NEWS: SoCal Funding Roundup, July 13-17, 2020: Rivian, Fisker, Pod Network, Openpath, PocketList, NVISNx, Qualcomm, Jio Platforms, Nerio Therapeutics, BioAtla, AristaMD, Deep Longevity, TrackStreet

Here are startups throughout SoCal that announced receiving investments this past week, July 13- July 17, 2020.

And, also those that opened up new rounds or extensions.

And, entities that made investments or started new funds.

Investments in the manufacturers of electric trucks and cars are trending this week.

Orange County/Los Angeles (electric trucks): Rivian, which has development offices in Irvine and Carson, California, raised an additional $2.5 billion in funding.

The new funding round was led by T. Rowe Price Associates, and also included Soros Fund Management, Fidelity, Baron Capital, and Amazon and BlackRock.

Rivian is in the midst of bringing its first vehicles – a pickup and an SUV – to market.

The company also is working with Amazon to deploy its electric vehicles to be used for deliveries.

(From SoCalTech)


Los Angeles (electric cars): Fisker is merging with a public, special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Spartan Energy Acquisition Corp.

This will provide more than $1 billion in gross proceeds to the company and make it a publicly traded company.

The merger will provide Fisker with $500 million in PIPE investments from Moore Strategic Ventures; AllianceBernstein; funds and accounts managed by BlackRock; and Federated Hermes Kaufmann.

PIPE is an acronym for private investment in public equity — the buying of shares of publicly-traded stock at a price below the current market value per share. The purpose of a PIPE is for the issuer of the stock to raise capital for the public company.

Fisker said the proceeds from the merger will fully fund the development of its all-electric Fisker Ocean through the anticipated start of production in 2022.

(From Socal Tech)


Los Angeles (social media): Pod Network, which is developing a mobile, social media network that connects users based on their physical location, plus professional and personal interests, has raised $5 million in seed funding.

The round was led by PACA Ventures and Anthony Misitano, founder of Post Acute Medical.

The startup, led by founder and CEO Jo Webber, says its location-based platform facilitates the discovery and connection of people based on interests and location, with the intent to allow people to connect in person or virtually. The company claims it already has 5 million users.

(From SoCalTech)


Los Angeles (apartment rentals): PocketList, which is creating a rental marketplace database based on feedback from current and past tenants, raised $2.8 million in a seed funding round.

The company officially launched this week.

The company said the funding was led by Craft Ventures, the VC firm founded by David Sacks, and also included Abstract VC and Wonder Ventures, as well as other angels, including Zillow co-founder Spencer Rascoff.

PocketList uses the “wisdom of the crowd” to share information about the rental market.

To start, the company only offers up info in LA, with plans plans to launch in SF and SD later this year.

Nick Daze’ is the co-founder and CEO of PocketList.

(From SoCalTech)


Los Angeles (cybersecurity): NVISNx, one of the startups participating in the Expert Dojo accelerator right now, closed the last million of its $3 million seed round this week.

The funds will used to further grow and scale the company’s growth and to build out its automation and data analytics capabilities.

It’s a SaaS cybersecurity company that investigates why data breaches continue to happen and what makes privacy compliance so challenging for some companies.

The CEO intends to pursue a Series A funding next quarter with a post-money valuation of at least $30 million.

NVISNx was also recently selected into Goldman Sachs’ next entrepreneurial cohort.

The startups’s platform creates a continuous, global view of customer data – its controls and user behaviors.

It has enterprise-scale data monitoring and analytic capabilities, with a visual library of more than 150 pre-defined use cases so it can provide info on what data to protect and what data to purge,

Its team was working out of a WeWork space in LA before the lockdown.

(from a variety of sources)


Los Angeles (key-less access): Openpath, which is developing key-less door access systems, raised $36 million in a new funding round. This brings the company’s total fundraising to $63 million.

The new funding was led by Greycroft Partner.

The startup is headed by LA tech veterans James Segil and Alex Kazerani; both are longtime veterans of the LA startup and tech industry, having previously founded Edgecast, which they sold to Verizon for approximately $400 million.

Openpath creates security tools for offices. The company’s flagship product, Openpath Access, combines hardware with an app, enabling employees to enter their office using their smartphones. The app uses encryption at every level and several layers of user permissions.


