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More investors are betting on virtual influencers like Lil Miquela

TechCrunch LA

Brud , the company behind the virtual celebrity Lil Miquela , is now worth at least $125 million thanks to a new round of financing the company is currently closing.

HyperX Taps Celebrity Power For New Ad Campaign Tied To NBA Finals


Fountain Valley-based HyperX , the videogame accessory maker which is part of Kingston Technology, has launched a new ad campaign, which taps the celebrity power of Post Malone, Gordon Hayward, Joel Embiid, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pokimane, Shroud, Daigo, De'Aaron Fox and Rush. The company--which has had celebrity endorsement deals with all of those celebrity influencers--said its new "We're All Gamers" ad campaign is part of its presenting sponsorship of NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC.

Investors, your board, and you: Who controls strategy?


You’re building a company from your vision and a passion, and lots of people are going to tell you that you have this or that wrong, and that it just won’t work. Business plans rarely survive market contact.

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Nfusz Inc. Enters Partnership With Instapage

L.A. Business Journal

Hollywood-headquartered sales intelligence software outfit Nfusz Inc. announced Jan. 11 it entered a strategic partnership with Instapage Inc., based in San Francisco, to bring Nfusz’s interactive video

Investing in AI

SoCal Tech Calendar

Thursday, January 17, 2019 -- CES 2019 at UCLA Anderson. Technology has become an integral part of our lives, changing our lives and work, the opportunities for new ventures and established enterprises, and more broadly society. Technology based disruptions are affecting almost every sector today including transportation, healthcare, financial services and retail. They are also affecting industry structure, organizational capabilities and the future of work for humans and machines/robots.

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Uncertainty Grows for Biotech as Government, FDA Shutdown Drags On


The partial government shutdown could soon become the longest shutdown in history, and biotech firms that have submitted regulatory filings are facing greater uncertainty about their future plans.

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Iteris Partners With Cisco On Traffic Cameras, Smart City Effort


Santa Ana-based Iteris , which develops data analytics software used for the transportation and agriculture industries, has entered into a strategic partnership with Cisco , the two announced this morning. The companies said that Iteris will promote Cisco's "Connected Roadway" products, aimed at the pedestrian safety and connected vehicle applications. Financial details of that strategic relationship were not announced.

Wiliot Finds $30M More From Amazon Web Services, Others


Wiliot , an Israel- and San Diego-based RFID technology developer, has received $30M more in a funding round, the company said on Monday. The funding, a Series B, came from Amazon Web Services, Samsung Venture Investment Corp., and Avery Dennison Corp. Wiliot is developing disposable, RFID tags which do not require batteries, and are aimed at use in the tracking of consumer products during the manufacturing process. The company's tags are aimed at use in such products as clothing.

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CareerArc, Led By Longtime Technology Vet, Connects With $30M


Los Angeles-based human resources (HR) technology developer CareerArc --part of an ever growing number of Los Angeles area enterprise software companies--said this morning that it has raised $30M in a growth equity funding. According to CareerArc, the new round was led by PeakEquity Partners. CareerArc says its developing HR software that specifically address two parts of the hiring software market--hiring new talent and transitioning employees out of the organization.

Bird Backs Off On Legal Threats Against Journalist, Apologizes


Santa Monica-based on-demand scooter rental startup Bird has backed off on legal threats against a local, LA journalist, Cory Doctorow, after widespread outroar over what was perceived as a censorship threat , saying that the company's legal team "overreached" in issuing a takedown letter.

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Dow Jones VentureSource: Southern California Gets $2.96 Billion In VC In Q4


Southern California raised $2.96 billion in venture capital in Q4 of 2018, according to data from Dow Jones VentureSource , released on Friday. According to the report, Los Angeles garnered the lion's share of the local funding, with $1.77 billion in deals, followed by $0.77 billion in San Diego and $0.42 billion in Orange County. The region had a total of 124 deals logged by Dow Jones VentureSource, split between 75 in Los Angeles, 29 in San Diego, and 20 in Orange County.

