Stories for March 2020
Tuesday, March 31
Monday, March 30
HEALTHCARE: ‘We will be prepared,’ Wexler says
Ready, willing, able
Touts Product To Reduce Eyestrain
Costa Mesa-based Neurolens Inc., which is trying to reduce the problem of eyestrain from viewing digital devices, disclosed it has raised $23.8 million, according to a March 12 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In These Turbulent Times, Analytics Can Provide Critical Answers
We have all experienced significant challenges affecting our personal lives, our businesses and even our planet.
Brokers Responding To COVID-19 Restrictions
The recent push to social distance Americans from each other has had a unique effect on all types of businesses, including the residential brokerage market, which relies on face-to-face interaction to showcase homes and close sales.
16% Gain for 23 Firms on List
Orange County’s largest advertising agencies were on the up last year, but the disruption to business across industries from the coronavirus pandemic has firms in wait-and-see mode.
Shipping and logistics platform and tech firm FreightPop in Lake Forest said it’s seeing increased interest for its cloud-based software amid supply chain uncertainty due to the pandemic.
Digital Adeptness Never Been More Important
Marketers have ramped efforts to generate sales online, leaning on social media, mobile ordering apps and web stores in a bid to avoid a complete loss of revenue from the coronavirus pandemic.
Fujifilm’s Drug Tests Well on Coronavirus
The parent company of Santa Ana-based Fujifilm Irvine Scientific may have a treatment for the coronavirus.
School Will Cover Lease Termination Costs
The largest operator of student housing at University of California-Irvine is letting tenants there get out of their lease without penalty, according to news reports.
Programs for Residential, Commercial Tenants
Orange County’s largest real estate owner adjusted its business model for residential and commercial properties in response to coronavirus concerns.
DEVICES: Irvine firm takes load off hospitals
Cleveland’s University Hospitals is said to be the first in the country to remotely monitor patients who test positive for the coronavirus.
PHILANTHROPY: $1.5M donated by foundation
The William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation, the charity founded by retired financial asset manager Bill Gross and his son and daughter, have given $1.5 million to charities and organizations providing relief from the effects of coronavirus on Southern California communities.
Irvine-Based Staffing Co. Helps Operators Deliver, Stay Open
ShiftPixy Inc., a tech-based restaurant staffing company in Irvine, said it’s been getting queries from companies desperate to make deliveries and stay at least partially open during the coronavirus pandemic.
TechMD CEO Igreti Offers Comprehensive List
You and your home computer are going to be spending plenty of time together these next few weeks or months.
REAL ESTATE: Sale of Montage, Ritz-Carlton in flux
As Orange County loses its visitor pool, a base that averages north of 4 million tourists per month, it’s also losing a pool of investors as dealmaking comes to a halt.
BEVERAGES: Makes hand sanitizer to address COVID-19
That which does not kill us ...
HOSPITALITY: JW Marriott delayed; some 50 hotels closed
Occupancy levels across numerous Orange County hotels have sunk to single-digits as a result of travel restrictions, causing many to temporarily shutter their doors to save on operating costs.
RESTAURANTS: New funding, concepts planned for OC chain
Last February, Taps owner Joe Manzella took a meeting with Randy Teffeteller, a local management consultant with expertise in the restaurant and hospitality business.
Friday, March 27
OC Baking Co., Break of Dawn, Crema Artisan Cafe, Tanaka Farms lend hands
Thursday, March 26
Sports recovery products firm Hyperice was already one of OC’s fastest growers. Then it made its largest acquisition.
At-home workout? Here's your recovery
2019 OC 500
California Division Executive, Consumer Banking & Investments, Bank of America
Wednesday, March 25
MARKETING: Stores, automakers, restaurants up digital presence
Social media, streaming, restaurants go ‘to-go’
Tuesday, March 24
2019 OC 500
SVP, Regional Managing Director, Orange County, Las Vegas Regions, Wells Fargo Wealth Management
2019 OC 500
Executive Vice Chairman, Global Commercial Banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
FINANCE: Says new company aims for 500 employees
Back to business, kindly
Monday, March 23
Restaurants call for consumers to order delivery, pick-up on March 24
CYBERSECURITY: Bandwidth overload worries; scams abound
Coronavirus shift to home-work brings tests
Lakeshore Location In Irvine Tops for SoCal
WeWork has opened a new Irvine location near John Wayne Airport that it says is its largest coworking spot in Southern California.
