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Friday, July 22, 2016

TouchCommerce Acquired For $215M By Nuance

Friday, July 22, 2016

Agoura Hills-based TouchCommerce, the provider of customer service software and services, which e-commerce companies use to add live chat and support to their websites, has been acquired by Nuance Communications, Nuance said Thursday. Nuance said it would pay $215M, split between $110M in cash and $85M in stock, with $20M in earn out. TouchCommerce was founded and led by Bernard Louvat, and had raised around $32M in funding from such backers as Dolphin Equity, Emergence Capital Partners, Hudson Ventures, Partech International, Sierra Ventures, and Vertrue.

 
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Western Digital Backs Low Latency Interconnect Startup

Friday, July 22, 2016

Irvine-based Western Digital has made an investment in a developer of low latency interconnects, used to connect servers and flash memory storage together in fabrics. According to Kazan Networks, it raised $4.5M in a Series A funding, which was led by Samsung Ventures, and also included Intel Capital and Western Digital. WD is a major maker of flash-based storage devices. Kazan says its Kazan said its product allows for sub-1us latency to access on volatile memory over fabric networks, and is based in Auburn, California.

 
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Interview with Gabe Grifoni, Rufus Labs

Friday, July 22, 2016

For our interview today, we have an interview with Gabe Grifoni, CEO and founder of Rufus Labs(www.getrufus.com), which has has developed an Android-based, wearable device which is aimed at use in the enterprise, warehouses, and factories. Rufus Labs is one of a number of hardware startups which have started to proliferate in the community, due to low cost hardware, 3D printing, and crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.


What's your product, and what is it used for?

Gabe Grifoni: At Rufus Labs, we are focused heavily on building wearables and technology in a wearable platform for the enterprise. Our products are designed for use by warehouse workers, retail staff, employees in manufacturing plants, by airlines, any place where people are moving boxes, picking and placing, shipping products, or getting things ready for pickup. Right now, the tools there are old and outdated, and mostly handheld. We're making changes to improve the efficiency, make those jobs a lot better, and bring safety improvements to the floor, and keep people safe. That not only helps companies with things such as insurance and worker's comp, but from a more human standpoint, employees are not getting injured by vehicles such as forklifts. We're focused on a product which makes for a more efficient, safer, workplace.
....

 
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AristaMD Gets $11M To Reduce Unnecessary Doctor's Visits

Friday, July 22, 2016

San Diego-based AristaMD, which is developing software tools to help coordinate referrals by physicians to specialists, has raised $11M in a Series A funding round. The funding was led by Avalon Ventures, and also included Correlation Ventures. AristaMD says it has created software which is aimed at reducing the estimated 60 percent of specialists visits, which are routine and do not require and in-person visit. The company says its tool includes a comprehensive referral work up checklist, which reduces specialist visits by 30 percent or more and also reduces ER visits and hospital admissions. AristaMD is led by Rebecca Cofinas, and its technology is based on research from UC San Francisco (UCSF).

 
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MyLucke Launches Private Parking Marketplace

Friday, July 22, 2016

In an interesting twist on an Airbnb-for-anything, a new, Los Angeles startup, MyLucke, has recently launched a marketplace for private parking spaces in Los Angeles, which lets people with their own parking spaces--say, your driveway--make them available to others. The startup says it lets users make their private parking spots available to others on an hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly basis, and is aimed at helping to make more parking spaces available for both consumers and commuters. The startup is led by Emily Webb, who as tired of paying $30 to $40 a day for public parking around Los Angeles. The startup's app has potential in such congested parking areas as Venice, Santa Monica, and elsewhere, where there is a severe shortage of parking for growing technology companies--but many residents who may be out during the day having commuted to their own out of area jobs. According to MyLucke, it lets parking spot owners set their own rates, letting them keep 100% of the rate, and adds an additional 20% on top of that rate for itself.

 
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Legend VR Teams With Stan Lee On VR Episodes

Friday, July 22, 2016

Hollywood-based virtual reality technology and content developer Legend VR--the new unit of Legend 3D dedicated to creating virtual reality content--has announced its first major virtual reality project, a new series of virtual reality episodes for Stan Lee's Comic Crusaders. The company said it would debut those virtual reality episodes at Comic-Con. Legend VR said the new VR episodes are being co-produced by Genius Brands International, and were written by Fabian NIcienza (co-creator of Deadpool), and feature Stan Lee himself, voicing one of the show's main characters. The new VR episodes will debut via the Hindsight VR app.

