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Tom Dotan

Stories by Tom

Web-Hosting Company’s Pickup a Sticky Situation

ONLINE: Some users of Media Temple critical of new parent GoDaddy.

Awesomeness teams with Seventeen to improve the numbers for the teen girl magazine’s YouTube channel.

App May Have Users’ Numbers

INTERNET: Ad Hoc’s Burner links multiple lines to one phone.

Ad Hoc Labs looks to get lines on customers with its Burner app linking multiple numbers to one smartphone.

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Couple of Critics Savage Online Payment Service

INTERNET: Virtual Piggy stock falls after slams on revenue and shareholders.

Virtual Piggy shares dip after critics go hog wild on the online payment system for kids.

YouTube Network Pushes Play on Advertising Unit

INTERNET: Maker Studios creates division to focus on producing branded videos.

Maker Studios had a busy summer, securing a new round of financing and acquiring video streaming site Blip.

App Will Protect You From Spoilers

Spoiler Shield, an app for Apple devices, filters out tweets related to whatever TV show or sports score you'd rather not see discussed.

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JustFab Raises $40 Million More

This latest round brings JustFab's total raised to $149 million, making it one of Los Angeles' most heavily funded tech companies.

Scoring Points

INTERNET: Startup Scopely shoots for success in mobile game industry by letting others invent apps while it markets them.

Mobile game company Scopely looks to score more as a marketer of hot titles than a developer.

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Ouya Changes 'Free the Games Fund' Rules

Ouya Chief Executive Julie Uhrman said the campaigns can be as low as $10,000 and must have a minimum of 100 backers for every $10,000 raised.

Dollar Shave Club Cleans Up With Football Ads

Snappers from four football teams – Eric Wood of the Buffalo Bills; Nick Hardwick, San Diego Chargers; Travis Frederick, Dallas Cowboys; and John Sullivan, Minnesota Vikings – have all signed on for the "Clean Snap" campaign.

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Purchase Trumps Funding Round for Kingmaker

TECHNOLOGY: Startup opts to forgo new round for equity in competitor.

Video e-commerce firm Kingmaker Inc. has been acquired by San Francisco’s Joyus Inc., one of its largest competitors.

Was Console Maker Ouya Played on Kickstarter?

TECHNOLOGY: Matching funds for gamemakers hits glitch as questions arise.

Ouya wanted more games for its console, so it offered matching funds. Suspicions quickly arose that the Santa Monica company was being played

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Kingmaker Acquired by Bay Area's Joyus

Financial terms of the all-stock deal, which closed in early September, were not disclosed, though Kingmaker founder Guy Gal said the company, which had been based in Venice, has taken a "significant" stake in Joyus.

Data Firm Mines Repeat Business

Internet: Retention Science helps e-tailers keep customers.

Retention Science pursues repeat success by helping e-commerce sites bring back customers.

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Whisper Confesses Funding Round

Whisper Inc., the Santa Monica startup behind a fast-growing anonymous messaging app, has recently closed a $21 million B round of funding, led by Menlo Park firm Sequoia Capital.

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Thomas Properties Acquired

Real estate investment trust Thomas Properties Group Inc. announced today it has been acquired by Parkway Properties Inc. in all stock transaction valued at $1.2 billion.

Short Sales

Collab sees money in six-second videos

Collab is confident it will prove a quick study when it comes to helping talent make ad money off six-second Vine videos.

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Online Video Producers Turn Focus on Super Fans

INTERNET: Ventures look to go Dutch on cost of productions with audience.

Some content producers hope to get fans to play a major role in paying for productions.

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Laundry-as-Service Firm Adds Investors to Fold

INTERNET: Washio relies on network of ‘ninjas’ to pick up, return clothes.

Quick, name something you hate doing.

Maker Studios Acquires Blip

Maker Studios in Culver City has agreed in principal to acquire the video network Blip.

JustFab Laces Up ShoeDazzle for Big E-commerce Pairing

JustFab Inc. and ShoeDazzle Inc. announced today that the subscription e-commerce companies would merge, bringing together two big names in an industry that has been a key part of Los Angeles’ tech scene.

OpenStack Provider Morphlabs Announces New Funding

Morphlabs Inc., which makes software and hardware for OpenStack cloud computing systems, announced $10 million in new funding.

TubeStart Helps Creators Work The Crowd

Online videos and crowdfunding seem to like one another.

Taxis, Rideshares Both Seek Breaks

TRANSPORTATION: Cabbies fear apps have edge in fare fight.

App-driven ride services and taxi companies are still puzzling out a roadmap to share L.A.’s streets.

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Big Score for Borrowers?

ZestFinance’s ratings could boost underbanked

ZestFinance’s founder hopes its credit score ratings do a number on an industry he claims is outdated.

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What Kind of Game Are They Playing?

Riot scores athlete visas to field top names for ‘e-sports’ tourney.

Riot Games looks to score more mainstream interest for “e-sports” with its Staples Center tournament.

