Sat.Apr 11, 2020 - Fri.Apr 17, 2020

Three questions to answer about your COVID response

Berkonomics

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.

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.

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Amazon Quietly Slashes Affiliate Rewards

Tech.Co

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.

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Riot Games Acquires Hypixel Studios

L.A. Business Journal

Riot Games acquires Canadian video game developer Hypixel Studios

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.

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AlchemyLeads Helps Businesses Increase Both Traffic And Web Conversions

AllTopStartups

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.

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

socalTECH

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.

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Arcturus Poised to Move Liver Drug, COVID-19 Vaccine Into Clinic

Xconomy

Messenger RNA drug developer Arcturus Therapeutics is ready to kick off its first-ever human trials this year, beginning clinical evaluation of its lead drug candidate and testing a vaccine designed to target the novel coronavirus.

Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health Launches New Fund

socalTECH

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.

Services Helping Teachers, Students

L.A. Business Journal

Several Los Angeles tech businesses have stepped up to assist the thousands of students and educators across the United States who are adapting to virtual classrooms amid coronavirus-driven school closures

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7 Winning Business Writing Pointers For Entrepreneurs

Startup Professionals Musings

Even in this age of videos and text messages, the quickest way to kill your startup dream with investors, business partners, or even customers, is embarrassingly poor writing.

GSK and Sanofi Team Up on COVID-19 Vaccine, Aim for Clinic This Year

Xconomy

Pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi are teaming up on COVID-19 research, aiming to combine their respective technologies in a new vaccine that could start clinical trials in coming months. The full details of the agreement, which was announced Tuesday, are still being finalized.

Movandi Finds $27M In Series C

socalTECH

Irvine-based hardware maker Movandi , a developer of millimeter wave, wireless technology used for 5G networks, has raised $27M in a Series C funding, according to the company. The funding was led by WRVI Capital, and also included Cota Capital and DNX Ventures. According to ovandi, it will use the new funding to further develop its 5G millimeter wave technology and expand rollout of 5G networks and devices. Movandi is led by CEO and co-founder Maryam Rofougaran.

Allset Raises $8M Series B

L.A. Business Journal

Playa Vista-based restaurant app developer Allset Technologies Inc. said it has raised $8.25 million in a Series B funding round led by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London

6 Ways To Doom Your Startup Despite A Great Solution

Startup Professionals Musings

As an entrepreneur mentor and startup investor, I see with sadness the 50 to 90 percent that fail. If you ask them for a reason, most will insist that they couldn’t get funding, or they ran out of money too early. But I’m not convinced that it’s as simple as that.

COVID-19 Vax Efforts Aim to Balance Speed, Efficacy in Race to Market

Xconomy

If Peter Marks had a magic wand to perfect the sophisticated process that takes a new vaccine from idea to reality, the US could have a way to prevent some people from COVID-19 infection in nine months to one year.

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Virgin Galactic Gets Critical Infrastructure Exemption

socalTECH

Mojave-based Virgin Galactic , the commercial space tourism company which is backed by Sir Richard Branson, has received a a href="[link] infrastructure exemption , allowing the company to continue to operate during lockdown of most U.S. states. Virgin Galactic has been seeking to launch tourists into space as early as sometime this year. Virgin Galactic manufactures its spacecrafts in Mojave, and has a futuristic spaceport in New Mexico. READ MORE>>.

6 Realities To Evaluate Your Outsourcing Alternatives

Startup Professionals Musings

If you have a software development background like mine, I’m sure you often get questions about when to outsource, versus building the solution in-house. The same applies to manufacturing and almost any process these days.

NASA, SpaceX To Send Astronauts To ISS On May 27th

socalTECH

In a major win for Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX , NASA announced on Friday morning that it plans to send astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) on May 27th. According to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, the launch--which will be the first from American soil since the Space Shuttle was retired--will happen in a SpaceX Crew Dragon, sitting atop a Falcon 9 rocket. The spaceflight will include two astronauts, Col. Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. READ MORE>>.

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Pony.ai Launches Driverless Delivery In Irvine

socalTECH

Pony.ai , a Chinese developer of self driving cars, said this morning that it has begun using its driverless cars for deliveries in Irvine, California, for purchases made off the e-commerce site Yamibuy. The move comes after the company's plan to launch a "robo-taxi" service were suspended due to widespread "shelter-in-place" in California. Yamibuy is an online site focused on imported Asian goods, like snacks, grocery, and other items.

Instacart Expands Prescription Delivery From Costco

socalTECH

On-demand delivery service Instacart said on Thursday that it has expanded what had been a multi-store pilot in Southern California for prescription delivery from Costco. Instacart said it is delivering prescriptions from Costco from nearly 200 Costco pharmacies, across seven states and Washington D.C. The company said the expansion of the delivery comes as a result of online delivery demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Riot Games Buys Hypixel Studios

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based Riot Games , which publishes League of Legends, said on Thursday that it has acquired Hypixel Studios , the developer of Hytale , a block-based game which combines a Minecraft-like environment with roleplaying elements. Financial terms of the acquisition were not announced. Hypixel Studios is based in Derry-Londonderry, North Ireland. Hypixel Studios was founded in 2018, and was angel backed, including investors from Riot Games.

Stamps.com Waives Monthly Fee For Senior Citizens Due To Pandemic

socalTECH

El Segundo-based Stamps.com , which allows people to print their own postage at home--but mostly focuses on businesses--says it is waiving its normal monthly fee for U.S. senior citizens, age 65 or over. The online postage service provider normally charges $17.99 a month to use its tools. According to Stamps.com, it hopes the waived fee will allow senior citizens to ship letters and packages without leaving their own homes.

