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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Two Bit Circus Adds $15M, Plans LA Amusement Park

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Los Angeles-based Two Bit Circus, the STEM-focused, entertainment company led by Brent Bushnell, has raised $15M in a Series B funding round, the company said Thursday morning. The funding was led by JAZZ Venture Partners, and also included Foundry Group, Techstars Ventures, and Intel Capital plus new investors Dentsu Ventures, Georgian Pine and others. Two Bit Circus said the funding round will go to develop "micro-amusement parks" that tap into such technologies as multi-person virtual reality and mixed reality, social play experiences, group games, molecular gastronomy, robotics, lasers, and much more, starting with a location in downtown LA. John Spinale, General Partner at JAZZ Venture Partners, joins the company's board with the funding. Of interest of those in LA, the company said it is taking beta signups for people interested in testing out its attractions ahead of launch, at the company's 30,000 square foot downtown location.

 
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How Amavitae Wants To Help Youth Find A Career They'll Love

Thursday, January 19, 2017


For today's youth, it's often hard to figure out what they want to do in life--according to Deborah Ramo, Founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based Amavitae (www.amavitae.com). To help fix that, the startup has created a mobile app to guide people through their strengths, interests, key skills, and more to guide them along the way to a career they'll love. We sat down with Deborah to hear more about the app, why millenials and other youth are having such a hard time figuring out a career, and the company's solution.


What is your app all about?

Deborah Ramo: Amavitae, which means "love life" in Latin, is a mobile-first platform to help the emerging workforce find a career that they will love and have a natural aptitude for, and to help them understand what careers are growing and will be around in the future.

How did this start?

Deborah Ramo: The group of us who started the company are all very interested in solving problems. We came together with the idea of designing something that specifically addresses the skills and opportunity gap in our country. There are six million open jobs in our country today, from entry level to advanced degrees. However, even for the lucky young people who go to college, they are in massive debt, with well over a trillion dollars of student debt out there, and they can't find jobs....

 
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Report: Price For Faraday Future's FF91 Nearly $300,000

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Los Angeles-based electric car maker Faraday Future rolled outs its first production vehicle, the FF91, at CES earlier this month, but had not announced pricing. However, a new report says that LeEco CEO Jia Yueting has said that the new FF91 will cost "less than $300,000"--a staggeringly high price tag for an electric vehicle. Faraday Future has not officially announced the expected pricing for the vehicle.

 
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MATCHCo Acquired By Shiseido

Thursday, January 19, 2017

MATCHCo, a developer of a mobile app which helps users match their skin tones to cosmetics, has been acquired by Japanese cosmetics firm Shiseido. MATCHCo had its marketing and operations in Santa Monica, with engineering in Palo Alto. Financial terms of the acquisition were not announced. MATCHCo was founded by Dave Gross and Andy Howell in 2013, and launched its first app in November of 2015. Shiseido said that MATCHCo will remain based in California.

 
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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Famous Birthdays In Growth Mode

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Los Angeles-based Famous Birthdays, which operates an online service which lets you look up the birthdays of famous people and read profiles of those celebrities, says it has now passed 13 million unique visitors, based on numbers from December. The company also says it now has a staff of 20 full-time staffers working out of its Santa Monica office. The startup, which recently relaunched its website to add video on its many profiles, is led by Evan Britton.

 
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Exactly Me Looks To Connect You With People Exactly Like Yourself

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Los Angeles-based Exactly.me, a new, photo-driven messaging startup, has launched an app which looks to connect people who meet people who are "exactly like you"--or at least, who are very like-minded. According to the startup, it is looking to rise beyond the many message apps that just communicate with people you know, and instead helps people discover other like-minded individuals, helping strangers become friends. The startup, led by Los Angeles startup veteran Jay Goss, says the company's technology was developed by the former CTO of AskJeeves, and uses photo sharing to power a recommendation engine. The app is currently available for iOS. Goss has previously been involved with such companies as Kumba Health, Wellcaster, RxVantage, Mogreet, and Numedeon, among other firms.

