Los Angeles-based TrillerNet, the parent company of social video app developer Triller, has acquired two companies, including a live event and pay-per-view (PPV) company, and a conversational artificial intelligence (AI) company. According to TrillerNet, it acquired FITE, a global live-event and Pay-Per-View, SVOD and AVOD and streaming platform for sports and entertainment, and separately, also acquired Amplify.ai, a developer of conversational AI tools for brands and others. Financial terms of the two deal were not announced. TrillerNet is led by Bobby Sarnevesht and Ryan Kavanaugh. Triller's platform competes with TikTok, and allows users to post social videos to followers.
San Diego-based TuSimple priced its IPO last night, saying that it will sell 33,783,783 shares of its Class A common stock at the price of $40.00 per share, raising just over $1 billion for the company. The company--which develops self driving truck technology--said its underwriters also have a 30-day option to purchase an additional 5,067,567 shares of its Class A common stock at the IPO price. The company will begin trading this morning on the Nasdaq Global Select Market as TSP. TuSimple's IPO was underwritten by Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and J.P. Morgan, along withBofA Securities, Cowen, Credit Suisse, Nomura and RBC Capital Markets, Baird, Needham & Company, Oppenheimer & Co., Piper Sandler and Valuable Capital. The company's major investors are Sun Dream Inc., Composite Capital Master Fund, and Navistar.
Los Angeles-based talent and entertainment giant UTA said this week that Clinton Foy will join the company's venture capital arm, UTA Ventures, as General Partner. Foy is a longtime fixture in the Los Angeles startup world, having most recently served as General Partner and Managing Director at Crosscut Ventures. At Crosscut, he was lead investors in such companies Streamlabs, PlayVS, FitOn, plus esports franchises Immortals and IGC.gg. He also had served as COO of Square Enix. According to UTA Ventures, Foy will work with Sam Wick, Head of UTA Ventures, to grow and develop its investment platforms, including direct investing, venture capital investments and fund development.
San Diego-based Molecular Assemblies said this morning that it has raised $24M in a Series A funding round, which came from Agilent Technologies, iSelect Fund, Codexis, Alexandria Venture Investments, and Argonautic Ventures, as well as LYFE Capital. According to the company, it will use the funding to advance the company's proprietary enzymatic DNA synthesis technology toward early commercialization efforts. Molecular Assemblies is led by President and CEO, Michael J. Kamdar.
Los Angeles-based Bridg, a venture backed company which develops software to help e-commerce retailers improve their sales, has been sold for $350M in cash to Cardlytics. Bridg, led by Amit Jain, was venture backed by Morpheus Ventures, March Capital, as well as other local investors. The company's software uses artificial intelligence and big data to help retailers with their e-commerce efforts. According to Bridg, in addition to the $350M in cash at closing, there are two other, potential earnout payments in cash on stock on the first and second anniversary of the transaction, which a note leaked from Jain said could deliver a "significant additional consideration to the shareholders."
El Segundo, California- and Austin, Texas-based Slingshot Aerospace said on Tuesday that it has scored a contract from the U.S. Air Force, to develop a "next generation" tool for the military to streamline visualization of enemy missiles. According to Slingshot Aerospace, the $1.2M contract came in partnership with Culver City, CA-based Zoic Labs, a software and advanced visualization company, which is related to visual effects company Zoic Studios. Zoic Studios apparently created the visual effects for Avengers: Age of Ultron. The two said they will partner to generate video streams from complex data using Hollywood visual effects best practices.
Los Angeles-based BLAZE, a developer of enterprise resource planning and point-of-sale software for the legal cannabis market, recently raised $8M in a funding round, according to the company. The funding was led by Delta Emerald Ventures with participation from returning investor Act One Ventures and new investor SOJE Capital. According to the company, the new funding will go to expand, scale and build out its product, sales and marketing efforts. BLAZE is led by co-founder and CEO Chris Violas. The company says it provides an easy-to-use frontend and an enterprise backend for dispensaries, delivery services, distributors, and cultivators.
San Diego-based driver safety and monitoring equipment maker Lytx says it has set its all time record revenue in 2020, as a result of a 63% increase in new customers. According to the company, it secured more than 100,000 new and upgraded subscriptions. The company did not say what drove the increased adoption of its service in 2020, but the company received a big investment from private equity investor Permira earlier in the year. The company's video telematics offerings are used for monitoring vehicle driving to help reduce risky drive behavior.
Los Angeles-based consumer electronics giant Belkin International says it is now aiming to be 100 percent carbon neutral by 2025. The company said it made the commitment to align its corporate goals with the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals -- climate action, responsible consumption and production, and peace, justice and strong institutions. Belkin--which is now part of Foxconn--said it made the commitment because it is made up of people "who want to leave the planet a better place for our children and future generations."
Email marketing software developer Constant Contact, which is backed by Santa Monica-based private equity investor Clearlake Capital, has named a new CEO and CFO this morning. According to Constant Contact, Clearlake Capital, and Siris Capital Group, Frank Vella has been named CEO, and Michael Pellegrino has been named as CFO of Constant Contact. The new executive appointments as a result of a $400M growth equity investment made by Clearlake Capital and Siris in February, after the spinout of Constant Contact from Endurance International Group Holdings, Inc. Vella was most recently CEO of Information Builders, and also has served at Microsoft, GE Capital, HP Enterprise and Xerox. Pellegrino previously was COO of SumTotal Systems, and also was at Skillsoftware for 14 years, in addition to also serving at EY.