Cocoon Medical, a Barcelona, Spain-based medical aesthetics company that makes laser hair removal and body shaping products, is introducing its diode laser platform to the U.S. market through a hub in Tustin.
Grocer Counts 50 Locations in Cali
Efforts to ramp services to clients on the digital and social media front are paying off for Casanova McCann with the Costa Mesa advertising agency’s most recent client win.
1st Collection Saw 50% Sell-Through in Week 1
For anyone questioning the power of influencer marketing, Billabong’s collaboration with Sincerely Jules blogger Julie Sariñana serves as a good case study.
Irvine Maker’s MaxAir System in High Demand
Irvine-based Bio-Medical Devices International Inc. is seeing increasing demand for its purifying respirator MaxAir Systems to fight the coronavirus.
EF Education First Plans New Campus
EF Education First has closed on the former Trinity Broadcasting site in Costa Mesa that will ultimately hold a new international education campus.
UCI Heads to Desert For First-Hand Look
Irvine-based Sunpin Solar is looking toward some major projects for the future, and recently gave a desert project tour to a group of University of California-Irvine professors and graduate students.
Software as a Service Priority for Vehicle Tracker
CalAmp Corp. Chief Executive Michael Burdiek says he’s found just the right person to help lead the vehicle-tracking and management company further from hardware and more into the software realm with the appointment of Silicon Valley veteran Arym Diamond as chief revenue officer.
REAL ESTATE: 270K-SF project along Barranca
Add plans for a sizeable new creative office project to Irvine’s busy development docket.
Heeding Advice from the Experts for the Good of Us All
These are unprecedented times for America and the world. As we confront the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critically important that we remain diligent and choose our daily activities wisely and prudently.
REAL ESTATE: Beckman Center nearing full occupancy
Prologis Inc., the country’s largest owner of warehouse and distribution properties, has leased two of the three large, newly built buildings it owns at Beckman Business Center, with those deals topping half a million square feet of space.
New Projects, Regs, Boost Some; Locals Flat Overall
Environmental consulting firms locally were flat to minimally higher on OC billings and workers for the year ended Dec. 31, with some companies reporting robust work levels because of new regulations or projects—or both.
Pacific Symphony presented “A Night in New Orleans” on March 7 at Hotel Irvine. The gala honored Carl St. Clair’s 30 seasons as a music director and celebrated the Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom family for its extensive support of Pacific Symphony.
Saturday, March 21
Friday, March 20
Irvine gaming hardware maker converts overseas plant
LAB Holding, at nearly 30, remains the purveyor of craft retail
Shaheen Sadeghi, in development
Thursday, March 19
FINANCE: Boston PE firm makes investment
Eusey lands Abry; now to growth
Wednesday, March 18
LAW: Frazier says intention keys future
Mark Frazier means it
Tuesday, March 17
HEALTHCARE: Hints at new venture in works
Next act coming for eyecare exec
Monday, March 16
Shopping center to close and reopen March 31.
TECHNOLOGY: Events canceled, earnings lowered
COVID-19 hammers guidance, conferences
Palmer Luckey’s apparent interest in VTOL technology wouldn’t make his Anduril Industries Inc. the first in Orange County to tackle vertical take-off and landing technologies and applications.
Partners with PredaSAR; Aims for 2021 Launch
Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems of Irvine is building two advanced radar satellites able to see through clouds and darkness.
Orrick, McCune, Crowell, Troutman, K&L Ramp It
Several law firms with OC presences are growing their area operations noticeably—by different metrics and in varied ways.
Legal Trends, Law Firm Changes
Editor’s Note: The Business Journal asked OC attorneys across various business areas about key trends and issues, client needs, and what moves law firms are making in 2020. Individual edited responses keyed to those areas follow over several pages.
Firms Hold, Fold; 91 Bigs Have Some 2,800 OC JDs
The Business Journal’s list of Orange County’s largest law firms is like the first moments after a trial ends: there are winners and there are … opposing counsel.
Blue J Program Helps Analyze Outcomes
University of California-Irvine School of Law has begun to teach budding attorneys how artificial intelligence can help analyze outcomes of thorny tax cases.
