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Tom Dotan

Stories by Tom

Deep L.A. Roots

BUSINESS PERSONS OF THE YEAR: Agribusiness billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick have planted themselves at heart of philanthropic, cultural scenes.

Agribusiness billionaires Lynda and Stewart Resnick have branched out into supporting L.A.’s philanthropic and arts scenes.

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Higher Volume

INTERNET: WhisperText signs up viral-story wizard to help expand the anonymous-confession app’s reach.

INTERNET: WhisperText hopes viral-story expert will help the anonymous-confession app speak to a broader audience.

Rubicon Project Files for $100 Million Public Offering

Rubicon Project has officially kicked-off its long-expected march toward going public.

News Personalization Service Clicks With AOL

Internet: Online giant pays $90 million for startup Gravity’s technology.

Internet: Gravity, provider of online news personalization services, makes headlines as a $90 million acquisition by AOL.

Ouya Releases Upgraded Console

Ouya’s gaming system is nearing its first birthday, and the console maker is celebrating by releasing a new product line with some upgrades.

HomeHero Brings New Life To Elder Care

The knock on the current boom in tech is that most companies are started by (male) 20- or 30-somethings attempting to solve problems for 20- or 30-somethings. Ergo the handfuls of food delivery startups or laundry pickup services.

Calacanis Launches Inside, a Newsreader App

Serial entrepreneur Jason Calacanis has finally lifted the veil on his newest product, Inside, which he says is the best thing he’s ever done.

TigerText Closes $21 Million Series B Round

If TigerText did nothing else as a company, it could forever be known as the company that birthed teen-friendly privacy app Whisper.

Accelerator’s Full Speed Ahead on Demo Days

Online: MuckerLab sticks by tradition as latest startup class meets with investors.

Accelerator MuckerLab sticks with demo days, saying the events still click with the tech community.

Entrepreneur Making News

Internet: Jason Calacanis looks to deliver in journalism.

Online entrepreneur Jason Calacanis’ latest move takes him into the bustling field of mobile news delivery.

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AOL Buys Santa Monica’s Gravity for $90 Million

Gravity, a Santa Monica startup that sells a content discovery service for news sites, has been acquired by AOL Inc. for $90 million.

Latest Class Presents at MuckerLab Demo Day

MuckerLab stands alone among the top tier accelerators in Los Angeles. While Launchpad and Amplify have done away with their demo days, the Santa Monica outfit co-founded by Erik Rannala is holding fast to the tradition.

Machinima, Microsoft Deal Makes it Pay to Play

If you’re among the ranks of Machinima’s YouTube channels and you say something nice about the Xbox One in a video, Microsoft is going to make it worth your while.

It’s Up Stream At Beats Music

Entertainment: Startup service enters noisy marketplace.

You’ve seen the Beats headphones. Now the company that makes them wants into the music streaming business. Can it succeed in this already noisy segment?

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Competitive Juices Flow at Firm

As founding partners of their own law firm in Century City, Keith Elkins and Scott Kalt don’t just divvy up attorney pay or recruit new partners. Some days, you’ll find them planning relay races.

Amplify Announces New $8 Million Fund

Startup Accelerator Amplify has announced a new $8 million funding round.

Supernova, Successor to Viddy, Sold to Fullscreen

Venice video app maker Supernova, which began its life as Viddy, was acquired today by YouTube network Fullscreen.

Beats Electronics To Launch Streaming Music Service

Beats Electronics has unveiled the start date for its Beats Music service, announcing yet another entry into the popular if financially troubled category of online radio.

Anonymous-Forum App Maker Pulls in Big Name

TECH: Whisper draws traffic-generating writer away from Gawker.

App maker Whisper Inc. rang in the new year by making a high-profile hire and signaling a new initiative for the company.

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Snapchat Updates to Fix Security Flaw

Snapchat has released an update to its popular photo-sharing app, aimed at patching a security flaw that left users’ names and phone numbers exposed.

Fullscreen Settles Music Royalty Dispute

YouTube network Fullscreen has settled its lawsuit with a music publisher’s association over the use of unlicensed music in its channels’ videos.

JustFab’s Chief Named in FTC Action

When the Federal Trade Commission announced late last year that it was going to crack down on deceptive weight loss campaigns, the assumption was that Herbalife Inc. would be the most likely local company to be singled out.

Loveroom Signs Deal to Develop Reality TV Show

Loveroom, the site that pitched itself as an “Airbnb for attractive people,” is buzzy, somewhat controversial and probably overexposed. Those descriptors, of course, are catnip for reality television, and so it feels preordained that Loveroom would be courted by production companies.

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Crash City Guide Acquired by

The life of any startup comes with a definite end-point, but most don’t expect them to arrive soon after launch. Such is the case with Pasadena’s Crashworks Inc., maker of a free city-guide app for iPhones.

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Kids’ Payment Service Picks Up Short-Term Loan

Internet: Virtual Piggy deal anticipates possibility of additional stock sales.

