Tech roundup: Oracle's Ellison announces stealthy startup, the Alliance For Good launches, and more

March 22, 2018
larry ellison sensei oracle
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Larry Ellison unveils LA-based e-commerce brand

Oracle Corp. co-founder Larry Ellison had the tech world buzzing this week with the unveiling of a stealthy new e-commerce venture headquartered here in LA, Sensei. Co-founded with author, USC professor and entrepreneur David Agus, the company plans to build 200,000-square-feet worth of greenhouses on the Hawaiian island of Lanai — 98 percent of which Ellison owns — to grow high-quality food. Using software automation, Tesla solar tech and non-genetically modified seeds, the company will reportedly use minimal amounts of water in production. [TechCrunch]

 

thrive market founders los angeles
image via thrive market

Thrive Market co-Founders launch the Alliance For Good

Earlier this week, Thrive Market Co-founders Nick Green, Gunnar Lovelace and Sasha Siddhartha announced a new philanthropic effort that will support social enterprises and advocacy movements. The trio collectively contributed the initial $12.7 million, and are hoping to add other contributors willing to donate a minimum of $1 million each to the philanthropic community. [Press Release]

 

bridg los angeles startup
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5 local tech companies make strategic executive hires

A handful of LA-based startups had some big personnel moves to share recently, with five companies adding to their executive teams. LA-based Bridg brought in Erik Brue as chief data officer, while EVgo announced that interim CEO Cathy Zoi would take on the position permanently. Activision Blizzard hired three sports and entertainment veterans to help kickstart its fledgling e-sports leagues, and mobile game developer Jam City appointed two gaming industry veterans. [Built In LA]

 

Pray santa monica faith startup
Image via Pray.com

Pray.com closes $14 million Series A

Santa Monica-based Pray.com, a social media network and donation platform for faith organizations and nonprofits, officially closed its Series A this week, adding $14 million to help the company scale. The round was led by Science, the startup studio whose fingerprints can be found on numerous companies, including LA-based Dollar Shave Club, and included participation from Greylock Partners and Spark Capital. [TechCrunch

 

liveedu blockchain education startup los angeles
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LiveEdu announces LA headquarters, $10 million

LiveEdu, a startup operating at the intersection of blockchain, media and education, announced this week that it would be commencing operations from a new LA headquarters, noting that the growing tech community and proximity to several prestigious colleges as reasons for the move south from San Francisco. Founded in 2015, the company also revealed it had raised $10 million in crowdfunding for its monthly education subscription service. [SoCal Tech]

 

upkeep maintenance management funding
photo via upkeep

UpKeep Maintenance Management closes Series A

Westwood-based UpKeep Maintenance Management became the eighth member of Built In LA's 50 Startups to Watch in 2018 to announce a funding this year when the company announced a $10 million Series A to expand its engineering and operations teams. Founded in 2015 out of Ryan Chan's mother's garage, the company now serves 50,000 technicians and a number of big-name clients. [Built In LA]

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