Like most industries, the pandemic has accelerated the pace of digital adoption in the insurance industry. Life insurance professionals need to leverage technology to successfully engage with prospective and existing clients to deliver services that today’s digital-savvy consumers demand. iLife is a sales automation platform for the life insurance industry that streamlines building a digital presence, increases sales, manages leads and prospects, matches customer profiles to policies, and allows the seamless collection of application materials. The company’s most popular plan is offered for a nominal $99.99 per month and offers unlimited prospects, customized quote generation, one-click submission for underwriting, and a selection of more than 670K policies. By leveraging iLife, insurance brokers are able to reduce the time to quote from days and weeks to seconds, bringing a much-needed better tech-enabled customer experience to the customer. LA TechWatch caught up with CEO and Founder Nelson Lee to learn more about the inspiration for the business, how iLife is bringing much-needed advancement to a traditionally stalwart industry, the company’s future plans, and recent round of funding from investors that include Foundation Capital, AME Cloud Ventures, Plug and Play, Cherubic Ventures, and Expansion VC.
Volumetric video captures a three-dimensional space or object using computer graphics, photogrammetry, and computation-based methods. Since these videos are recorded in 3D, they can be viewed on web or mobile without any specialized hardware or equipment. Arcturus is a suite of software that allows content creators can to easily record, edit, and distribute native volumetric content at scale. The company’s platform can be used in sports, gaming, e-commerce, live performances, real estate, or any other applications where dimension and perspective on depth and space can enhance the viewing experience. LA TechWatch caught up with Head of Marketing Piotr Uzarowicz to learn more about volumetric video, the company’s traction, future plans, and recent round of funding from investors that include BITKRAFT Ventures, HBSE Ventures, NTT Docomo Ventures, Build Ventures, Marc Merrill, and Craig Kallman.
Influencer marketing has grown to be a $13.8B industry annually according to one estimate; nearly doubling in size every two years. Despite the massive popularity, there is still a lack of transparency, fraud, payment friction, and lack of metrics that plague portions of the industry. Brybe is a self-service marketplace that connects brands and influencers built to be transparent and easy-to-use every step of the way both for brands and influencers. As the types of influencers vary greatly, the platform focuses on the mid-tier and lower influencers whose needs are often overlooked by larger platforms or those larger platforms that come in at inaccessible pricing. For brands, as influencer marketing gets more specialized, Brybe gives the option to work with a few smaller influencers that have loyal followings that generate a better return on investment than working with mega influencers. The platform handles payment, deployment, and analytics in an easy-to-use intuitive centralized location. LA TechWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Igor Fedenkoff to learn more about the inspiration for the platform, the company’s future plans, experience moving remote during the pandemic, recent round of funding, and much, much more.
In 2010, then-President Barack Obama instructed NASA to provide grants to private companies to let them develop spacecraft. This shift in space policy from government-controlled has created a massive opportunity for the private sector to fully get involved in space aviation for the first time. In 2020, SpaceX launched its first flight with humans on board, transporting two astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). Looking to capitalize on this new frontier is Epsilon3, a LA startup comprised of engineers and designers from SpaceX, Google, and Northrop. The company, founded during the pandemic, is building the operating system to power space launches. Most of the existing software used on space missions are legacy and derive from space exploration’s heyday in the 1960s and do not serve the sophisticated needs of today’s industry. Epsilon3 integrates workflows and data in real-time and provides a comprehensive operational management solution that results in fewer errors, increased efficiency by reducing engineering hours needed, and offers continuous improvement through analytics. LA TechWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Laura Crabtree to learn more about how her experience working on 100+ space launches led to her “AHA” moment to build Epsilon3, the company’s future plans, and recent round of funding, from investors that include MaC Venture Capital, Stage Venture Partners, and assorted strategic angels.
The old adage is “you are what you eat”. But also important is how what you eat, affects your body. The human gastrointestinal tract contains trillions of bacteria and there is growing interest in understanding how the microbiome impacts health. BelliWelli is a snack brand that’s launching this month and is focused on gut-friendly, plant-based bars. The company’s products are all gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, contain probiotics, and are also low-FODMAP – a short-chain carb that is not easily absorbed by the body. Currently available in four flavors – Minty Chocolate, Cinnamon Swirl, Lemon White Chocolate, Fudge Brownie, BelliWeather bars are available for pre-order from the website with a box of 8 costing $26.96. LA TechWatch caught up with CEO Katie Wilson to learn more about how her own personal journey to find snacks that her body could tolerate led to the founding of the company, the company’s future plans, and recent round of funding.
Aggregate statistics for all LA funding deals by stage of funding (Early, Series A, Series B, & Late) including mention of notable rounds for February 2021.
The aerospace, defense, and automobile industries have long been reliant on obsolete processes for hardware design and manufacturing that do not fully encapsulate the potential of technology. First Resonance is the manufacturing intelligence platform that allows next-gen hardware companies to innovate, iterate, and get products to market faster with unprecedented real-time visibility into production status. Replacing spreadsheets, documents, and costly legacy manufacturing processes, First Resonance’s ion Factory Operating System leverages data science, API integration, and machine learning to provides flexibility and collaboration between knowledge teams in established manufacturing workflows. Founded by former SpaceX engineers, the platform was able to gain 12+ new customers in 2020 despite the pandemic to help advance the future of climate change, space travel, planetary exploration, and sustainable agriculture. LA TechWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Karan Talati to learn more about First Resonance, the platform’s impact on manufacturing, progress made since launching out of stealth last fall, the company’s latest funding round led by Blue Bear Capital.
Funding up 40% in a banner year for LA Tech with ~$4.3B invested. Read on for clear, concise analysis that spans deals, IPOs, SPACs, the pipeline for the future, and much, much more in a clear, concise format.
Mobile phone usage is exploding in Africa and the continent is the world’s fastest growing mobile market. StarNews Mobile is a mobile video network that’s partnered with the largest telecom operators to provide video content to this burgeoning base of consumers. The company allows entertainers and brands to reach their audiences while allowing content creators to monetize their content. LA TechWatch caught up with Founder and CEO Guy Kamgaing to learn more about the market opportunity in Africa for content providers, the company’s future plans, and recent funding round from I&P and Expert Dojo.
The virtual reality gaming market is expected to reach $45B/yr by 2027. The increased affordability of VR sets like Oculus’s Quest 2 will contribute to this massive growth. ForeVR, founded by two ex-Zynga employees, is seeking to capitalize on this trend with its VR-focused gaming studio. Emerging recently from stealth, the company’s first title, launching in early 2021, is focused on bowling and ForeVR plans to build new games that are based on popular games in real life. LA TechWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Marcus Segal to learn more about the genesis of the company, its future product pipeline, first institutional round of funding from investors that include Galaxy Interactive Fund, Presence Capital, Emmett Shear, Justin Kan, Mark Pincus, and Justin Waldron.
Small businesses have been devastated by the pandemic and neighborhood schools and studios are no different. There has been a wave of innovation that empowers these small businesses to rapidly digitize to address changing customer preferences. Finli is the small business management platform and payment solution for these family-centric businesses that have been traditionally reliant on paper and pencil models. On the platform, parents and caretakers connect their bank accounts or credits to schedule and process payments for their children’s education, while schools and studios can invoice, streamline payments, and service their customer bases. LA TechWatch caught up with CEO and Founder Lori Shao to learn more about the critical service the platform provides to family businesses, the company’s future plans, and recent seed extension round from investors that include MaC Venture Capital, TechStars Los Angeles, Core Innovation Capital, and Muse Capital.