 
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TeamDom Raises $1M For Influencer Marketing

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Los Angeles-based TeamDom, a new startup started by 19-year old social media star Jake Paul, disclosed today that it has raised $1M in a funding round. The round was led by Danhua Capital, and also included Edward Lando, Gary Vaynerchuk, Abe Burns, and Adam Zeplain. Jake Paul--a Disney star who played Dirk on The Disney Channels "Bizaardvark"-- says he has 15.5 million followers. Paul says on his Linkedin profile that Teamdom is a "modern­day media conglomerate focused on building powerful brands, stories, celebrities, and businesses around Teen Entertainment And Media. "

 
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ServiceNow Buys DxContinuum

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

ServiceNow, the developer of cloud-based, enterprise software for service management which has a big office San Diego, announced this morning that it has acquired DxContinuum, a developer of machine learning software. Financial details of the all-cash deal were not announced. DxContinuum was led by Debu Chatterjee, and was based in Fremont, California. DxContinuum was backed by Cequel III, LLC. ServiceNow was founded in San Diego, but its headquarters was moved to Santa Clara in 2014 due to an Northern California executive team recruited to run the company after its IPO. The company's San Diego offices were, at one time, the company's largest, but it's unclear how that has changed since the company shifted its headquarters North.

 
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Hyperloop Transportation Technologies In Exploratory Deal With Czech City

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Playa Vista-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), one of the Los Angeles companies working on technology to bring Elon Musk's concept of a high speed transportation system to market, said this morning that it has signed an "exploratory agreement" with the city of Brno, Czech Republic. HTT said that the agreement will explore feasibility of a Hyperloop system to connect Brno and Bratislava, Slovakia, as well as a "vision" for connecting the city to the Czech capital of Prague. HTT did not detail any of the financial aspects of the deal. HTT is led by Dirk Ahlborn, and is a spinout of crowdfunding platform JumpStartFund. The company is separate and different from the other, Los Angeles HyperLoop company, HyperLoop One, which is based in downtown Los Angeles.

 
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OroCommerce, Founded by Magento's Founders, Launches Ecommerce Platform

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

West Hollywood-based OroCommerce, a new startup founded by Magento's Yoav Kutner and Roy Rubin, said today that it has launched a new e-commerce platform specifically aimed at B2B e-commerce. The new software is epcifically aimed at helping companies manage corporate accounts and buyer-seller relationships, managing price lists and catalogs, automating business workflows, and more, according to the company. OroCommerce also says it integrates with existing ERP, CRM, and product information software and tools. Kutner and Rubin were behind the creation of the immensely successful Magento e-commerce engine, which was acquired by eBay back in 2011.

 
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FTC Charges Qualcomm With Anticompetitive Practices

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Federal Trade Commission has charged San Diego-based Qualcomm with using anticompetitive tactics to maintain its monopoly in baseband processors used in cell phones, the FTC announced on Tuesday, specifically citing Qualcomm's licensing behavior with Apple. According to the FTC, Qualcomm has used its dominant position as a supplier of baseband processors to impose "onerous and anticompetitive" supply and licensing terms on cell phone manufacturers. The FTC also charged that Qualcomm had threatened to disrupt supplies of baseband processors to cell phone manufacturers without being paid "elevated" royalties, which the FTC said "harms competition". The FTC also specifically cited a deal with Apple, where licensing terms precluded Apple from sourcing broadband processors from Qualcomm's competitors between 2011 to 2016. Qualcomm, for its part, said it will "vigorously contest" the complaint and defend its business practices, saying the FTC charge is based on "flawed legal theory".

 
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Numecent Swaps CEO

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Irvine-based cloud application delivery technology developer Numecent has swapped CEOs, saying on Tuesday that it has appointed co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Arthur Hitomi to the position of President and CEO of the company. Hitomi replaces Tom Lagatta. Numecent did not mention Lagatta by name, nor did it explain why Hitomi is taking over as President and CEO of the company. Numecent's technology is used to turn Windows applications into cloud software.

 
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Mitu, Major League Baseball In Latino Content Deal

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Los Angeles-based mitu, the venture-backed, Latino-focused online content network, and Major League Baseball, said on Tuesday that the two are in a new content campaign targeted at delivering MLB content to multicultural youth. According to the two, MLB and mitu will produce exclusive digital content which will feature star Latino baseball players, and appear across both mitu and the MLB's distribution channels. Financial details of the deal were not announced. The two said the effort will "celebrate the enthusiasm of a new and diverse generation of MLB fans and players". mitu is led by Roy Burstin and venture backed by Upfront Ventures, WPP, AwesomenessTV, and Verizon Ventures; the company says it has an audience of nearly 100 million people in the US each month.

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


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

AnaptysBio Sets Estimated IPO Pricing Range

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

San Diego-based AnaptysBio, which develops antibodies for treating inflammation, has set its estimated IPO pricing range, saying on Tuesday that it expects to price its IPO at between $14.00 and $16.00 per share. The company is selling 4,000,000 shares of its common stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market as ANAB. AnaptysBio is backed by Frazier Healthcare, Novo A/S, Avalon Ventures, Alloy Ventures, Biotechnology Value Fund, HBM Healthcare Investments, and others. The IPO follows one of the most active IPO and mergers and acquisitions years for Southern California last year, in 2016, and comes ahead of an anticipated IPO announcement for Venice-based Snap, Inc. as early as Thursday.

