Sat.May 22, 2021 - Fri.May 28, 2021

Playing the Long Game in Venture Capital

Both Sides of the Table

Silicon Valley and the media industry that surrounds it values youth. The culture is driven by the 20-something irreverent founder with huge technical chops who in a “David vs. Goliath” mythology take on the titans of industry and wins.

Do you really need a board of directors?

Berkonomics

First, the short answer. No matter what your size, if you intend to grow your business into more than just a lifestyle workplace, you should create a board of directors. If you take money from knowledgeable investors, you will be required to create a board as a part of the investment process.

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Topia Raises $5 Million For Virtual Reality Meetups

L.A. Business Journal

Topia Interactive Inc., which develops virtual meeting places where members can join “worlds” created by artists and designers, raised $5 million

Design 197

6 Steps To Personal Satisfaction As Well As Success

Startup Professionals Musings

It’s sad when the startup is “successful,” but the founder still feels totally unsatisfied. I see it happening all the time. The business is a winner, but the family or other relationships are broken by the stress.

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.

IDrive Cloud Backup Launches Data Mirroring Service

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Los Angeles-based cloud backup provider IDrive Cloud Backup says it has launched a new, data mirroring service, aimed at providing full image backups for Windows computers and servers. According to the company, the new service specifically aimed at protecting against data loss and ransomware, both for individuals and small businesses. The company said the service starts at $69.50 a year for a personal plan, which includes 5TB of storage for unlimited computers.

Sunbit Raises $130 Million in Series D

L.A. Business Journal

Westwood-based financial technology platform Sunbit Inc. raised $130 million in Series D funding, bumping its valuation to $1.1 billion

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Micromobility Companies Are Ready to Roll Again

L.A. Business Journal

Going into 2020, the micromobility industry was already experiencing some growing pains. A year later, local micromobility companies are optimistic

How To Make The Most Of Your DNA As An Entrepreneur

Startup Professionals Musings

Anyone who works with entrepreneurs will tell you that all are different. Some are really inventors, who view the challenges of building a business as a necessary evil. Others are really marketers out to make money fast, and believe that they can entice customers to any offering.

LA Startups Take Advantage of Booming Pet Care Industry

L.A. Business Journal

Owners are increasingly giving their dogs and cats the luxury treatment, which is leading to strong growth for the pet care industry in Los Angeles

10 Ways To Build The Trust You Need To Lead A Company

Startup Professionals Musings

Based on my experience with startups, trust is the most valuable asset you can have, especially when asking people to step into the unknown by funding your innovation, by joining your team, or just buying your new product as an early customer.

Pathmatics Acquired By Sensor Tower

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Santa Monica-based Pathmatics, which develops market intelligence software and services, has been acquired by Sensor Tower. pathmatics sensor tower merger acquisition market intelligence exit

Snap Sets New Human Resources Chief

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Santa Monica-based Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, said late Tuesday that it has named Darcie Henry as the company's new Chief Human Resources Officer. According to Snap, Henry will join the company on July 6th, as current Chief People Officer Lara Sweet is retiring. Henry was most recently Amazon's VP HR, Global Consumer and Operations, and had been at Amazon since 1998.

5 Entrepreneurship Challenges You Should Not Overlook

Startup Professionals Musings

Most entrepreneurs expect to face the “normal” challenges of starting a business, which include finding the right opportunity, building and executing a winning plan, and financing their venture.

Mobilitie Up For Bid

socalTECH

Newport Beach-based wireless infrastructure provider Mobilitie appears to be up for bid, and is nearing a deal to be acquired for more than $1.3 billion by the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), according to Bloomberg. Bloomberg cited "people with knowledge of the matter" for the information. No other details of the private equity deal were detailed, however, apparently CPPIB outbid a number of private equity firms also looking at the deal.

LiveXLive Acquires Gramaphone Media

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Los Angeles-based livestreaming and podcasting company LiveXLive Media announced this morning that it has acquired Gramaphone Media, an artist and brand development company which was founded and is led by Eshy Gazit. Financial details of the acquisition were not announced.

