October 19, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - When the state Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors told the Benedictine monks of St. Joseph Abbey in southern Louisiana they could not sell their handcrafted caskets to the public, the normally peaceful order took the fight to court. Hurricane Katrina had wiped out the order's traditional income from selling timber, so the brothers decided to market the simple cypress boxes they had long built to bury monks who died. They were priced at $1,500 or $2,000, far less than a funeral home would charge.
October 4, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law legislation that was heavily lobbied by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and aimed at boosting sales of high-tech goods and services. Four measures, part of a package of 18 business-friendly bills approved Friday, seek to ease the regulatory burden on developers of smartphone-based payment systems; reverse a retroactive tax hike on investors in small start-up companies, and create a "Made in California" program to help market innovative, locally manufactured consumer products.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 11, 2013 |
With one stroke, entrepreneur Robert R. Taylor made a fortune, changed the way America washed up and doomed the bathroom soap dish to virtual obsolescence. It was Taylor who turned hand soap from a slippery lump to a dab from a pump. Taylor, who created Softsoap, the first mass-marketed liquid soap pumped from a plastic bottle, died of cancer Aug. 29 in Newport Beach, family members said. He was 77. Softsoap was one of his many successful ventures, which included Obsession, a fragrance he developed with Calvin Klein and promoted in steamy ads that stimulated both sales and controversy.
August 16, 2013 |
With 20 minutes to go before making their high-stakes start-up pitches, the wannabe entrepreneurs were understandably nervous. In one corner of the room, Marc Pakravan and Robert Davis, who came up with the idea for an online shopping site for men's ties, were struggling to put on their own neckties. A few feet away, Jessica Chan-Ugalde looked exasperated as she chastised her partner for not knowing what a hashtag was. Meanwhile Neil Serebryany, whose start-up idea Transformo offers language translation through a headset device, was utterly unfazed as he surveyed the last-minute frenzy.
August 9, 2013 |
SAN FRANCISCO - The sound system was on the fritz in Russian technology billionaire Yuri Milner's $100-million, 30,000-square-foot mansion in Silicon Valley. Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres had been served. The guests had taken their seats in Milner's home theater. And Ashton Kutcher was ready to screen "Jobs," the new film in which he plays the late chief executive and co-founder of Apple. The audience was a who's who of the technology industry, including venture capitalists John Doerr and Vinod Khosla.
August 2, 2013 |
The gig: Phil Libin, 41, is chief executive of Evernote, which makes apps that let people store notes and other content that is important to them and make those items available across many devices. The original Evernote app launched in 2008 and the Redwood City, Calif., company now has 66 million users. Along the way, it has raised more than $200 million in venture capital, and with its most recent round of funding in 2012 it has been valued at $1 billion. Serial entrepreneur: Prior to joining Evernote, Libin founded and served as president of CoreStreet, which provides credential and identity management technologies to governments and large corporations.
July 28, 2013 |
Diego Porqueras' Deezmaker store in Pasadena is a geeky version of Santa's workshop, brimming with action figures, chess pieces and jewelry. But instead of relying on elves, Porqueras has built his own one-man factory using 3-D printers capable of churning out plastic objects within a few hours. He sells the printers, which go for as little as $650, at the shop, which opened in September in a strip mall. The 37-year-old entrepreneur is part of an emerging industry for affordable 3-D printers.
July 21, 2013 |
The gig: A couple of weeks into his first semester at Stanford University in 1999, Blaine Vess co-founded Oppapers.com, a website to search for essays, reports and term papers. He's now the chief executive of StudyMode, a West Hollywood network of educational websites. StudyMode offers three core services: a website with online flashcards, a test preparation website and a subscription website with essays and reports to assist with research and writing. "We're trying to help college and high school students succeed," Vess said.
July 19, 2013 |
The Bee Gees are playing on Roy Englebrecht's office radio, but the 67-year-old sports promoter has a saying taped on his wall to assure he's not stuck in days gone by. "Don't judge me by my past. I don't live there anymore. " Southland boxing fans know Englebrecht's name. From 1985 until 2010 he promoted a grass-roots staple of the sport, the "Battle in the Ballroom" club shows at the Irvine Marriott. Future champions Shane Mosley, Genaro Hernandez, Johnny Tapia and Carlos "El Famoso" Hernandez all won there - Englebrecht claiming victories too, by routinely pocketing profits that climbed to about $15,000 per show at the end. But the staying power of the quick-thinking entrepreneur - who still works 80-hour weeks in staging more fight promotions in California than anyone else - is about more than just placing a blood sport in a swanky venue.
July 9, 2013 |
It's a common experience in cities like Los Angeles. You raise your hand to hail a cab. One goes by. Then another. You contemplate giving up and heading to the closest bus stop or Metro subway station. And you're left frustrated, thinking that there's got to be a better way. Enter Uber. Uber's mobile app lets consumers arrange for a ride in a Town Car-like vehicle from their phone. Ride-sharing services Lyft and Sidecar operate in similar fashion but use privately owned cars. One plus is that the app allows you to see whether any available cars are nearby and how long it'll take before one can pick you up. Another is the payment system: Funds are deducted automatically from your pre-linked credit card, so there's no need to carry a wallet (a receipt is emailed to the customer)