Casa Verde Leads $23M Series B For Greenbits

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based venture investor Casa Verde Capital --the cannabis investment fund founded by Snoop Dogg--has co-led a $23M, Series B funding round for San Jose-based Greenbits , which develops software for managing cannabis businesses. According to Greenbits, its Series B funding was co-led by Tiger Global and Casa Verde, and also included DNS Capital, along with others. DNS Capital is the family office for Gigi Pritzker Pucker, Michael Pucker and their other immediate family.

The Collaborative Collects $7M For Plant-based Yogurt

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based The Collaborative , a plant-based yogurt and dessert brand, said late Wednesday that it has raised $7M in a Series A investment, from PowerPlant Ventures. According to the company, it also has named Meiky Tollman as its new CEO. Tollman was most recently GM, COO, and EVP International for 15 years at Sabra Dipping Company.

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Headspace Teams With Sesame Street On Mindfulness

socalTECH

Santa Monica-based Headspace , which provides online mindfulness and meditation software, has teamed up with Sesame Street , to create a series of animated shorts designed to help children learn about mindfulness, and help manage their emotions. According to Sesame Street and Headspace, the new series, "Monster Meditations", six animated shorts will be released biweekly, and will begin today on YouTube and youTube Kids.

Eyenuk Completes Contract In UK

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based artificial intelligence (AI) software developer Eyenuk said this morning that it has fulfilled a contract it had been awarded by Public Health England (PHE). The company's said its system--which is used for diabetic eye screening--has been used to grade 60,000 patient image sets from 6 different National Health Service (NHS) Diabetic Eye Screening Programmes in England.

Greycroft Leads $6.3M Funding In Frame AI

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based venture investor Greycroft , which has made investments in such companies as AwesomenessTV, Maker Studios, Sometrics, Venmo, and others, is one of the lead investors in New York-based Frame AI. Frame AI is a developer of artificial intelligence and machine learning used by companies to understand customer churn and behavior. Frame AI said this morning that it raised $6.3M in its Series A funding round, which was led by G20 Ventures and Greycroft.

Report: Strong Q1 2020 In Venture Capital, But Downturn Expected

socalTECH

The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) says that Q1 2020 venture capital investments had a "strong showing" in Q1, however, it expects that the impending economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic will slow activity through the rest of the year. According to the NVCA, and its PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor, there was $34.2 billion invested across 2,298 deals in the first quarter of 2020, partially as a result of "record-high" levels of capital raised by VC funds in 2018 and 2019.

ResMed Gets Ventilator Contract Worth $32M

socalTECH

San Diego-based medical equipment manufacturer ResMed has received a contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), worth $31.98 million, to produce thousands of ventilators to meet possible needs across the United States as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. According to the U.S. HHS, Resmed's contract calls for 2,550 ventilators produced by July 13, with 400 by May 4 and 1,150 by June 1.

MaxLinear Gets Design Win With Aviat Networks

socalTECH

Carlsbad-based semiconductor developer MaxLinear reports that it has scored a design win with Aviat Networks. According to MaxLinear, its chipsets are being used for Aviat's new WTM 4800 E-Band and Multi-Band Radios. MaxLinear said Aviat is using its MxL1105 CMOS transceiver along with the MxL85652 and MxL85110 modems. Shipment volumes and expected financial impact of the win were not announced. MaxLinear is a manufacturer of radio frequency, analog, and mixed signal integrated circuits.

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Report: No Snapchat Series On Quibi

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based mobile streaming video startup Quibi will not be launching a series about Venice, Californi-based Snapchat , according to a report from Variety. Quibi had said last year at SXSW that it would film a series based on the script "Frat Boy Genius" by Elissa Karasik. Variety did not say why Quibi decided to drop its plans for the series. Quibi raised a huge, $350M funding round back in January for the streaming service. READ MORE>>. quibi snapchat founder evan spiegel content movie

Landmark Dividend Buys Data Center Complex In Phoenix

socalTECH

El Segundo-based real estate acquirer Landmark Dividend , which owns a number of data centers, said this morning that it has acquired a data center campus located in Phoenix, Arizona. According to the company, the acquisition is the 16th data center it has acquired in the last 18 months.

Newegg Launches New Business, Newegg Staffing

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based e-commerce retailer Newegg announced this morning that it has launched a brand new business, Newegg Staffing , which will provide staffing for the logistics, manufacturing, clerical and supply chain management industries. According to Newegg, the launch of the new business comes as a result of the company's own efforts in the 3PL (logistics) market.

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Source Photonics Finds $40M Funding

socalTECH

West Hills-based optical transceiver developer Source Photonics announced late last night that it has raised $40M in a new equity funding round, to support its data center and 5G business. The company--whose components are used for optical networking--did not disclose the name of the investors in the new equity funding round. Source Photonics is led by CEO Weiming Li. The company said the new funds came from both new financial as well as strategic investors.

Interview with Greg Martin, LiquidStock

socalTECH

Our interview today is with Greg Martin , co-founder of LiquidStock (www.liquidstock.com), an investment fund which offers up a way for employees of private companies to exercise their stock options before an IPO or acquisition. Grega longtime veteran of venture investingalso shared his thoughts on the current pandemic, how investors are viewing the current market, and what startups can do now to survive through these unusual times. Tell us what you're up to now?