Wednesday, July 30, 2014

O Labs Launched To Incubate, Accelerate Enterprise Software In LA

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

O-Labs, new Los Angeles-based accelerator/incuabtor has launched today, create as joint venture of Originate, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP and ICM Partners. According to the three, they have created O Labs as an independent company specifically to create, grow, and operate portfolio companies focused on helping large and growing enterprises. The company said it will launch three to five companies per year, and leverage the legal expertise and business consulting from Manatt, Phelps & Philips, and the marketing, sales, and branding experts at ICM. The new company is led by Matthew Pierce, and will be managed by an "investment committee" from the respective companies. O Labs said its first portfolio company is Versus, which is developing a platform for legal, real-money video game tournaments. The company's investment committee includes Manatt's Hale Boggs, Keyvan Peymani of ICM, and Jeff Scheinrock of Originate. Sarah Chambless of Manatt is an advisor.

 
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Epic Sciences Raises $30M For Cancer Diagnostics

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

San Diego-based Epic Sciences, a biotech startup focusing on diagnostics for treatment and management of cancer, has raised $30M in a Series C funding. The funding came from RusnanoMedInvest (RMI) and Arcus Ventures, plus Domain Associates, Roche Venture Fund, and Pfizer Venture Investments, as well as angels. According to the company, the financing will go towards commercialization efforts. The company said its technology focuses on tracking the proteomic and genomic changes that occur over time during the treatment of a patient's cancer, from a minimally invasive liquid biopsy.

 
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j2 Global Buys Contactology

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Los Angeles-based j2 Global said this morning that it has acquired Contactology, a provider of email marketing services. Financial terms of the buy were not disclosed. j2 Global said the move would help expand its business cloud services division. Contactology was based in Durham, North Carolina. j2 Global said the financial impact is not expected to be material to the company. j2 Global--which owns a vast number of business cloud-based services in the area of Internet fax, virtual phone, email, email marketing, online backup, and more--said it would "tuck in" the new acquisition into its existing portfolio, by migrating Contactology customer's to its existing Campaigner platform and service. j2 Global, in addition to its cloud businesses, also owns Ziff Davis, PCMag.com, IGN.com, and other online publications.

 
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Pfenex Closes IPO

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

San Diego-based biotechnology company Pfenex said Tuesday that it has closed its initial public offering, where the company sold 8,333,333 shares of its stock at $6.00 per share. The company is now trading on the NYSE as PFNX. Pfenex closed down at $5.62 on Tuesday. The IPO was run by William Blair & Company, L.L.C. and JMP Securities LLC, along with Mizuho Securities USA Inc. Pfenex is a spinout of Dow Chemical, and is aiming its lead product at potential treatment of patients with retinal diseases.

 
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ViaSat Buys Gray Labs

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Carlsbad-based satellite and wireless networking developer ViaSat said earlier this week that it has acquired the assets of Gray Labs, a developer of high rate modem products and custom spacecraft technologies for earth observation. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Gray Labs was based in Duluth Georgia. According to ViaSat, it will continue to support Gray Labs products and customers from Georgia. ViaSat said the move would help it expand its high-speed satellite data communication technology.

 
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McKean Defense In San Diego Expansion

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

McKean Defense Group, a Philadelphia-based provider of services to the Navy, said it is expanding its facilities in San Diego. According to McKean, it is expanding its San Diego operations and relocating to a larger facility in the city. Number of new job positions at the location were not announced. The company said the new facility is colocated with Cabrillo Technologies, which is a McKean subsidiary.

 
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Amgen To Cut Nearly 3,000

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Thousand Oaks-based biotechnology giant Amgen said Tuesday that it plans to cut 2,400 to 2,900 staff, including at its headquarters location, and will also close facilities in both Washington and Colorado. According to Amgen, the move is part of a restructuring plan to improve its cost structure. As part of the move, Amgen said it will also consolidate staff into less buildings in the Thousand Oaks area. Amgen said the moves would result in an approximately 23 percent reduction in its facilities footprint. Amgen expects to reduce operating expenses by approximately $700M in 2016. Amgen did not say how many of its staff in Thousand Oaks would be cut.

