Temecula California Startup: Sightly Inks $5.6M In Venture Round

Sightly,California startup,startups, venture fundingSightly, a startup based in Temecula California has just announced a venture raise of $5.6 million dollars. The company specializes in connecting and engaging local businesses with customers through video.

The companies innovative platform utilizes video across the web and where it matters most in this decade, on their mobile device. Sightly helps businesses develop and manage interactive video campaigns through a real time dashboard that allows businesses to monitor their own success.

The company started out as a business focused video production company however John McIntyre the founder and CEO of Sightly has abandoned the production house business for the current model where the opportunity really exists.

Moscow based Bright Capital Digital also sees the great opportunity with Sightly. They led this $5.6 million dollar round. The company also attracted new investor Foresight Ventures.

Existing investors, Floodgate, Tomorrow Ventures, Bullpen Capital, Mack Capital and 500 Startups also participated in the round.

“We believe that video – particularly on mobile devices – is going to drive how consumers find and choose local businesses,” McIntyre said “This funding from both new and current investors not only validates this vision but supports its realization.”

“Local is exploding,” said Mike Maples of Floodgate. “Sightly not only has a compelling vision of where the market is heading for consumers and local businesses, but they have a breakthrough approach on how to make that vision a reality and create a game changer in local advertising.”


Check out Sightly here

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Sacramento Startup: Ask Ziggy Raises $5 Million To Take On Siri


Even the loyalist of Apple users have said that Siri, iOS’s virtual assistant, isn’t all that she’s cracked up to be. In fact the newest Siri commercial featuring director Martin Scorsese, features commands that can’t be easily replicated.

Almost as soon as Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled Siri as part of the iPhone 4s and the most current version of iOS, startups have been looking to challenge the quirky voice activated assistant.

One of those startups, Ask Ziggy, based just outside of Sacramento, has just announced last month that they’ve raised $5 million dollars.

The company, which isn’t even a year old yet, reported that the $5 million dollar capital infusion comes from a publicly traded multinational corporation, which they didn’t disclose.

Ask Ziggy also announced that they would be working closely with Burlington Massachusetts based, Nuance. Nuance has been a major player in the voice command space. It’s even rumored that Nuance may have some kind of hand in Siri itself.

Ask Ziggy already comes preinstalled on smartphones using the Windows operating system. It can also be found in products by Samsung, LG and Dell.

Ask Ziggy is looking to expand outside of mobile and to other devices.

“Speaking directly into a device and getting a voice reply, with zero typing required, is here at last,” said Shai Leib, CEO of Ask Ziggy told the Sacramento Bee. “This funding will now enable Ask Ziggy to deliver multilanguage, accent-independent, natural speech personal assistant apps running on all devices – including cellular handsets, tablets and even computing headsets, which will immediately change our world.”

Ask Ziggy is further developing their integration with Massachusetts based Kopin Corp and their Golden-I computing headset product. Leib is hoping that as the technology improves Ask Ziggy will be able to handle conversational type requests.

Leib used the example of “I feel like listening to some psychedelic rock” and having Pandora open and begin playing classic rock.


Check out AskZiggy here.

Source: sacbee.com

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Powersharing Bringing the Positivity from Pasadena [Interview]

Powersharing network

Pasadena startup Powersharing is a network of people who are working together to lift each other up.  When asked what their secret sauce is they did not respond with “if we told you our secret sauce then it wouldn’t be secret; now would it?” Instead they responded with,

Our secret sauce is not that secret at all. We love our members. Love is the most powerful force in the universe and when it is unleashed, nothing can stop it. In our community, our members give each other a boost in motivation, inspiration, and hope for a brighter future. We give them incentives, resources, and new, creative ways to share the power in their lives. Our partner organizations, businesses, and governmental bodies benefit from our growth and success.

They hope to bring people together to help solve everyday issues, raise money, support individuals and organizations, and to spread positivity around.

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Los Angeles Startup: Smarter Stand Sees 10x Goal On Kickstarter


Dotan Saguy, a Los Angeles entrepreneur figured out that if you add two little clips to either side of an iPad’s Smart Cover or Smart Case you can add several different viewing angles and positions to your iPad which make it more convenient and equally as sturdy.

The magnetic Smart Cover and Smart Case for the iPad currently offer two positions for resting your iPad. One of the positions makes the iPad sit up too straight andouille the other one lays it down too flat. As you an see from the graphic above, Saguy’s Smarter Stand clips allow for several more positions. Most of the positions could be achieved with an additional $40 stand.

