Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Hulu Names New Content Head
Los Angeles-based streaming television site Hulu has named a new Head of Content, the company said Monday, to lead the firm's content and programming strategy. Hulu said it has added Craig Erwich as Senior Vice President, Head of Content, as the company increases its content offerings, continues to invest in original programming, and more. Erwich was previously at Warner Horizon Television (WHTV), and also had served for twelve years at FOX Broadcasting.

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DivX Acquired By Private Equity Group
San Diego-based DivX, the developer of digital video encoding and decoding technology has been acquired by private equity firms Parallax Capital Partners and StepStone Group, the companies said yesterday, in a deal worth $75M in cash plus earnout. DivX had been part of Rovi, which had said it would sell Rovi and related company MainConcept, as it swizzled its strategy earlier this year. DivX had been acquired by Rovi back in 2010 when it was known as Sonic Solutions, in a deal that was at the ti (More info...)

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Handybook Takes On Los Angeles Market
Handybook, one of a crop of new companies which provides on-demand, mobile access to local service providers--in this case, handyman services and house cleaners--said yesterday that it has launched its services in Los Angeles, and also hired a local general manager. Handybook says it has hired former Wheelz GM Travis Tharp to set up an office for the company in Los Angeles, as the company looks to expand throughout Southern California. Handybook lets users book home cleaning and repair services (More info...)

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Cool Planet Energy Raises $100M
Cool Planet Energy Systems, which is developing biofuel technology which it says is carbon negative, and as a byproduct also creates a soil amendment called biochar, has raised $100M in a Series D funding round, the company said Monday. The company--which has its research and development facilities in Camarillo--said the funding came from both un-named investors from outside of the U.S., as well as its current strategic and venture investors. The company said the private placement was led by UBS (More info...)

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Pitch Competition Like No Other: A Dating Site For Puppets?
A dating site for puppets? An app to help exorcise possessed kids? For veterans of many a technology startup pitch event in Silicon Beach, it might not be all that far fetched, given some of the wild, wacky, and improbable startups making the rounds today looking for investors. A new technology "pitch competition", Techgladiatr, said it is giving away "beer, BBQ, and cupcakes" as part of a pitch event tonight which will give startups 30 minutes to pitch "a business inspired by a random idea". Te (More info...)

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Industrial Toys Gets $5M From Accel
Pasadena-based Industrial Toys, a new, startup mobile game developer, said today that it has raised $5M in a Series A funding round. The funding came from Accel Partners. Industrial Toys is led by Alex Seropian, who founded Bungie Games (the game studio behind Halo). The company said that it is specifically aiming at creating games for mobile devices--and specifically, tablets--because those platforms are now "just as good" as the consoles that the company's founders had previously built games f (More info...)

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ReachLocal Launches New SEO Offering
Woodland Hills-based ReachLocal, which provides local online marketing for small and medium sized businesses, announced this morning that it has launched a brand new, search engine optimization product, ReachSEO. ReachLocal said the new software helps SMBs to drive organic search traffic to their websites. The new product works directly with its new marketing automation software, ReachEdge, and is the first search engine optimization product to come from ReachLocal. ReachLocal's SEO product incl (More info...)

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Break.com Promotes Positive Pranks
Is this the end of the "fail" video? Break.com, the online viral video and entertainment site, is looking to promote "positive pranks", saying yesterday that it has tied with YouTube comedy duo SMOTH and YouTube pranksters Stuart Edge, LAHWF, Greg Benson and Jack Vale, to put a positive spin on video pranks. According to Break.com, it will offer up one dollar to social organization DoSomething.org for every 1,000 views on a new set of Prank it FWD videos. Those videos include a prank where the c (More info...)

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ECJ Assists International Client with Facebook Agreement
Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP (“ECJ”) acted as California counsel for Ascenta (UK) Limited in the March 2014 acquisition by Facebook’s Connectivity Lab of Ascenta's team and know-how responsible for the development of solar-powered drones. According to news reports, Facebook hopes to use high-altitude long-endurance air crafts to bring Internet service to the 5 billion people who currently lack it.

ECJ's partners Randy Leff and Ken Luer worked with Ascenta's London-based counsel, the law firm of Addleshaw Goddard LLP, and Alan Rajah of Lawrence Grant Chartered Accountants, with respect to U.S. intellectual property law and California legal issues related to the transaction.


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