Tech roundup: LA artificial intelligence startups honored, Jam City goes to Hogwarts and more

by John Siegel
December 13, 2017

zestfinance fintech startup artificial intellgience

4 SoCal startups named to CB Insights' AI 100

NYC-based CB Insights released its second annual AI 100 this week listing 100 of the most promising artificial intelligence startups. LA-based ZestFinance led the charge, finishing at the number nine spot, with Irvine-based cloud security startup CrowdStrike hot on its heels at 11. Also making the list were Santa Monica's Mobalytics (featured on Built In LA back in September) and Obsidian Security, whose CTO Ben Johnson went on the record about the this week about the disastrous effects of repealing net neutrality. [CB Insights]


Venice stock image shutterstock

Tech hiring not expected to stop anytime soon

Those who follow the latest news on Southern California tech startups are probably aware of the hiring surge as of late. According to a recently published report, the hiring won't stop when 2017 comes to a close. In fact, 15 percent of CIOs said that they plan to add more tech positions in 2018. Additionally, 60 percent of CIOs plan to fill vacancies, as well as recently-created positions. Interested in taking a look at who's hiring? Check out Built In LA's jobs board. [Press Release]


movie pilot venice startup

Venice-based Movie Pilot acquired

Movie Pilot, which last year announced the launch of its parent company, Creators Media, was acquired earlier this week by Paris-based Webedia. Financial terms of the deal were not discussed, but it was revealed that Webedia had contributed to the company's $16 million Series B back in September 2015. [SoCal Tech]


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Image via Scorpion

Jam City partners with Warner Bros. to create a new Harry Potter mobile game

Jam City, the mobile game publisher that calls Culver City's Hayden Tract home, struck a big deal this week with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to develop a Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, a mobile game based on the wildly successful book and film series. The game will allow users to enroll in Hogwarts and train in magical classes, as well as getting involved in extracurricular activities, which — if you read the books — doesn't sound like a very safe idea. Then again, it is a video game. [TechCrunch]


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Report: LA traffic is costing companies billions

Coming straight at you from the "no duh" department, a report released by TomTom is costing local businesses a lot. Like, $1.4 billion a year. Other uplifting notes from the report include the fact that traffic in LA County is increasing overall travel times by 45 percent, with the average time drivers spend on the road being 44 minutes, a number relatively low for those of us who have been through the wars on the 405, 110 or 101 in rush hour. [Press Release]


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Fundings of the week

Aspiration$47 million

Marina Del Rey-based fintech and retail banking startup Aspiration announced the close of a $47 million Series B this week to help kickstart growth and expand its product offerings. Among the investors in the round were actor Orlando Bloom, Los Angeles Clippers Coach "Doc" Rivers, as well as Bad Robot President Brian Weinstein, among others [Built In LA]


Slingshot Aerospace$3.25 million

Slingshot Aerospace, a company focused on providing satellite and aerial drone data that is technically headquartered in Austin but has an office in El Segundo, closed a $3.25 million round of funding from seed investors this week. The Techstars LA grad plans to use the funding to continue to analyze satellite, aircraft and drone geospatial imaging. [Built In Austin]

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