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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Opaque Communications Takes On Encryption, Cybersecurity

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A new, Santa Monica-based cybersecurity startup, Opaque Communications, said on Tuesday that it has launched the company and released a new suite of products in the cybersecurity area. The startup, led by Dwayne Hall, said its new products are aimed at the financial services, healthcare, biotech, defense/aerospace, entertainment and R&D markets, and offer up a "hack-resistant" data center storage system called Dark Vault, a fully encrypted, cloud service called Dark Transmit, and a secure, encrypted voice-and-text messaging app called Wraith. The company said its "virtually hack resistant" technology is aimed at letting its users secure their data, whether being stored or sent to others. The company said its board includes an un-named, Four Star General, Yolanda "Cookie" Parker (National Co-Chair for Technology for President Obama and founder and former CEO of KMS Software); Max Gousse (Def Jam Music); Faisal Gill (ranking member of the Department of Homeland Security and prior Senior Policy Advisor of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush); Jon Liebergall (AIG); and investor Ed Renwich (Raineth Housing, formerly of The Yucaipa Companies). Pricing on the company's new products were not announced.

 
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How ContractSafe Wants To Help You Get Your Legal Docs In Order, With Ken Button

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


For a lot of companies—and their management and legal teams-- managing the reams of paperwork involved with legal contracts is a big, disorganized mess. To address that disaster, Ken Button and Randy Bishop—two veterans of the startup industry—created ContractSafe (www.contractsafe.com), a new online service aimed at helping companies to tame that mess and manage and store their contracts in the cloud. We caught up with Ken Button, the co-founder and CEO of the company, to learn more about why the startup already has signed up such customers as California Pizza Kitchen, Obvious Ventures, Fandango, Greenspire, and others to the service.

What is ContractSafe?

Ken Button: ContractSafe is a new kind of contract management solution. Every company has tons of contracts and legal documents, probably more than they want to acknowledge, ranging from customer agreements, to vendor agreements, employee documents, investor documents, corporate governance documents, leases, insurance, and on and on. Typically, these documents are a mess. They're not well organized, they're hard to find, and companies are at risk of missing key dates. ContractSafe is a solution for companies that can benefit from having documents organized, and don't want to spend lots of time and money getting there.

Why is this needed by companies?

Ken Button: This was a problem I have seen in every step of my career, and for sure in our last business....

 
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ServiceNow Launches Its Own Venture Investment Arm, ServiceNow Ventures

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

ServiceNow, the developer of service management software led by Frank Slootman--and which started in San Diego--has launched its own venture capital arm, ServiceNow Ventures. According to ServiceNow, which is based in Santa Clara but still has major operations in San Diego, ServiceNow Ventures will target investments in early stage companies that develop cloud-based applications, built on its platform, as well as growth stage vendors developing strategic technology integration with the ServiceNow platform. ServiceNow did not say how much it is dedicating to investments. As part of the launch of the new venture investment arm, ServiceNow said it will host the CreatorCon Challenge, which will award $500,000 in investments to startups. ServiceNow Ventures said its portfolio so far includes two, prior investments by ServiceNow: Novulo and MuleSoft.

 
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TeleSign Backs White House Cybersecurity Effort

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Los Angeles-based Telesign, which provides phone verification and two-factor authentication services to major online service providers, said it is helping to back the White House's Lock Down Your Login initiative. The initiative aims to encourage Americans to better protect their online accounts, by moving them beyond passwords. The safety and security initiative is being run by the National Cyber Security Alliance, in conjunction with the White House. The Lock Down Your Login site educates users on additional security steps that users can take -- for example, using a two factor key, biometrics, one time codes, etc.--to help them better secure their accounts from hackers, with specific instructions for major services like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, on how to turn on those additional security layers.

 
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EDF Renewable Services Takes On Management Of 200MW Solar Portfolio

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

San Diego-based renewable energy developer and services provider EDF Renewable Services said on Tuesday that it has assumed the asset management and operations and maintenance on a portfolio of 200 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic projects. The company said those projects include 206 solar projects spanning across 13 states from New Jersey to Hawaii. Name of the project issuer was not announced, and EDF Renewable Services did not say what the contract was worth. The company says it now has operations and maintenance responsibility for over 1 gigawatts (GW) of projects nationwide.