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University Lab Partners, UCI Launches Startup Competition

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Irvine-based University Lab Partners and the SBDC @ UCI Beall Applied Innovation said this morning that the two organizations have launched a new, startup competition, which is aimed at accelerating both life sciences and technology startups.

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Bird Rolls Out New Scooter, The Bird Three

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Santa Monica-based micro-mobility company Bird has rolled out a new scooter, the Bird Three, which it claims is the "world's most eco-conscious scooter."

FIGS Surges In IPO Debut

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Los Angeles-based FIGS, which makes medical scrubs and other apparel, has surged in its IPO debut, pricing on Wednesday night at $22 a share, and ending Thursday up 36% in its debut to 30.02. The IPO raised $1.02 billion for the company, and values the company at more than $4.6 billion. The IPO priced above an earlier estimated IPO price of $16.00 to $19.00 per share.

Esri Signs Outdoor Adventure App Developer

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Redlands-based mapping software developer Esri has signed up an outdoor app developer as a customer, shifting its app to ArcGIS, according to the company. ArcGIS said that Relive, which develops an app which helps users chronicle their outdoor adventures and journeys, is shifting to the ArcGIS platform to scale its development. Financial impact of the win was not annoucned. Relive is based in the Netherlands.

Acorns To Go Public Via SPAC

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Irvine-based savings and investing app developer Acorns said today that it will be going public, via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger with Pioneer Merger Corp., which trades on the NASDAQ as PACX.

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Topia Takes $5M For Social Chat, Virtual Worlds

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Los Angeles-based Topia, a startup which is developing video chat tools that work inside what it says are "fully customizable virtual worlds", has raised $5M in a seed funding round, the company said late Wednesday. The funding was led by Seven Seven Six, the venture capital fund run b Alex Ohanian, and also included Bonfire Ventures. The company said it will use the funding to build out its team and invest in its "creator economy."

Tool 109

ZipRecruiter Up In Public Debut Via Direct Listing On NYSE

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Los Angeles-based recruiting software developer ZipRecruiter rose in its first day as a public company, up as much as 8.5% in its first day on the markets. The company is now trading on the NYSE as ZIP. Unlike an initial public offering (IPO), ZipRecruiter did not go through investment banks to enter the public markets, a somewhat unusual move, although not unheard of--Slack and Spotify are examples of a couple of other companies who have taken that route to the markets.

Blizzard Cancels BlizzCon for 2021

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Irvine-based videogame developer Blizzard said today that it is once again cancelling Blizzcon, its annual conference, due to fluctuating guidelines around events in California during the pandemic. According to Blizzard, it now plans a "global event" in the early part of next year, combining and online show with smaller, in-person gatherings. The company cited both the evolution of in-person gatherings in California, as well as how the status of the pandemic has been fluctuating around the globe.

Phanes Therapeutics Lands $40M

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San Diego-based Phanes Therapeutics, a developer of immuno-oncology drugs, has raised $40M in its Series B funding round. The funding was led by Sequoia Capital China, and also included the company other investors. Names of the other investors were not announced by the company. According to the company, the new funding will be used to advance several preclinical programs to clinic, expand the research and clinical teams, and support the advancement of research projects.

Whatnot Gets $50M

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Los Angeles-based Whatnot, which operates a live streaming shopping service for collectibles, says it has raised $50M in its Series B funding round. The funding was led by Anu Hariharan from Y Combinator Continuity, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz. The funding also inluded angels Animal Capital (Josh Richard, Noah Beck & Marshall Sandman), musicians Ryan Tedder and DJ Skee with Mint 10, NFL players DeAndre Hopkins and Bobby Wagner, and Jeremy Padawer, according to the company.

Whip Media Launches Content Marketplace

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Los Angeles-based Whip Media said on Tuesday that it has launched the Whip Media Exchange, a new data-and AI-powered content marketplace aimed at the global film and TV content licensing market. According to the company, as part of the launch, it has added Lionsgate, Giant Pictures and DMD Limited / CiND!E E Films as content providers on the marketplace. Whip Media is led by longtime technology executive Richard Rosenblatt, who is both founder and CEO of the company.