 
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Fisker Automotive Bankruptcy Plan Okayed

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Costa Mesa-based company once known as Fisker Automotive--now known as FA Liquidating Corp. and FAH Liquidating Corp.--has received court approval of its Chapter 11 plan. According to the companies, the company received approval from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on Monday to sell itself to Chinese company Wanxiang Group Corp., for $149.2M. Fisker had filed for bankruptcy protection back in November of 2013. Fisker had raised more than $1.4 billion in the process of developing its electric vehicles.

 
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Kixer Raises $1M In Seed Funding To Connect App Makers, Publishers

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Los Angeles-based Kixer, which was founded by Keith Bonnici, Jake Moilanen, and Omar Nicola, has raised $1M in a seed funding, for the company's native advertising platform. Kixer develops a native advertising platform which helps mobile app developers reach users via online publishers. B The funding came from TenOne Ten Ventures, Lowercase Capital, as well as angels, including Clark Landry and other local investors. Bonnici was previously SVP Operations at Scopely. According to Boonici, the company is helping app developers find new customers, and helping traditional, online publishers better monetize their mobile visitors.

 
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PaxVax Finds $62M For Vaccine Efforts

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

PaxVax, a biopharmaceuticals company developing vaccines for infectious disease, has raised $62M in a funding round. The funding included $50M in secured debt from Pharmakon Advisors, and $12M in a Series B extension round. The company is backed by Ignition Ventures, Ignition Growth Capital and the Blue Haven Initiative. According to PaxVax, the new equity funding brings its total to $80M in equity raised by the company. The new funding goes towards the acquisition of an FDA-approved oral typhoid vaccine, plus further clinical development efforts. PaxVax has its research, development, and manufacturing facilities in San Diego, although it is based in Redwood City.

 
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SolarReserve Wins Deal In El Salvador

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Santa Monica-based utility-scale, solar power project developer SolarReserve has scored a win in the country of El Salvador, saying recently that it has signed a contract to supply 20 MW of power there. The deal is part of a competitive supply contract tender from Distribuidora de Electricidad del Sur, a local electricity distribution company in El Salvador. SolarReserve said the plant will be the first, utility-scale solar power installation in El Salvador. Financial details of the win were not announced.

 
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Pogoseat Gets $2.3M

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Santa Monica-based Pogoseat, which develops mobile apps to allow people to get upgraded seats at events on the same day--or even during the event--has raised $2.3M in a funding round. The funding came from Structure Capital, SK Ventures, Zelkova Ventures, KDDI, Golden Brain Open Innovation Fund, Tylt Lab, Universal Music Group, Kima Ventures, XG Ventures, Joshua Schacter, plus the owners of both the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. PogoSeat is led by Evan Owens.

 
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Sapphire Energy Names New CEO

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

San Diego-based algae energy technology developer Sapphire Energy has named a new CEO, saying that it has appointed James Levine as President, CEO, and member of the company's board of directors. Levine is the former President and CEO of Verenium, and also served at Goldman Sachs & Co. Levine replaces Cynthia 'CJ' Warner, who remains chairman of the company's board. Sapphire Energy is developing algae-based fuel technology, which uses algae and feedstock to create biofuels.

 
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VIZIO Dangles TV, Some Money To College Students In Contest

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Irvine-based television and electronics manufacturer VIZIO said this morning that it is offering up a 40 inch television, sound gear, and $1,000 toward tuition, a $1000 for books, and more to college students, as part of a promotion. Vizio explained that its contest involves uploading a video or photo essay about a "story of determination" on how students went to college, to compete for those prizes. VIZIO said the contest runs through August 19th.

 
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TakePart.com Names Editor-in-Chief

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Los Angeles-based socially conscious lifestyle magazine and website TakePart--which is owned by Participant Media--said it has named Eric Noe as its Editor-In-Chief. The socially responsible website said that Noe was most recently at ABC News Digital, where he had spent 10 years. TakePart said Noe will be responsible for day-to-day content operations, editorial strategy, and other efforts.

 
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Zadara Upgrades Storage Options

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Irvine-based cloud storage technology developer Zadara Storage, which is led by Nelson Nahum, said today that it has begun offering 5 TB hard disk drives as part of its enterprise-focused, storage-as-a-service offerings. The company said the support of the higher capacity disk drives will allow for better cost efficiency for its customers. Zadara both offers its service in the cloud, as well as installed on premise.