 
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The 31st Annual 2016 ISSA SoCal Security Symposium - 10/13/2016

The 31st Annual 2016
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From the Basement to the Board Room

October 13th, 2016 7:30am – 5:30pm

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Register today!
https://issa-oc.org/annual-symposium/


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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Team Liquid Acquired By Local Sports, Media, Tech Entrepeneurs

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

E-sports franchise Team Liquid, which operates ten different e-sports teams with more than 50 players in total, has been acquired by a group of entrepreneurs led by Peter Guber and Ted Leonsis. According to Axiomatic--whose owners include Guber, Leonsis, Magic Johnson, Dick Glover (Mandalay Sports), NextVR, Lon Rosen (LA Dodgers), Tucker Kain (LA Dodgers), plus such others as Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky of Groupon, Blake Byers of Google Ventures, Tony Robbins, former NFL linebacker Dhani Jones, and many, many others--the CEO of the company will be Bruce Stein, who has been CEO/COO of such companies as Mattel Toys, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Kenner Products (Hasbro), and a number of startups. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

 
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EcoATM Gets New CEO After Private Equity Acquisition

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

San Diego-based ecoATM has appointed David D. Maquera as its CEO, after the completion of the company's acquisition by private equity investor Apollo Global Management. Apollo paid approximately $1.6 billion for ecoAtM's parent company, Outerwall, which it is splitting back into three separate companies--Redbox, Coinstar, and ecoATM. David Maquera had been serving as President of Outerwall's ecoATM business, which allows consumers to turn in their old cell phones for cash payments. ecoATM says it now has over 2,400 kiosks. ecoATM had previously faced the ire of some of by Outerwall's investors, who had demanded Outerwall sell or shut down ecoATM due to results out of the division. Maquera said in Outerwall's release that ecoATM has made "significant financial and operational progress" this year.

 
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LeisureLink Shuts Down All Operations

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

LeisureLink, the developer of vacation rental booking software which was started in Pasadena, has shut down all of its operations, and laid off all of its staff. In a letter to partners, LeisureLink said all employees of LeisureLink are being terminated and the platform turned off, after its management was unable to raise additional equity to fund the company. In that letter, the company said it had been working with an investment bank in the last 12 months, and expected it would raise money this summer--but after interest from strategic buyers and investors, determined that it was unlikely to complete a transaction before late Q4 of this year. The company said it has now entered into an Assignment for Benefit of Creditors to manage an orderly disposition of the company's assets.

 
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Jukin Media Targets Brands, Creative Agencies With New Unit

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Los Angeles-based Jukin Media said today that it has launched a new division, which will specifically aim at helping brands with their advertising and content marketing campaigns. Jukin said the new division--called "Ethos"-will use its technology and expertise in user generated content (UGC), to help brands and agencies to target, source, and clear user-generated video for content marketing and creative advertising campaigns. The company said the new unit comes as a result of working with such brands and agencies as Deutsch, MullenLowe Mediahub, UPROAR, and Zebra NYC. The new unit will be led by Dustin Pagliughi, who is Director of Special Projects.

 
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Elon Musk Unveils Plans For Interplanetary Colonization

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tech mogul Elon Musk is unveiling his plans for interplanetary colonization, starting with Mars, at a conference today, saying he is looking to make humans an "interplanetary species". SpaceX unveiled a video envisioning a system that will give humans access to the entire solar systems, involving the use of inflight refueling of spaceships in orbit, and interplanetary refueling stations. Musk detailed further technical details of the spaceship--and rocket boosters currently under development at SpaceX--in a live streaming webcast.

 
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Fulgent Genetics Poised For IPO On Wednesday

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Ming Hsieh, the founder of Fulgent Genomics, former founder of Cogent, and namesake of the University of Southern California's Mind Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering--looks to be having two big events in the next month; a possible IPO of Fulgent Genomics on the NASDAQ Global Market on Wednesday, and the ten year anniversary of the naming of USC's EE department after him. According to the NASDAQ IPO Calendar, Fulgent is poised to have its IPO on Wednesday, meaning that it most likely will price its IPO tonight after the markets close, if all goes well. Hsieh--who holds the majority shares in Temple City-based Fulgent--is being honored by USC for the 10th anniversary of his gift to USC in the next few weeks. USC's Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering has been sending out some well-timed invitations to alumni and others to a special 10th anniversary event, just as Fulgent is expected to hit the market. Hsieh made his fortune when he sold Cogent to 3M back in 2010, in a $943M deal. Hsieh has two degrees in Electrical Engineering from USC.