 
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Bringhub Finds Funding From Asian Investor

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Los Angeles-based Bringhub, a developer of software for matching editorial content to contextually-relevant e-commerce products, has received a strategic investment from Asian investor Integrated Asset Management (Asia) Limited. Bringhub said that Integrated Asset Management (Asia) Limited (IAM) is the majority shareholder of Forbes Media. Size of the investment was not announced. Bringhub is led by CEO and co-founder Dominik Pantelides. The company said its platform helps digital publishers, by monetizing editorial content--letting retailers promote products within contextually relevant, editorial content on such sites as NBC'ss TODAY, InStyle, StyleCaster, AOL, Saveur, Motorcycle Cruiser, Field & Stream, and others.

 
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Qualcomm-backed Zoom Video Communications Gets $100M From Sequoia

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Zoom Video Communications, a provider of cloud-based video conferencing and online meeting software which is backed by San Diego-based Qualcomm, has has raised $100M in a Series D funding. Qualcomm Ventures was the first non-angel investor in Zoom Video back in 2013. Carl Eschenbach of Sequoia has joined Zoom's board as part of the funding, and Zoom has now raised $145.5M in total.

 
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GumGum Names Sports Division Head

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Santa Monica-based GumGum, which is developing computer vision software applied to online advertising and media, said today that it has named Ryan Mosher as its new Executive Director of GumGum Sports. GumGum Sports focuses on sports sponsorships with brands. Mosher will be based in Chicago. Mosher was most recently Senior Director of Marketing and Commercial Solutions at Nielsen Sports, and also served atIMG College, International Speedway Corporation, and Watkins Glen International.

 
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Interview with Shivani Siroya, Tala

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

In emerging markets and the developing world, access to banking, capital, and financial resources is far more difficult than here in the U.S., due to a less developed financial system, lack of credit tracking, and oftentimes and informal economy. Santa Monica-based Tala, backed by Google Ventures and Lowercase Capital, has developed a tool that allows anyone with a cell phone to build a financial track record, specially for people in emerging markets. The company's CEO and founder, Shivani Siroya, talked to us recently about the startup and what it's doing.

Explain what Tala is, and how it works?

Shivani Siroya: Tala is a data company that is working in emerging markets. What we've developed, is an Android app that allows us to open up financial access to customers in emerging markets. The really, really exciting this, is in emerging markets, customers have been underserved by financial institutions for years, because they lack credit scores. However, because they are holding a smartphone in their hands, we're able to gather credit data and information on those customers, just through those devices. Through the application we sell, which they can download, within seconds they can give us permission to use key pieces of data on their device, which we run through our credit model. We use hat to create a new kind of credit score for them, which we call their financial identity....

 
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j2 Global Buys Six More Companies

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Los Angeles-based j2 Global, which is by far Southern California's most active acquirer of technology companies, announced this morning that it has acquired six more companies. j2 Global said it acquired Fonebox, Everyday Health, CudaMail, Unified eMail, Abaxio, and GreenFax, all during Q4 of 2016. j2 Global and Everyday Health had announced in September that j2 Global would pay $10.50 per share in cash, or approximately $465M, for Everyday Health. The terms of the remainder of the acquisition were not announced by the company. Fonebox is in the cloud/voice area in Australia, Everyday Health is an online publisher, CudaMail is an online email provider in Canada, Unified eMail is an email marketing company. Abaxio is a cloud backup provider, and GreenFax a cloud FAX service.

 
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Esri Adds Indoor Mapping Support For Retail Analytics

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Redlands-based GIS software developer Esri says it has tied with another software developer, GISinc, in a move to provide indoor mapping of customers for retailers. According to Esri, the partnership with GISinc will help retailers increase sales by analyzing customer behavior, using data collected by GISinc's indoor mapping capabilities using sensor-enabled overhead smart lighting and opt-in mobile data from customer phones. The deal pulls data such as customer locations inside a store and items that those customers are selecting for purchase, into Esri's ArcGIS software. Financial details of the strategic partnership were not announced.

 
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Triton Digital Wins NRG Media

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Los Angeles-based audio advertising technology developer Triton Digital announced this morning that it has been selected by radio station owner NRG Media. According to Triton Digital, NRG Media has selected the content management system (CMS) and Club components of Triton's Audience Management Platform (AMP) for use across the company's 45 radio stations. Financial impact of the win was not announced. The software will be used for creating, managing, and syndicating content, and also running contests, surveys, and email marketing efforts.