Saguy was hoping to raise $10,000 with a Kickstarter campaign. With that money Saguy planned on doing a limited production run for those who were interested in the product. Saguy hit the $10,000 mark on the first day of his campaign and now has 7,120 people interested in the product.

“I can’t thank my Kickstarter supporters enough for their kind words, encouragement, and pledges to make this dream a reality,” says Saguy. “The outpouring of support simply justifies that sometimes the simplest ideas are the most useful, and having forums like Kickstarter is an incredible way to get the word out.”

The Smarter Stand clips can be mixed and matched with 10 different, iPad matching colors available. The clips live on the smart cover or smart case so you always have a stand one stand by.

The Smarter Stand clips will retail for $20 per pair or you can preorder them with a discount by pledging on KickStarter.

Check out the Smarter Stand Kickstarter Page Here

Nibletz is the voice of startups “everywhere else”

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Los Angeles Startup: MoonShark Laucnhes, Founded By CAA & Qualcomm


Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and silicon giant Qualcomm have partner to launch a new mobile game development startup called MoonShark.

The new startup is going to leverage the high level celebrity relationships within CAA and the technical prowess of Qualcomm and the studios developers to make great mobile games, tied in with celebrities.

The CAA roster includes hundreds of the most well known celebrities. At launch, MoonShark is working with movie star and recording artist Jennifer Lopez. MoonShark has released their first game, Dance Pad, in a partnership with Lopez. The game is a finger dancing game reminiscent of dance dance revolution, except instead of using your feet and other body parts, players use their fingers to tap to the music. The game packs over 100 levels featuring a soundtrack with over 30 top artists.

“Moonshark was formed to connect uniquely talented artists with the best independent mobile developers to bring amazing ideas to life as mobile games,” said Matt Kozlov, CEO of Moonshark. “Our mission is to keep the Moonshark pipeline full of creative, addictive titles and give talent the means to share their creativity with fans on cutting edge mobile platforms.”

MoonShark’s second title is being developed in conjunction with LA based developer Mention Mobile and YouTube superstar Philip DeFranco. The company is also partnering for a future title with Hollywood director John Woo and his production company Tiger Hill.

“The collaborative development process at Moonshark has been an outstanding experience,” said Woo. “We worked with Moonshark to find just the right development team to bring these characters and concepts to life in an immersive, engaging game. The early versions of the title look absolutely amazing; I can’t wait until I can share more.”
Source: PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1gc2v)


Checkout MoonShark here

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We Interview Ari Rashti Of StartEngine And Angel Vision Investors

Over the past weekend, I was able to interview Ari Rashti, from StartEngine and Angel Vision Investors. We where able to talk to him about how the Los Angeles Tech Scene has come and gone, and then coming back again. Along the same lines we dug deeper into why LA hasn’t seen as many hot startups come from here, as well as the valuation disparity we have from the Bay.

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Silicon Beach Fest What To Look Forward To On The 21st

Over the past weekend both Kyle and I were at startup events, and if you think with all the events so far this month the two of us have been covering is enough you’d be wrong. Later this month I’ll be covering Silicon Beach Fest in Santa Monica California from June 21-23rd. Organizes by Kevin Winston formally of MySpace, and current CEO of Digital LA. Jason Crilly, CEO and Founder of Pagewoo and Efren Toscano. Founder of TechZulu an independent news organization delivering an insightful story of the technology industry by showcasing the very people creating it. Brought together he top Startup Incubators in the Los Angeles area such as Start Engine, io/LA, Idealab, Amplify and others. For this start studded event. When Kevin Winston was questioned about what brought him to creating Silicon Beach Fest, he mentioned to me.

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Exclusive Interview With Travis Chen Winner Of Hollywood Hack A Day

This weekend, we covered Hollywood Hack Day and now we have an exclusive interview with Travis Chen, created or Typing Karaoke. While not picking up a single Sponsors award, Travis won over both the crowd and judges. Who would think that something that could be education could be so fun. Watch the video below for not only the interview, but also how the crowd reacts when someone tries it during his pitch. They go Crazy

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Hollywood Hack A Day, Final Recap

It’s like a party, you are afraid that no one will show up”

Rahim Sonawalla mentioned to me about his fears about putting together Hollywood Hack A Day. But boy did they show up. While Kyle was in Memphis for a Launch event this past weekend, I was on the West Coast. More specifically Hollywood California to witness Hollywood Hack Day taking place at io/LA which was nice enough to provide their location to use for the weekend. Put together by Ryan Chisholm, Rahim Sonawalla and Abe Burns, this weekends event expected around around 70 developers, graphic artist, and visionaries to show up. Battling 80 degree crystal clear skies, developers spent all weekend from 0900 on Saturday to 6pm on Sunday putting together not only presentations but working projects as well.