Finance - Online shopping service Virtual Piggy takes out short-term loan but won’t squeal on the possibility of a future

Food Firms Go Hungry Online

iInternet: Tech companies fail to bring home the bacon.

Internet – Attempts to reinvent the food business have chewed up several tech companies

App Launches to Track Fitness Routines

The free app is in beta and has a few rudimentary workout regimens built-in.

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Contest Brings Kids Up to Code

Virtual Piggy’s hackathon restricts competitors to teenagers or younger.

Technology: Virtual Piggy goes whole hog on app creation contest only for youths.

Verizon Makes Call on Content Delivery Network

INTERNET: Telecom giant snaps up EdgeCast to move deeper into mobile.

Verizon dials up deal to acquire content delivery network operator EdgeCast

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Publisher Sports Black Eye Over ‘Athlete’ Limits

VIDEO GAMES: Riot axes streaming restrictions after bad feedback on Internet.

Video game makers have been pushing hard for professional gaming to be considered a legitimate sport – few companies harder than Santa Monica’s Riot Games Inc.

Verizon to Buy EdgeCast

EdgeCast will function as Verizon’s main provider of content delivery services and is part of the Basking Ridge, N.J. wireless company’s effort to expand its array of digital services.

Software Firm Sees Brain as Smart Move

Technology: BLife joins field looking to get human mind in shape

Technology: Software developers head in a new direction with products to develop people’s brains.

Jumping Feet First Into Future

Left Shoe’s 3-D scanner helps store’s customers step into customized fit

Footwear: Left Shoe steps up its service with a 3-D scanner process that creates a custom fit

Riot Bars Pro Gamers From Other Titles

Under the new contract, Riot’s professional players will not be allowed to stream their gameplay of other Massive Multiplayer Online Games such as “Defense of the Ancients 2” and “World of Warcraft.”

Virtual Piggy Rebrands to Lure Teens

Oink offers kids a secure, credit card-free way to make online purchases at partnered e-commerce sites such as Toys R Us and Gamestop.

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Startup Releases Software to Exercise Your Mind

The Santa Monica startup has released what it describes as a "personal fitness program for the mind." It was built as a Web app for computers, with an iPhone app set to be released next year.

Focus Changes For YouTube

Internet: Networks offer stars viewership-measuring platforms

YouTube networks are building tech platforms to keep stars happy as part of a new big picture.

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Surfers, Boarders Enter No-Spin Zone

ActiveReplay’s Trace tracks moves by outdoor athletes.

ActiveReplay’s Trace tracking device looks to take the spin out of bragged-about moves by surfers and skateboarders.

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Site’s Original Landing Page Crossed ‘Boarder’ Line

INTERNET: LoveRoom’s creator dismisses critics of lodging-dating service.

A few weeks ago, a new lodging-and-dating service announced itself to the online world.

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LoveRoom, Airbnb for 'Attractive People,' Goes Live

LoveRoom went live Nov. 15. It's now in beta and is accepting signups.

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Heavyweights in Final Rounds of Herbalife Fight

Big-name investor battle over weight-loss product purveyor Herbalife could be nearing a close.

Maker Snags Yahoo Executive

The Culver City online video network announced Erin McPherson will be joining the company in a position that sees her reporting directly to company Chief Executive Ynon Kreiz.

Ad Maker Turns To Crowdsourcing

ADVERTISING: Tongal takes on traditional agency model.

Some industry veterans question the mass appeal of Tongal’s crowdsourced approach to video ads.

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Video App Maker Opts For New Name and Focus

INTERNET: Viddy’s now Supernova as it works to regain firm’s early heat.

Internet: Maker of video app Viddy looks to change its focus and image with new name and products.

Valet Parking App Debuts

Mar Vista's Just Scan It, an app maker specializing in mobile scanning, has rolled out a self-named iOS app that aims to loop valet services and drivers into a single network.

Viddy Debuts New Apps, Corporate Profile

Supernova, as the Venice company will be called henceforth, is no longer a maker of one product, but a producer of a handful of multimedia apps, all with a focus on social sharing.

YouTube Ad Rates Expected to Rise for TV Networks

The video streaming site is lowering the broadcaster's take from 70 percent of advertising revenue to 45 percent, considered standard for most YouTube channels.

Video Platform Lets Stars Know Where They Stand

INTERNET: Software by Maker Studios tracks viewership in real time.

Maker Studios pitches its service as a platform for video stars to make more money off their creations.

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Small-Aircraft Company Catches Ride on Defense

AVIATION: New products also provide lift for shares of AeroVironment.

Defense contractors’ strong earnings help small-aircraft maker AeroVironment’s shares take wing.

Magazine Founder Says Doing Good Still Works

PUBLISHING: Goldhirsh stays positive after firing editorial staff.

Ben Goldhirsh says he has his do-gooder-focused magazine doing well financially.

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