 
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Obalon Sets IPO Pricing Range

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Carlsbad-based Obalon Therapeutics, which is developing a balloon-based medical device for assisting in weight loss, has set the estimated initial IPO pricing range for its public offering, saying it now expects an initial public offering at between $14.00 and $16.00 per share. The company is selling 5,000,000 shares of its common stock, which would net it $92.0M if it prices at the high end of its estimated range. Obalon is looking to list on the NASDAQ Global Market as OBLN. The company has not yet set an anticipated IPO date, in what has been a busy exits and acquisition year for Southern California's technology companies. Obalon is venture backed Domain Partners, InterWest Partners, Bader Sultan & Bros, and Okapi Venture Capital. Companies typically provide an estimated IPO range several days or a few weeks before their actual pricing of their IPO, to gauge the reception for their public offerings among investors.

 
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Foursquare Opens First Office In LA

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Location-based information service Foursquare said on Monday that it has opened up its first office in Los Angeles, in Playa Vista. According to Foursquare, the new office will help it meet explosion in demand, in part due to local local automotive, entertainment, CPG and QSR customers. The company said that Lindsay Aston, Matt Bontaites and Karen Lurry will lead the new office. Aston was previously at such companies as Ziff Davis, CNET, Hearst, Meebo, TrueX and Gravity; Bontaites previously was a Thinknear, Ziff Davis, Time Inc. and the Wall Street Journal; and Lurry was previously at Collective, and also at Woven Digital.

 
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Fortis Therapeutics Raises $18M

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

San Diego-based Fortis Therapeutics, a new biotech company in the immuno-oncology area, announced this morning that it has raised $18M in a Series A funding. The funding was led by Avalon Ventures and also included Bregua Corporation, Lilly Asia Ventures, Osage University Partners, and Vivo Capital. The startup, based in the COI Pharmaceuticals cluster of companies in San Diego, is based on research developed by Bin Liu, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Anesthesia at UC San Francisco. Fortis Therapeutics said it is developing drug therapies for late-stage metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer and multiple myeloma.

 
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HireAHelper Launches Moving Cost Calculator

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Oceanside-based HireAHelper, which operates an online, peer-to-peer marketplace for finding labor to help you move, has launched a new website focused on moving costs. The company said it has launched the Moving Cost Calculator, a new website which lets users get estimates of moving expenses from service providers from across the industry. The new site collects information such as distance of the move, size of the move, and preferred moving style, and helps provide price estimates from moving providers. HireAHelper is led by co-founder and CEO Mike Glanz.

 
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Esri Supplies Microsoft With GIS Service

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Redland-based GIS software developer Esri said on Monday that it has been selected by Microsoft, to offer up its GIS services for Microsoft Power BI and Microsoft Azure. Esri said its ArcGIS platform will be integrated into Microsoft's Power BI (Business Intelligence), a set of business analytics tools. Esri will also offer up its ArcGIS Pro desktop application via Microsoft Azure. Financial details of the collaboration deal were not announced.

 
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Turtle Beach Restructures HyperSound, Seeks Buyer

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

San Diego-based audio technology developer Turtle Beach said Monday that it is restructuring its HyperSound business, in a bid to lower the operating costs of that business. As part of that restructuring, the company said that investment banker Piper Jaffray is contiuing "exploration of strategic options"for that business. Turtle Beach said it has taken actions to "significantly reduce" its operating expenses of that business. The company did not detail those actions, or if they included staff cuts. Turtle Beach is a developer of gaming headsets for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and other platforms.

 
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Life Sciences Organization Launches Office In LA

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), a group which focuses on public policy and business leadership in the life sciences area, said today that it has launched what it calls a new "Life Sciences Innovation Hub" in Los Angeles. According to the company, its new Los Angeles satellite office will be located in Monrovia, and will go to help its work in Los Angeles County, providing political advocacy, special industry events, and professional development for the life sciences sector. The company said the new office is a partnership with LA BioMed and Lab Launch. The group said it opened up the new location because it's "a pivotal time" for the life sciences sector in Los Angeles, saying that the area is home to numerous world-class research universities, teaching hospitals, biomedical research organizations and start-up firms, and also has "thousands of gifted scientists and a highly skilled talent pool of life sciences graduates, many with advanced degrees".