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Day 2 Has Started At Hollywood Hack Day At io/LA

We are here at Hollywood Hack Day, on a gloomy Sunday in Hollywood California covering what has turned into 70+ programmers from all over So Cal into one place. The idea behind Hollywood Hack Day was to bring Media and Tech together into one. With sponsors like Rovi, ToxBox, Mashery, Rdio, Spotify just to name a few, the programmers here have been coding all throughout the night.

We’ll be covering all the goings on today as well as later tonight and tomorrow have full videos on all the pitches and the winners as the night goes on.

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We’ll Be Live At io/LA Covering Hollywood Hack Day

This weekend, while Kyle will be on the East Coast at another Startup event. I’ll be at a Hackathon on the West Coast covering the Hollywood Hackathon. The event, which has moved to io/LA’s venue near the famed Hollywood and Highland intersection in the middle of Hollywood. Will be filled with those trying to make it into the entertainment field by way of Tech.

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California Startup: Smule Releases Hit App Songify To Android

At CES 2011 (last years CES not this years) hip hop producer/artist T-Pain told us personally and on video, that the “I am T-Pain” app would be coming soon to Android. Well for whatever reason that didn’t happen. But, there’s good news from the same startup developer Smule.

In addition to crafting the “I am T-Pain” app for iOS, which makes anyone sound like T-Pain, Smule has released a handful of other, intensely popular, interactive “music” apps, including Songify. If you’re an Android user and you’ve every seen or played with Songify on a friend’s iOS device then you know how addicting creating your own songs with the app can be.

What makes Songify so great? Well we had a chance to talk with Smule ahead of today’s announcement and here’s what they said:

“Songify has reached 9MM users on iOS and over 120MM songs have been created to date. We get multiple requests a day for users asking us to release Songify on Android. 
Our “secret sauce” is using sophisticated artificial intelligence technology to make music creation accessible to non-musicians. Anyone can make music with Songify. Just talk into the phone, and Songify turns your speech into melody. We also made the user interface super-simple, so everyone from the ages of 3 to 93 can (and do!) use the app with ease. When you make music creation so easy, it gives people a powerful new mode of self-expression. “
That’s  a lot of user created songs.
It’s been no secret that with midi api’s gone from Android since the release of Android 2.0, Android has lacked in the music creation category. Until now, all the cool creative music apps were on iOS only.
Smule released their popular Songify app to the Google Play store this morning. In addition to Songify and I am T-Pain, Smule is the developer of other hit music apps for iOS like Magic Guitar, Ocarina, Glee Karaoke and Magic Piano (which will hit Android next month)
If you can’t wait to try it, grab it here https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.smule.songifyin the Google Play Store.

L.A. Startup: BuzzMob Is First Company In MWW Ventures

MWW is one of the largest PR firms in the country with a global presence. Their client list includes some of the top tier companies in their industries. Nikon and Samsung Mobile are both represented by MWW among a long list of familiar brands.

MWW just announced a new venture capital project spearheaded by their global head of technology and digital content, Ephraim Cohen. MWW ventures is incubating startups that advance media, marketing and public relations industries by investing firm resources in exchange for equity.

Cohen told Nibletz.com that MWW Ventures was developed by he and MWW Group CEO Michael Kempner who is a serial entrepreneur. With the verticals that the MWW Group is involved with Cohen says they come across great startups all the time. With MWW Ventures, the MWW Group will invest and incubate companies that will help them stay on “…the cutting edge of technology”.

Buzzmob, a Los Angeles startup was announced as MWW Ventures first portfolio company last week. Buzzmob is a mobile app for live events that forms location based social networks in real time and on the fly.

More after the break

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We Are At CityGrid Hackathon LA All Weekend Long

This weekend, we’ll be at the CityGrid Los Angeles Hackathon which brings together people of all different backgrounds, in a move to make local discovery better via both the Web as well as the Mobile space. From Friday the 27th of April till Sunday the 29th individuals who’ve never meet will take part in build products for the future.

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