Sat.Dec 07, 2019 - Fri.Dec 13, 2019

AT&T 5G Now Live In LA, San Diego


AT&T says its next generation, 5G network is now live in both Los Angeles and San Diego, as it begins a nationwide rollout of its 5G network. According to AT&T, the rollout of its 5G network--which currently is only accessible with the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G--brings the total number of markets to ten, with plans to start building its nationwide service in the first half of 2020.

ProducePay nabs $190 million debt financing to lend to farmers

TechCrunch LA

Los Angeles-based ProducePay has inked a $190 million debt facility from Coventure and TCM Capital, to expand its lending business and marketplace for farmers.

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Aspen Neuro Bags $6.5M to Test Parkinson’s Disease Stem Cell Therapy


Nearly nine years ago Jeanne Loring and her colleagues at Scripps Research debuted a test that leveraged advances in genomics and data science to determine, without testing in animals, whether human stem cells were “pluripotent,” or able to become any type of cell in the body.

Let’s talk about your banking relationship


The warning is real. You’ve heard the old one – that a banker always seems willing to offer a loan when you don’t need it. For small businesses, there is such truth in that statement that you can trust the story to be based as fact from experience. Exceptions and good reasons to work on them.

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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.

MedMen Restructuring Brings $37 Million in Savings

L.A. Business Journal

MedMen has received $37 million in gross cash proceeds for the sale of various businesses since Nov.

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How Smart Entrepreneurs Don’t Hesitate To Seek Help

Startup Professionals Musings

While starting a new business always involves tackling many new challenges, I’ve personally found myself reluctant to ask for help. I suspect it’s a function of pride and confidence in my own problem solving abilities, but my hesitation has definitely cost me time and money.

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Preccelerator Workshop: Term Sheets w/ Caroline Cherkassky and Kelly Laffey

SoCal Tech Calendar

Tuesday, December 17, 2019 -- Preccelerator Workshop: Term Sheets w/ Caroline Cherkassky and Kelly Laffey. Topics that will be covered include: Type of financing: convertible notes vs SAFEs vs priced equity rounds Convertible notes and SAFEs: caps, discounts, and other key terms Priced equity rounds: economic provisions, voting rights, and other key terms. See [link] (more

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ProducePay Raises $205 Million Debt Financing

L.A. Business Journal

Glendale-based ProducePay Inc. raised a $205 million debt financing round Dec.

10 Ways Owners Often Jeopardize Their Business Growth

Startup Professionals Musings

When you are starting a new business, every resource is precious, including time, funding, and people. Yet we can all look back, after the fact, and realize that we could have been more memorable.

Report: Angel Investors Gain From Investing In Every Deal


A new report, from AngelList, says that angel investors at the see stage would increase their expected return by broadly indexing into every credible deal they see. AngelList claimed in its report, Startup Growth and Venture Returns, that someone who "blindly invests in every credible deal" would do better than an angel investor who happened to miss "the best-performing seed investment". AngelList's service is aimed at promoting seed investment.

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Iterum’s Antibiotic for Super Bugs Falls Short in Phase 3, Shares Sink


Iterum Therapeutics’ bid to bring patients a new antibiotic that’s safer than currently available drugs has fallen short of the main efficacy goal of a late-stage clinical trial. But the company is pinning its hopes on another Phase 3 study that will report data early next year.

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Boingo Lays Off 80 Employees

L.A. Business Journal

Westwood-based Boingo Wireless has laid off more than 15% of its workforce


10 Outside Staffing Quotes True Entrepreneurs Avoid

Startup Professionals Musings

These days, it is almost impossible to find a small business where everything is done at the home location, by full-time employees. We are in the age of outsourcing, by any of many popular names, including subcontracting, freelancing, and virtual assistants.

Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals Names New Director


Pasadena-based Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals announced this morning that it has named Marianne De Backer, Ph.D., as an independent director for the company. Backer is Executive Vice President, Head of Global Business Development & Licensing, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Pharmaceuticals Division of Bayer AG, and she also served at Johnson & Johnson.