 
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The 31st Annual 2016 ISSA SoCal Security Symposium - 10/13/2016

The 31st Annual 2016
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October 13th, 2016 7:30am – 5:30pm

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The 31st Annual 2016 ISSA SoCal Security Symposium - 10/13/2016

The 31st Annual 2016
ISSA SoCal Security Symposium
From the Basement to the Board Room

October 13th, 2016 7:30am – 5:30pm

The SoCal Security Symposium features over 40 sponsor exhibits and several
industry experts discussing current security issues such as eDiscovery,
cloud security, threat vectors, mobile security, and much more. There will
be giveaways and prizes! This conference will provide tremendous networking
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Monday, September 26, 2016

Who's Next For IPO, Acquisition In Southern California?

Monday, September 26, 2016

It's been a banner year for acquisitions and IPOs in Southern California--with such acquisitions as the $2 billion acquisition of Vizio in June; the acquisition of Dollar Shave Club in February; and the IPO of The Trade Desk last week. Who else is on the possible exit list? We've looked through our list and highlighted some of the companies who have been rumored or confirmed they are looking for an IPO or exit. Image courtesy N StJerna via Flickr.



1. The Honest Company - The green and eco-friendly products company, founded by Jessica Alba and serial entrepeneur Brian Lee has been named as an acquisition candidate, not to mention unsubstantiated rumors of an IPO.



2. Blackline Systems - This maker of accounting software apparently has just filed, or is about to file confidential paperwork for an IPO, being managed by Goldman Sachs. The company has been rumored to be seeking an IPO since last year.



3. Snapchat - Snapchat--or as it calls itself now, Snap Inc.--is one of Southern Califoria's unicorns, and hinted this week of changing its name to better suit Wall Street. The company has been talking with IPO bankers about a filing all year.



4. Jam City (aka SGN) - the mobile gaming firm, led by MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe, recently said it hit $400M in revenues, and hinted at an IPO. This company's name change also seemed aimed at positioning the firm for a possible public offering.



5....

 
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Report: Blackline Filing For IPO

Monday, September 26, 2016

A report on Monday says that Calabasas-based Blackline Systems has filed for a confidential IPO, with an IPO coming as soon as next month. According to Reuters, citing "people familiar with the matter", said that Goldman Sachs is leading the IPO effort, which could value Blackline Systems at more than $1 billion. Blackline is led by Therese Tucker. Blackline has been rumored to be looking at an IPO since last year. Blackline develops accounting software, used by companies for reconciling account statements for their financial close.

 
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LeisureLink Suspends Service, Stops Accepting Reservations

Monday, September 26, 2016

LeisureLink, which develops vacation travel booking software and technology, and was started in the Los Angeles area, appears to have halted its service, telling its partners on Friday that it has suspended accepting new reservations as well as modifying existing reservations. The company--which is still backed by a number of Southern California investors, including the Tech Coast Angels--had merged with VacationRoost.com back in 2013, and moved its headquarters to Utah. Emails and phone calls to the company have not yet been returned. LeisureLink was founded in Pasadena sometime before 2004. LeisureLink sold its consumer suite of businesses--including VacationRoost, MountainReservations.com, ParkCityReservations.com, and BrekenridgeDestinations.com to Ski.com last month; those properties--which are now part of Ski.com--are not affected by the reservation issues at LeisureLink. LeisureLink told its partners in am email, "We've been working aggressively to complete a corporate transaction. Regardless of what you may have heard we are still in that process and anticipate a positive outcome."

 
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Report: Disney Eyes Twitter Buy

Monday, September 26, 2016

Glendale-based Walt Disney Co. is looking at a possible acquisition of Twitter, according to reports. Twitter had been rumored to be looking to sell itself to Salesforce.com on Friday. Walt Disney apparently is working with an un-named investment bank to evaluate the deal. TechCrunch says the deal is "much lower" than an earlier rumor of a $30 billion deal, which had been speculated in the Salesforce.com rumors on Friday.

