do you do now that you are owned by Walt Disney Co. ? A video just released by Walt Disney Parks imagines the result. Burbank-based Walt Disney bought LucasFilm , the company started by George Lucas and which owns Star Wars, for $4.05 billion Tuesday). READ MORE>>.

Accelerator To Exit In 14 Months, With Eli Portnoy of ThinkNear

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There's been a sudden surge in accelerator in Southern California, looking to help get startups off the ground and funded. But, do they really help?

Insights and Opinions: Storytelling and Startup Fundraising

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You've got your elevator pitch, but how much are you really engaging potential investors? For our Insights and Opinions section this morning, Steve Reich tells why it's as important to tell the whole story of your startup to close the deal with investors.

Miro Technologies Acquired By Boeing

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San Diego-based Miro Technologies , a developer of software to manage maintenance, supply chain, and repair for the defense and aerospace industry, has been acquired by Boeing. Financial terms of the buy were not disclosed. Miro becomes part of Boeing's Defense, Space & Security arm.

SpaceX Dragon Returns Successfully From ISS

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The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft successfully touched down at 12:22 p.m. on Sunday, landing off the coast of Baja California, in the first cargo delivery flight of the spacecraft to the International Space Station.

Decoding The Science Behind The Laughs, With Daniel Altman of Laffster

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One of the major growth areas along Silicon Beach has been in the whole area of creating content for digital platforms. But, how do you figure out what actual content will resonate with online consumers?

Nanoogo Gets Funding To Spur Creativity In Kids

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Nanoogo , an online service focused on helping encourage creativity in kids, has scored a round of angel funding from the Tech Coast Angels, according to a report today from the group. Size and timing of the round was not announced. Nanoogo operates an online website which lets kids share their talents--photos, drawings, and creations--online in a social forum. The firm was one of a number, previously unannounced investments by the Tech Coast Angels.

United Online: FTD Split Expected By August 2013

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Woodland Hills-based United Online , the hybrid Internet Service Provider and flower delivery service (via FTD), reported yesterday in its quarterly results that it now expects to spin off FTD as an independent, publicly traded company by August of 2013. United Online also said it is looking at "strategic alternatives" for its other businesses. United Online had said in August that it was looking to split the two businesses. United Online owns Memory Lane, Classmates, MyPoints, NetZero, and Juno.

International Rectifier To Shut El Segundo Plant In March

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El Segundo-based International Rectifier , a manufacturer of analog, digital, and mixed signal ICs, said it expects to close its El Segundo based fabrication facility by the end of March, 2013. International Rectifier had announced the move in August. IR is also downsizing its Newport, Wales fabrication facility. International Rectifier said the cuts are expected to save it approximately $40M a year, when completed. International Rectifier did not say how many employees are being cut in the move.