 
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Graphiq, Pitney Bowes In Real Estate Data Partnership

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Santa Barbara-based visualization software developer Graphiq has partnered with Pitney Bowes, to offer up interactive, visual representations of Pitney Bowes' demographic and community data for the real estate industry. According to the two, the deal will add enhance data on local neighborhoods, school attedance zones, and more through Graphiq's visualization technology. That Pitney Bowes data will be available via a Graphiq Real Estate API.

 
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Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP is one of the leading business law firms
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formation and organization of your start-up as seamless as possible. Our
Preccelerator® Program is a platform offered to select start-up companies
out of our Santa Monica office that provides interim office space,
sophisticated legal services, mentorship and access to a strategic perks
portfolio with the objective of helping you grow your idea from business
concept to funded startup. The Preccelerator Program provides these
benefits to 5-10 promising young startups. Apply today!

http://stubbsalderton.com/preccelerator/


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SoCal IP Law Group LLP - Serving the IP Needs of Technology Innovators

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Report: Snapchat Founders Will Retain Voting Power In IPO

Monday, January 16, 2017

A report on Monday says that Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, the founders of Venice-based Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, will retain majority voting control of the company, even after the IPO. According to the WSJ, Spiegel and Murphy are expected to keep more than 70 percent of the voting power in Snap Inc., via an IPO which will offer less powerful voting shares to investors. The report cited "people familiar with the matter" in the yet-to-be-filed IPO, which is among the most anticipated in Southern California's history.

 
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SPACES Gets $6.5M For Virtual Reality Theme Park Efforts

Monday, January 16, 2017

Playa Vista-based SPACES, a developer of virtual reality technology aimed at the theme park industry, announced last week that it has raised $6.5M in additional seed funding. The funding was led by Chinese theme park operator Songcheng Performance Development, and also included Comcast Ventures, along with Boost VC, Colopl VR fund, GREE Inc., Kai Huang, The Venture Reality Fund, Youku Global Media Fund, and CRCM VC. The company said the new funding will go towards buildling VR-enabled theme park attractions. SPACES is led by CEO and co-founder Shiraz Akmal, and was co-founded by CTo Brad Herman. As part of the funding, the company said it has named Fazal Merchant (former CFO of DreamWorks Animation), Michael Yang (Comcast Ventures), and Ethan Wang (Songcheng Technology) to its board.

 
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SpaceX Successfully Returns To Space

Monday, January 16, 2017

Hawthorne-based SpaceX successfully returned to space on Saturday with a launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, launching ten Iridium satellites into orbit, and successfully landing the first stage of the rocket an its barge at sea. The SpaceX Falcon 9 lifted off from Vandenberg at 9:54 a.m. on Saturday, and was the first launch for the space rocket developer since a catastrophic failure in September. That failure has been traced to the failure of a high pressure helium vessel in the Falcon 9's second stage liquid oxygen tank.

 
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Friday, January 13, 2017

Rubicon Project Seeks Buyer, Says Report

Friday, January 13, 2017

Los Angeles-based advertising exchange Rubicon Project is reportedly seeking a buyer, and has engaged investment banking firm Morgan Stanley to shop the firm, according to the WSJ on Friday. The report cited "people familiar with the matter". The report said Rubicon Project is looking at strategic options for the company, including a sale of the company.

 
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Maple Media Launches App Rollup Venture, Backed By Shamrock Capital

Friday, January 13, 2017

Los Angeles-based Maple Media, a new startup led by startup veterans Clark Landry and Michael Ritter, said late Thursday evening that it has launched a new venture which will acquire and roll up mobile apps. The startup says it is backed by private equity investor Shamrock Capital, and is actively looking to acquire profitable iOS and Android mobile app. Maple Media says it already owns a portfolio of 150 mobile apps, and is specifically focused on creating a network of cash-flow positive mobile apps. Landry is a very active investor in Southern California startups, and is the former co-founder and chairman of SHIFT; he also has invested in such companies as The Trade Desk, Adconion, Gradient X, TagWorld, Edgecast Networks, and many, many others. Ritter, who serves as CEO of Maple Media, was previously in business development at Jam City and Mindjolt.