 
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Snapchat Becomes Snap, Inc., Rolls Out Camera Sunglasses

Monday, September 26, 2016

Venice-based Snapchat said over the weekend that it has renamed itself to Snap Inc., as it rolled out a new, wireless camera integrated with sunglasses called Spectacles. According to a post by Evan Spiegel, the company decided to drop the "chat" portion of its name so that it can expand on the number of different products that it is developing. Spiegel also alluded to the public markets, saying that by changing the name users can search for information and "leave Snap Inc. for the Wall Street crowd :)". Snapchat said the new Spectacles sunglasses include an integrated video camera that "makes it easy to create Memories."

 
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Estify Raises $6.3M For Auto Body Shop Estimate Software

Monday, September 26, 2016

Agoura Hills-based Estify, a developer of software to help auto body shops creates estimates on repair for auto insurers, has raised $6.3M in a Series A funding, the company disclosed today. The funding came from Romulus Capital along with ff Venture Capital. Estify was founded by Jordan Furniss. The company had raised $1.5M in seed funding in 2014, and was part of the AmplifyLA startup accelerator.

 
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SpaceX Test Fires Mars Engines

Monday, September 26, 2016

Hawthorne-based SpaceX has test fired the "Raptor" rocket engines it intends to use to take humans to Mars, according to a tweet from Elon Musk over the weekend. SpaceX has not detailed all of the specs on the new engine, which is intended to propel its spacecraft to Mars, as part of SpaceX's longer term goal of getting humans to the red planet.

 
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InstaMed Raises $50M

Monday, September 26, 2016

Newport Beach- and Philadelphia-based InstaMed, which operates a healthcare payment network, says it has raised $50M in an investment form Carrick Capital Partners. The company said the funding goes to accelerate its go-to-market strategy and to its healthcare payments technology. Carrick Capital's Jim Madden will join the company's board as part of the funding, and VP Chris Wenner will become an observer. InstaMed was advised by Cowen and Company in the deal.

 
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CarLabs Gets Funding For Car Shopping Bots

Monday, September 26, 2016

Los Angeles-based CarLabs, a new startup developing conversational "bots" to guide users through car shopping, has scored an angel funding, the company said late last week. The ange funding came from Mitch Glub (former founder of Cars.com); Tom McAlear (former COO of DaimlerChrysler Services); and Kevin Keegan (former President, InsWeb, and SVP at JD Power). CarLabs said it has been developing conversational software which helps simplify the car purchasing process. The company's founders are Martin Schmitt (NewCars.com, Cars.com, Uzi Eliahou (Packard Bell/NEC, MatchCraft); and Isable Sopoglian (NewCars.com, Cars.com). Size of the funding round was not announced.

 
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Capricor Therapeutics Gets $2.4M In DoD Grant

Monday, September 26, 2016

Los Angeles-based biotechnology developer Capricor Therapeutics says this morning that it has received $2.4M in a grant from the U.S. Dpart of Defense. The company said the award goes towards establishing a scalable process to manufacture its CAP-2003 (Cardiosphere-Derived Cell Exosomes) product. Capricor is currently targeting the compound for treatment of cardiac conditions, including those associated with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

 
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Verengo Solar Sells Assets In Bankruptcy Sale

Monday, September 26, 2016

Torrance-based residential solar installer Verengo Solar announced late Friday that it has sold substantially all of its assets to Crius Solar Fulfillment LLC, which is a subsidiary of Crius Energy Corporation. Financial details of the sale were not announced. Crius Energy Corporation is a provider of electricity, natural gas and solar products to residential and commercial customers. As part of the deal, Verengo said that Crius will provide "debtor-in-possessoin" financing which will enable to the company to continue operating during the sale process.

 
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Call For Innovators - LAVA Meet The VC

The 8th annual conference will showcase 80 of the hottest early stage and
emerging growth technology, life sciences and clean-tech innovators along
with presentations from 30 Venture and Angel Investors.

If you are a Startup seeking capital and/or partnerships, apply to attend
at The 8th Annual LAVA Meet the VC, the premier venue connecting emerging
growth companies with active Venture Capitalists, Angel Investors,
Corporate VCs and Investment Firms.

WE CAN ONLY ACCEPT ONE PERSON PER COMPANY, but other co-founders are
welcome to sign up for LAVA at the Beach for networking.

Instead of the usual fast-pitch format used by other organizations, LAVA
invites VCs and angel groups to share insights into how they invest, what
fits their portfolios and what their typical times to invest look like.
The first two hours of the event will feature networking exclusively for
VCs, angels and entrepreneurs.

