Category Archives: Los Angeles

Delane Parnell’s plan to conquer amateur esports

Most of the buzz about esports focuses on high-profile professional teams and audiences watching live streams of those professionals. What gets ignored is the entire base of amateurs wanting to compete in esports below the professional tier. This is like talking about the NBA and the value of its sponsorships and broadcast rights as if that is the entirety of the basketball market in the US. Los Angeles-based PlayVS (pronounced “play versus”) wants to become the dominant platform for amateur esports, starting at the high school level. […]

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Startups Weekly: VCs are drunk on beverage startups

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a newsletter published every Saturday that dives into the week’s most noteworthy venture deals, fundraises, M&A transactions and trends. Let’s take a quick moment to catch up. Last week, I wrote about an alternative to venture capital called revenue-based financing and before that, I jotted down some notes on one of VCs’ favorite spaces: cannabis tech. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets. This week, I want to share some thoughts — […]

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Led by LA-based March Capital, Astound raises $15.5 million for employee help desk automation services

Astound, a company selling automated employee help desk services, has raised a new round of $15.5 million from investors led by the Los Angeles investment firm March Capital Partners. Previous investors Vertex Ventures, Pelion Venture Partners, Moment Ventures, and the Slack Fund also participated in the funding, which brings Astound’s total capital raised to $27 million. The company’s software integrates with ServiceNow, BMC, Jira, Cherwell, and Workday, among others. For co-founder and chief product officer Dan Turchin, the company is the culmination of decades of work spent […]

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Beyond Meat prices its public offering

Beyond Meat, the meat replacement company whose packages of Beyond Burgers line grocery store aisles across America, has priced its initial public offering. The company is looking to raise roughly $200 million in the stock sale for its portfolio of burger, chicken and sausage replacements, selling 8.75 million shares of common stock at an upper limit of $21 per share that would value Beyond Meat at more than $1 billion. The Los Angeles-based company’s public offering should be a nice windfall for the Chicago-based investors DNS Capital, […]

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Kindbody raises $15M, will open a ‘Fertility Bus’ with mobile testing & assessments

Kindbody, a startup that lures millennial women into its pop-up fertility clinics with feminist messaging and attractive branding, has raised a $15 million Series A in a round co-led by RRE Ventures and Perceptive Advisors. The New York-based company was founded last year by Gina Bartasi, a fertility industry vet who previously launched Progyny, a fertility benefit solution for employers, and FertilityAuthority.com, an information platform and social network for people struggling with fertility. “We want to increase accessibility,” Bartasi told TechCrunch. “For too long, IVF and fertility […]

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Snap is channeling Asia’s messaging giants with its move into gaming

Snap is taking a leaf out of the Asian messaging app playbook as its social messaging service enters a new era. The company unveiled a series of new strategies that are aimed at breathing fresh life into the service that has been ruthlessly cloned by Facebook across Instagram, WhatsApp and even its primary social network. The result? Snap has consistently lost users since going public in 2017. It managed to stop the rot with a flat Q4, but resting on its laurels isn’t going to bring back […]

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Flying taxi startup Blade is helping Silicon Valley CEOs bypass traffic

One year after a $38 million Series B valued on-demand aviation startup Blade at $140 million, the company has begun taxiing the Bay Area’s elite. As part of a new pilot program, Blade has given 200 people in San Francisco and Silicon Valley exclusive access to its mobile app, allowing them to book helicopters, private jets and even seaplanes at a moments notice for $200 per seat, at least. Blade, backed by Lerer Hippeau, Airbus, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and others, currently flies passengers around the […]

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With a $3.5 million haul, Dray Alliance joins a booming logistics startup scene in LA

With an angle on a long-neglected part of the shipping industry — the short-haul movement of cargo from docks to logistics centers — Dray Alliance is joining a growing startup scene for logistics businesses based in Los Angeles. With some of the nation’s largest ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Southern California region is now fertile ground for businesses hoping to tackle what amounts to a trillion-dollar industry. Companies like Shippabo, a provider of shipping tracking and logistics for international small cargo transport, and NEXT Trucking, […]

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Dreaming of Mars, the startup Relativity Space gets its first launch site on Earth

3D-printing the first rocket on Mars. That’s the goal Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone set for themselves when they founded Los Angeles-based Relativity Space in 2015. At the time they were working from a WeWork in Seattle, during the darkest winter in Seattle history, where Ellis was wrapping up a stint at Blue Origin . The two had met in college at USC in their jet propulsion lab. Noone had gone on to take a job at SpaceX and Ellis at Blue Origin, but the two remained in […]

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Consolidation is coming to gaming, and Jam City raises $145 million to capitalize on it

A slew of banks are coming together to back a new roll-up strategy for the Los Angeles-based mobile gaming studio Jam City and giving the company $145 million in new funding to carry that out. There’s no word on whether the new money is in equity or debt, but what is certain is that JPMorgan Chase Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and syndicate partners, including Silicon Valley Bank, SunTrust Bank and CIT Bank, are all involved in the deal. “In a global mobile games market that is consolidating, […]

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