OCBJ WEEKLY EDITION

STARTUPS & INNOVATIONS

The OC Health Care Agency has tapped Irvine-based software developer Composite Apps to manage and streamline its COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

Behavioral Health Works Expands Autism Services

On-Site Center For Children, Families

Behavioral Health Works this month opened its first on-site Autism Care & Support Center at its headquarters in Anaheim.

Now that Democrats Control Government, What Will Markets Do?

Earlier this year, investors anticipated a “Blue Wave” sweep and were betting on a major market decline to result.

Medical Office Sales End 2020 on High Note

REAL ESTATE: $80.6M for office near Saddleback

Orange County’s office investment market ended 2020 in good health, in particular for buildings focused on medical uses

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Space Race

Richard Branson’s Space Tourism Co. Setting Up Base in Tustin

A billionaire-backed aerospace venture that aims to send wealthy tourists into space has touched down in Orange County.

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AIVITA Biomedical Closes $25M Round

HEALTHCARE: Proceeds for vaccine trials; skincare line

AIVITA Biomedical Inc. is charging into the New Year with all cylinders firing.

Indie Semiconductor Aims Big With SPAC Listing

CHIPMAKERS: Auto-focused firm expects $1.4B valuation

Indie Semiconductor in Aliso Viejo plans to go public at a valuation of about $1.4 billion, as it seeks a larger piece of the growing automotive technology market.

STARTUPS & INNOVATIONS

Metronom Health of Laguna Hills raised a $22 million Series D round of financing last month, bringing its total funds to nearly $50 million since its 2010 inception.

Edwards Lifesciences Outlines Growth Plans in 2021

TAVR Rebound; R&D Investments to Continue

Edwards Lifesciences Corp., the highest valued publicly traded company based in Orange County, expects to leave behind the worst effects of the pandemic in 2021.

Chipotle Cuts the Carbs; Intros Item via Tweet

Cauliflower Rice Targets New, Infrequent Customers

“We have cilantro-lime cauliflower rice now.”

El Pollo Loco Has Fitness in Mind for ’21

‘Adios’ and ‘Sweatpants’ Commercials Hit Instagram

Chipotle is not the only one whipping its menu into shape for the new year, nor are they the only ones touting cilantro-lime cauliflower rice. Costa Mesa-based El Pollo Loco Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: LOCO) also has it now.

Philanthropy

Anaheim-based Credit Union of Southern California (CU SoCal) is donating $150,000 to more than 50 Southern California businesses and their employees, as well as two nonprofit organizations as part of its “Merry Givemas” event, held Dec. 18.

Restaurants Prep for a Make or Break Year

OC Restaurant Prez Assesses Dining Scene

Last year was one that most restaurateurs would like to forget—at least those still in business.

SocialEats Brings Quartet of New Concepts to OC

Ghost Kitchen Used in Anaheim

Optimism is still alive in the restaurant industry. What else but optimism—or a very wealthy business partner—would cause someone to open new restaurants in the midst of a pandemic?

Mutt Lynch’s ‘Sister’ Restaurant Preps to Open

Eastbluff Village Location Replaces Provenance

Mutt Lynch’s restaurant near the Newport Pier has been a fixture in the community for 45 years, so why have they not built on that success and taken Mutt to other areas?

Films, Food at Flight: Drive In, Dine Out

Mess Hall Market Showcases Movies

Last year, venues from the OC Fair & Event Center to shopping centers found ways to satisfy the demand for live events.

2020’s Legacy: The Virtual Luxury Market

FaceTime Closings; 3D Videos the Norm

Though the pandemic didn’t end up having a negative impact on luxury home sales pricing and volume in 2020, it certainly changed the way brokers handled business.

Charitable Gifts Highlighted In February Edition

Nearly $230M Reported in Prior Year’s List

Did you, your company or foundation give—or did your organization receive—a large cash or noncash gift in 2020?

OCBJ INSIDER

Scenes from a Riot

Rep. Lou Correa shares firsthand account of Capitol takeover; New ghost kitchen restaurants sets up in Anaheim; Irvine’s Fitness International LLC remains country’s largest health club

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Evolus Faces Jeuveau Import Ban in Trade Dispute

AESTHETICS: Allergan gets boost; no trade secret

Newport Beach-based Evolus Inc. may face a 21-month import ban in the U.S. after ruling in case involving South Korean pharmaceutical companies and Irvine-based Allergan Aesthetics

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Hear This: Syntiant Intros Next-Gen Chip

TECHNOLOGY: CEO expects ‘significant’ ’21 revenue

Irvine chip technology company Syntiant Corp. has added a second-generation AI processor, aims for a significant revenue increase in 2021

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Slapfish’s Social Media Push Helps Restaurant Workers

DIGITAL: Chef Gruel’s GoFundMe aims for $1M

Huntington Beach-based Slapfish founder Andrew Gruel leverages social media to help restaurant industry — and to fill a void in what he’s called the absence of a functioning government

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Ephesoft, JIFFY.ai Link For Mortgages, Financial Services

‘HyperApp’ to Accelerate Loan Document Processing

Irvine-based software developer Ephesoft Inc. and automation technology company JIFFY.ai in Milpitas have teamed up to promote digital change in the financial services and mortgage industries

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Panasonic Avionics Sees AI Taking Off in Airlines

Passenger Satisfaction And Revenue Generation

Lake Forest-based Panasonic Avionics Corp. sees growing role for AI in struggling airline industry

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LBA Realty Building New Office at Park Place

40K-SF Creative Space; Luxe Movie Theater Nixed

LBA Realty is switching gears on plans for the former spot of the Sport Chalet, at the retail portion of its Park Place mixed-use campus in Irvine

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Bascom Venture Pays $100M For Wisconsin Buildings

Return Home of Sorts For Company Founders

Irvine-based Bascom Group wrapped up 2020 with its largest commercial acquisition of the past year

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What’s the Beef About Dog Food?

What’s really going into commercial dog food? The answer is horrifying.

Masimo's Moment

Joe Kiani's Big Pivot Helps Fight Coronavirus, Boosts Device Maker’s Value

Joe Kiani, founder and CEO of medical device giant Masimo, is forecasting a 21% sales jump to $1.13 billion— or almost $200 million more than last year

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Former OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens