Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Snapchat Hit By Collateral Damage From Sony Hack

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Venice-based instant messaging app developer Snapchat is the latest victim of the hacking of Sony Pictures by a hacking group, which is believed to be backed by North Korea. Snapchat's Evan Spiegel posted a note on Twitter entitled Keeping Secrets, bemoaning the exposure of the company's business plan due to hacked emails which have been covered by many publications. Sony said Wednesday that it would not be releasing "The Interview" to theaters, after threats to theater-goers who dared to attend showings of the film. The hackers--and potentially, North Korea--have been benefiting from an all-too-eager willingness of many in the U.S. press to profit from juicy corporate tidbits stolen and released by the hackers.

 
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Spokeo Hits 150 Employees, Reports Growth

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pasadena-based people search engine provider Spokeo is up to 150 employees in its Pasadena headquarters, almost double the number of employees it had in 2012, the company said today. The site--which is led by Harrison Tang--said the growth compaes as it saw 159 percent revenue growth between 2012 and 2014. Financials were not released by the privately held firm. Spokeo, which has been around since 2006, lets users search for people using their name, phone number, email address, or usernames; the company says its service is aimed at helping people reconnect with friends and family they have lost touch with.

 
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TrueX Media Acquired For $200M, Says Report

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Los Angeles- and New York-based video advertising company TrueX has been acquired by 21st Century Fox, according to a report from the WSJ this morning. The deal is reported to be worth $200M. TrueX Media offers up interactive, video advertising technology, and is led by Joe Marchese. TrueX was previously known as SocialVibe, and is venture backed by Jafco, Norwest Venture Partners, Pinnacle Ventures, and Redpoint Ventures.

 
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Hulu Expands Content With Deal With Disney-ABC Television

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Los Angeles-based streaming television provider Hulu is bolstering its premium content lineup, with a new deal with Disney-ABC Television. Hulu said yesterday that it is in a new licensing agreement which brings video-on-demand rights to Resurrection, Mistresses, and Lifetime's Devious Maids. Financial details of the license deal were not disclosed. Hulu said the deal also includes over 750 library episodes of other titles, such as Melissa & Joey, Alias, Army Wives, Body of Proof, Twisted and Make It or Break It plus the animated series Spider-Man, X-Men and Iron Man: Armored Adventures.

 
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XPRIZE Extends Deadline for Google Lunar XPRIZE To 2016

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Los Angeles-based XPRIZE, which runs a series of multi-million dollar challenges aimed at helping to advance technology innovation, said yesterday that it has extended the deadline for the Google Lunar XPRIZE to the end of 2016. XPRIZE said the deadline for documenting a scheduled launch is now December 31, 2015, for teams to move forward in the competition. The Google Lunar XPRIZE is dangling $30M to the team that is able to successfully place a robot on the moon's surface, which explores at least 500 meters of the moon, and transmits high definition video and images back to earth. The purpose of the competition is to help advance technology and develop low-cost methods for robotic space exploration. XPRIZE said it extended the deadline because the goals of the prize are "extremely difficult and unprecedented" both from the technological standpoint and financially.

 
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ID Analytics Names CFO

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

San Diego-based ID Analytics said today that it has named Timothy Laughlin as the company's new Chief Financial Officer. Laughlin comes from Leap Wireless/Cricket Wireless, where he had been Acting Treasurer, and also served at H&R Block, FriendlyWorks, Inc. and Arthur Anderson LLC. ID Analytics is a provider of risk management and analytics software and is owned by LifeLock, which acquired the company back in 2012.

 
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Cubic Buys DTECH LABS For $114.5M

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

San Diego-based CUBIC said late Tuesday that it has acquired DTECH LABS, a provider of modular networking and baseband communications equipment. CUBIC said it will pay up to $114.5M for DTECH, which it said it will use to bolster its secure communications business. DTECH supplies networking and communications products used by the military, for portable, secure operations, and supplies customers such as the Special Operations Command (SOCOM), the U.S. Marine Corps, and other government and commercial customers. CUBIC is a provider of defense, military, and other products.

 
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Quality Systems Names CIO

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Irvine-based healthcare information systems provider Quality Systems, Inc. said this morning that it has named Zachary J. Sherburne a the company's new Global Chief Information Officer. Sherburne was previously CIO and VP information Services at Spectrum Brands, and also served at Stanley Black & Decker, Arthur Andersen & Co., Deloitte Consulting and Computer Sciences Corp. QI said Sherburne will be responsible for oversight and delivery of its technology to its clients, which include medical and dental group practices and small hospitals.

 
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FastSpring Joins Recurring Revenue Industry Group

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Santa Barbara-based FastSpring, which operates a cloud-based, e-commerce merchandising and fulfillment service aimed at software and SaaS companies, said it has joined a new group called the ServiceSource Recurring Revenue Alliance. The group--led by ServiceSource--is developing best practices for recurring revenue businesses. FastSpring is led by Chris Lueck.

 
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

CARD.com Rolls Strawberry Shortcake Prepaid Cards

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Santa Monica-based CARD.com, the prepaid, branded MasterCard provider led by Ben Katz, has inked a deal to bring a line of Strawberry Shortcake-themed, prepaid MasterCards to market, the company said this week. CARD.com said the new cards come thanks to a strategic partnership with AG Properties, the licensing division of American Greetings Corporation. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. The prepaid Strawberry Shortcake MasterCard will give holders access to 24,000 ATMs, direct deposit, mobile check deposits, as well as other features. CARD.com offers up a wide range of branded prepaid cards, featuring images from Sesame Street, Shrek, Paddington Bear, The Three Stooges, The Walking Dead, and many other brands.

 
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Serviz Raises $12.5M More

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sherman Oaks-based Serviz, the on-demand handyman service led by former ReachLocal head Zorik Gordon, announced today that it has raised $12.5M in a Series B funding round. The funding came from PointGuard Ventures, Andy Sheehan, Jeff Stibel, along with Zorik Godron and Michael Kline. The company has now raised $20M in funding. Serviz previously raised funding from Groupon. The company helps connect homeowners with handymen and other home services, such as plumbers, electricians, and others. The new funds go to help the company expand beyond Southern California.

 
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Upfront Ventures Raises New Fund Worth $280M

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Los Angeles-based venture capital investment firm Upfront Ventures announced this morning that it has raised a fifth fund, worth $280M. According to the firm, the new fund will target early-stage technology investments, and will split half of the dollars in the fu between Los Angeles and the other half in investments nationally. The new fund is being managed by full time investment partners Greg Bettinelli, Steven Dietz, Kara Nortman, Yves Sisteron and Mark Suster, along with Venture Partner Hamet Watt. Upfront's most recent successful exits have included Maker Studios, TrueCar, Gravity, and Burstly.

 
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SGN Ties With NetEase To Bring Cookie Jam To China

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Los Angeles-based mobile games developer SGN, which is led by former MySpace founder Chris DeWolfe, said today that it is in a licensing deal with NetEase, to distribute SGN's popular mobile puzzle game Cookie Jam in China. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. SGN said NetEase will tailor and optimize the Cookie Jam title to appeal to the international market. SGN say it is now the second largest mobile puzzle game developer in the world, only behing King Digital, and now has over 500 million downloads across its catalog. SGN said the deal with NetEase is its first foray into China.

 
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ChowNow Ties Into Apple Pay

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Los Angeles-based ChowNow, which develops tablet-driven, online and smartphone ordering apps for restaurants, has tied its product into Apple Py. According to the company, it is the first online ordering platform to integrate with Apple's new payment system. ChowNow is led by Chris Webb. According to ChowNow, the move allows thousands of local restaurants to accept Apple Pay for purchases. Apple Pay allows iPhone users to pay for items just using their phone and a fingerprint. ChowNow is venture backed by Daher Capital, Double M Partners, Karlin Ventures, Upfront Ventures, and Velos Partners.

 
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Sorrento Therapeutics Gets Strategic Investment From NantWorks

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

San Diego-based oncology drug developer Sorrento Therapeutics has scored a strategic investment from NantWorks, the biotech research company led by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong. According to the two, the investment comes as part of a global, strategic collaboration around developing next generation immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and auto-immune diseases. The two said they will create a joint venture, funded with $20M, which will focus on developing immunotherapy antibodies. As part of that deal, the companies said NantWorks will acquire a 19.9 percent stage in Sorrento, by purchasing common stock at $5.80 per share. NantWorks will also gain a 3-year warrant to purchase 1,724,138 shares of its common stock at $5.80 per share.

 
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Ceres Swaps Board Member

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Thousand Oaks-based agricultural biotechnology and seed developer Ceres said Monday that it has named a new member of its board of directors. The company said Aflalo Guimaraes has joined the company, replacing existing board member Raymond Debbane. Guimaraes is managing director of The Invus Group, which is an affiliate of Ceres' stockholder Artal Luxembourg. Debbane also had represented Artal Luxembourg on Ceres' board. Ceres develops dseeds to produce crops for bioenergy, using both plant breeding and biotechnology for hybrid seed development.

 
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Voxox Expands SMS API

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

San Diego-based communications provider Voxox said today that it is expanding in the area of SMS APIs, and is looking to provide wholesale access to its SMS capabilities via a web service API. Voxox said it is looking to help address the needs of businesses who are looking to SMS-enable their products, services and customer communications. VoxOx said the expansion includes inbound SMS delivery to Europe; addition of UK-based telephone numbers, among other enhancements.

 
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Guidance Software Names Chief Revenue Officer

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pasadena-based forensics investigation software developer Guidance Software named Jay Ackerman as its new Chief Revenue Officer this morning. Ackerman joins the company from ServiceSource, and also had served at WNS North America and Exult. Guidance said that Ackerman had been head of worldwide sales and customer success for ServiceSource, heading up those efforts as that company grew from $25M to $285M in revenues, and through that company's IPO in 2011.

 
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Monday, December 15, 2014

AdRev Buys DashGo

Monday, December 15, 2014

Los Angeles-based AdRev, which provides digital rights management for large music publishers on YouTube, said Monday that it has purchased DashGo, a service that allows artists, labels, and publishers to distribute, promote, market, and license music across digital retailers, subscription services and internet radio. Financial terms of the buy were not disclosed. DashGo distributes music to iTunes, Spotify, YouTube Music Key, Pandora, Amazon, Google Play, Beats, Rdio, Rhapsody, Sound Exchange, BeatPort, and elsewhere, and was founded by Ben Patterson. AdRev is led by Ryan Born, and is venture backed by DFJ Frontier and Fotolia.

 
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RealD Loses CTO

Monday, December 15, 2014

Los Angeles-based RealD said late Monday that its Chief Technology Officer and Chief Innovation Oficer, Gary Sharp, is leaving the company. RealD said that Sharp will leave the firm effective March 31st. The reason for the departure was not given, and RealD said that it would not be replacing Sharp. RealD is a developer of 3D movie projection systems.

 
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The Digital Family Reunion and the socalTECH 50 In Pictures

Monday, December 15, 2014


Miss our big technology and media industry holiday party last week, the Digital Family Reunion? Here are some photos from the event, which brought together over 800 people from the industry to rub elbows, meet old friends, network with others, and honor the socalTECH 50 for 2014. Highlights included a panel discussion led by our own Ben Kuo and featuring Abhi Nemani, Oded Noy, Erik Rannala, Matt Kozlov and Chet Pipkin, which inspired our audience with insights into where LA tech is headed in 2015. Chet Pipkin was also honored with the Outstanding Achievement Honor from DFR.























See more photos on Facebook....

 
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Western Digital Buys Skyera

Monday, December 15, 2014

Irvine-based Western Digital said this morning that it has acquired San Jose-based Skyera>, which develops solid state storage systems for the cloud and enterprise markets. Financial terms of the buy were not disclosed. Skyera is becoming part of WD subsidiary HGST. Skyera was already backed by Western Digital, and also had received funding from Dell Ventures.

 
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Hulu Channels Holiday With Animated GIF Creator

Monday, December 15, 2014

Los Angeles-based streaming television site Hulu has rolled out a fun new tool to help you channel your holiday spirit (or lack of holiday spirit) into an animated GIF, with a new service called the Hulu Perfect GIF Generator. The new tool lets users share animated GIFs--all clips from Hulu's extensive video library--to help express their holiday feelings, whether a user really loves the holidays, or even if the user really doesn't like holidays at all. The tool lets users share those animated GIFs via email and social networks.

