Media Move: Zealot Networks, a Venice talent management firm, has acquired New York’s Converge Media Group, a comedy-focused talent management firm co-founded by comedian JB Smoove. Converge, which also produces branded TV and multimedia content, will continue to operate under its name and be housed under Zealot’s music and entertainment division. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Series B: MiTú, a Culver City multichannel network launched in 2012 to produce English- and Spanish-language programming appealling to Latinos, has closed $15 million in Series B financing to invest in tech and grow its editorial team. The latest round was led by Santa Monica’s Upfront Ventures, which said it is now the largest investor in MiTú.
SAN FERNANDO VALLEY
Taking Off: Helinet Aviation Services in Van Nuys and owner Alan D. Purwin have received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to use drones for film and TV production. Purwin and Helinet both received exemptions to operate two eight-rotor unmanned aircraft weighing no more than 55 pounds, flying no higher than 500 feet in altitude and always within sight of a pilot or observer. In September, the FAA granted exemptions to six companies wanting to use drones in film and TV production, including two in the Valley – Pictorvision Inc. in Van Nuys and Astraeus Aerial in Encino.
Hospital Donation: Los Angeles Children’s Hospital in Los Feliz has received a $1 million donation from L.A. philanthropists Ming and Eva Hsieh. The money will go to support the hospital’s orthopedic center. Ming Hsieh founded Pasadena security identification company Cogent Inc., which was purchased by 3M in 2010.
Breathing Easier: MannKind Corp., Alfred Mann’s Valencia biotech company, has announced that its Afrezza brand of inhalable insulin is now available by prescription at U.S. pharmacies. MannKind obtained approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sell Afrezza in June, and in August signed a global marketing and distribution deal with French pharmaceutical company Sanofi. Afrezza is being priced at $7.54 per daily dose, about twice the cost of injectable insulin.
Series A: New Matter, a Pasadena startup that makes a low-price 3-D printer, has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding to bring its production on line and staff up. The funding will first go toward fulfilling roughly 2,600 preorders of its Mod-T printer, which came through the company’s’s Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, which raised more than $650,000. The funding round was led by San Francisco’s Alsop Louie Partners.
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