CSUCI Names New Entrepreneurship Director


Camarillo-based CSU Channel Islands is boosting its efforts to reach out to the local business community, saying it has named a new director of its Entrepreneurship & Small Business Institute (ESBI) , part of the school's Martin V. Smith (MVS) School of Business & Economics. According to CSUCI, Assistant Professor of Management, Cynthia Sherman, Ph.D., will head the institute, which is designed to help launch student entrepreneurs.

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Report: Lake Forest Company Leaked Millions Of SMS Messages, Call Logs


A Lake Forest-based voice-over-IP (VoIP) services provider VOIPo , leaked millions of SMS messages and texts, call logs, and more, according to an Internet security researcher, covering at least 4 years of data. The security researchers said they discovered that VOIPo had left an improperly secured ElasticSearch database open to the world, letting anyone gain access to VOIP call logs, SMS/MMS message logs, and plaintext internal system credentials.

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Dreamhost Among Popular Web Hosting Services Named In Vulnerability Report


Los Angeles-based cloud hosting service DreamHost is one of the popular web hosting companies, caught up in the latest report of a widespread cybersecurity hole, which researcher say allowed hackers to easily access and take over accounts. The security issues--which were reported and fixed by DreamHost and others before the vulnerability was published--revolve around a hacking technique called "cross-site scripting".

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MomentFeed Launches Local Landing Page Templates


Santa Monica-based MomentFeed , which develops software tools that helps multi-location brands manage the customer experience of mobile consumers, says it is making it easier for its customers to build landing pages for their locations. According to MomentFeed, it has added new a new "Location Finder Templates and Widgets" product, which provides location brands and digital agencies with SEO-ready landing pages for their local locations. Pricing on the new product were not announced.

EDF Renewables Brings New Wind Project In New York Online


San Diego-based renewable energy developer EDF Renewables North America says it has brought a new, 80 megawatt wind project in New York online. According to EDF Renewables, the 80 MW Copenhagen Wind Project is now fully operational and delivering electricity, through a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement with the Narragansett Electric Company. The project includes 40 wind turbines, manufactured by Vestas Wind Systems A/S.

Riot Games Updates Company Values In Wake Of Harassment Scandal


Los Angeles-based videogame maker Riot Games has updated its company values , in the wake of a number of lawsuits over discrimination and sexual harassment. The company--which had been accused of fostering a sexist culture at the company--apparently is hoping to transform the culture at the company. READ MORE>>. riot games sexual harassment lawsuit legal videogame content hollywood employment

Qualcomm Backs ClearMotion In $115M Funding


San Diego-based Qualcomm has put its backing behind a startup, ClearMotion , which is developing computer-controlled automotive chassis technology, which replaces shock absorbers with active components to dampen movement while you are driving. According to Boston-based ClearMotion, it raised $115M in a Series D funding, which was led by Franklin Templeton Investments, as well as clients of J.P.

GoFundMe Shuts Down Border Wall Campaign


San Diego- and Redwood City-based GoFundMe , which allows users to create crowdfunding campaigns for pretty much any cause, has shut down a huge effort that had raised $20M to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico Mexico border. According to GoFundMe, the campaign, started by motivational speaker and veteran Brian Kolfage, came because the campaign changed the beneficiary of the campaign from the federal government, to a new nonprofit led by Kolfage, which is against the company's rules.

BitLaunch Targets Anonymous Users With Hosting Service


Los Angeles-based virtual hosting and virtual private network (VPN) provider BitLaunch says it is looking to cater to users looking to maintain fully anonymous, VPS hosting accounts, by accepting Bitcoin and ten other cryptocurrencies for its service. The company said this morning that its service will provide "full anonymity" for its customers, and also enable people in other countries access to such cloud services as Digital Ocean, Vultr, or Linode.