 
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Fastener.io - Connecting Publishers and Solutions

Fastener.io is a digital content publishing consultancy founded in 2013 and
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Safire Partners Executive Search

Safire Partners is a​ 15-person​​ Los
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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Guardian Circle Taps Your Social Network For Help In A Crisis

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Just having one of those days, when you need some help--ie your car broke down, you can't get to daycare to pick up your child, you've got a medical emergency? Marina Del Rey-based Guardian Circle says it has the app for you--a new app which lets you connect with your own personal network of family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and others, who can get you out of a bind. The new take on personal safety apps says that it lets users create a real-time network of people, who can respond to various levels of emergency. The company said that, unlike other "panic" apps and buttons, it instead relies on your circle of friends--rather than traditional government organizations, ie. 911--to provide help. The app was created by startup veterans Mark Jeffrey and Chris Hayes. Jeffrey has previously been at ThisWeekIn, Mahalo, ZeroDegrees, TargetClose, and The Palace; Hayes has been involved with ShoutEngine, ThisNext, and DaVita, among other companies.

 
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Impinj Sees Surge In IPO

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Impinj, the developer of RFID chips and products which has operations in Orange County, saw a surge in its IPO this morning, and was trading around $17.24 in morning trading--up more than 23 percent from its $14.00 per share debut. Impinj priced its IPO last night, selling 4,800,000 shares of its common stock at $14.00 per share last night. The company now trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market as PI. The company is venture backed by ARCH Venture Partners, Polaris Partners, Madrona Venture Group, Mobius Venture Capital, Intel, GF Private Equity, and AllianceBernstein. The company was initially started by founders split between Orange County and Seattle.

 
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Tinder Launches Group Organization, Dating Features

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Los Angeles-based Tinder said today that it has launched a new feature for its app, called Tinder Social, which will let its users plan group dates and get togethers. Tinder says its new platform is aimed at helping its users to plan their night out, letting users see who else is going out during an evening, what they are doing, and connect with other groups who have plans. Tinder said that users have to "unlock" the new feature in order to see it, and that users will only see other friends who have also unlocked the feature. The new feature lets users message others who are going out and connect with the group when they're out.

 
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WeDo Gets $1M For To Do List App

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Santa Barbara-based WeDo, a new startup developing social, to-do list apps, has raised $1M in a funding from angel investors, the company said this morning. The startup--founded by Spencer Shulem and Raad Mobrem--lets users track tasks, get reminders, and even collaborate on lists with other people. Name of the angels were not announced. Mobrem is a serial entrepreneur, who was the founder of Lettuce, which he sold to Intuit in 2014; Shulem is a 21-year old Mac software developer. WeDo says it launched its app into beta in May, and so far has 18,000 signups for the service so far.

 
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Jukin Media Launches Marketplace For Viral Videos

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Los Angeles-based Jukin Media has launched a new, online marketplace to let marketers, advertisers, TV producers, digital publishers, and others license viral content, the company said on Wednesday. Jukin--which helps obtain clearance and rights to viral and trending videos--said its marketplace features more than 30,000 user generated videos available for licensing. Jukin Media is known for its licensing of such viral clips as "Hero Cat" and others. The company said its new marketplace site lets users see thumbnail video previews, search by category, resolution, and more.

 
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New Podcast Covers Manufacturing, Entrepreneurs In LA

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A new podcast, hosted by technology entrepreneur and technology evangelist Kristina "Z" Holly, has launched in Los Angeles, covering entrepreneurship and manufacturing, as part of the MAKE IT IN LA initiative from Mayor Eric Garcetti. The Art of Manufacturing podcast's first three episodes includes interviews with Karl Kani of Urban Streetwear; Eric Ellestad of Local Roots; and Kabira Stokes, the head of an electronics recycling company which specifically looks to hire ex-prison offenders. Holly was most recently Entrepreneur-in-Residence for Garcetti. The MAKE IT IN LA effort is focused on increasing, supporting and inspiring manufacturing in LA.

 
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Crown Bioscience Expands In San Diego

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Crown Bioscience, a provider of drug discovery and development services, said this morning that it has expanded in San Diego, creating a new "Center of Excellence for Oncology" in the city. The company said the expansion comes due to increased demand for oncology research studies. Crown Bio said it has tripled its facility space in San Diego to 22,000 square feet, which meet Biosafety Level 2 requirements. The company is focused on oncology and metabolic disease research.

