UPDATE: Okapi Venture Capital Involved in Flurry of Investments So Far This Year. And, It’s Opened a New Office in Ladera Ranch…

A VC firm in Laguna Beach has already made a slew of investments this year.

Okapi Venture Capital also has opened a new office in Ladera Ranch.

The new 2019 investments include:

GuestWiser, (with HQ in LA), a real-estate tech startup that offers a turn-key tool for multifamily and commercial building owners to profit from the short-term rental industry.

Its platform turns apartment units into fully-automated, short-term rental units — to be rented out on platforms like Booking.com, Airbnb and Expedia, as well as other hotel and short-term rental websites.

Okapi’s OV3 fund led a “significantly oversubscribed” $1.75 million Series Seed round.

SpecRight, (with HQ in Irvine), which focuses on product specification management with its Fortune 100-enterprise level software platform. Its clients include Harley Davidson, Nestle and Unilever. It raised an $8 million Series A round. The round was led by the Pritzker Group, with Okapi’s OV3 fund joining alongside its OV2 fund.

The Okapi funds are collectively the largest investor shareholder in SpecRight, and Okapi is “very bullish about SpecRight’s prospects given their strong growth with existing global customers and significant new additions from their pipeline.”

SmartCSM, (with HQ in Torrance), a startup that’s developed cloud-based building and facilities management software. It raised a $1.5 million Series Seed round with the OV3 fund being one of the largest investors in the round.

SmartCSM’s software platform digitally maps and manages the electrical and mechanical infrastructure of commercial, industrial and multi-unit residential buildings.

The company touts its platform as reducing facilities costs and greenhouse emissions, along with increasing worker safety and operational efficiency.

Target customers are college campuses, government buildings, hospitals and corporate campuses.

Trellis Research, (with HQ in LA), a legal-tech company that’s developed a “Google for litigators” – enabling litigators to have a searchable database of trial court documents (now in California, and in the future, nationwide).

Trellis also offers litigators AI-driven analytics of trial motions, analytical judge reports and predictive analytics of case outcomes for things like class action lawsuit payouts.

OV3 led the “significantly over-subscribed” $2 million Series Seed round, with follow-on participation from Craft Ventures, Sequoia Scout, Revel Ventures and Intrepid Ventures.

Slingshot Aerospace, (with HQ in El Segundo). See related story here.

This is a satellite data analytics and mapping company.

It closed a multi-year, $6 million contract with the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center for the company’s Orbital Atlas technology.

Orbital Atlas provides predictive space situational awareness capabilities.

Slingshot also landed numerous other notable customers including BAE, Northrop, the San Diego Zoo and NASA. During Q1, the company closed a $5 milllion Seed-1 funding round.

OV3 was a major participant in the round, along with other Vcs. One new investor was Steve Case’s Revolution Partners, Rise of the Rest fund.

With fresh capital, significant customer traction, a compelling road map and a large sales pipeline, the company is poised to continue Q1’s momentum, according to Okapi.

Chromacode, (with HQ in Carlsbad), is working on molecular testing via data science and software-driven tech.

It recently announced the commercial launch of its first-ever multiplex test.

Chromacode’s tick-borne pathogen panel is touted as the only multiplex PCR test that detects nine of the most common tick-borne pathogens in a single test.

This has the potential of early identification of a broader array of pathogens and the potential to “significantly” reduce the costs of molecular testing.

Okapi said it expects Q2 to be nearly as active as Q1 in terms of deal flow.

About The Author

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

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