 
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Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP Represents The Bouqs Company

SAM announced that it represented client, The Bouqs Company (TheBouqs.com),
a premier cut-to-order online flower delivery service, in a $6 million
Series A financing. Led by Azure Capital Partners and joined by KEC
Ventures, funding will be used to accelerate growth initiatives including
expanding the team, offering delivery outside the US, and scaling the
company’s technology and infrastructure to keep pace with growing demand.


SAM attorneys Ryan Azlein and Gaurav Krishan served as counsel for The
Bouqs Company for this transaction.

http://www.stubbsalderton.com


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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
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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
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Monday, July 28, 2014

Hulu In Deal With 'Manhattan'

Monday, July 28, 2014

Los Angeles-based Hulu said Monday that it has signed a deal for subscription, video-on-demand rights to the new television show "Manhattan." Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Hulu said it will make new episodes of season one of the series following the Sunday night airing on WGN America. The deal also will provide the five, most recently broadcast episodes of the series available for free on Hulu.com. Manhattan is a drama set in Los Alamos, New Mexico, in the age of the atomic bomb.

 
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Eventure Interactive Finds $4.1 Million

Monday, July 28, 2014

Costa Mesa-based Eventure Interactive, a developer of social, photo sharing applications, said last week that it has raised $4.1M in funding from Kodiak Capital Group as well as angels. The funding said $3M of the funding came from private equity group Kodiak Capital Group, with the remainder from family offices and high net worth individuals. Eventure is led by Gannon Giguiere. The firm is OTCBB listed.

 
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European Commission Gives Nod To Beats Deal

Monday, July 28, 2014

The European Commission said today that it has given approval to Apple Computer's acquisition of Santa Monica-based Beats Electronics. The European Commission said that the move did not raise any competition concerns for the regulator. Apple agreed to pay $3 billion for Beats back in May. The deal includes both the headphone electronics business and streaming music business of Beats.

 
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Fonality: More Than A Business Phone System, with David Scult

Monday, July 28, 2014


In an intensely competitive area, how do you differentiate yourself and grow a company?
With around a hundred employees in Los Angeles, and $40M in revenues, Fonality (www.fonality.com) --a developer of voice-over-IP phone software and systems--has managed to rise above the crowd of commodity voice-over-IP and PBX service providers. We spoke with David Scult, the company's CEO, to learn more about what the company is doing nowdays. Editor's note: we're cross posting this on our Texas site, as Fonality is split between Culver City and Plano, Texas..

What does Fonality do?

David Scult: Fonality is a provider of small business phone systems that both support a cloud implementation or an on premise implementation. Our software is in the cloud, but the customer can choose whether they want the call control, the PBX, in the cloud or on premise. So we now have around 275,000 users that have subscribed to the system over the past 10 years.

Who is the idea customer for you?

David Scult: The ideal customer is the customer who has 25 employees and three locations, and don't necessarily want to have w receptionist at each location, and in some cases don't even want to have a manager. Our best vertical is insurance. Typically we have one owner, and they have three offices, and lots of really young sales people. The hone system actually helps them manage those people....

 
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Slacker Rolls Out Amazon Fire Phone App

Monday, July 28, 2014

San Diego-based streaming music and radio company Slacker was one of the companies rolling out a new, Amazon Fire Phone app last week, as Amazon.com launched its own smartphone on AT&T. Slacker said last week that it has released a new version of its music app, specifically aimed to take advantage of Amazon's new smartphone platform. The new app is free. Slacker offers us a large number of radio-style channels and songs, including news stations, sports and talk shows, plus curated music channels. The company has deals with ESPN and ABC News to stream their radio feeds, and offers up a $3.99 a month and $9.99 a month subscription plans with varying access to content. The new app comes on top of existing Kindle Fire, Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Blackberry apps.

 
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Ceres Gets Funding From Brazil

Monday, July 28, 2014

Thousand Oaks-based agricultural biotech developer Ceres said this morning that its product development programs in Brazil are now being funded in part by that country. Ceres said it is expanding its product development programs in the country for sorghum and sugarcane, under funding from the Brazilian government's PAISS Agricola initiative. Ceres said the effort makes it eligible for approximately $34M in government subsidized loans. Ceres is developing seeds using biotechnology, aimed at energy production.