 
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LaunchpadLA Shifts Away From Accelerator Model

Monday, December 15, 2014

One of the highest profile startup accelerators in Los Angeles, LaunchpadLA, is officially shifting its model and getting out of the startup accelerator market--handing over its space to General Assembly, with its various partners embarking on different activities. According to a blog post from Mark Suster, one of the founders of LaunchpadLA, the decision to shift away from being an accelerator came after the startup accelerator either had to decide to "triple down and raise another fund" to pay for operations--or move to a different model. Suster said that there is "too much supply" in the market in terms of accelerators, and that investors have been "demo'd to death", and that there is "only so much room in the market for accelerators".

 
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CALIENT Technologies Links With University Research Effort

Monday, December 15, 2014

Santa Barbara-based optical circuit switching technology devleoper CALIENT Technologies said today that it has linked up with a 10-university research organization, to expand the use of optical circuit switching in software defined data center and metro networks. The company said it has linked up with the Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN) to help bolster research in optical networks. Financial details of the effort were not disclosed. CALIENT said the Center for Integrated Access Networks is funded by the National Science Foundation, and is aimed at research on end user access to networks at data rates of up to 100Gbps.

 
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MRV Swizzles CEO

Monday, December 15, 2014

Chatsworth-based MRV>, the developer of packet and optical networking components, said this morning that it has named Mark J. Bonney as the company's new President and CEO. Bonney previously served as the company's Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. The company said Bonney replaces David Stehlin, who the company resigned to "pursue other interests." MRV also named Stephen Krulik as Chief Financial Officer; Krulik was previously the company's Vice President of Finance. MRV said that Bonney is a turnaround expert, and has served at such companies as On Board Advisors, DireBrands, Amican Bank Note Holographics, Axsys Technologies, and Zygo Corporation.

 
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Broadcom Rolls Out New Networking Chips

Monday, December 15, 2014

Irvine-based Broadcom rolled out a new set of networking chips this morning, used for physical layer transceivers on 2.5G and 5G Ethernet. Broadcom said its new physical layer transceivers (PHYs) provide a 2.5X to 5X data rate increase over Gigabit Ethernet, using existing cabling. Broadcom said the new chips are based on the open, royalty free MGBASE-T alliance standard, and built on 28 nanometer process technology. The company said the devices are sampling today.

 
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Friday, December 12, 2014

Epicor Buys ShopVisible For Cloud E-commerce, Ordering

Friday, December 12, 2014

Epicor, the enterprise software developer which has major operations in Orange County, said this week that it has acquired a cloud-based developer of management and e-commerce software called ShopVisible. Financial terms of the buy were not disclosed. ShopVisible is the second, retail e-commerce software company Epicor has acquired in the last two month. ShopVisible was based in Atlanta. Epicor is owned by private equity firm Apax Partners.

 
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Peregrine Semiconductor Acquisition Completes

Friday, December 12, 2014

The $471M acquisition of San Diego-based Peregrine Semiconductor is now complete, with Peregrine now officially owned by Japanese company Murata, Murata said Friday. The deal was worth $12.50 per share in cash. Murata had announced the acquisition of Peregrine in August. Peregrine is a developer of radio frequency (RF) semiconductors.

 
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How Onestop Internet Is Powering Ecommerce For Brands

Friday, December 12, 2014


If you're a brand or retailer, needing to get online, there are a lot of things to deal with to run your e-commerce business smoothly--everything from your e-commerce site itself, to taking photos of your products, packing and shipping, to digital marketing. If e-commerce isn't your main line of business, how do you get a handle on all of that? One Los Angeles company--Onestop Internet (www.onestop.com) has created a growing business handling exactly that. We spoke with CEO and founder John Tomich to learn why the company has been seeing so much success handling all of the nitty gritty of e-commerce for many well known brands, including Juicy Couture, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Lululemon, RVCA, Paul Frank, True Religion, and many others.

