El Segundo’s EV Connect has won a $1.8 million contract from the California Energy Commission to install electric charging stations along the West Coast Electric Highway.

The Electric Highway is a network of roadside charging stations stretching from Canada to Mexico along various state and federal highways. EV connect will install charging stations at host sites such as Flying J Inc. centers, Staples Inc. retail stores and Hilton Hotels & Resorts locations.

EV Connect makes charging station management software designed to help station owners and utilities regulate and monitor usage. The company also resells and installs electric charging stations.

EV Connect will install 13 fast-charging stations, which can juice up an electric car in about 30 minutes, and Level 2 electric-vehicle charging stations, which charge electric cars in about four to six hours, along segments of State Route 99 and the 5 freeway. EV Connect will also run the stations using its management software.

As the electric-car charging infrastructure in the United States is being filled out with new facilities through funding from government and private organizations, EV Connect has benefited. The company has won contracts with Southern California Edison, the state of New York and various municipalities, said President Jordan Ramer.

EV Connect is contracted with SCE’s Charge Ready, a program launched in January that is piloting a network of 1,500 charging stations throughout Southern California.

“As part of that program, our software platform can curtail and stop charging based on … commands from Southern California Edison during periods they need to closely manage their (electrical) grid,” said Ramer.

EV Connect has also benefited from the spread of car charging stations throughout parking lots on corporate campuses.

“We manage corporate campuses for Yahoo, Western Digital, ADP and Dell Inc.,” he said.

EV Connect has received about $4 million in venture capital from investors including Motus Ventures, 37 Ventures, Double M Partners, Tech Coast Angels and Pasadena Angels. The startup was founded in 2010 and now has close to 20 employees.

Fan Connection

Fullscreen Inc. of Playa Vista has acquired fan engagement software company StageBloc for an undisclosed amount.

Chicago’s StageBloc, now renamed Fullscreen Direct, helps musicians build websites and apps to sell items to their fans. The company’s technology also helps musicians analyze their fan bases, plan tour stops, track ticket and merchandise sales as well as facilitate email marketing campaigns.

StageBloc offers free and paid premium versions of its software. Paying clients include Metallica, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Eric Church and Kid Rock. Fullscreen hasn’t decided how to charge its talent pool for use of the StageBloc software, but said it is likely to take a cut of revenue earned on the platform.

Fullscreen provides support for and sells advertisements on behalf of a network of video creators, some 75,000 independent musicians and social media stars. The so-called multichannel network got its start in 2011 by working with YouTube celebrities, and has more than 600 million subscribers and 5 billion video views a month. The company is owned by Otter Media in Santa Monica, a joint venture of AT&T and Chernin Group.

Fullscreen plans to use StageBloc’s technology to increase fan engagement as well as ticketing and merchandise sales for musicians partnered with the company.

“The StageBloc tech allows us to build websites and apps for creators. It helps us centralize things,” said Beau Bryant, Fullscreen’s senior vice president of talent and programming. “We get really deep analytics and measurement in a way that most websites and app providers aren’t providing.”

The company plans eventually to distribute the software more broadly to lesser-known musicians and other social media stars in its network, Bryant said. Part of the reason StageBloc appealed to Fullscreen was the ease by which artists could use the technology without a deep understanding of Web development or marketing, he added.

StageBloc formed in 2009 and it launched its product in 2013. The company’s 18 employees will join Fullscreen’s Chicago office.

Uber Payments

Green Dot Corp. of Pasadena has launched a special version of its GoBank mobile checking account for drivers of San Francisco’s Uber Technologies Inc., called Instant Pay.

Uber drivers will now have the option to be paid instantly after completing a fare and won’t be charged for the transaction as long as they use the Green Dot service once every six months. Drivers had previously been paid on a weekly basis.

Staff reporter Garrett Reim can be reach at greim@labusinessjournal.com or (323)549-5225, ext. 232.

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