Tech roundup: Hyperloop One adds Virgin's Branson and breaks speed record, and more

by John Siegel
December 19, 2017

hyperloop one transportation technology los angeles

 

Hyperloop One adds Richard Branson as chairman, $50M

Arts District-based transportation tech company Hyperloop One had a flurry of big news to share this week, adding investor Richard Branson as the company's chairman while also adding two $25 million investments from Dubai-based DP World and Russia-based Caspian Venture Capital. Additionally, it was revealed that Ziyavudin Magomedov, a Russian billionaire who operates Caspian Venture Capital and was once the co-executive chairman at Hyperloop One, had made an offer to purchase the company in recent weeks, according to Bloomberg. As if this weren't enough, the company revealed on Monday that it had set a new hyperloop speed record of 240 miles per hour at the company's test facility in Nevada, breaking the previous record of 192 miles an hour. [Bloomberg]

 

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Report: on-demand dog-walking service Wag in the market for a huge investment

West Hollywood-based on-demand dog-walking service Wag is looking to add fresh capital, and according to a report published by TechCrunch, the startup is looking to go big. Reportedly in talks with SoftBank, the company is reportedly seeking $300 million. Wag didn't respond to the publication's report for a comment, but the tech community will be expecting something big from the company in 2018. [TechCrunch]

 

FloQast fintech startup team photo

 

On the heels of an explosive 2017 FloQast reveals brand new 20,000-square-foot HQ

Following a year that saw the company double its LA-based workforce, open an office in Ohio — which now employs 20 — and close a $25 million Series B, Sherman Oaks-based FloQast has a brand new 20,000-square-foot home to show off. For those among us with strong ties to the pearl of the San Fernando Valley (Notre Dame High School class of 2008), the company isn't leaving — the company's new headquarters is just a little further north, right off the 405. [FloQast]

 

cie digital labs irvine startup studio

 

5 tech companies announce new C-suite hires

In the past week, five local tech companies announced new executives joining their teams. Santa Monica-based fintech startup Tala added a huge name in tech when they welcomed former Uber Data Chief Kevin Novak, while KEYPR officially brought on co-founder Mark Anderson full-time as the company's chief operating officer. Irvine-based Cie Digital Labs announced that Brad Martin, former Saks Inc. chairman and CEO, would be joining the company as its new executive-in-residence, while JOANY added a handful of new c-level employees, including a chief product officer, chief financial officer and two senior-level hires. [Built In LA]

 

brighter santa monica tech startup

 

Brighter acquired by Cigna

Santa Monica-based Brighter, a company that helps health services and dental companies engage their patients, was acquired earlier this week by Connecticut-based healthcare company Cigna. Cigna will begin using Brighter's engagement platform to boost its consumer-facing initiatives, as well as its provider partnerships. Brighter will continue operating under the Brighter banner here in Santa Monica, as well as servicing Cigna markets. [Cigna]

 

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Evite acquires iOS app Fête

Online event and party planning service Evite closed out 2017 with a bang, acquiring text invitation app Fête for an undisclosed amount this week. Earlier this month, Built In LA took a look at Evite's new DTLA headquarters, which is double the size of the company's former West Hollywood abode. [Press Release]

 

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