 
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Report: Venture Dollars Decline In Q4, Says NVCA

Friday, January 13, 2017

Venture capital investment dollars declined in Q4, to $12.7 billion invested across 1,736 companies, according to the new Pitchbook-NVCA Venture Monitor, the new report tracking venture capital investment across the U.S., as the venture market eased off its torrid funding pace. The NVCA called the investment levels "fairly health" and said that it appears that venture funding is coming to a "more normal level" versus the peak in 2015. According to the report, for the whole of 2016, more than $69.1 billion was invested across 7,751 companies, the second highest annual investment total in the past 11 years in terms of dollars. Although total dollars were high, the Pitchbook-NVCA report said there was actually a big decline in the number of deals, with a 22 percent year-over-year decline in terms of deal count--the lowest since 012. In addition to investments, fundraising by venture capital hit $41.6 billion raised across 253 funds, driven by billion dollar funds from firms like Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Greylock Partners.

 
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Illumina Powers Molecular Breeding Tool Effort For Cattle

Friday, January 13, 2017

San Diego-based life sciences equipment maker Illumina said this week that it has linked up with genome assembly and analysis software developer NRGene, on an effort to develop new molecular breeding tools for cattle. According to the two, they will work together to sequence cattle from different breeds, to gain more knowledge on the genetic variations across cattle breeds--all aimed at accelerating breeding for better meat and milk production. Financial details of the collaboration were not announced. The two said the effort is being done in conjunction with researchers at the Universidade Estadual Paulista in Brazil.

 
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EDF Renewable Energy Puts Google Wind Farm Into Operation

Friday, January 13, 2017

San Diego-based renewable energy developer EDF Renewable Energy says that it recently put a 225 megawatt, wind farm--which is supplying electricity to Google--into operation. EDF Renewable Energy said the Great Western Wind Project, which is based near Woodward and Ellis counties in Oklahoma, went into commercial operations on December 21st. All of the power at that plant is going to Google, under a long term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the output of the wind farm. EDF Renewable Energy said the wind turbines at the location generate enough electricity to power 70,000 average Oklahoma homes. Google's use of the wind farm is part of the Internet giant's renewable energy efforts, and was originally announced in Paris at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21). EDF RE said that Google is now the largest corporate buyer of renwable power in the world, with 2.6 gigawatts worth of renewable energy long-term contracts.

 
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Sonos Brings Sound Shaping To Playbar

Friday, January 13, 2017

Santa Barbara-based whole home music system developer Sonos said on Thursday that it has extended its Trueplay sound shaping system to its PLAYBAR products. Trueplay lets users tune speakers to specific environments where they are installed, using a users' smartphone to measure how sound is bouncing off walls, furniture, and other surfaces. Sonos said that Trueplay for PLAYBAR is available in its 7.0 update.

 
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

RadPad Acquired By LandlordStation

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Los Angeles-based apartment rental marketplace RadPad, which was founded by Jonathan Eppers, has been acquired by LandlordStation. RadPad had offered up a place to search for apartment rentals, which were shown on a map and also let users search by feature, price, and other details. Financial details of the acquisition were not announced. RadPad had been venture backed by Altpoint Ventures, Goldcrest Investments and AmplifyLA.

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Correlation Ventures Raises $200M In New Investment Fund

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Correlation Ventures, a venture capital investment firm with offices in San Diego, Palo Alto, and New York City, said this week that it has raised $200M in a new investment fund. The company said the second fund was oversubscribed, and brings its total assets under management to $366M. Limited partners in the new fund included endowments, pensions, funds of funds and family offices, according to the firm. Correlation's co-founders and Managing Directors are David Coats and Trevor Kienzle. The company's portfolio includes Virsto Software (acquired by VMware), InstaEDU (acquired by Chegg) and AirXpanders (IPO), and the firm says it has made investments in 121 companies total via its first fund, Correlation 1.

 
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General Assembly Opening New Location In Little Tokyo

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Technical training and education provider General Assembly is opening up a new location in Los Angeles, its second, in Little Tokyo, the company said on Thursday. According to General Assembly, the new location--at 2nd Street and S. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo--will allow people located in the "heart of LA" to access its services. General Assembly currently has a campus in Santa Monica and one in Irvine. The company offers up classes around coding, design, marketing, and other topics of interest to startups and other technology companies, as well as hosts many events from different organizations in the area.

 
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SpaceX Edges Closer To Weekend Launch

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Hawthorne-based SpaceX is edging closer to a planned launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 this weekend at Vandenberg Air Force based, after successfully loading the Iridium satellite payload to its Falcon 9 on Thursday, according to Iridium. SpaceX's next window for launch of the payload is on Saturday the 14th, at 9:54 a.m. PST. The launch comes after forecasts for rain and high wind--from this week's series of storms in California--moved the launch for an earlier, planned launch date on Monday, January 9th. If successful, the launch will be the first for SpaceX since the explosion of a Falcon 9 at Cape Canaveral last year.

 
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