Park Place Payments Finds $1.5M

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Los Angeles-based Park Place Payments, a fintech startup focused on payment processing, disclosed on Tuesday that it has raised $1.5M in a seed funding round. The funding was led by Curate Capital. Park Place is led by founder and CEO Samantha Ettus. The company's payment processing workforce is mostly women. park place parkplace payments payment processing venture capital

codeSpark Acquired By BEGiN

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Pasadena-based codeSpark, which develops applications which help children learn how to code software, has been acquired by New York-based BEGiN. Financial terms oft he acquisition were not announced. According to BEGiN, the acquisition will help it in fulfilling its vision to "create the most comprehensive program in early learning." codeSpark was founded and was led by Grant Hosford.

Docbot Raises $4M For AI Diagnosis Tools

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Irvine-based Docbot, a startup developing artificial intelligenec tools for diagnosing gastrointestinal (GI) disease, has raised $4M in a Series A funding round, according to the company. The funding was led by Khosla Ventures, and also included Bold Capital Partners, Collaborative Fund and Boutique Venture Partners. The company says it now raised a total of $8.5M. As part of the funding, the company says it has appointed Andrew J. Ritter as CEO of the company.

Tool 109

SiLC Technologies Sees $17M

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Monrovia, California-based SiLC Technologies, a developer of machine vision tools, says it has raised $17M in a Series A funding round. The funding was led by Alter Venture Partners and Dell Technologies Capital and also included Fluxunit -- OSRAM Ventures, Sony Innovation Fund by IGV, Epson, UMC Capital, Yamato Holdings and Global Brain. The company says it has now raised $30M in total, including an earlier, $12M seed funding last year.

ChowNow Names CTO

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Los Angeles-based restaurant ordering systems developer Chownow says it has named a new Chief Technology Officer. According to the company, Bharath Chinamanthur has joined the company as CTO from Blink Health, where he was EVP of Product, Engineering, and Operations. Chinamanthur also previously served at Charles Schwab as an SVP, and also served at Amazon. As part of his role, Chinamanthur said he plans to grow ChowNow's team.

CTO 109

Invoca Acquires DialogTech

socalTECH

Santa Barbara-based Invoca, which provides software for call and sales tracking, said on Monday that it has acquired DialogTech, a developer of an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered call tracking and analytics product. Financial details of the acquisition were not announced. Invoca said the combined company will have more than 300 employees and 2,000 customers. DialogTech is based in Chicago. Invoca said the acquisition puts it on track to exceed $100M in revenues this year.

ProducePay Picks Up $43M In Series C

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Los Angeles-based ProducePay, a fintech startup which offers up pricing information, analytics, and a marketplace connecting produce growers and distributors, has raised $43M in its Series C funding. The funding was led by G2VP, with co-lead IFC (International Finance Corp.) and IDB Invest (Inter-American Development Bank Group), and also included Anterra Capital, Coventure and new investors Astanor Ventures, IGNIA, and Finistere.

Inogen Names New Board Member

socalTECH

Goleta-based medical equipment developer Inogen said last week that it has added a new member to its board of directors. The company said Elizabeth (Beth) Mora has joined its board, replacing R. Scott Greer, who recently resigned from the board. Mora was previously was Chief Administrative Officer, Vice President for Finance, Administration and Treasurer at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory and also served at Harvard University and Coopers and Lybrand LLP (now PricewaterhouseCoopers).

Draper 109

GeoLinks Names Corporate Development VP

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Camarillo-based GeoLinks said last week that it has named James Childs as its new Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Spectrum Strategy. Childs was most recently VP of Corporate Strateg yfor Cambridge Broadband Networks, and also previously had co-foudned Velowave, a fixed wireless ISP which was sold to Sling Broadband in 2008. He also started Light Link Broadband, another wireless ISP, in 1998. geolinks spectrum wireless wisp networking james childs executive

Virgin Galactic Launches First Human Spaceflight From NM

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Virgin Galactic, the space tourism company backed by Sir Richard Branson, has launched its first vehicle to space from its new Spaceport America location over the weekend. The company launched SpaceShipTwo, its space vehicle, into space from Spaceport America in New Mexico, reaching an altitude of 55.45 miles above the earth and speeds of Mach 3.

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