Sat.Jul 18, 2020 - Fri.Jul 24, 2020

VCs, celebrities, and athletes are writing a new LA story to bring women’s soccer to the city

TechCrunch LA

When Upfront Ventures partner Kara Nortman first met Natalie Portman a few years ago to talk about ways their non-profit organizations All Raise and Time’s Up could collaborate, she never realized they’d eventually be partners on a sports franchise.

Selling your company for less than expected?

Berkonomics

How about outside investors? Sometimes the end game or sale of the company is not a happy event. Especially when outside investors, venture capitalists, or angels, have put in substantial money and the sales price is less than the value of their investment. Most all experienced VC and angel investors have found themselves in such a situation, since it is the unfortunate truth that half of their investments fail, on average, within the first several years of the investment.

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Spot Parking Rolls Out Mapping Tool to Help Local Businesses

L.A. Business Journal

Santa Monica-based Spot Parking (US) Inc. is repurposing its mapping technology to build a tool that helps business communities stay on top of ever-changing Covid-19 regulations

HelpWith Black Equity Launches To Connect Volunteers With Racial Equity Efforts

socalTECH

A new effort-- HelpWith Black Equity , said on Tuesday that it has launched, to help connect people with time and skills to projects advancing racial equity across the globe.

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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.

Investors drop off $33 million for Chowbus, a delivery service for ‘mom and pop’ Asian restaurants

TechCrunch LA

When big platforms have carved out large swaths of the delivery market, the best thing for an upstart company to do is to specialize. For Chowbus , that meant building a food-delivery business that finds restaurants whose cuisines specialize in regional cuisines from Northern and Southern China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

10 Keys To Winning With Team Collaboration Leadership

Startup Professionals Musings

The reigning theory in business has long been that “alpha” leaders make the best entrepreneurs. These are aggressive, results-driven achievers who assert control, and insist on a hierarchical organizational model. Yet I am seeing more and more success from “beta” startup cultures, like Zappos and Amazon, where the emphasis is on collaboration, curation, and communication. Some argue that this new horizontal culture is being driven by Gen-Y, whose focus has always been more communitarian.

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CreatorIQ Gets $24M For Influencer Marketing Software

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based CreatorIQ which develops influencer marketing software, has raised $24M in a Series C funding round, the company said on Wednesday. The funding was led by Kayne Partners Fund, a private equity fund managed by Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P. The funding also included TVC Capital and Unilever Ventures. According to CreatorIQ, it helps power global influencer marketing for brands such as Disney, Salesforce, Sephora, adn Unilever. Igor Vaks is the Founder and CEO of CreatorIQ.

Bio Roundup: Jazz Drug OK’d, Gilead’s Bet, Moderna Patent Decision & More

Xconomy

EQRx launched in January during the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference with an audacious pledge to create 10 new drugs in as many years and then sell them at “dramatically” lower prices than existing medicines. But it offered few specifics about how it would achieve those goals. This week, drug licensing deals it made with two publicly traded companies spurred it to say more. But not much.

7 Startup Marketing Strategies To Bring In Customers

Startup Professionals Musings

Contrary to popular opinion, viral marketing has not eliminated the need for old-fashioned lead generation to bring customers to a startup. Indeed, while the rules and technologies for lead generation have changed, Forrester and other experts still see it as the most effective way for businesses with limited budgets to maximize their return on marketing investment (ROMI). One of these experts, David T.

Snap Revenues Rise as User Growth Slows

L.A. Business Journal

Snap Inc., the Santa Monica-based social media company, reported earnings results for the second quarter ended June 30. While the company has beaten revenue expectations, it continues to see an increase in net loss

Sensei Ag, Backed By Larry Ellison, Launches AgTech Efforts

socalTECH

A new, Santa Monica-based startup, Sensi Ag , which was founded by Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, and Dr. David Agus, founding director of USC's Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine, said on Thursday that it has launched to tackle food growing, indoor farming, and other agtech efforts. The new company was split off from Sensei Holdings, the combined leisure and agriculture company run by Ellison on the Hawaiian island of Lana'i.

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Acadia Halts Work on Depression Drug After Late-Stage Trial Failure

Xconomy

Acadia Pharmaceuticals received the FDA’s OK for pimavanserin (Nuplazid), the first drug approved to treat hallucinations and delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease , in 2016. Since then, the San Diego company has looked to expand its use into other indications, with mixed results.

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5 Startup Stages And The Right Investors For Each One

Startup Professionals Musings

Time is too precious to waste trying to close a deal with the wrong investors at the wrong time. Luckily, not all investors are looking for the same thing, so it pays to know what type of investors are most interested in what your startup brings to the table. The key is understanding how potential investors see you, and especially how they view the maturity stage of your startup.