 
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Newport Corporation Buys V-Gen Ltd.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Irvine-basd Newport Corporation, which develops optical components, lasers, photonics, and other equipment, said last week that it has acquired Israeli laser company V-Gen Ltd.. Financial terms of the buy were not disclosed. Newport Corporation said that V-Gen Ltd. is a developer of fiber lasers, and has approximately 50 employees worldwide. The deal is expected to add $15M to $20M in sales over the next twelve months.

 
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MRV Expands Board

Monday, July 28, 2014

Chatsworth-based optical network hardware maker MRV Communicaitons has expanded its board of directors, saying this morning that it has added Jeannie H. Diefenderfer to its board of directors. Diefenderfer is Chief Procurement Officer for Verizon Communications, and also serves as Senior Vice President of Global Engineering and Planning. She also is a trustee at Tufts University.

 
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Broadcom Gets Design Win In India

Monday, July 28, 2014

Irvine-based Broadcom reports this morning that it has signed up a set top box manufacturer in India. Acccording to Broadcom, Tata Sky will be using its systems-on-a-chip in its first general of HD set top boxes, for a mass deployment through 2015. Financial impact of the win was not disclosed. Braodcom said Tata Sky is using its BCM7252 high efficiency, video codec H.265 systems-on-a-chip as part of that set-top box. Financial impact of the win was not announced, and Broadcom did not say how many units Tata Sky expects to deploy in India.

 
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Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP Represents The Bouqs Company

SAM announced that it represented client, The Bouqs Company (TheBouqs.com),
a premier cut-to-order online flower delivery service, in a $6 million
Series A financing. Led by Azure Capital Partners and joined by KEC
Ventures, funding will be used to accelerate growth initiatives including
expanding the team, offering delivery outside the US, and scaling the
company’s technology and infrastructure to keep pace with growing demand.


SAM attorneys Ryan Azlein and Gaurav Krishan served as counsel for The
Bouqs Company for this transaction.

http://www.stubbsalderton.com


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Friday, July 25, 2014

Demand Media: Rightside Group Spinoff Expected August 1st

Friday, July 25, 2014

Santa Monica-based Demand Media said late Thursday that it expects the separation of its domain name services business, Rightside Group, on August 1st. According to Demand Media, it expects the tax-free dividend distribution of all outstanding shares of Rightside to its common stock holders by August 1st, with Rightside expected to list itself on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under NAME immediately after that distribution.

 
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Brain Corporation Taps Qualcomm Exec For Board

Friday, July 25, 2014

San Diego-based Brain Corporation, a company which is developing an operating system for robots, said this week that it has added former Qualcomm President and Vice Chairman Steve Altman to its board--and also revealed that it is getting the support and backing of Qualcomm itself in its efforts. The company, which says it is developing an operating system aimed at creating autonomous, adaptive, and affordable robots using smartphone processors, is planning to make it OS available to beta developers sometime this fall. Brain Corporation said Altman was behind Qualcomm's IP licensing strategy and business. Brain Corporation is led by Dr. Eugene Izhikevich. The company is located in the Qualcomm Research Center in San Diego.

 
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Factual Rolls Out Trusted Data Contributor Program

Friday, July 25, 2014

Los Angeles-based data startup Factual, which owns a giant "database in the sky" of things like geolocation data and retail business location information, has launched a new program to allow "trusted data contributors" to ensure data in its data stores are correct. The company said the limited number of providers have been vetted and will help make sure business data in its database is up to date and correct. Factual--which also accepts updates via its API from anyone--said it is asking all businesses and brand owners to submit their data through the limited list of trusted data contributors. Those include DAC Group, GoDaddy, LBS Media/MediaBoro, Location3, Michaels Wilder, MomentFeed, Moz, Placeable, PositionTech, Rio SEO, UBL, Where 2 Get It, and Yext.

 
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eHarmony: Subscriber Numbers Hit Record

Friday, July 25, 2014

Santa Moica-based matchmaking site eHarmony said today that it has hit a record breaking number of subscribers, thanks to the return of founder Dr. Neil Clark Warren two years ago. The service said it has seen a 54 percent growth in subscribers since Warren's return, which the company said came after a "serious decline" due to its prior management team. eHarmony did not report on the exact number of subscribers using the service now. According to the company, its prior leadership had begun to "follow the market rather than lead it", causing its decline. eHarmony attributed the return to a redesigned user experience, mobile support, new marketing, and vertical expansion. eHarmony says that on average, 438 people marry every dat in the U.S. as a result of being match on eHarmony, which represents 4 percent of new marriages in the United States.

