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Start Ups

May 19, 2012 | By Peter Delevett
SAN JOSE — Wondering where to go on vacation this year, and what to do? A growing number of "social travel" start-ups offer alternatives to the trusty, dusty guidebook. Sites like Twigmore and Triptrotting help you troll your social networks for friends who have friends in new places, then hit those people up for advice from a local's perspective — or arrange meet-ups when you get there. Another new site, Trippy, helps you keep track of all those interesting places you've come across on the Web while researching travel destinations.
April 22, 2014 | By Joe Flint
It is about the size of a dime and light as a feather. But in the eyes of the broadcast television industry, an Aereo antenna might as well be a hundred feet tall and weigh a thousand pounds. The big networks claim it is illegal and could destroy everything they hold dear. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments from both sides, and the results could have major implications for the future of television. Launched in 2012 by Chaitanya "Chet" Kanojia, an Indian-born engineer with 14 patents, Aereo enables consumers to stream and record on the Internet the over-the-air signals of local broadcasters via remotely stored antennas.
July 5, 2011 | By Gus G. Sentementes
The two young entrepreneurs did everything right to launch a start-up company in Baltimore: They developed a bright idea. They won a local business competition. They networked. But when it came time for Nick Miller and Adam Zilberbaum to take their business to the next level, the creators of Parking Panda — a smartphone app that helps people rent out their parking spots — took their fledgling company to the Big Apple. What drew them away? A business accelerator that offered the pair $25,000, three months of office space in Times Square and the chance to schmooze with New York's high-profile entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.
April 18, 2014 | By Chris O'Brien
SAN FRANCISCO - With venture capital funding reaching levels not seen since the days of the dot-com bubble, analysts say the question of whether the tech boom in Silicon Valley is on the verge of sputtering is getting harder to dismiss. Investors poured $9.5 billion into 951 U.S. start-ups during the first three months of 2014, according to the latest MoneyTree report released Friday. That's the biggest amount of investment since the second quarter of 2001, when the so-called dot-com boom was gasping its final, dying breaths.
April 29, 2010 | By Scott Kraft, Los Angeles Times
Evan Beard, a 23-year-old fresh out of Duke University, and his college classmate had created what they just knew was a great product – a cool new way for people to manage their mountains of email. But they needed an angel, someone willing to gamble on a two-man venture with no balance sheet, no revenue and no profit. They were praying that angel would be Ron Conway, a grandfather with a thick head of silver hair who, though barely known outside the tech world, is the most influential and best-connected angel investor in Silicon Valley.
June 13, 2013 | By Adolfo Flores
When tech entrepreneurs look back at their bumpy launches, a common lament is, “If only I had known.” To shorten the list of regrets for the next Snapchat or Facebook, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Administration on Thursday launched Bixel Exchange, a small-business development center focusing on technology start-ups. The center aims to help the Southland's proliferating new tech entrepreneurs by offering mentors and classes and by advocating for them in government.
May 23, 2011 | By Karen E. Klein
Dear Karen: I'm starting a business. What can I do myself and when do I need a lawyer? Answer: Many small businesses start out as sole proprietorships. When you are ready for a formal business structure, there are do-it-yourself options for incorporating or forming an limited liability company. You can also download legal forms such as contracts and confidentiality agreements and complete them yourself. Make sure you keep such records secure, said Charley Moore, the founder and chairman of Rocket Lawyer, a legal website.
February 27, 2013 | By Andrea Chang
Good news for local entrepreneurs: Tech Coast Angels' Los Angeles branch has launched a program to fund start-ups in 30 days or less. Michael Green, president of the L.A. branch of Tech Coast Angels , said the Screening2Deal in 30 Days program would speed up the process to get start-ups off the ground. The move is also designed to raise TCA's profile among entrepreneurs, who often seek out funding from more well-known investors or accelerators in the area, he said. "It was taking too long and the reputation unfortunately was these guys are old and slow," Green said of TCA. "We were getting plenty of deal flow -- we get 1,000 [applications a year]
March 11, 2013 | By Andrea Chang
AUSTIN, Texas -- Want a major celebrity to endorse your start-up company on Twitter? Westwood-based Adly, a marketing platform that connects brands with celebrities on social media, is holding a contest during South by Southwest for start-ups that want a little boost from a big name. Entrants just need to submit a pitch of 140 characters or fewer to Adly's Twitter handle with the format: "Hey @Adly ____________________ #SXSW #pitchadly. " At a "Sunday Funday" event featuring L.A. tech companies, Adly Chief Executive Walter Delph said that as SXSW's Interactive festival grows each year, start-ups can struggle to get noticed.
April 25, 2012 | By Andrea Chang
A minute and a half isn't a lot of time, but for 11 local entrepreneurs, 90 seconds was all they had to pitch their start-up ideas to a panel of judges Tuesday. More than 175 start-ups applied to participate in the 7th  annual Fast Pitch Competition, held at UCLA's Anderson School of Management and hosted by angel investor group Tech Coast Angels. Eleven finalists were asked to compete. Among the finalists were a digital platform for making friends offline, a restaurant rewards loyalty program and an online classified marketplace.