Apply to attend today!
https://lava.site-ym.com/events/EventDetails.aspx?id=841447&group=


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Friday, September 23, 2016

Renovate America Completes $320M Bond Deal For Green Projects

Friday, September 23, 2016

San Diego-based Renovate America, which provides residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing--which allows homeowners to complete home energy upgrades and renovations paid via their property tax bill--said on Friday that it has securitized $320M in bonds. The company said the latest deal brings its total issued bonds to $1.67 billion.


According to Renovate America, the new bonds represented 12,394 PACE assessments in 34 California counties. Renovate America offers up loans for energy upgrades--such as windows, insulation, and the like--where payments for those upgrades are paid via a customer's residential property bill, and amortized over the life of those improvements--which reduces the risks of default by those customers for investors. On the residential customer side, those improvements usually help reduce energy usage and save those customers money. Renovate America said the projects backed by those bonds are expected to lower homeowner's water and energy bills by nearly $500M over their lifetime, and avoid half a million tons in carbon dioxide missions.

 
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Oculus Founder Palmer Luckey Linked To Anti-Clinton Meme Group

Friday, September 23, 2016

Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey has been linked to a pro-Trump, anti-Clinton group, which circulates "dirty memes" about Hillary Clinton, according to a report on Thursday. According to the report, Luckey is using his substantial fortune to malign Hillary Clinton via social media via efforts led by Milo Yiannopoulos--the social media agitator who was banned from Twitter for harassing actress Leslie Jones. Oculus was started in Orange County, but moved to Silicon Valley shortly after it was acquired by Facebook.

 
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Certona Scores $30M In Growth Funding

Friday, September 23, 2016

San Diego-based Certona, a developer of personalization software which uses machine learning and predictive algorithms, has raised $30M in a combined growth investment and minority recapitalization. The funding came from private equity investor Primus Capital. Certona said the funding will go towards growing market share, product development, and expanding services and support. Certona was founded in 2004. The company is led by CEO and co-founder Meyar Sheik; the company's co-founder and CTO is Geoffrey Hueter. The company's software is used for personalizing shopping features for online retailers and others.

 
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SpaceX: Rocket Failure Linked To Cryogenic Helium System Breach

Friday, September 23, 2016

Hawthorne-based SpaceX said on Friday that it believes the catastrophic failure of one of its Falcon 9 rockets last month were related to a "large breach" in the cryogenic helium system of the second stage, liquid oxygen tank on the Falcon 9. The company released an extensive update on the failure at Cape Canaveral, which occurred as it was preparing a "static launch test" of the rocket. That test had not yet been started. SpaceX said that the majority of the debris from the accident has been "been recovered, photographed, labeled and catalogued", and is now in a hangar for inspection and use during the investigation. Accordingly to SpaceX, the failure occurred suddenly--in less than 1/10th of a second--but that so far, it's been able to determine the failure does not have any connection with its mishap last year with its CRS-7 mission.

 
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SGN Becomes Jam City, Eyes IPO, As It Nears $400M In Revenues

Friday, September 23, 2016

Los Angeles-based mobile game developer SGN has renamed itself Jam City, and says it is expecting $400M in revenues next year--and is eyeing a possible IPO. The company--led by former MySpace founder Chris DeWolfe--also said it has acquired the game rights to the comic strip "Peanuts", which Jam City will release as a new mobile game later this year. Financial details of that licensing deal were not announced. Jam City said the old name of the company "lacked the spirit" of its products. "Jam" refers to two of the company's most popular titles--Cookie Jam and Juice Jam. Dewolfe suggested in an interview with TheStreet that the company was considering an IPO in the future.

 
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Esri To Power Maps For Ocean XPRIZE

Friday, September 23, 2016

Redlands-based Esri, the developer of mapping and GIS tools, has linked up with Marina Del Rey-based prize competition operator the XPRIZE Foundation, to use its tools as part of the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE. The two said that Esri has donated its ArcGIS software for use in mapping efforts in the prize, which is aimed at creating autonomous, deep-sea mapping technology. As part of the partnership, teams competing in the prize will be required to submit their mapping data in ArcGIS format. The $7M in prizes will go to award a team that creates technology to map the seafloor at high resolution. Another, $1M bonus award is coming from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), if that team includes additional underwater sensing technology to detect and track a biological or chemical signal to its source.

 
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