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Activision Blizzard Beats Analyst Forecasts

Activision Blizzard Inc. posted strong earnings for the second quarter, beating its internal guidance and analysts’ projections, even as the company continued to shed subscribers to “World of Warcraft.”

JustFab Sues Over Similar Name, Business

JustFab, the El Segundo subscription e-commerce site, has filed a trademark infringement suit against New York online retailer

Inexpensive Console Makes Play for TVs

VIDEO GAMES: Shortage of titles could stymie Ouya’s rollout.

Lack of titles could impede Ouya’s drive to score sales for its low-cost console.

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Internet Postage Firm’s Shares Enveloped by Doubt

ONLINE:’s stock tumbles after analyst issues ‘hold’ rating.

Stock of Internet postage business fails to stick with investors after analyst’s downgrade.

Dialed In

INTERNET: Provider of mobile online service FreedomPop closes funding round with $5 million as it prepares to launch its own phone.

FreedomPop’s low-cost wireless service connects with investors in a $5 million fundraising round.

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Chip Maker’s Turnaround Flips Switch on Wall Street

TELECOM: Vitesse’s new leadership and products power up share value.

Chip maker Vitesse hopes to raise its profile on the Wall Street circuit with new product lines.

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FreedomPop Ends A Round With Another $5 Million

FreedomPop is polishing off its A round of funding with an extra $5 million from investors.

YouTube’s Methods Channel Unrest

INTERNET: Content producers question promotion, revenue split.

YouTube’s promotional efforts and revenue-sharing model are giving some content creators pause.

Ride-Share Services Hit City of L.A. Roadblock

TRANSPORTATION: Trio of companies accused of operating bandit taxis.

City of Los Angeles looks to put brakes on ride-sharing services but the companies vow to roll on.

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Venture Capital Firm to Try New Name and HQ

INVESTMENT: Upfront sheds GRP moniker as it eyes Santa Monica digs.

A lot of changes are afoot at Century City venture capital firm GRP Partners.

GRP Announces $200 Million Fund, Changes Name

As of today, the firm will be known as Upfront Ventures, with a new logo to boot.

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Why L.A. Gave Red-Lights to Lyft, Uber, and Sidecar

On Monday, the city's Department of Transportation sent cease and desist letters to Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, three ride-sharing operators that have been running in Los Angeles for several months.

Ouya Game Console Hits Shelves

Amazon, one of several retailers carrying the $99 console, has reported all units are sold out at both its U.S. and U.K sites.

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Drone Software’s Future Sky High?

TECHNOLOGY: Local firm sees commercial uses for UAVs.

DreamHammer looks to direct its drone software into use for nonmilitary functions.

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Razor Vendor Takes Swipe at Wipes

INTERNET: Dollar Shave Club seeks to mirror bathroom success.

Dollar Shave Club looks to clean up in online sales with its new wipes for men.

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Santa Monica Airline Gets FAA’s OK for Takeoff

TRANSPORTATION: First trip by Surf Air to fly from Burbank to San Carlos.

Surf Air Inc. in Santa Monica has finally gotten the all-clear from the government to begin flying.

Dollar Shave Club Heads South

Dollar Shave Club on Tuesday released “One Wipe Charlies,” a self-described “butt wipe for men,” gunning squarely at the $9 billion toilet paper industry.

Surf Air Cleared for Takeoff

Surf Air in Santa Monica was always an appealing company to investors and future customers. It offered a new type of airline that would shuttle passengers in commuter jets to and from small airports along the West Coast. Plus, for a monthly fee, subscribers could have unlimited flights.

Soccer Team Pursues Web Foothold

L.A. Galaxy kicks off new online chapter with ‘social hub.’

Pro soccer’s L.A. Galaxy hopes to get the ball rolling on social media with its new mobile site.

Citrus Partners Peeled Apart

FRUITS: Resnicks, Sun Pacific to take orange feud to food aisle.

Former mandarin orange partners look to show more marketing juice in the supermarket aisle.

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Ad It Up

Rubicon Project’s Frank Addante aspires to snatch cyberspace crown from Internet leader Google.

Internet ad pioneer Frank Addante is confident he can expand his cyberspace territory.

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Website Makes Space for Those Ready to Rock

INTERNET: Gigit aims to bring bands and paying jobs together online.

Craigslist ain’t the place to book a band, man.

Purchase of Network a Boost for Platform

DreamWorks Animation deal for AwesomenessTV shows drawing power of YouTube as distribution platform.

Why Does L.A. Tech Love Eric Garcetti?

Garcetti has been working since the earliest days of his candidacy to become the crown prince of Silicon Beach.

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Roll Sells Mandarin Brand, Moves from Cute to Wonderful

Beverly Hill’s Roll Global LLC, the California agricultural empire led by the billionaire couple Stewart and Lynda Resnick, has sold the “Cuties” trademark for its seedless mandarin oranges.