Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pixels.com Launches Image Licensing Marketplace

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Santa Monica-based Pixels.com said Tuesday that it has launched a new, imaging licensing marketplace aimed at helping photographers set their own pricing for their images. The startup--founded by serial entrepreneur Sean Broihier--said that it is looking to give better options to photographers for selling their images. The company is looking to take advantage of the discontent that some photographers have expressed with the recent move by Getty Images to let online websites embed their photos, without those photographers receiving compensation. Pixels.com said that other sites like Getty Images and Shutterstock are dictating low prices to photographers, and only provide something like 20 percent of sales to photographers when sales are made. Broihier is a serial entrepreneur, who is also behind online art site FineArtAmerica.com.

 
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Factual Extends Hotel Information

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Los Angeles-based Factual said Tuesday that it has extended outs its information about hotels, expanding its dataset from 98,000 hotels to a total of 145,000 hotels. According to Factual, the move also is "perfectly synchronized" with the company's US Places data, the company's giant database of geolocation and business information.

 
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TigerText Expands Board

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Santa Monica-based secure messaging service provider TigerText said Tuesday that it has named three new board members at the company. The company said it has added Shasta Ventures' Sean Flynn, Orbimed's Steve Yecies, and New Leaf Ventures' Vijay Lathi to its board of directors. TigerText, which is led by Brad Brooks, said the new board members will bring a wealth of startup experience to the company. Flynn also sits on the board of ZEFR, and led Shasta's investment in DollarShaveClub. Yecies was the founder of Chronic Health Capital, and Lathi also sits on the boards of Awarepoint, iRhythm Technologies, among other companies.

 
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USC, USA Today Partners On New Online Sports Site

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

In an unusual method of launching a new, online publication, the USC Marshall School of Business and USA TODAY said this morning that the two have linked up to create a new, online publication covering the business of sports, called Fields of Green. According to USC Marshall's Sports Business Institute, and USA TODAY Sports Media Group, the new online publication will provide daily content on breaking news, current events and ongoing topics in the sports industry, including media trends, emerging technologies, new venues, sponsorship deals and marketing campaigns impacting the sports world. Financial details of the deal were not announced.

 
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Tikr Looks To Keep You Up On What's Next

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Do you feel like you're always behind on what's next--that next iPhone release, movie, or trending topic? A new startup, Tikr, has been offering up a mobile app to make sure you're never behind on following what's next. The startup--founded by Nick La Maina, Kurt Braget, and Kevin Donovan--says its tool is designed to bringing information on future releases and upcoming events to communities of people very soon. The company explains it brings simple, powerful communication and sharing tools to users and organizations of any size, with an intent to connect those folks to fast, breaking updates. The company is seed funded by Lionsgate. Top on the company's own list of what's next: a new release, due out any day now, which further improves the tool.

 
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Ixia Aims At Heartbleed Protection

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Calabasas-based network testing equipment maker Ixia is targeting users in need of testing of the Heartbleed OpenSSL security issue, saying Monday that it has released an update to its software to help customers test for OpenSSL vulnerability. Ixia said its Application and Threat Intelligence (ATI) team is now able to simulate exploitation of the OpenSSL vulnerability with an update to its program, helping companies to address the security issue.

 
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Zya Sees Big Bump In Downloads

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mobile music game Zya, which was developed by Calabasas-based Music Mastermind, has now been downloaded more than 350,000 times, according to the app developer, up dramatically from the 250,000 downloads the company had reported right before SxSW. According to the company's spokesperson, the numbers are an indication of the company's momentum. Zya was developed by former Virgin Records CEO Matt Sertelic and Bo Bazlevsky, and is venture backed by Intel Capital, Liberty Global, and Shea Ventures. Zya's app revolves around letting mobile users create their own songs.

