Ashton Kutcher’s VC opens $150 million funding round; Cleantech and Clean Energy kick off climate-change challenge; $9.75 million for UCLA rechargeable research

Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures Looking for $150M

Actor Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, a venture capital firm founded to invest in tech startups, announced June 12 that it will endeavor to raise $150 million in a second funding round. Crunchbase reports Kutcher is listed as a partner on the Securities and Exchange Commission filing, alongside Guy Oseary and Effie Epstein. Previously, Sound Ventures has invested in Uber Technologies Inc., Casper Sleep Inc., Modern Fertility Inc., and participated in Bird Rides Inc.’s latest $300 million series C funding round.

California Climate Cup Competition Opens Applications

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and the California Clean Energy Fund joined forces to create the 2018 California Climate Cup, a competition that seeks local startups “ready to make a global impact.” The new contest will look to fund platforms that will help megacities and states reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, Socaltech reports.

Department of Energy Funds UCLA Battery Research

The U.S. Department of Energy recently granted $9.75 million to the University of California–Los Angeles for its research into rechargeable batteries. The Business Journal reports the grant is a four-year contract, and the batteries will be used primarily in electric vehicles. UCLA professors report that there may be other commercial applications for the batteries as well, such as powering cell phone or laptops.

Tech reporter Samson Amore can be reached at samore@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 556-8335. Follow him on Twitter @samsonamore.