Tech roundup: Tech startups fight tax bill, fundings galore and more

November 16, 2017

American Flag F Year tech startups

Tech startups unite to fight tax bill provision

More than 600 tech startups, VCs and tech execs around the country signed a letter this week urging Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch to remove a provision from the Senate tax bill that would tax stock options as they vest instead of when they're cashed in. Hatch did just that, while also adding language from a Democrat-sponsored bill called the Empowering Employees Through Stock Ownership Act, which provides employees flexibility on paying stock option taxes if their companies offers them to 80 percent of the workforce. Hyperloop One was one of the initial provision's most vocal opponents. [LA Times]

 

Snap Los Angeles Social Media Startup Venice

Snap, Cornerstone OnDemand collectively raise $2.3B — in one day

Southern California tech startups collectively raised $1.4 billion in the month of October. On November 8, two companies raised a total of $2.3 billion. After a rough few months for Snap, the company raised $2 billion from Chinese internet giant Tencent to bust out of its slump. Additionally, Santa Monica-based tech giant Cornerstone OnDemand raised $300 million in post-IPO equity. The funding will help both companies accelerate growth opportunities, manage their financial structures and repay existing convertible debt. [Built In LA]

 

servicetitan glendale software startup

Southern California startups make their mark on Deloitte's Fast 500

Deloitte released its 2017 edition of the Technology Fast 500 late last week, and as we've come to expect, Los Angeles was well-represented. In addition to usual suspects like ServiceTitanGimbal and FabFitFun, startups in Orange and Santa Barbara Counties made the list. [Built In LA]

 

Conversive AI startup

Conversive launches enterprise conversation platform

Conversive, an LA-based VR startup, announced this week the launch of its face-to-face enterprise chatbot. The technology will allow businesses to improve their customer service by providing consumers with a friendly face to talk to, powered by machine learning and natural language technology. [Conversive]

 

SendGrid email marketing

SendGrid goes public

Email marketing startup SendGrid, which is headquartered in Colorado but boasts a major office in the City of Orange went public this week at $16 a share, raising $131 million in the process. The company's initial public offering was for 8.2 million shares, a jump from the company's S-1 registration statement from back in October indicating that it planned to sell only 7.7 million shares at $13.50 to $15.50 per share. [Built In Colorado]

 

West Monroe Partners Los Angeles

West Monroe Partners announces plans to double LA presence

A few weeks ago, Chicago-based tech consultancy West Monroe Partners announced plans to expand its presence in LA. This week, they revealed their concrete plans for the market, noting plans to double their LA office in the next few years, focusing specifically on roles in tech, marketing and business development. [West Monroe Partners]

 

Fundings of the week

Pex$7 million

Investors: Universal Music Group, Susa Ventures, Warner Music Group, Blibros Capital Partners, and others.

Pex, an LA-based startup building a high-end search engine for audiovisual content, revealed recently that it has closed a $7 million Seed round of funding. According to the company, the platform is capable of identifying content as short as 0.5 seconds across an archive that currently holds more than 6 billion songs and videos. [Pex]

Hopscotch$5 million

Investors: Jackson Capital Management, Pittco Capital Partners and Jim Armstrong

El Segundo-based Hopscotch, a company with a mobile app platform utilized by colleges, sports teams and live event venues, closed a $5 million Series B on Wednesday. Armstrong, who was the first investor at PayPal and spoke to Built In LA earlier this year, will join the company's board following the funding. [SoCal Tech]

WebJoint$1.5 million

Investors: RedTape Ventures

Cannabis software startup WebJoint announced this week that it has closed a $1.5 million Series A just a few weeks before the legalization of recreational cannabis goes into effect in California. The company's platform provides website building tools and an e-commerce platform for growing cannabis businesses. [WebJoint]