 
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Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP Expands Santa Monica Office

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Expose Takes Aim At Cool Planet's Mike Cheiky

Monday, April 14, 2014

A new expose from The Verge--published Monday--has taken aim at Mike Chieky, the founder of three of the Southern California clean technologies companies to gain the most venture capital in this region in recent years: Cool Planet, ZPower, and Transonic Combustion--and called him "too good to be true". According to the article, Chieky is an "egotistical genius" who convinced venture capitalists to invest in his "shoddy science". Chieky's companies have raised funding from such top tier investors as Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, General Electric, Venrock, Khosla Ventures, and others. Cool Planet just raised a giant, $100M round for its biofuel technology, which it says provides carbon negative biofuels.

 
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Maker Studios Disney Deal Approved

Monday, April 14, 2014

Los Angeles-based Maker Studios said Monday that its deal to be acquired by Disney has been approved by Maker's board of directors and majority of shareholders, and is expected to close next week. The announcement came on reports that Beverly Hills-based Relativity Media was seeking to buy Maker Studios for nearly $1.1 billion, split between $525M in cash and stock, plus up to $500M in performance bonuses and another $75M in retention. Disney is paying up to $950M in a combination of cash and earn out for Maker Studios.

 
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Boingo Wins Utah Jazz Venue

Monday, April 14, 2014

Los Angeles-based wireless provider Boingo Wireless reported a win today with EnergySolutions Arena, the home of the Utah Jazz, saying it will provide its wireless and distributed antenna system (DAS) services at the location. Financial impact of the win was not disclosed. Boingo said it will upgrade and manage a neutral host network at the 20,000 seat location, which hosts more than 100 sports and entertainment events each year.

 
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Storefront Expands Popup Marketplace To LA

Monday, April 14, 2014

Storefront, which operates an online marketplace for pop-up storefronts--those ubiquitous, limited time retail stores--has opened up its service in Los Angeles, after raising $7.3M in funding. The San Francisco a startup said Los Angeles is the third market for the company, which allows property owners to offer up their retail space to people who want to put up a "popup" retail location, and also helps to smooth out things with liability insurance, marketing and promotion, education, and more on running a popup. The funding came from Spark Capital, as well as SV Angel, Gary Vaynerchuk, Nas, Troy Carter, Vikram Pandit (Citigroup), and Tom Glocer (Thomson Reuters), Mohr Davidow Ventures, Great Oaks Venture Capital, 500 Startups, Box Group, and AngelPad.

 
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Broadcom Gets Design Win With Robotic Sprinkler

Monday, April 14, 2014

In what looks to be a more unusual design win for Irvine-based Broadcom, the company reported a design win today for its low power applications processor: as part of a "robotic sprinkler system" from company Droplet. Broadcom said its low power, BCM2835 chip is being used as part of the Droplet Robotic Sprinkler, which uses weather stations, soil samples, and plant information to make decisions on how much and where to water. Droplet's product provides functions typically found in water timers, smart irrigation controllers, and sprinkler heads.

 
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Vitesse Gets Federal Security Cert

Monday, April 14, 2014

Camarillo-based chipmaker Vitesse said today that its 1 Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet PHY chips have receveived the federal FIPS security cirtification, allowing its chips to be used as part of secure IT products. Vitesse said its chips now meet Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 197 256-bit AES encryption certification requirements, which specifies approved cryptographic algorithms to protect data, required by the U.S. National Security Agency for highly sensitive data protection. Vitesse said its chips are being aimed at the carrier, enterprise, and internet-of-things market.

 
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Novatel Wireless Gets European Win

Monday, April 14, 2014

San Diego-based Novatel Wireless reported a win this morning in Europe for its wireless communications products, as part of a usage-based insurance product from Chipin B.V.. Novatel Wireless said it will supply its MT 3060 and N4A Device Manager products to help with mobile tracking systems from Chipin. Those devices plug into automobiles to help track driver behavior, speed, location, and more for usage-based insurance. Financial impact of the win was not announced.

 
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MaxLinear Scores Win In China

Monday, April 14, 2014

Carlsbad-based radio frequency chip developer MaxLinear said this morning that it has scored a design win in China, with Shenzhen Skyworth Digital Technology Co. Ltd.. MaxLinear said its digital cable front-end receivers are being used for a new DOCSIS 3.0 consumer premise equipment (CPE) product from Shenzhen. Expected shipping volumes were not announced. Skyworth's high speed, data cable modems are used for residential and small office applications. MaxLinear's ML261 is a low power, CMOS RF chip used in broadband cable applications.