Scripps Research, AbbVie Expand Drug Discovery Deal Beyond Cancer


The Scripps Research Institute and AbbVie have agreed to broaden an existing drug discovery agreement focused on cancer cell therapies to now encompass treatments for other kinds of disease.

Major Changes for AECOM

L.A. Business Journal

An activist investor hedge fund is driving a leadership change at Century City-based AECOM, one of the largest public companies in Los Angeles

6 Considerations For Going Public Via Reverse Merger

Startup Professionals Musings

With the current strong economy, as an active startup mentor, I’m seeing a new surge of entrepreneurs and startups, with the commensurate scramble for funding. There just aren’t enough angel investors and VCs to go around.

EDF Renewables Links With Solar Tracking Firm


San Diego-based renewable power developer EDF Renewables North America has linked with Array Technologies , a developer of single-axis solar tracking systems, to deploy those tracking systems on about two gigawatts of solar power projects being developed by EDF Renewables. Financial details of the deal were not announced.

Zentalis Steps Out With $147M Raised to Develop “Tried and True” Small Molecules


Zentalis Pharmaceuticals is banking on small molecules for cancer—leaving the “cool technologies” aside for a “tried and true” approach, says the CEO, who wants to let the science speak for itself. Since it was founded five years ago, the company has moved three compounds into the clinic.

Software Firm X1 Making Big Moves

L.A. Business Journal

Pasadena-based software developer X1 Discovery Inc. is closing out 2019 with a series of big changes

5 Factors That Set Your Best Startup Funding Strategy

Startup Professionals Musings

With the advent and popularity of crowdfunding platforms, including Kickstarter and IndieGoGo , as a winning alternative for funding your new venture, I find that many aspiring entrepreneurs are confused about the need to ever seek a professional angel investor.

Lyft Launches Car Rentals In LA


Lyft said on Thursday that it has launched a new car rental service in Los Angeles, as part of an expansion of its services. According to Lyft, the new service--which is currently only available in LA and the Bay Area--is aimed at providing a vehicle to people who need to go longer distances. Lyft said it would rent cars for weekend getaways, business trips, and to run errands, all from its app.

Eying Cancer Combos, Sanofi to Splash Out $2.5B on San Diego’s Synthorx


Synthorx is working to design new cytokine therapies for cancer using an “extended” genetic alphabet that could help avoid the shortcomings associated with earlier versions.

Postscript Raises $4M Seed Round

L.A. Business Journal

Text message marketing firm Postscript raised a $4.4 million seed round to expand its workforce and onboard new ecommerce clients

String Of High Profile Ring Camera Hacks Linked To Discord Streamers


The string of high profile hacks of Ring cameras--with major coverage by media outlets nationwide over the last two days--has been tracked back to a podcast , according to a report from Vice. According to the Vice article, a podcast that was being streamed on Discord was behind multiple takeovers of people's Ring cameras, including one where a hacker terrorized and 8-year old in her bedroom and one where racist comments were shouted at Florida couple.

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Ring: No Breach In Ring Security


Santa Monica-based Ring says that the widely publicized video this morning of a hacker taking over a Ring security camera and terrorizing an 8-year old is "no way related to a breach or compromise of Ring's security." The video--shown by NBC News--shows someone talking through a Ring camera at a terrified 8-year old. The 8-year old's parents apparently had installed a Ring camera in order to monitor their daughter's bedroom.

CurtCo, Founded By Former Robb Report Owner, Launches Podcasting Venture


Malibu-based CurtCo a new startup founded by a veteran of the magazine business, is taking on the podcasting market, and has launched what it says is a new "podcast platform". The startup, led by William (Bill) Curtis, says it has launched six original series, and will be introducing several more focused on such areas as politics, medicine, Hollywood filmmakers, luxury cars, wines as well as engaging scripted narratives and comedies.