 
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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

SpotHero Launches Parking App In LA

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Need help finding a parking spot in LA? Parking reservation service SpotHero says it has launched its parking app in Los Angeles, letting users find and reserve parking spots near LAX, Downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena, along with elsewhere, at over 150 locations in the Los Angeles area. The company--based out of Chicago--works with parking operators to help them fill unsold spots, which can be reserved via an iOS or Android app, or through the company's website. The company's app is similar to the information which is provided by local parking information service ParkMe, which was acquired by INRIX back in 2015, and still offers up its services.

 
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3PL Central Acquires Traker Systems

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Manhattan Beach-based 3PL Central, a private equity-backed developer of warehouse management software, said that it has acquired Traker Systems (iTracker), a fellow developer of software in the 3PL software area. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. 3PL Central said that the acquisition will help it to accelerate its product development cycles, provide more solutions, and bolster its Customer Success team. 3PL Central is led by John Watkins, who remains CEO of the combined company; 3PL raised funding from Mainsail Partners back in 2015.

 
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TouchCommerce Launches New Chatbot Product, TouchAssist

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Agoura Hills-based TouchCommerce has added a new chat bot product called TouchAssist, to its lineup of services and software, the company said this morning. TouchCommerce said its new product, aimed at brands, will offer up "intelligent" automated conversations with customers, all linked into TouchCommerce's live assistance services. TouchCommerce said it is leveraging virtual assistant technology from Nuance Communications for the new product, which starts out text interactions using virtual assistants--but uses real, human agents to answer questions and provide answers when a virtual agent isn't sure what the answer should be. TouchCommerce is led by Bernard Louvat.

 
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Rubicon Project Wins Spotify

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Los Angeles-based Rubicon Project has landed a high profile win today, with music streaming service Spotify, the companies announced this morning. Financial impact of the win was not annoucned. The two said that Rubicon Project will automated Spotify's audio advertising inventory, in a move which will let brands reach listeners with 15- and 30-second audio advertising spots, which can be targeted by age, gender, music genre, and specific playlists.

 
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Dollar Shave Club Acquired For $1 Billion By Unilever

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

In another, stunning exit for Southern California's technology startup community, Los Angeles-based Dollar Shave Club has been acquired from a reported $1 billion by Unilever. Dollar Shave Club operates a subscription, razor and toiletries accessory business targeted at men. Unliver did not disclose terms of the deal, but said the deal is expected to close in Q3. The deal is a huge win for Southern California's e-commerce and subscription market. Dollar Shave Club was venture backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Dragoneer Investment, Felicis Ventures, Forerunner Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, New World Ventures, Science Inc., Shasta Ventures, Technology Crossover Ventures, and Venrock Associates. The company had raised around $147M in total funding. The exit is also a huge win for startup studio Science, Inc., led by former MySpace CEo Mike Jones, which seeded Dollar Shave CLub back in 2012.

 
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SpaceX Dragon Successfully Docks With ISS

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The latest SpaceX mission to the International Space Station has successfully docked with the International Space Station this morning, as it made the final leg of its journey to the ISS after a successful launch early Monday. According to NASA, Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams and NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins successfully captured the Dragon spacecraft at 6:56 a.m., and is now working on installation of the Dragon to offload cargo from the vehicle to the space station. NASA plans to open the hatch on the SpaceX Harmony module on Thursday.

 
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Synthorx Raises $10M

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

San Diego-based Synthorx, a developer of protein therapeutics technology, said it has raised $10M in a Series B financing this morning. The funding was led by RA Capital Management, and also included Avalon Ventures and Correlation Ventures. RA Capital Management's Andrew Levin joins the company's board with the funding. Synthorx is focused on developing synthetic biology techniques for producing proteins that cannot be made through traditional methods. The company's technology is based on research from The Scripps Research Institute.

 
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LA Startup To Broadcast Live Surgery In VR

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Los Angeles-based GIBLIB, a startup multi-channel-network (MCN) focused on surgery content, said it will be broadcasting a live, public stream of a hernia surgery in virtual reality next week. According to GIBLIB, it will broadcast a 360 degree virtual reality view of a surgery being conducted in Beverly Hills in 4K video. The company said the livestream will be available to the public, although the startup said the purpose of its site is for doctors to share videos of their surgeries to help educate their peers about new techniques and best practices. GIBLIB is using a camera from 360fly for the VR broadcast, Livit is providing the live streaming infrastructure, and the event even has a branding sponsor, medical scrubs maker FIGS.