March 24, 2014 | By Jessica Guynn
SAN FRANCISCO -- Box Inc. has made public its plans to raise up to $250 million in an initial public offering, setting the stage for one of the most hotly anticipated offerings to come out of Silicon Valley so far this year. Box said it plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BOX. The Los Altos, Calif., online storage company plans to use at least half of the net proceeds for sales and marketing and other initiatives to expand its business as it faces growing competition from technology giants such as Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp.
March 18, 2014 | By Shan Li and Abby Sewell
Chinese automaker Build Your Dreams is close to losing a $12-million contract to deliver a fleet of electric buses to Long Beach Transit, a deal the company hoped would jump-start its U.S. operations. Federal transit officials said that BYD violated some regulations that made it ineligible to bid in the first place. Both sides are in talks to determine how to best exit the contract ahead of what is expected to be a new round of bidding. It would mark a big setback for the Chinese company, which outbid four rivals last spring to build 10 electrically powered buses for Long Beach.
March 9, 2014 | By Andrea Chang
Ask anyone about L.A. tech these days and they'll almost certainly point to Santa Monica and Venice, where hundreds of start-ups have emerged in the last few years. So-called Silicon Beach is home to Snapchat, sizable Google and Microsoft offices, and a growing number of venture capital firms and co-working spaces. Almost every night, tech entrepreneurs flock to networking happy hours and parties. Potential investors flock to demo days that showcase the latest start-ups. When BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt came to town last week, it was for a glitzy tech confab in Santa Monica.
February 21, 2014 | By Jessica Guynn
SAN FRANCISCO - The $19 billion that Facebook Inc. is paying for a smartphone app, one of the biggest tech deals of all time, made jaws drop even in Silicon Valley, where entrepreneurs tend to have an inflated sense of their own worth. "It's 19 Instagrams," observed serial start-up entrepreneur Adam Rifkin, referring to the $1 billion Facebook paid for the popular photo-sharing app in 2012. But analysts say the purchase of WhatsApp could pay off for Facebook as it takes on Google Inc. and other technology giants in the escalating arms race to be the next big thing in mobile.
February 17, 2014 | By Shan Li
Joey Mucha used to seal a business deal with a handshake or an e-mail. Now he whips out his smartphone. The San Francisco entrepreneur runs a side business renting out skee ball machines. With the company growing steadily, Mucha decided last year he needed to use contracts to protect his clients and the business. But he didn't go to a pricey lawyer. Instead, the 27-year-old downloaded a smartphone app called Shake. It guided him through the process of creating easy-to-read contracts, which customers can then sign with a swipe of their fingers on the screen.
February 16, 2014 | By Andrew Hill
How to get big - without getting bloated - is one of the greatest challenges facing growing businesses. Start-ups want to know how they can expand without adding layers of deadening process. At the same time, large companies want to know how to replicate the creativity and innovative prowess of start-ups without triggering an anarchic free-for-all. Drawing on the authors' own and others' insights, "Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less" promises many answers to those pressing questions.
January 3, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu
Fewer U.S. startups saw mergers, acquisitions or IPOs last year, but the ones that did nabbed more capital than all the deals in 2010, according to a report from Dow Jones VentureSource. There were 522 venture-backed exits last year --  a 4% slip from the year before. But together, they netted $53.2 billion - a 26% increase. That's because the prices paid for young companies and the amount raised in initial public offerings spiked in 2011. The median price purchasers shelled out in merger and buyout deals was up 77% to $71 million.  And the 45 companies who went public last year - including major firms such as Groupon, Zynga, LinkedIn and Pandora -- raised $5.4 billion, more than the $3.3 billion raised by 46 IPOs in 2010.
November 8, 2010 | By Cyndia Zwahlen
Tax planning may not seem like the most exciting part of starting a new business, but down the road when it saves a lot of money, the payoff can be exhilarating. "Starry-eyed entrepreneurs who skip planning could get caught in the taxman's net," said Daniel D. Morris, a partner at accounting firm Morris & D'Angelo in San Jose. Some budding businesspeople don't realize they may have to file a tax return, even if they've not yet made a penny in revenue or even started formal operations.
February 2, 2014 | By Ronald D. White
The bitterly cold winter weather has helped to chill sales for teen apparel companies, especially one with a focus on summer and surf clothes and that California lifestyle. For Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., the freezing temperatures that stretched across the country and deep into the South is putting the icing on a difficult fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Feb. 1. PacSun, as it is more familiarly known, sells branded and proprietary casual apparel, accessories and footwear for teens and young adults.
January 19, 2014 | Michael Hiltzik
The big television networks have faced all number of challenges in recent years. But they could be done in by something called Aereo. Most people probably haven't heard of Aereo, which has been rolling out its video service for just over a year and still serves only 10 cities, none further west than Salt Lake. But millions will be hearing about it now, because on Jan. 10, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the broadcasters' complaints that Aereo's business dramatically breaches telecommunications and copyright law. The New York start-up offers its subscribers signals from their local over-the-air broadcasters in a way that is either a minor tweak of how they can get those signals on their own (that's Aereo's version)
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