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CrowdStrike Adds New Managed Security Provider


CrowdStrike , the provider of endpoint protection software which has major operations in Irvine, has added a new managed security provider covering the U.S., Europe, Middle East, and Latin America. CrowdStrike said it added managed security service provider ElevenPaths, Telefnica's Cybersecurity Unit, as part of its partnership program. CrowdStrike's software uses artificial intelligence for endpoint protection, malware detection, cyber threat intelligence, and other efforts. READ MORE>>.

NextGen Healthcare Acquires OTTO Health


Irvine-based NextGen Healthcare , which provides practice management software for the medical, behavioral and dental providers, has made another acquisition, saying today that it has agreed to acquire OTTO Health , a provider of software used for virtual visits. Financial terms of the acquisition were not announced. According to NextGen Healthcare, OTTO Health's virtual visit software is used in rural areas where access to health care is often lacking.

Naughty Dog Donates Proceeds Of Limited Run Games To Charity


In an unusual move, Santa Monica game development studio Naughty Dog is donating all of the proceeds of its "Limited Run" sales of four games--Jak and Daxter, Jak 2, Jak 3, and Jak X: Combat Racing--to charitable organizations, including at least one in the Los Angeles area. Naughty Dog said those funds will go to K9 for Warriors, Childs Play, Surfrider Foundation, LGBT Center of Los Angeles, Able Gamers, and DAGERS.

Wavemaker Partners Backs Balloon


Los Angeles-based venture investor Wavemaker Partners is one of the lead investors in San Francisco-based Balloon , a developer of tools used by companies for collaboration and sharing. Baloon said it raised $2.1M in seed funding, which was co-led by Jason Calacanis' LAUNCH and Wavemaker Partners along with Imagination Capital, Streamlined Ventures, XFactor Ventures, Matt Mullenweg, and others. Balloon says that its tools help companies share, collaborate, and vote on input anonymously.

Napster, Super Hi-Fi In Personalized Music Deal


Online music streaming service Napster (now owned by Rhapsody International), and Los Angeles-based audio technology developer Super Hi-Fi announced this morning that the two have entered into a partnership, where the two will work together on personalized and branded music. According to the two, they will be connecting Napster's back-end music and audio platform with Super Hi-Fi's front-end integration. Financial details of the partnership deal were not announced.

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Camino Financial Collects $8M


Los Angeles-based Camino Financial , a fintech startup offering up small business loans to Latinx businesses, announced an $8M funding round this morning, its Series A. According to the company, the funding was led by Credito Real, the Mexican financial services company. As part of that funding, $3M in convertible notes, from DILA Capital, 10x Capital Management, and others, will convert into equity.

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XOKind Finds $1.6M For AI Travel Agents


San Diego-based XOKind , a new startup focused on building artificial intelligence software for the travel market, has raised $1.6M in a seed funding round, and emerged from stealth mode, the company said today. According to XOKind, its funding round was led by Section 32, and alos included angels Adam D'Angelo, Amir Khosrowshahi, Andreas Quandt, Bob Gunderson, Ishan Mukherjee, Naveen Rao and The Operator Network (Avid Larizadeh Duggan, Chuck Dietrich, Frederic Kerrest and Jacques Kerrest).

Interview with Laurence Sotsky, The OIX


Our interview this morning is with Laurence Sotsky , the CEO of The OIX , a startup providing tax credit and tax incentive management. Sotsky is an experienced entrepreneur, who last founded and led Hopscotch; The OIX is backed by Brett Markinson, the angel investor who has backed such companies as Hautelook and LowerMyBills. WE spoke with Laurence about the startup. What is The OIX?

LA Area Man Charged In $722M Cryptocurrency Fraud


A Los Angeles area man-- Joseph Frank Abel , of Camarillo--has been charged, along with three others, in a cryptocurrency fraud scheme that allegedly stole $722 million from investors, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.