 
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Versant Ventures Chalks Up An IPO At Audentes Therapeutics

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Newport Beach-based venture capital ‌investor Versant Ventures can chalk up another IPO this morning, as portfolio company Audentes Therapeutics heads to the NASDAQ Global Market as BOLD. Audentes priced at the midpoint of its earlier, estimate IPO range of $14.00 to $16.00 per share. Versant Ventures had owned 11.1 percent of Audentes Therapeutics before its IPO. Audentes is based in San Francisco.

 
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Fastener.io - Connecting Publishers and Solutions

Fastener.io is a digital content publishing consultancy founded in 2013 and
based in Santa Monica serving both publishers and publisher solutions.

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Safire Partners Executive Search

Safire Partners is a​ 15-person​​ Los
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Support Our News Coverage - Become A Member Today!

We often get asked--how do we pay for our news coverage and our publishing
efforts? That's simple -- it's a combination of our sponsors and YOU. How
can YOU make sure you continue to get news on Southern California's
technology industry? By becoming a member of socaltech! Not only do you
get to support our news coverage, but you also get access to our big
database of Southern California companies, venture investors, service
providers, and deal information, and many other resources. We are relying
on YOU!

Join today at http://www.socaltech.com/Membership


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hyperloop One Countersues BamBrogan For $250M

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One, the high flying startup which has been working on high speed, tube-based transportation systems first envisioned by Elon Musk, has countersued former founder and executive Brogan BamBrogan, for launching a "smear campaign" against the company. Hyperloop One is seeking $250M in damages from BamBrogan. Hyperloop One saw a flurry of negative press over the structure of the company and control of the firm by venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar, including an article in the LA Times published on Tuesday morning. BamBrogan has his own lawsuit pending against his former company, and had filed for a restraining order against Pishevar, which was turned down by a judge last week.

 
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Snapchat Confirms Acquisition Of Bitmoji

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Venice-based Snapchat has confirmed its acquisition of Bitmoji, the developer of software which lets people create their own, personalized "emoji", which they can insert into Snapchat. The company--which announced the deal via a comic strip on Tuesday--said Bitmoji's team has joined Snapchat as part of the deal. Snapchat reported paid around $100M for Bitmoji's parent company, Bitstrips.

 
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RadPad Links With DocuSign For Electronic Lease Agreements

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Los Angeles-based rental marketplace RadPad, which is backed by Altpoint Ventures, Goldcrest Investments and AmplifyLA, said today that it has linked up with DocuSign to simplify the process of apartment rentals. The company said it now lets landlords and renters electronically execute leases. RadPad--led by Jonathan Eppers--now allows landlords to handle everything from listing apartments and homes, to qualifying tenant applications, signing leases, and event accepting debit and credit card payments. DocuSign is a major provider of electronic signature and document software. RadPad says it is the first, online rental marketplace with the ability to let landlords and renters electronically execute leases.

 
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Incipio Gets Early Approval From FTC On Skullcandy Buy

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Irvine-based Incipio said today that the FTC has granted it early termination of the waiting period required by the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, on its acquisition of fellow electronics accessory maker ,a href="http://www.skullcandy.com">Skullcandy. Incipio and Skullcandy said in June that Incipio would pay approximately $177M for Skullcandy, or $5.75 per share in cash. Both Incipio and Skullcandy make electronic accessories, including earbuds, headphones, mobile phone cases, and more.

 
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Interview with Roni Eschel, goFlow

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


Are you looking for what the actual surf conditions are at your favorite break, and if it's crowded or not, or if you ought to come check it out? Right now, you might rely on your friends—or maybe get an inkling of an idea from forecasts—but there's no way to know unless you get some real time information. Los Angeles-based goFlow is hoping to make that inforamtion as easy as checking out an app, tapping into a crowdsourced network of outdoor sports enthusiasts. Roni Eschel, the founder of goFlow, is a former Israeli pro surfer, who is now in Los Angeles; she told us a bit more about the startup and her journey from pro surfing to the startup world.


What is goFlow all about?

Roni Eschel: It's a market network for outdoor sports, a social network for connecting like minded people, sharing conditions and moments in real time, and helping to find the best spots for your favorite sports, like surfing, paddleboard, kite surfing, and so on. We recently launched booking experiences and services in L.A. And all of Southern California, so that people have the ability to share their experience around those spots, and people with those skills can earn money by sharing those experiences, so you can learn surfing, kite surfing, and other sports from locals.

