If you’re sadly unattached this Valentine’s Day, you can’t blame the local tech scene.
A handful of L.A. companies have recently rolled out products designed to help love along – from the meet-cute up through to the wedding.
There’s Tinder in West Hollywood, a mobile app that integrates with a person’s Facebook profile to find nearby singles; downtown L.A.’s Your Cause or Mine, a new dating website geared to people interested in altruism; and Santa Monica’s Go Moment, which helps people put together elaborate dates.
Finally there’s Santa Monica’s Capsule Inc., which makes camera and photo-sharing software that helps people take and store pictures on a group album. The company recently paired with TheKnot.com to integrate its photo albums with the site.
Capsule was designed for amateur photographers who want to share pictures for any event, such as vacations, bachelor parties and weddings. That last category was the biggest hit for Capsule, said founder and Chief Executive Cyrus Farudi; the company has since focused its efforts on being a specialty photo service for weddings.
Most people use Capsule through its camera app, which the company has released for Apple and Android devices. At a wedding, people take pictures using the app and upload them directly to a collective wedding album (they get access to the album through an exclusive code). People can also add photos through Instagram or over email.
Albums can be viewed by the public and the photos are updated and shown in real time; for weddings using TheKnot.com, the photo album is presented on the couple’s web page.
It costs between $99 and $249 to buy a Capsule account, through it’s free for guests to use.
Farudi can personally vouch for the service, having used it for his wedding in October.
“My wife and I were scanning through the photos as we were sitting at LAX waiting to fly out for our honeymoon,” Farudi said. “We were looking at an album contributed by 80 different people. It was great.”
ShoeDazzle Inc. is bringing back the subscription model barely a year after it surprised the e-commerce industry by dropping it.
Brian Lee, the company’s founder and chief executive, told the Business Journal and other media that his monthly shoes-in-a-box business was ending its experiment of acting as a more traditional online retailer. The return to monthly fees is coming back with a few tweaks.
Under its first subscription model, members paid $39.99 monthly for a pair of shoes. The site will now charge $9.95 per month, which goes into a member’s account as a credit. These credits can be accrued and spent on any products on the site. The new plan is scheduled to launch this month and comes only three months after Lee returned to the company after his hand-selected replacement, Bill Strauss, resigned.
Strauss was the architect behind the decision to drop ShoeDazzle’s pioneering subscription model in March and was heavily criticized when the new free-to-purchase plan didn’t bring in the same revenue.
Lee, who also founded LegalZoom in Glendale, will continue to work as the chief executive at Honest Co. in Santa Monica, which he co-founded with actress Jessica Alba.
The L.A. tech community is mourning the death of local tech entrepreneur Jody Sherman, who founded e-commerce site for parents Ecomom. Sherman, 47, died last week in Las Vegas. The coroner ruled the death a suicide.
Sherman was a popular figure in the L.A. tech community and was a mentor to numerous startups. Once news of his death was announced, many letters, blog postings and tweets came pouring in from local entrepreneurs.
“He was sort of a force of nature. It sounds cliché, but the term ‘no’ was not in his vocabulary,” Brian Norgard, founder of online video service Chill, told the Business Journal. “There was nothing that would get in his way.”
Sherman started Ecomom in Los Angeles in 2009 and later moved the company to Las Vegas. He is survived by his wife, Kerri.
GumGum, a Santa Monica firm that creates in-image advertising technology, has hired Matt Weisbecker as its vice president of sales. Weisbecker has previously worked as the director of national sales for Amazon Media Group in Seattle. … Greg Raifman and Todd Tappin have been hired at West L.A.’s Rubicon Project, to serve as the ad tech company’s president and chief operating officer, respectively. Raifman had worked as the top executive at Oakland’s Dragon Media Online, while Tappin came from SocialVibe in West Los Angeles; both companies are ad tech firms.
Staff reporter Tom Dotan can be reached at email@example.com or (323) 549- 5225, ext. 263.
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