 
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TigerText Lands Community Health System Operator

Friday, July 25, 2014

Santa Monica-based TigerText, the developer of secure, real-time messaging apps and software aimed at the healthcare and enterprise markets, reported a win with a community health system which operates 58 hospitals across 20 states. TigerText reported that Fauquier Health, which is part of LifePoint Hospitals, has selected its secure messaging platform and application for internal communications, access to on-call schedules, and more. Financial impact of the win was not disclosed. The win is with Fauquier Health specifically and its five facilities. TigerText, which is led by Brad Brooks, offers up software which helps healthcare providers remain HIPAA compliant, and help address the popularity of text messaging with healthcare workers.

 
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Safire Partners Executive Search

Safire Partners has completed 300+ retained executive searches since 2006
working with emerging businesses in Southern California. Please visit
our website to see an updated list of our clients and searches completed
at http://www.safirepartners.com/. We are always interested in
meeting new candidates and potential clients, so feel free to email our
Managing Partner, Todd Gitlin at tg@safire.la.


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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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CEO

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pixels.com Launches New iPad App

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Los Angeles-based Pixels.com, which runs an online art and photography marketplace which delivers framed prints, canvas, greeting cards, and other products to consumers, said this week that it has launched a new iPad App. The company said that the free app lets users browse artwork, and even lets users preview what those images would look like on the walls of their homes. Pixels.com, which is led by Sean Broihier, allows photographers and artists to upload and offer up their artwork to consumers, and says it has around 7.5 million images available for purchase on the site.

 
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Fullscreen In Talks To Sell Itself To Otter Media, Says Report

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Los Angeles-based multichannel content network Fullscreen is in the midst of selling itself to Otter Media, the joint venture between AT&T and The Chernin Group, according to reports. The deal is reportedly worth between $200M and $300M. The Chernin Group is already part owner of Fullscreen, having backed the company in prior venture rounds. Fullscreen is led by George Strompolos. Fullscreen's other backers are Comcast Ventures and WPP.

 
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Pipeliner CRM's Nikolaus Kimla On Moving to LA, Sales Entrepreneurship

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Southern California has a growing number of companies in the customer relationship management area, including a fairly new company in the area, Pipeliner CRM (www.pipelinersales.com). The company--which originally started in Austria--set up shop here two years ago to further expand its footprint in the US, and most recently hired away the entire Los Angeles marketing team of crosstown CRM software developer Nimble. We spoke with Nikolaus Kimla, the CEO of Pipeliner CRM, to learn more about the company, its move here, and its software.


Tell us about Pipeliner CRM?

Nikolaus Kimla: I moved here two years ago, from Austria-Vienna. I'm living now in Los Angeles. We had previously developed software for a hit company in the banking and compliance area, which was bought by Reuters, and is a banking solution used by all banks worldwide. We did that for 15 years, and have a lot of knowledge in this area. The long story is that company was sold to Thomson Reuters for almost $530M. A few years ago, we saw there was a need, and that there was something wrong with CRM software. The people we spoke with told us that CRM sucks, and sales people have to use this software, but don't like to use it. We interviewed over a thousand people around the world, and they all told us they don't like it. The reason why, they told us, is because it was not for us, but was written for management. We saw a tremendous opportunity to go into this realm....

 
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Simulations Plus Acquires Cognigen

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lancaster-based Simulations Plus, which develops simulation and modeling software for the pharmaceuticals industry, said late Wednesday night that it has acquired Cognigen Corporation, a provider of clinical trial data analysis software. Simulations Plus said it will pay $7M for Cognigen, split between $2.8M in cash and $4.2M in stock.
Cognigen will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Simulations Plus, and continue to operate under its own name. Simulations Plus was advised by Excel Partners in the deal.

 
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Qualcomm Launches $150M Venture Fund In China

Thursday, July 24, 2014

San Diego-based Qualcomm said late Wednesday that it has launched a new, $150M strategic venture fund in China, which will invest in Chinese companies working on mobile technology. Qualcomm said the new fund--being managed by Qualcomm Ventures, its venture capital arm--will invest in companies in the area of the Internet, e-commerce, semiconductors,and education and health. Qualcomm says it has been investing in China for more than 10 years.

 
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