How did you go from pro surfing in Israel, to starting a company here in L.A.?

Roni Eschel: I grew up surfing competitively, and traveling the world....

 
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Soraa Installs LED Lighting At Madame Tussauds

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

LED lighting developer Soraa, which developed LED lighting which is based on technology developed at UC Santa Barbara, reported today that its LED lighting is being used at Madame Tussauds San Francisco. Soraa is a developer of Gallium-Nitride (GaN) based LED lamp technology. The company said its LED lights were selected both to control energy costs and to reduce heat at the popular tourist attraction. Soraa still maintains a research center in Goleta.

 
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Linksys Launches New MU-MIMO Wireless Access Point For Small Businesses

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Playa Vista-based Linksys has launched a new, 802.11AC Wave 2 access point with MU-MIMO, aimed at the small and medium business market, the company said today. The company said its new Linksys Business Pro Series Wireless-AC, Dual-band MU-MIMO Access Point costs only $499.99, making it easier for small and medium sized businesses to implement wireless MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple Output) technology. Linksys said that most MU-MIMO routers cost more than $1000. Linksys said its new MU-MIMO access point is aimed at use in high density areas, such as bullpens, open workspaces, and conference rooms.

 
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Ixia Wins NoviFlow

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Calabasas-based network testing software and hardware developer Ixia reports this morning that its products hvae been selected by NoviFlow, to validate performance of that company's Software Defined Networking (SDN) switches. Financial impact of the win was not announced. Ixia said that NoviFlow is using its IxNetwork product, which emulates SDN switches, hosts, and applications.

 
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Monday, July 18, 2016

Airbnb To Collect Taxes For Los Angeles

Monday, July 18, 2016

Airbnb and the City of Los Angeles have reached an agreement, where Airbnb will collect taxes for the city, and hand those taxes over to Los Angeles. The deal is expected to go into effect in August. Los Angeles--and other cities--have struggled to collect room taxes from hosts, who are already required to collect those taxes and to pay the city.

 
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NASA: SpaceX Falcon To Dock On Wednesday

Monday, July 18, 2016

NASA says that the latest SpaceX Falcon mission to the International Space Station is planning to dock on Wednesday. NASA sent almost 5,000 pounds of cargo into space on the SpaceX Falcon 9 -- built by SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, in Los Angeles -- in this latest mission, which is its ninth Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission for the agency. The two launched the latest SpaceX mission from Cape Canaveral early this morning, at 12:45 a.m. EDT. SpaceX successfully landed its Falcon 9 booster stage at Cape Canaveral as part of that launch. Image: SpaceX photo of the successful Falcon 9 landing.

 
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Pipeliner Rolls Out Updated CRM Tools

Monday, July 18, 2016

Los Angeles-based Pipeliner CRM, the developer of customer relationship management software led by Nikolaus Kimla, has rolled out a new release of its CRM tools, which it says adds new data visualization capabilities. The company said its "Pipeliner Collection" release adds such features as compact view of leads, accounts, opportunities, and contacts, and new ways of viewing accounts, among other features. The company claimed that its revenues grew 100% in the first half of the year compared with the first of 2015, and is the fourth year in a row that it has doubled its year-over-year revenue. Actual revenue numbers were not detailed.

 
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Chrome River Links With Sabre

Monday, July 18, 2016

Los Angeles-based expense management software developer Chrome River has scored a big win today, with a link with travel booking system developer Sabre. Sabre said that it will offer up expense management and employee reimbursement support within its mobile platform, powered by technology from Chrome River. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Sabre said its new, mobile platform will provide a "total trip solution" from the travel request all the way to employee reimbursement--automatically feeding expense information into Chrome River's expense management solution. The agreement also includes joint efforts in the areas of product, sales and marketing.

 
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Airgain Files For IPO

Monday, July 18, 2016

San Diego-based Airgain, a developer of embedded antenna technology for the wireless networking market, has filed for an IPO, saying that it is looking to raise $17.5M in a public offering on the NASDAQ Capital Market. The company has applied to list as AIRG. The company's IPO is being underwritten by a single underwriter, Northland Capital Markets. The company reported $27.793M in sales for its year ended December 31, 2015. The company is backed by GEN3 Capital and Northwater Intellectual Property.

 
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