San Diego (investment in an Indian tech firm): Qualcomm invested in Jio Platforms, the tech firm owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani.

The two companies announced that Qualcomm’s investment arm would pump up to $7.3 billion Indian rupees (about $97 million) into Jio, in exchange for an equity stake of 0.15%.

Jio is part of Ambani’s sprawling conglomerate, Reliance Industries. It includes India’s biggest mobile network with more than 388 million subscribers. Jio also has an ecosystem of apps, offering those millions of mobile users everything from online grocery shopping to digital payments and video streaming.

(From CNN Business)


San Diego (life sciences): Nerio Therapeutics, still in stealth mode, raised $3 million.


San Diego (biotech):BioAtla, which focuses on the development of Conditionally Active Biologic (CAB) antibody therapeutics, closed its Series D round, having raised $72.5 million.

The financing was led by Soleus Capital and joined by several new investors including HBM Healthcare Investments as co-lead, Cormorant Asset Management, Farallon Capital, Pappas Capital, funds managed by Janus Henderson, Boxer Capital, and one other institutional investor.

Current investor Pfizer Ventures, the venture capital arm of Pfizer Inc. also participated in the financing.

(from PR Newswire)


San Diego (digital health): AristaMD, which provides proprietary eConsult solutions that connect primary care providers with specialist insights, completed its $24 million Series B round with investments from Ascension Ventures and .406 Ventures.

Ascenion Ventures is a strategic healthcare VC firm representing 13 of the nation’s leading non-for-profit health systems.

406 Ventures is a VC firm investing in early-stage enterprise technology and digital health companies.

The company’s Series B round was co-led by Cigna Ventures and the MemorialCare Innovation Fund.

The new capital will be used to accelerate commercial growth, as well as continue the expansion of the eConsult platform supporting payors and health systems across the country.


San Diego (biotech): Deep Longevity, which is working on longevity R&D with AI-discovered biomarkers of aging, has come out stealth mode from parent company Insilico Medicine, to announce an investment.

The amount of the investment was not disclosed.

Led by ETP Ventures and the Human Longevity and Performance Impact Venture Fund, the investment round includes participation from BOLD Capital Partners, Longevity Vision Fund, Oculus co-founder and former chief software architect Michael Antonov through Formic Ventures, and LongeVC.

Insilico Medicine uses AI for drug discovery in the fields generative chemistry and generative biology.

Deep Longevity says it has developed an AI system that can predict an individual’s biological age “significantly more accurately than conventional methods.”

In the company’s first partnership, Deep Longevity will deploy its tech in a collaboration with Human Longevity, a genomics-based, health intelligence company with a database of sequenced genomes and other information.

Deep Longevity’s team of scientists and AI researchers created an ”aging clock,” using deep neural networks.

They analyzed millions of anonymized samples from multiple data types — including blood biochemistry, cell count, protein-coding genes and gut bacteria — to identify related biomarkers for diseases like diabetes.

That analysis was built upon several years of published and patented R&D.

The Human Longevity and Performance Impact Venture Fund is a longevity-focused, early-stage VC fund dedicated to providing resources, insight, and leadership to companies whose mission is to improve human health and drive longevity through tech, research, and patient care.

The fund’s goal is to establish a synergistic ecosystem of longevity and performance-focused companies to “dramatically” increase the volume and effectiveness of life-affirming diagnostics and therapeutics.


Santa Barbara (brand protection): TrackStreet raised $5.1 million in an oversubscribed funding round. This is an Okapi Capital portfolio company and Okapi led the funding. 

Other investors included VCs, family offices, the Cove Fund II, Early Light Ventures, SaaS Venture Capital, Stage Venture Partners and Brad Perry (co-founder of Dealer Socket).

TrackStreet uses AI and automation tech to monitor and reduce violations involving a company’s brand and its resale. Its customer base includes Domestic, Mercury Marine, Smuckers, the Weyco Group and Zeiss.

The funds will be used to continue developing its tech and to expedite its go-to-market strategies.


If I’ve missed anything, please let me know – Thanks!

About The Author

Deirdre Newman is a long-time journalist, who's covered OC startups for a few years.

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