 
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Report: Tinder Now Valued Over $5 Billion

Friday, April 11, 2014

Los Angeles-based Tinder, the mobile dating app developer led by Sean Rad, is now worth over $5 billion, according to a report Friday from Bloomberg. Bloomberg said that IAC recently bought 10 percent of Tinder from venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya, for $500M. Bloomberg cited "people with knowledge of the deal." IAC"s Barry Diller said that investors have been "banging through our doors" trying to buy a piece of Tinder. A valuation of $5 billion puts Tinder's worth above the $3 billion offer that Snapchat rejected last year from Facebook.

 
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Kyocera Consolidates Operations Into San Diego

Friday, April 11, 2014

Kyocera said Thursday that it is consolidating two of its North American business units into a single location in San Diego. According to Kyocera, it has consolidated the North American sales and technical operations of Kyocera SLC Technologies Corporation and Kyocera Circuit Solutions USA into the Organic Products Sales Group of its San Diego-based Kyocera America unit. Kyocera SLC Technologies (KST) is a provider of organic flip-chip ball-grid-array substrates used in high-end application-specific integrated circuit applications. Kyocera Circuit Solutions is the former NEC Toppan Circuit Solutions, a provider of multlayer PCBs. The impact on Kyocera's local employment and employee base in San Diego was not announced.

 
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SecureAuth Names Marketing VP

Friday, April 11, 2014

Irvine-based SecureAuth, which provides two-factor authentication software, hsa named Darin Pendergraft as its new Vice President of Marketing, the company said this week. Pendergraft was most recently at Oracle, and had also served at Quest Software (which is now part of Dell). According to the company, he was most recently driving marketing strategy for Oracle's Identity management products.

 
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Gores Group Invests In Tweddle

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Los Angeles-based private equity investor Gores Group said Thursday that it has invested in Tweddle, a major provider of publishing and technology for the automotive OEM and supplier market. Financial details of the investment were not disclosed. Tweddle provides owner's anse service manuals to OEMs using its technology. Tweddle is based in Clinton Township, Michigan. The company handles both collecting automotive information from designers and OEMs, but also managing product change processes, delivering that data both in paper and electronic form, as well as populating e-commerce websites.

 
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Former Maker Execs Sue To Stop Disney Acquisition

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Former Maker Studios CEO and co-founder Danny Zappin--along with three other former executives of the company--have filed a lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order seeking to stop the acquisition of Maker Studios by Disney. Disney said it would pay as much as $950M, including earnout, for Maker Studios on March 24th. The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday. The legal documents filed by Zappin name not only Maker Studios, but venture capitalists Mark Suster and Dana Settle, as well as GRP Partners (now Upfront Ventures). Zappin already had an existing lawsuit against Maker, which he filed after being removed as CEO of the company.

 
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Insights: Five Secrets to Landing your Dream Job in the Mobile Industry

Thursday, April 10, 2014


For this afternoon's contributed article, we're featuring Dale Carr, the CEO of LeadBolt, who offers some tips to score a career in today's high tech industry. LeadBolt is based in Los Angeles and Sydney, Australia. You can read more contributions like this from the local technology community at our Insights and Opinions section.


With a growing reliance on mobile devices in our daily lives, more job opportunities open up as the industry grows. Job seekers may be lured by careers in the mobile field and as such may be equally as excited as they are intimidated by the ever-changing technology space. For candidates who are newly entering the tech field or switching paths mid-career, here are some tips for acquiring the skills and readiness that set you apart from other job-seekers and make you attractive to the hiring organization.

Five strategic moves to land your dream job in mobile:

1. Understand the key debates and hot topics happening within the industry today. Whether it's the future of the wearables market, the rise in popularity of devices such as "phablets", the efficacy of native ads, mobile advertising, the advancements in location-based (LBS) technology or the return of Flappy Bird, the hot topics of mobile are always in motion. Prepare by knowing the three big debates or key topics. Reading mobile trade publications and industry blogs are a great way to stay informed. (More......