Newport Beach Offices Part of Deal Activity
Buchanan Street Partners has had a busy start to the year, with transactions including the company’s first Orange County acquisition in six years.
2020 East Marketed As Owner-User Opportunity
Harbor Associates LLC, a Long Beach-based real estate investor that does much of its work in Orange County, is looking to sell one of its larger local properties.
Tech, Social Media Helps Firm, Others
Manzella Restaurant Group, now 20 years into doing business, is ready to turn the page on the next part of its story.
Irvine-based Stem Audio has created a line of new audio products for conference rooms.
Excellence in Entrepreneurship, Women in Business Being Rescheduled
The Business Journal is postponing its next two signature events, following new recommendations from California public health officials to limit large public gatherings.
New Irvine Office Runs 4,500 SF
NowRX raised over $10 million last month from small investors using SeedInvest to help with its expansion in Southern California, including its Irvine office.
Clot-Retrieval Device Moves to Trials
Irvine-based NeuroVasc Technologies Inc. raised $34 million from China-based Wego Group to support the company’s global clinical trial program for ischemic stroke.
TECHNOLOGY: Space, hyper-fast planes in the offing?
The other 5G; VTOL
OrCam Read Aimed At Dyslexia, Reading Difficulties
OrCam Read, a hand-held device that translates texts into voice for people with dyslexia as well as reading difficulties and fatigue, launched at the CSUN Assistive Technology Conference in Anaheim last week.
1st Home for Sale in 5 Years; Asking $10M
One of only eight homes on the Balboa Island community of Collins Island in Newport Beach has hit the market.
$60M For Top 3 Homes
Brokers have pointed to a resurgence in activity for luxury homes in 2020, and that’s evidenced by the top three home sales to trade thus far this year.
Friday, March 13
Predict Short Recession
Doti, Sfeir say 6-month recession, then rebound
Cumulative Volume Falls 7%; Buyers Demand New Product
Down 7%, still tops $465M
Thursday, March 12
Excellence in Entrepreneurship, Women in Business luncheons to be rescheduled
DEVICES: Battling opioids; coronavirus may boost sales
Opioids, coronavirus open new areas
Wednesday, March 11
TOURISM: No. 2 ACC event on hold; stock hits
Coronavirus vs. tourism
Tuesday, March 10
FINANCE: Reaffirms $1B goal, expansion plans
Funding from Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, Durable Capital
Monday, March 9
JLL Sees OC Investment Despite Coronavirus
Scott Wetzel, senior vice president at the Irvine office of commercial real estate brokerage firm JLL, sees a continuation of the investments that brought in almost $1 billion of funding for tech, medical sciences and other innovative companies in Orange County since late 2018.
EDUCATION: $1.75M pledged; 190 scholarships offered annually
The families of two of Orange County more prominent business executives and philanthropists are joining together, to advance educational opportunities and the well-being of the area’s underserved communities.
FINANCE: Tech, healthcare companies targeted
Byron Roth, chief executive of Roth Capital Partners, Orange County’s largest investment banking firm, has more to look forward to this month than just his firm’s highly anticipated annual investor conference.
REAL ESTATE: Blackstone affiliate buys six OC sites
ShopCore Properties, a retail arm of private equity giant Blackstone Group Inc. that owns and operates small and midsized shopping centers, has bought a collection of six retail properties across Orange County, in deals that collectively approach $300 million.
Obsidian Entertainment Also Seeks New Talent
Blizzard Entertainment Inc., the largest software company in Orange County by employee headcount, is busy hiring in Irvine for its long-awaited Diablo IV online role-playing game.
Location Places It Closer to Carousel Court
Looks like Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF) will soon have a new, larger home at South Coast Plaza.
Full-Building Office, Industrial Leases Increasingly Common
The motto for companies looking for space in Orange County last year?
Nervous Buyers, Overly Optimistic Sellers
A cautious buyer pool contributed to a drop-off in commercial real estate sales activity in Orange County last year.
Four Titles Cover Real Estate, Finance Industries
The first-ever acquisition for Green Street Advisors places it in the news business as it seeks to grow under a new owner.
Growing Talent and a Better Jobs Strategy for OC
What if more companies searched for young business talent the way colleges and pro teams search for promising athletes? In many sports, talent is identified in high school and sometimes as early as grade school.
