Fresh funding, 2 locals named NatGeo Chasing Genius innovation finalists, and more

by John Siegel
March 15, 2018
national geographic and sprint chasing genius innovation challenge
image via national geographic

2 local entrepreneurs named as finalists in National Geographic’s Chasing Genius innovation challenge

Earlier this week, two local women found themselves in the final 10 for National Geographic and Sprint's Chasin Genius Innovation Challenge. Vanessa Gill of Pomona, who developed a virtual reality game designed for children with autism, and Negah Nafisi, who also runs Easel, a digital art platform in Orange County, made the cut for her Amal, a software system that allows women in the Middle East and Africa to better understand their rights. Voting for the award has commenced, with the winner taking home $25,000 to take their idea to the next level. [National Geographic]


snoop dogg casa verde capital
Image via Merry Jane

Casa Verde Capital closes new fund

For a few years now, tech and marijuana enthusiast Calvin "Snoop Dogg" Broadus has positioned himself as a major — if unlikely — player in the local tech ecosystem. This week, the rapper and tech investor was in the news when his venture capital fund, Casa Verde Capital, closed its $45 million debut fund. Broadus, as he is called in his position as general partner at the fund, co-founded the LA-based VC in 2015 with entrepreneur Evan Eneman. As the name might suggest, Casa Verde Capital has a green theme and counts local cannabis-focused startups like Merry Jane — which Broadus co-founded — as portfolio companies. [TechCrunch]


the black tux ecommerce startup los angeles

4 local tech companies collectively raised $195 million

In less than one week, a handful of major tech fundings rocked the local startup community. Bird, an e-commerce and transportation startup, added $100 million less than a month after a sizeable Series A, while Atom Tickets — $60 million — and The Black Tux — $30 million — both revealed big time Series C's of their own to fuel expansion. [Built In LA]


wpromote el segundo marketing advertising startup

Shamrock Capital invests in Wpromote

Speaking of El Segundo, a company born and raised in the friendly confines of the city by the sea announced it had received an undisclosed funding from alternative investment firm Shamrock Capital. Wpromote, a digital marketing agency that now boasts eight offices in the country with its headquarters in El Segundo, opted to go with Shamrock Capital after being approached by numerous investment firms over the years, according to CEO Mike Mothner in a statement, but opted to work with Shamrock because the company felt the firm could help them best execute their business plan. [Press Release]


jam city developers

Jam City acquires mobile game developer

Culver City-based mobile game developer Jam City added to its portfolio today with the acquisition of Columbia-based mobile game maker Brainz, developer of World War Doh, for an undisclosed sum. Founded in 2010 by serial entrepreneur and MySpace Co-founder Chris DeWolfe, the company has now made six acquisitions. [Press Release]

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