 
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Media Temple Parent GoDaddy Approaches IPO

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The parent company of Culver City-based hosting service Media Temple--GoDaddy--is getting closer to an IPO, based on reports Wednesday that the company has hired on several investment bankers for its public offering. According to Bloomberg, GoDaddy has selected Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan as bankers for its IPO, which is expected sometime later this year. It's unclear how the move would affect MediaTemple, which still has extensive operations in Los Angeles--and apparently has been in hiring mode for all sorts of positions here. GoDaddy acquired Media Temple in October of last year.

 
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TouchCommerce Signs Up Total Gym For Mobile Products

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Agoura Hills-based TouchCommerce, which provides Internet and mobile chat technology and services which helps to engage customers browsing e-commerce sites, reported today that it has signed up Total Gym Fitness as a customer for its new mobile products. TouchCommerce said the win comes as it releases an updated version of its mobile chat product. Financial details of the win with Total Gym were not announced. TouchCommerce is led by Bernard Louvat. The company said that Total Gym is an existing customer for the company's other products.

 
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Sonos Connects With Google Play

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sonos, the maker of the whole home audio streaming systems, has connected up its systems with Google Play Music, the music service run by Google, the companies announced this morning. According to Sonos, it now lets users directly stream to Sonos from within the Google Play Music app on their Android device, or directly from the Sonos app. Google Play is Google's online music service, which lets users store up to 20,000 songs in the cloud and stream those songs to their PC, Android tablet or smartphone, and other devices. Sonos is based in Santa Barbara.

 
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Kareo Names New CFO

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Irvine-based Kareo, which develops cloud-based, medical office software aimed at small medical practices, said today that it has named Tom Patterson as the company's new Chief Financial Officer. Patterson was most recently CFO of Teletrac, and also had been at Quest Software and Citrix Systems. Kareo is backed by such investors as Greenspring Associates, OpenView Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank, and just raised a bit $29.5M funding in January.

 
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BitAngels Sets Up Formal Investment Fund Worth Around $4.1M

Thursday, April 10, 2014

BitAngels, the angel investment group which invests in BitCoin related startups, has launched a new, 10,000 BTC structured fund--approximately $4.1 million US dollars at press time--the first, dedicated fund for its BitCoin investments. The angel investment group, whose members include such local Los Angeles investors as Michael Terpin and Brock Pierce, said the new fund is aimed at helping to grow the Bitcoin ecosystem, and is being run with actual Bitcoin. The angel group has been quite active in investing in Bitcoin related startups, and is a backer of local Bitcoin startup GoCoin. BitAngels had previously done as many angel groups do, and asked members to participate in investments when they came up. They previously had around 50,000 BTC soft-committed by its members for investments in startups, but no formal fund.

 
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Zumbox Shutting Down

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Los Angeles-based Zumbox, a startup which had been looking to store and deliver information which normally would be delivered via mail in a digital form, is shutting down its services, as of next Monday, April 14th. According to a message from the company--first posted by Infotrends--the company said the "time and cost" required to deliver on its concept of "digital postal mail" is "more than the market is prepared to invest." Zumbox had raised at least $28M in funding from such investors as Compushare, Shelter Capital Partners, Michael Eisner, and others.

 
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Xencor Gets Milestone Payment From Merck

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Monrovia-based biopharmaceuticals developer Xencor reports this morning that it has received a milestone payment from Merck, for the initiation of a Phase 1 clinical trail which uses its antibody engineering technology. Size of that milestone payment was not announced. Xencor said the drug candidate is the sixth one using its intellectual property to reach clinical trials. Xencor--which is led by Bassil Dahiyat--develops antibody engineering technology which it says help improve the performance of antibodies.

 
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MSC Software Backs Digital Manufacturing Effort

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Newport Beach-based MSC Software, is backing the efforts to create a national center focused on digital manufacturing technology, the company said today. MSC Software said it is part of a 41 member consortium, which also includes Boeing, Cray, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, and Microsoft, to create a new center--the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute--to bolster advanced, computer aided engineering, design, and simulation technologies in thier operations. The center is being led by the University of Illinois, and funded by a $70M federal grant. MSC Software said it will contribute its simulation and materials expertise to the new manufacturing center. MSC Software is a provider of engineering and simulation software.

