Big updates from our 50 startups to watch — and we're only halfway through the year

by John Siegel
July 14, 2016

In the six months since Built In Los Angeles published its list of the top 50 LA startups to watch in 2016, a lot has happened. No two companies are alike, and while six months might represent a string of rousing successes to one company, another might be heads down with nothing new to report other than a lot of hard work.

Let's take a look back at what the top 50 startups have been up to.

Fundings

Santa Monica-based AirMap, an airspace mapping platform for drone manufacturers, announced a $15 million round of funding in April, building off of the $2.6 million seed round they had received in July 2015.
 
 
Not long after the list was published, ATTN: announced they had closed an $18 million investment, with the funds going toward the expansion of editorial, technology and audience development resources.
 
 
Within just a few days of Airmap's funding announcement came news that Clutter had closed a $20 million round of its own. It's been a good year for the on-demand storage startup, and we mentioned them in a list of LA-based apps that take the pain (or at least some of it) out of moving. 
 
 
Just a few days before the top 50 list was published, FreedomPop announced the closing of a $50 million round of funding. The company's eighth round of funding brought the total amount raised to more than $109 million.
 
 
January continued to be a great month for LA-based startups with the news that HopSkipDrive had raised $10.2 million in funding. The ride service for kids also captured headlines with their initiative to transport 2,000 Porter Ranch and Castlebay Lane students displaced due to the Aliso Canyon gas leak.
 
 
Hyperloop One captured the world's attention for much of 2016, with a successful demonstration of the technology's abilities — and their subsequent $80 million round of funding. The company is currently in the midst of a hiring spree.
 
PatientPop added another $10.5 million in Series A funding, bringing the round to $20.5 million since May 2015. The company stated at the time they planned on using the funds to focus on product development and expanding integrations.
 
 

RealtyMogul.com announced in May that the company had topped $200 million in debt and equity in funded real estate crowdfunding. The company also announced it had returned $40 million in principal and interest to its investors.
 
 
Spidr Tech kept relatively quiet for much of the first half of 2016 before announcing an undisclosed round of funding, courtesy of Winklevoss Capital. Not much is public regarding the funding, but the company, which integrates with existing police systems to provide feedback, is certainly up to something big.
 
 
Wevr, a Venice-based virtual reality community and VR media player for aspiring and professional creatives, announced a $25 million round in late February. The company also launched Transport, a device-agnostic content network. 
 
 

Product News

Divy announced the launch of its app in beta in early May. They were also one of the featured companies named in our list of companies poised to break out of beta.
 
 
El Segundo's GoGuardian announced the launch of Fleet, a program that helps schools manage, track and maintain their Chromebooks. The software syncs with Google Admin Console, allowing school districts to keep their inventory up-to-date.
 
 
IRIS.TV, a video personalization service, announced the release of what they billed as the world's "first video programming platform" in mid-April. The platform allows publishers to automate content programming and maximize the value of their audience across all devices and video formats. 
 
 
Mobile gaming app Lucky Day announced the 3.0 version of the game in May. Founded by a USC junior, the game, which allows users to play free games and win real money, and boasted over 500,000 players at the time.
 
 
MakersKit announced the launch of a monthly subscription service in May. Each month, subscribers receive a featured DIY project, with a total value of $50 or more, for $24 a month. The company announced in June that they were headed to Minneapolis for Techstars Retail Accelerator, a three month program focused on creating and developing products and solutions to innovate the $22 trillion retail industry. 
 
 
MobCrush, a livestreaming company and community for mobile games, announced the much-anticipated launch of its app in late June. The platform introduces fans to gamers, eSports fans and creators around the world.
 
 
Open Listings, an LA-based real estate tech company, announced the expansion of the company's platform to 12 new counties in California just last week. The company helps users with the home-buying process in order to save on costly real estate agent fees.

 

In February, Signal Sciences announced the launch of a web application firewall (WAF) designed to address modern security challenges and empower DevOps teams. The company also revealed a 2015 Series A funding round of $9.7 million.
 
 

Partnerships

Appetize, a leading tablet Point of Sale (POS) solution for enterprise businesses, announced in May it had selected FreedomPay's Commerce Platform to provide what they claim to be the payment industry’s "highest standard for payment data security." The Dodgers Startup Accelerator alumnus was also named the exclusive POS solution for the new U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis.
 
 
In March, Azubu of Sherman Oaks was picked by ESL, the world's largest eSports league, as a streaming partner. The deal provides Azubu with exclusive content and marketing collaborations. A month later, the company announced the release of Everest, an eSports video player with DVR functionality, broadcaster controlled clickable overlays and full HD streaming, making it one of the most most advanced eSports video players available.
 
 
In April, Bringhub announced the launch of its expanded e-commerce platform, aimed at empowering digital publishers and content creators to engage audiences with automated e-commerce capabilities. In June, the company entered into a partnership with Splash, one of the largest daily celebrity images and videos feeds online. 
 
 
In February, Famebit announced a partnership with e-commerce giant Shopify. The deal will give Famebit's network of influencers access to Shopify’s VIP service, giving them the ability to launch their own multi-channel stores.
 
 
HomeHero partnered with Cedars-Sinai to launch the Safe Transition Home, a program designed to transition patients from the hospital to their home with the goal of reducing inpatient readmissions. The announcement happened not long after the Santa Monica-based startup graduated from the first ever Techstars Healthcare Accelerator in late-June.
 
 

Record Growth

In March, Glendale-based ServiceTitan announced the company had experienced significant growth in 2015, adding a record number of employees and tripling its customer base. The company, which provides software solutions for the home services industry, tripled its staff in 2015.

 

Personnel Moves

Five Four Club announced in February a major collaboration with celebrated New York designer, Robert Geller. The deal created Five Four + Robert Geller collection, a limited-edition series that contains 45 pieces.
 
 
On-demand doctor app Heal announced that the company had added former co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers Jamie McCourt to its board. McCourt had previously invested in the startup via Jamie Enterprises. McCourt, who previously co-owned the team with her husband, is best remembered for her dispute with her former husband over the team's ownership, leading to poor on-field performance and a historic dip in attendance.
 
 
Movie Pilot added Christof Wittig to its Board of Directors in March. The addition was made via long-time Movie Pilot investor Deutsche Telekom Strategic Investors. The move coincided with the company's rapid growth, which saw it surge to over 31 million Facebook fans.
 
 
Earlier this month, VideoAmp, a cross-screen optimization platform, announced it had added Michael Parkes as its first Chief Revenue Officer. The move was made in hopes of continuing the company's second 100 percent quarter-over-quarter growth
 
 

Other News

Voter, an app that describes itself as a "matchmaker for politics," took part in the Stubbs Alderton Preccelerator. The app also received a great amount of press in the midst of the primaries.

 

Enervee, a company that rates the energy efficiency of consumer electronics and home appliances, has published a series of white papers since being mentioned in the top 50. The papers offer insight into sustainability practices, transforming utility “rebates” into “rewards," and estimating sales and market share.

Hiring 

 

Have a tip for us or know of a company that deserves coverage? Let us know!

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