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Fitness App FitOn Reports 200% Increase in Users

L.A. Business Journal

Century City-based FitOn Inc. is trying to turn the phone into a pocket-sized gym

Sidecar Health Picks Up $20M

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based Sidecar Health , a startup which is developing health insurance technology, says it has raised $20M in a new funding round. The round was led by Cathay Innovation, and included Comcast Ventures, Kauffman Fellows, and Anne Wojcicki (co-founder and CEO of 23andMe). Prior investors GreatPoint Ventures and Morpheus Ventures also participated. According to Sidecar Health, it has now raised $40M in total.

TrackStreet Takes $5.1M For Brand Protection

socalTECH

Santa Barbara-based TrackStreet , a developer of brand protection software, has raised $5.1M in a funding round. According to the company, the round--a Seed-2 funding--was led by Okapi Capital, and also included The Cove Fund, Early Light Ventures, SaaS Venture Capital, and Stage Venture Partners and Brad Perry (co-founder of Dealer Socket), along with others.

Mobalytics Finds $11.25M For Game Coaching

socalTECH

Santa Monica-based Mobalytics , a startup developing tools that help videogame players improve their hardcore gaming on such titles as League of Legends, Valorant, Teamfight Tactics, and Legends of Runeterra, has raised $11.25M in a funding round, the company said on Wednesday. The funding came from Almaz Capital, Founders Fund, General Catalyst, GGV Capital, Cabra VC, HP Tech Ventures, General Catalyst, GGV Capital, RRE Ventures, Axiomatic, and T1 Esports.

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Mission Produce Deploys High Tech For Extending Avocado Life

socalTECH

Oxnard-based Mission Produce , a major avocado distributor, says it is deploying a new, high tech system from Hazel Technologies Inc. , to help extend the lifetime of its avocados. According to Mission, it has launched AvoLast by Hazel, using technology which it says keeps avocados at an optimal level of ripeness for three extra days, on average, across its supply chain.

Casa Verde Capital Invests In Proper's Sleep Supplements

socalTECH

Hollywood-based Casa Verde Capital , the venture capital firm run by Snoop Dogg, has led a $9.5M investment in Proper a New York startup which says it is developing "evidence-backed" supplements and personalized coaching to help people sleep. Casa Verde acpital typically only invests in cannabis investments; Proper says it is about to embark on a study of CBD to add to its formulations. Proper currently offers up a variety of "sleep formulations" it sells for $39.99

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Wave.tv Snags $32M For Sports Media

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based Wave.tv , a sports media company focused on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Youtube, and Tiktok, said this week that it raised $32M in its Series A funding round. The funding--which included both equity and debt--was led by CoVenture and GPS Partners, and also included existing investor Golden Ventures and Sweet Capital. The company said the funding will go to expand its portfolio of media brands. The company is led by CEO Brian Verne and President Ishaan Sutaria. READ MORE>>.

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Bird Loses Paris

socalTECH

Santa Monica-based on-demand scooter company Bird has failed to obtain a contract to deploy its scooters in Paris , in what is a high profile loss for Bird. According to Paris, it selected Lime, Tier, and Dott as the scooter companies for the city, which will result in deployment of 15,000 scooters in total through the city. The failure to win a contract with Paris comes despite a big push by Bird to set up shop in the city, where it had planned to hire "thousands" at a new European hub.

NOM Names CEO

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based NOM , a developer of tools to ensure that advertisement for brands reach the right YouTube, video and social audiences, said on Thursday that it has named Brian Atwood as its CEO. Atwood previously served at Zefr, dataxu, iHeart Radio and AOL, and was a member of the board at the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA). NOM says it uses both machine learning and human intervention to help ensure that clients' ads show up in places that reflect a brand's values. READ MORE>>.

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Seragon Pharmaceuticals Says AI Platform Predicts Aging

socalTECH

Irvine-based biopharmaceuticals company Seragon Pharmaceuticals announced on Wednesday that it has launched a new, artificial intelligence platform it says can predict an individuals' aging speed, and assess aspects of physiological funtions. The company said its new GenomeScore platform uses epigenetic and transcriptome analysis for its predictions, using a "neural network-trained algorithm".

Vive Organic Gets $13M

socalTECH

Venice, California-based Vive Organic , an organic "wellness" drink brand, said today that it has raised $13M in a Series B funding round. The funding was led by Monogram Capital, and also included Cambridge SPG and Powerplant Ventures. Vive's beverage brand focuses on "cold-pressed wellness shots" which it claims boost the immune system.