 
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Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP Expands Santa Monica Office

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Airbnb Launches Room Cleaning Service For Hosts In Los Angeles

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Apparently, Los Angeles has become the center of the world for smartphone-driven house cleaning services, as Airbnb told hosts in the city Wednesday that it has tied up with smartphone-driven cleaning services Homejoy and Handybook to clean rooms between rentals via Airbnb. Airbnb now says on the service that hosts can sign up to have their homes cleaned--thanks to either Homejoy or Handybook--as a part of services that the company offers to its hosts. Handybook just opened a local office for its home-cleaning-by-smartphone service last week in Los Angeles, and HomeJoy has been offering up it own, smartphone-driven home cleaning service in Los Angeles since last year. LA residents can now order a car (Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, Flywheel), get their laundry picked up (Wash.io, Naki Laundry); rent a car from the airport (Silvercar, Hubber); rent an airplane (OpenAirplane); and get a dog sitter (DogVacay); all using their smartphone and an app.

 
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Ixia Gets Win With Microsoft

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Calabasas-based communications and networking testing software and equipment provider Ixia reports that it has been selected by Microsoft, to qualify mobile devices for use with Microsoft's web conferencing and unified communications software, Microsoft Lync. Ixia said it will assess and validate customer quality and reliability of devices running Microsoft Lync, including both smartphones and tablets. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Microsoft will use Ixia's Wi-Fi mobile device test product for the effort. Apparently, Microsoft has been using the Ixia tool in-house for qualifying applications against various Wi-Fi networking devices and access points.

 
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Lytx Trumpets New Patents

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

San Diego-based Lytx, the developer of camera-based, driver safety and monitoring systems, said Wednesday that it received five patents in 2013, and filed applications for an additional, 18 patents on its technology. According to the company, the new patents and applications brings it to a total of 20 issued patents, and 32 patents pending. Lytx--formerly known as DriveCam--develops systems used to track driver safety, correlating sensors with video data. Lytx did not say what it intends to do with its growing patent trove. However, Lytx isn't a stranger to patent litigation--the company settled a patent suit back in 2012 with crosstown competitor SmartDrive Systems over their respective patent portfolios.

 
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Liferay: A Big, Nearly $100M LA Enterprise Software Firm You've Never Hear Of

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Add another company to the list of fast growing, enterprise software companies in Los Angeles that you might not have heard of: Liferay, a developer of open source portal software for the enterprise, is apparently approaching $100M in annual revenues, according to some recent reports. The company--which has been entirely bootstrapped--develops software used by companies to communicate with their customers and employees, providing document sharing, group communications, and much more. Liferay says it was founded in 2004, and is led by Bryan Cheung. Los Angeles has had a surprising number of bootstrap-to-$100M plus companies (the last one to cross the mark was Airpush, another bootstrapped startup here; also on the recent $100M in revenues from bootstrapping list is Goldstar).

 
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Zogenix Fighting Massachusetts Ban In Court

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

San Diego-based biopharmaceuticals developer Zogenix is facing an unusual problem in getting its products to market: the state of Massachusetts has banned the company's lead product, Zohydro ER, from sale in the state, even before they have been released. Zogenix has developed an extended release version of the painkiller hydrocodone, aimed at treating severe pain. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick banned Zohydro in the state, because of its big problems with opiate abuse. Zohydro sued the state in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts on Monday saying that the state has no right to regulate its product, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Massachusetts is concerned about the potential for abuse and overdoses due to the much higher potency of Zohydro.

 
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T+ink Launches First Interactive Print Ad

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Los Angeles-based T+ink, the interactive printing technology developer backed and headed by Garry Winnick, said it has launched its first, interactive print ad. The ad for the Moto X phone ran in WIRED magazine and changes color when users touch the ad. T+ink said a video of the ad also has seen more than a million views on YouTube. T+ink announced funding from Winnick last month. T+ink said it currently has deals with Ford, Sun Chemical and McDonald's for a range of applications for its technology.

 
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