Los Angeles Business Journal

SAT Tutoring Business Tests Lower-Price Product

EDUCATION: Arbor Bridge offers pared-down, more affordable progam.

A Santa Monica test-prep company has launched a product aimed at making it easier and cheaper for high school students to get one-on-one SAT tutoring.

Hearing Execs Speak Volumes on Trip

Steven Sawalich, senior director of global media and philanthropy at Starkey Hearing Foundation in Playa Vista, has traveled to 75 countries during his time at the non-profit, which delivers hearing aids to people in need.

Streetball Arrives With Flash

Alternative basketball tour places priority on wowing audience.

Backers of Ball Up tour look to score hoops fans with their athletic, crowd-wowing streetball.

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Moving In

INTERNET: RadPad hopes to click in rental listings space with mobile app that lets renters make their monthly payments.

RadPad looks to make a move in the rental listings market with its app that processes payments.

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L.A. Launch List: Feb. 20

The Los Angeles Business Journal brings you a weekly roundup of L.A. launches.

Daqri Buys Smart Headband Maker Melon

Daqri, an enterprise augmented reality company in downtown Los Angeles, has acquired Melon, a Venice wearable tech company, for an undisclosed sum.

J2 Global Buys Two More Companies

Internet services provider J2 Global continued its buying spree, acquiring two more companies this week to bring its February haul to three companies.

Culver City’s DataPop Sold to French Firm

Culver City ad tech firm DataPop has been acquired by Criteo, a marketing analytics firm in Paris, according to the French company’s fourth quarter earnings report released Wednesday. The terms were not disclosed.

Jukin Media Launches Newsfeed for Publishers

Culver City’s Jukin Media, which acquires and licenses user-generated viral videos, has launched a product that makes it easier for digital publishers to find and upload its content to their websites.

Demand Media’s President Resigns

Santa Monica Web publisher Demand Media said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Tuesday that co-founder and President Shawn Colo had resigned.

Freeplay Music Accuses YouTube Networks of Copyright Infringement

New York music rights holder Freeplay Music has sued two local multichannel networks, claiming the companies illegally used its copyrighted songs in YouTube videos.

Zealot Networks Buys Two Creative Marketing Companies

Venice digital media firm Zealot Networks has continued its recent string of acquisitions by purchasing two local creative marketing companies for an undisclosed sum.

Coronal Group Buys Virginia Solar Energy Firm

Glendale solar energy firm Coronal Group has acquired a majority of the assets of HelioSage Energy of Charlottesville, Va., a builder of utility-scale solar projects across the country.

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Food Drive

Online grocery Yummy sweet on slow growth

Online grocery Yummy relies on a slow-growth plan to avoid biting off more than it can chew.

Mattel Partners With Google to Bring Back View-Master

Struggling El Segundo toymaker Mattel Inc. is partnering with Google Inc. to bring back a retro children’s gadget with a high-tech upgrade.

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Gear Shift

Why TrueCar’s Scott Painter traded in 20% of his staff

TrueCar’s Scott Painter said a hefty staff shuffle has revved up the vehicle-shopping website.

Beer Maker Hops on Solar Energy Bandwagon

ALCOHOL: MillerCoors uncorks massive array at facility in Irwindale.

Beer maker MillerCoors looks to tap the sun with a massive solar panel array at its Irwindale plant.

Vivendi May Sell Remaining $856 Million Stake in Activision

Santa Monica video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc. said in a regulatory filing today that Vivendi, its former French owner, may now sell its remaining $856 million stake in the company.

Izea Acquires Freelancer Marketplace Ebyline

Izea Inc., an influencer marketing firm in Orlando, Fla., has acquired Sherman Oaks’ Ebyline Inc., an online marketplace for freelancers, for an initial price of $1.2 million.

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Moving Up

INTERNET: Mobile Majority takes run at growing online ad sector with acquisition of data analysis firm Elastic.

Mobile Majority hopes to keep pace with the growth of online ads with its pickup of data analyzer Elastic.

Chilly Reception for Packers Fan

Donald Bizub is such an avid Green Bay Packers football fan that he purposefully seeks out advisory clients in cities where the Packers will be playing in a given season.

Judge Rejects Mercury Suit Against Insurance Commissioner

A Sacramento judge has ruled that California’s Insurance Commissioner has the legal authority to lower insurance industry premiums in an effort to stop certain advertising costs from being passed on to consumers through higher premiums.

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Smart-Home Business Sees Utility in Water, Power

TECHNOLOGY: Chet Pipkin talks Belkin International’s expanded offerings.

Belkin International’s Chet Pipkin discusses how he connects customers to smart homes

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Battle Ready

PR exec looks to revive career after prison stint

Once-hard-charging Doug Dowie looks to get his career and life back on track after prison sentence for fraud.

City of L.A. Expands Piracy War to New Front

ENTERTAINMENT: Filing launches crackdown on use of computer memory cards.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has decided to take music and movie pirates to court.

Tech Vet Changes Focus With Photos

Swagbucks.com co-founder Scott Dudelson exited the company in July after it received a $60 million investment.

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YouTube Stars At Play in Suit

INTERNET: Fullscreen alleges ex-exec tried to poach talent.

Fullscreen’s lawsuit against a former exec spotlights the growing value of YouTube stars.