The Lundquist Institute Gets $1.75M

socalTECH

Torrance-based The Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation announced on Tuesday that it has received $1.75M as a donation, to fund a multi-site, clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the compound psilocybin in individuals with severe psychological distress associated with a terminal medical illness. Source of the funding was not announced. According to the company, the study is being led by Charles S.

Whip Media Group Selected By Shout! Factory

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based Whip Media Group , a developer of software used by the entertainment industry to manage content, said that Shout! Factory , also based in Los Angeles, has selected its platform. Financial details of the deal were not announced. Whip Media says that Shout! is using its products to streamline and monetize their transactional digital sales, and to provide real-time performance data to partners. Shout!

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Swoop Snags $3.2M In Seed Funding

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based Swoop , a new startup which develops software for limousine, party bus, and other transportation providers, has raised $3.2M in a seed funding round. The funding was led by Signia Venture Partners, South Park Commons, and angels. The startup, led by CEO and co-founder Amir Ghorbani, said he created the company after he saw, during college, the struggle that small business vehicle owners have while helping with his parents' limousine business.

Report: Snap Launches Investigation Into Racism, Sexism

socalTECH

Venice, California-based Snap Inc. has reportedly launched an investigation into accusations of racism and sexism in the company, according to a report from the Business Insider. The investigations are allegedly over "whitewashing" within Snap, and disparagement of Block representation in media, according to the report. Snap has not yet announced any information on the alleged investigation. READ MORE>>. snap snapchat racism social media investigation

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VCs, Investors, Celebrities Back New Women's Soccer League For LA

socalTECH

Local venture capitalists, investors, and celebrities have launched an effort to bring a new, professional women's soccer team to Los Angeles, as part of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). According to Angel City --although it has yet to have an official name or venue--the group hopes to announce one before the end of the year.

Voxox Launches Free Small Business Texting Plan

socalTECH

San Diego-based cloud communications provider Voxox says it has rolled out a new, free small business texting and voice marketing product, which it says is aimed at helping small businesses recover from the national crisis. According to the company its new VoxDirect "Free Forever" plan offers up marketing SMS tools--with up to 20 marketing SMS a month; tools to build a SMS marketing list; a free, local toll-free number; audio conferencing; call recording; and other features.

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Taoglas Inks Distribution Deal With Arrow Electronics

socalTECH

San Diego-based Taoglas , a developer of RF antennas for the Internet-of-Things (IoT) market, says it has linked with electronics distributor Arrow Electronics. According to Taoglas, the partnership includes a new global distribution agreement focused on AI and IoT products and services. Taoglas said it will use Arrows sales and services organization to expand their customer base, grow ecosystem partnerships, and improve supply chain services. READ MORE>>.

Datto, With New Offices In Irvine, Acquires Gluh

socalTECH

Datto , a developer of cloud-based software for the managed service provider (MSP) market--which just opened up a new office in Irvine--said that it has acquired Gluh Pty Ltd , an Australian company which develops software that allows MSPs to simplify procurement of IT products and services. Financial details of the acquisition were not announced. Datto is owned by private equity investor Vista Equity Partners.

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SpaceX Completes Launch Of ANASIS-II

socalTECH

Hawthorne-based SpaceX has again successfully put another payload into space, this time, a military communications satellite for South Korea. The launch--which happened at 5:30pm ET--is the fastest turnaround for a Falcon 9 rocket, using the same Falcon 9 that carried NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station in May. Behnken and Hurley are still in space, at the ISS.

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Snapchat Debuts Headspace Meditation Tool

socalTECH

Venice, California-based Snapchat has debuted the new meditation features that it developed with Los Angeles-based Headspace this morning, the new meditation-with-friends feature that the company announced at its Partner Summit in June. The new "Snapchat mini" feature lets friends simultaneously access the "Headspace Mini" feature, which are three to four minute meditation exercises.

Gemist Finds Funding From Diamond Giant De Beers

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based Gemist , a consumer startup which lets users "try and buy" jewelry, has raised a round of funding, the company said today. The funding came from De Beers Group Ventures, Legendary Ventures, Lightspeed Scout, and Luma Launch. Size of the funding was not announced. As part of the funding, Stephen Lussier, Executive Vice President, Consumer and Brands for De Beers Group, has joined the company's board. De Beers Group is diamond mining, retail, and trading giant.

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Ready, Set, Food! Scoops Up $3M To Prevent Childhood Food Allergies

socalTECH

Los Angeles-based Ready, Set, Food! which develops products that parents add to breast milk or formula to help prevent infants from developing severe food allergies to peanut, egg, and milk, has raised $3M in a funding round. According to the company, the second round of funding for the company was led by Danone Manifesto Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of Danone, and also included Mark Cuban and AF Ventures.