Tech roundup: Kevin Durant's VC play, auto vets launch transportation startup and more

August 10, 2017

Kevin Durant backs Costa Mesa-based VC

NBA champion Kevin Durant joined a long list of celebrity investors this week when it was revealed that he had decided to back CerraCap Ventures, a new early-stage fund that focuses on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and digital health. [Press Release]


Snap reportedly turned down $30B from Google last year

It's been a rough few weeks for LA tech giant Snap. After being barred from the S&P 500 thanks to a new rule that excludes companies with multiple share classes from the popular index, a report surfaced indicating that the company might have turned down a $30B offer from Google prior to the company's IPO in March. The reported deal would be worth roughly double what the company is valued at right now. [Business Insider]


Dodgers, former NBA commissioner invest in accelerator grad

Keemotion, a recent grad of the Dodgers Accelerator program, announced this week that it has closed a $3.6 million Series A from Dodgers-affiliated Elysian Park Ventures in association with Guggenheim Baseball Management and R/GA Ventures. Also joining the round was former NBA Commissioner David Stern. Founded in Belgium, Keemotion is now headquartered in Brooklyn. [Biz Journals]


Auto industry veterans and startup pros unite to launch EV truck startup

Chanje, a brand new transportation tech startup emerged from stealth this morning by announcing some big time hires. Electric vehicle veteran Bryan Hansel, CEO of Chanje, announced several key hires with experience from places like Volkswagen, Tesla, the U.S. EPA, Ford and the LA Clean Tech Incubator. The company will provide medium-duty electric vehicle transportation options that were previously unavailable. [Chanje]


Santa Monica-based Tapatalk acquires Santa Monica-based Panjo

Not one, but two Santa Monica-based startups were involved in an acquisition this week when social aggregator Tapatalk acquired auto, sport and hobby marketplace Panjo for an undisclosed amount of money. According to Panjo CEO Chad Billmyer, Tapatalk plans to maintain the Panjo brand for the foreseeable future. [Panjo]


Fundings of the week

Sugarfina$35 million

Investors: Great Hill Partners

Luxury candy brand Sugarfina scored a big round of funding late last week, adding $35 million to accelerate expansion internationally and continue to grow its robust omnichannel presence. [Built In LA]

TYT Network$20 million

Investors: 3L Capital

Online news company TYT Network had some big news to report this week. The millennial-focused media company raised $20 million to add to the company's management, creative talent and subscription offerings, in addition to marketing and community efforts. [SoCal Tech]

Here Be Dragons$10 million

Investors: Discovery Communications

VR production studio Here Be Dragons closed its Series A this week, bringing in $10 million. The company, which is sister to VR studio Within, recently partnered with The New York Times and Google to launch the newspaper’s NYT VR initiative. [Built In LA]

Funraise$3 million

Investors: Toba Capital

LA-based Funraise, a startup with a platform designed to help nonprofits fund their missions, announced this week that it has raised $3 million from Toba Capital. The capital will go towards accelerating the company's product roadmap, according to founder and CEO Justin Wheeler. [Press Release]


Images via social media and Shutterstock.

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