Largest Commercial Project For Westminster in Years
R.D. Olson Construction has begun work on a mixed-use project described as a “social hub and cultural landmark” in Westminster’s Little Saigon district.
$41M for 116-unit Terra at Tustin
One of Orange County’s top apartment investors is bolstering his portfolio in Tustin.
Cites Positive Response To New Spine TV Device
Irvine-based Viseon Inc., an orthopedic spine technology company, has secured $18 million in Series B funding to bring its product into full commercialization.
Says ClearPoint Neuro Reflects Evolution
Irvine-based ClearPoint Neuro Inc. has changed its name from MRI Interventions and has a Nasdaq ticker symbol “CLPT.”
Irvine-based telecommunications firm Shoelace Wireless is working with Facebook Connectivity and others to improve cellular network capacity and coverage as part of the Wi-Fi group of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP).
The seventh annual Illumination Foundation OC Chef’s Table took place on Sunday, March 1, in a setting that could only be described as magical—the Disneyland Resort.
Friday, March 6
Menu, Marketing Drive Success for Amar Santana and Ahmed Labbate
Santana, Labbate back home
Thursday, March 5
Wednesday, March 4
DEVICES: 2019 revenue jumps sevenfold; loss erased
2019 revenue: $51M
Tuesday, March 3
RETAIL: $55M ground lease deal paves way
443K-SF retail layout; $80M annual taxable sales
Monday, March 2
MEDIA: Streaming service, ad-backed
Xumo TV, the Irvine-based video streaming service started by brothers Tim, Chris and Russ Vanderhook, is now owned by broadcasting and cable television giant Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA) after a deal reportedly worth more than $100 million.
RETAIL: Gyms now; office, residential later?
Life Time Inc. is helping to pump up Orange County’s retail market.
What Restaurants Can Learn From Grocery Stores About Wasted Foods
Editor’s Note: In 1995, Harald Herrmann helped launch the flagship Yard House, which was bought by Darden Restaurants Inc. where he became president of its Specialty Group (Seasons 52, Capital Grille and others).
Lido, by Way of Laguna, Dublin, Irvine, France
How does a chef make it in OC’s crowded and competitive culinary landscape?
Life Time Inc. is bolstering its local presence in a market that many national fitness chains call home.
Says Ulcer Detector Ready for Market
Irvine-based Modulim says it is on the cusp of changing the lives of diabetic patients.
Not Just Ziggurat Being Considered
As the federal government considers the sale of a dozen properties across the country, it’s not just the massive Chet Holifield Federal Building in Laguna Niguel that’s being considered in Orange County.
Marketing Conglomerate Seeks New Capital Raise
Irvine-based Advantage Solutions Inc. is trying another tack at raising capital, after going quiet about plans for an initial public offering in 2017.
Site Boasts Real-Time Inventory, Product Filtering
Hyundai Motor America Inc. hit the easy button on its website refresh.
Cicero Diagnostics Inc. in Huntington Beach recently received a $1 million Phase II Small Business Innovation Research Fast Track grant from the National Institutes of Health.
Local Employment Down Nearly 6%
Orange County chipmakers, whose local employee count fell about 6% last year, are bracing for additional fallout from the coronavirus that originated in China and continues to spread across the world.
30 Luxe Homes Under Construction
It’s not just commercial efforts driving development in Dana Point.
$250M+ Project; Partnering with Contour
Shopoff Realty Investments is quickly expanding into the hospitality sector, both in and out of Orange County.
Helps Dealerships Better Handle Customer Needs
Never miss a maintenance and service check for your car: vehicle intelligence company Spireon of Irvine is ready to help keep your appointments on track.
Fast-Charging Drills; Operates in Cold Temps
Irvine-based Enevate Corp. plans to start marketing its lithium-ion battery technology to makers of power tools such as drills and hedge trimmers in the short term, as it might take a few years before the company’s fast-charging battery process is incorporated into electric vehicles.
CALL FOR ENTRIES: Website to take entries through March 6
Is your workplace great?
HOSPITALS: Buys Marina del Rey facility
The expansion push of Irvine’s Hoag Orthopedic Institute, the state’s largest volume provider of joint replacements for each of the past seven years, has made its way to Los Angeles County.