IDrive Takes On Remote Help Desk Services


Los Angeles-based IDrive Online Backup , which provides cloud backup and storage services, has launched a new, remote help desk service, which it is offering up to MSPs and IT specialists. According to IDrive its new remote access solution, RemotePC HelpDesk, provides on-demate remote support, letting IT administrators manage and monitor all service requests and manage their technicians from a single dashboard. According to IDrive, the cost of the new product starts at $49.50

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Bird, BoingBoing Battle Over News Article


Santa Monica-based Bird , and LA online publication BoingBoing , as well as BoingBoing journalist Cory Doctorow, are in the midst of a legal spat, after Bird threatened BoingBoing with legal action for describing how people are scavenging abandoned Bird scooters and turning them into their own, personal scooters using a $30 kit from China. BoingBoing did not describe how to modify and disable Bird's software and scooter, only reporting on the existence of such kits.

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Cirius Therapeutics Files For IPO


San Diego-based Cirius Therapeutics , a venture-backed biotech startup developing treatments for liver disease, has filed for an IPO, saying it is looking to raise up to $86.25M in funding on the Nasdaq Global Select Market as CSTX. The company's IPO is being underwritten by Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Needham & Company, and Wedbush PacGrow. The startup--led by Robert Baltura, Jr.--is is venture backed by Frazier Life Sciences, Novo Holdings A/S, Adams Street Partners, and the William D.

Cylance, CUJO AI Team on Cybersecurity Effort


Irvine-based cybersecurity software developer Cylance and El Segundo-based devuce security software developer CUJO AI are in a partnership aimed at the connected home, the two said today. According to Cylance, the two are in a strategic alliance, aimed at network operators, which will combine the AI endpoint and network security products from the two companies, to offer up "end-to-end" protection for all connected devices in a home.

Miku Tackles Smart Baby Monitor Market


A new, Los Angeles-based startup, a href="[link] , has launched its first product, a "smart" baby monitor which it says captures and analyzes a baby's breathing and sleeping patterns, the temperature and humidity levels in a baby's environment, as well as other data. Miku--which launched its product at CES 2019--says its sensors connects with smartphones "from anywhere in the world" and sends alerts to parents using AI and machine learning technology, using both optical and wireless sensing.

GoFundMe Shuts Down Border Wall Campaign (Update)


San Diego- and Redwood City-based GoFundMe , which allows users to create crowdfunding campaigns for pretty much any cause, is giving users the options of backing out of a huge effort that had raised $20M to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico Mexico border. According to GoFundMe, the change to the campaign, started by motivational speaker and veteran Brian Kolfage, is because the campaign changed the beneficiary of the campaign from the federal government, to a new nonprofit led by Kolfag.

SpaceX Plans 10 Percent Workforce Reduction

L.A. Business Journal

Approximately 10 percent of Hawthorne-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s s estimated 6,000 employees will be laid off

SpaceX Chops 10 Percent Of Employees, Says Report


Hawthorne-based SpaceX --despite a continuing string of successful launches--is cutting 10 percent of its 6,000 employees, according to a report published on Friday. The report--from the LA Times--confirmed the layoff with the company, which said that Space "must become a leaner company" to continue to deliver for its customers. The company had a successful West Coast launch on Friday morning, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, delivering the Iridium-8 satellite communications payload into space.

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SpaceX Launch Today At 7:31am, If Weather Holds


Hawthorne-based SpaceX is hoping to launch another set of Iridium NEXT satellites into space this morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base, north of Santa Barbara, if the weather and other conditions hold. According to SpaceX, the instantaneous launch window for the launch is 7:31 a.m. PST, which should be visible across Southern California, depending on cloud conditions. The mission will place ten more Iridium NEXT communications satellites into space.

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Amazon's IMDb Launches Free Movie, TV Streaming Service


IMDb , the online movie information site which Amazon runs partially out of Los Angeles, has launched its own, free movie and TV streaming service, called IMDb Freedive. The new service also features "IMDb Originals", content generated for IMDb itself. A glance at the service showed such titles as 80's Steve Martin movie "Roxanne", Arnold Schwartzenegger's Last Action Hero, Winona Ryder's Little Women, and family films Stuart Little and Muppets In Space.