Tech roundup: Onica lands $20M, Payoff launches new product and more

November 9, 2017

i.am+ tech wearable artificial intelligence startup

Will.i.am's startup announces core product, huge funding history

Hollywood-based i.am+, the startup founded by musician Will.i.am, made news this week when the artist announced to a packed crowd at Salesforce's Dreamforce conference just what his team has been working on. The company's product, Omega, a virtual assistant for enterprise customer engagement, is already in use by a Fortune 500 company: Deutsche Telekom AG, the parent company of T-Mobile. In addition to the Omega news, Mr. i.am revealed that the company had raised $117 million to date, including an $89 million round back in March, which came from a group of investors including Salesforce Ventures. [Built In LA]

 

Payoff Happy Money Fintech Startup Orange County

Payoff launches Happy Money

Payoff, the Costa Mesa-based fintech startup that helps users consolidate debt, announced this week that it is launching Happy Money, a platform that uses psychology and financial data to develop financial products to help people live happier lives. The product joins Joy, another psychology-based financial app that allows users to rate their purchases and offers daily saving suggestions. [Press Release]

 

UCLA USC Blockchain

SoCal universities make news with Blockchain Lab, entrepreneurship rankings 

It's not often that you read about UCLA and USC getting along, but tech ambitions can put old rivalries on hold. Recently, the UCLA Blockchain Lab and the USC Center for Cyber-Physical Systems and The Internet of Things, teamed up to announce the Los Angeles Blockchain Lab. The program aims to create a community of blockchain advocates to increase awareness and foster the advancement of blockchain technology, specifically here in Los Angeles. [Press Release]

UCLA and USC also made headlines when GraphicSprings released a report focusing on the colleges in North America with the highest number of alumni entrepreneurs who have received funding or had an exit in the last 12 months. UCLA finished at number 10, with 27 alumni funded in the last year, while USC finished one spot lower with 26, thanks to two alumni with exits totaling $565 million. [GraphicSprings]

 

Snap social media startup los angeles team photo

Snapchat launches redesign as concern grows

If you haven't heard: it's been a rough few months for Venice-based Snap. As concern mounts over slowing quarter-over-quarter user growth, the company launched a redesign of its disappearing-message app. CEO Evan Spiegel told reporters this week that the change was predicated on years of feedback from users that the app was difficult to understand and use. [Reuters]

 

Vetted PetTech startup Los Angeles

Vetted acquires VetPronto

Vetted, the LA-based on-demand veterinary startup, announced earlier this week that it had acquired another on-demand vet startup, VetPronto, which is currently operating in a number of major cities across the United States. The move continues the trend of on-demand companies consolidating as the verticals they serve become more established. Financial terms of the deal were not discussed. [TechCrunch]

 

Fundings of the week

Onica$20 million

Investors: Sunstone Partners

The company formerly known as CorpInfo, Onica, a provider of cloud consulting services and infrastructure solutions, announced this week it had raised $20 million. The company plans to use the funding to focus on growing its Amazon Web Services consulting business. [SoCal Tech]

QLess$5.5 million

Investors: Palisades Growth Capital and Act One Ventures

Pasadena-based QLess, a company creating a software platform that can eliminate something we can all do with out: lines, announced a $5.5 million round of private equity funding this week. The company's suite of mobile apps that help businesses reduce the amount of time their customers spend waiting in line are now deployed at more than 1,000 locations. [Press Release]