Snapchat Closes Out Monster Funding Round

Venice ephemeral messaging app Snapchat closed out 2014 with a monster round of financing.

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Games Run Up Scores for Movies

ENTERTAINMENT: Studios see mobile tie-ins giving films legs.

Studios look to mobile games tied to movies to push the right buttons with fans.

Accelerator Hits Brakes on Office Space Expense

INVESTMENT: Launchpad moves into spending more on programs, events.

Santa Monica tech accelerator Launchpad LA has officially ditched its office space at 1520 Second St. as part of its shift to a model emulating the country’s top accelerator, Mountain View’s Y Combinator.

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Disneyland Looks to Ride Instagram Popularity

INTERNET: Park charges MomentFeed with turning photos into boon for brand.

Disneyland visitors’ Instagram photos have given the park an e-ticket to an e-marketing opportunity.

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Online Ads Not Looking So Good

INTERNET: Industry steps up to track, counter fraudulent views.

Fraudulent ad views spur online publishers and their clients to take another look at how audiences are measured.

Credit Card Benefits Firm To Fold In Digital Wallet

FINANCE: Bankrate pockets Wallaby, which will keep its office, staff in Pasadena.

The financial tech sector in Los Angeles scored an exit last week with the acquisition of Pasadena’s Wallaby Financial Inc. by North Palm Beach, Fla., financial publisher Bankrate Inc.

Razor Vendor Makes Cut With E-Commerce Model

INTERNET: Subscriptions help Dollar Shave Club take market share from rivals.

While heads of private companies are often loath to discuss revenue figures, they often have a change of heart during periods of rapid growth.

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E-Discovery Firm Looks to Find Way to New CEO

INTERNET: Guidance also hopes to lock up bigger piece of cybersecurity market.

Guidance Software aims to secure a new CEO to revive its e-discovery and cybersecurity business.

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Site Raises Curtain on Show Biz

Sophia Loren’s son looks to foster careers in entertainment.

TakeHollywood looks to play a lead role in guiding show-biz hopefuls to careers.

‘Shark Tank’ Pitch a Wash

Alhambra “Dadpreneur” Ray Phillips was merely looking for a way to make baths more fun for children.

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Brands Weigh ‘Influence’ Decision

Internet: Marketers tout social media stars’ power; doubts abound.

Internet: Marketing firms compete to put brands under the influence of social media stars. But is paying these “influencers” worth it?

Activision Settles Shareholder Suit, Pays Itself $275 Million

Santa Monica’s Activision Blizzard Inc. has agreed to a $275 million settlement to end a shareholder lawsuit stemming from an $8 billion deal last year in which the company and an investor group regained majority control from French conglomerate Vivendi SA.

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Message Received

INTERNET: Oracle vet Justin Nelson connects with TigerText’s focus on secure-messaging phone app for health care sector.

Oracle vet says he joined TigerText because it’s the right type of secured messaging for the health care sector.

Show-Biz Veteran Sees Role for Hollywood in VC

INVESTMENT: Tony Potts plans to tap connections to fund early stage firms.

The lines between Silicon Beach’s vibrant tech scene and the entertainment industry have been blurring for some time, and they’re about to get even fuzzier.

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Bit of Stretch

APPAREL: 20Jeans ditches name, $20 price tag as company looks to sew up more sales of its high-quality denim.

Newly renamed jeans maker DSTLD decided its previous $20 price point didn’t fit its expansion plans.

Venezuelan Devaluation Translates Into Stock Slide

HEALTH: Herbalife shares fall 20 percent after poor quarter in vital market.

Herbalife’s share price plummets after tough third quarter thanks to Venezuela’s devalued currency.

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Foreign Entrepreneurs Click in L.A.

TECHNOLOGY: Tapatalk joins wave rolling into Silicon Beach.

L.A.’s growing scene pushes all the right buttons for foreign-born tech entrepreneurs.

Health care hospitals

Biotech sector slow to take root as businesses leave seeking seed money

Sector sees promising startups check out of Los Angeles in search of money.

Venture Firm at Home With In-House Businesses

INVESTMENT: Zuma also says ‘studio’ model to offer chance at earlier exits.

New tech-focused capital firms home in on a “studio” model in which business ideas originate in-house.

Pair of UCLA Ventures Dial Up Phone Services

MOBILE: Holomic works on diagnostic reader; ReVolt focuses on dirt charging.

Two groups of entrepreneurs at UCLA are using smartphones to bring key technological advancements to the developing world.

Surfer Goes for Broke

A surfer for 14 years, MomentFeed Chief Executive Robert Blatt, 54, woke up before dawn about a month and a half ago to hit the waves at Topanga State Beach.

L.A. Awarded New MLS Team

Los Angeles will have two professional soccer teams again in 2017. Only three days after Chivas USA shut down, Major League Soccer announced that a new team had been awarded to an ownership group led by venture capitalist Henry Nguyen, Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Peter Guber and former NBA executive Tom Penn.

Judge Tosses Dictator Noriega’s Lawsuit

A Los Angeles judge has thrown out former Nicaraguan dictator Manuel Noriega’s lawsuit against Santa Monica’s Activision Blizzard Inc. for using his likeness in its Call of Duty video game without permission.