For those who haven't heard of Onestop Internet, tell us about the business?

John Tomich: Onestop Internet is an e-commerce services company. We provide a turnkey, back end, managed service offering for brands and retailers on an outsourced basis. We do everything from picking, packing, and shipping to customer service, fulfillment, and providing the technology that powers the e-commerce site, online marketing, creative design, and digital imaging and photography. We provide all of the categories that need to be done if you want to sell products online, at least those that are non ticket and non travel, physical products....

 
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Oculus VR Buys Two Computer Vision Companies

Friday, December 12, 2014

Irvine-based virtual reality technology developer Oculus VR has made two computer vision acquisitions, saying Thursday that it is acquiring Nimble VR, a developer of hand tracking technology; 13th Lab, a developer of technology to acquire 3D models of the real world; and also hired computer vision expert Chris Bregler, an expert in the motion capture space. Nimble VR was formerly known as 3Gear Systems, and was founded by Rob Wang, Chris Twigg, and Kenrick Kin, and develops skeletal hand tracking technology that uses machine learning and computer vision techniques. 13th Lab's technology is used to acquire 3D models of the real world. Bregler was behind the 3D capture techniques used in The Lone Ranger and Star Trek Into Darkness.

 
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Qualcomm Invests $40M In China

Friday, December 12, 2014

San Diego-based Qualcomm said Thursday that it has committed to investing $40M in China, investing in four different Chinese companies and one venture capital fund. Qualcomm said it invested in 7Invensun, which is developing eye-tracking products; Chukong Technologies, in the mobile entertainment area; inPlug, smart home devices; Unisound, voice recognition and processing technology; as well as investing in China Walden Venture Investments, L.P.. China Walden Ventures Investment is a venture capital fund focused on investing in semiconductor and semiconductor-related businesses in China. Qualcomm said the investments come from a dedicated, $150M Chinese investment fund it announced earlier this year.

 
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ReachLocal Shuffles Board

Friday, December 12, 2014

Woodland Hills-based ReachLocal is shuffling the makeup of its board of directors, saying late Thursday that it has added two new board members--Tom Hale and Larry Kutscher--to the body, replacing existing board members David Carlick and Robert Dykes. Tom Hale is the Chief Product Officer of HomeAway.com, and Larry Kutscher is CEO of TravelClick. Carlick had been on ReachLocal's board since 2004, and according to the company is its longest serving member; Dykes has been on the board since 2008. ReachLocal operates an online marketing business which helps local businesses with placing online ads and other related marketing efforts.

 
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RealD Gets LUXE Win In China

Friday, December 12, 2014

Los Angeles-based 3D theater projection technology developer RealD reported another win in China Thursday, saying that it has signed a deal with Hong Kong and Chinesee theater exhibitor Broadway Circuit. RealD said it will be installing 3 "LUXE: A RealD Experience" auditoriums in mainland China. Financial details of the win were not disclosed. The LUXE format is a large format screen directly aimed at competing against IMAX.

 
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Key Information Systems Announces Key Cloud

Key Information Systems, a leading IT systems integrator and Premier
IBM Business Partner based in Agoura Hills, CA, announced the
availability of Key Cloud for users of cloud computing services.

Key's new cloud services are offered in conjunction with colocation,
managed services and Internet connectivity offerings.

To learn more about the Key Cloud, visit the Key Info website or
contact Pete Elliot at Key Information Systems, Inc., 30077 Agoura
Court, First Floor, Agoura Hills, CA 91301, USA, email
pelliot@keyinfo.com or call 1.818.737.2804.

http://www.keyinfo.com


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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hearst Takes Stake In Awesomeness.TV

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hearst Corporation and DreamWorks Animation said late Thursday that Hearst has taken a 25% stake in Awesomeness.TV, for $81.25M, in a deal that values Awesomeness.TV at around $325M. DreamWorks--had acquired Awesomeness.TV in May of 2013 for what was then worth up to $117M. Awesomess TV's Brian Robbins will continue to lead the company. Awesomeness.TV continues to be one of the fastest and most capital efficient exits in Southern California, with the company originally raising only $3.5M in August of 2012, and being acquired less than a year later by DreamWorks.

 
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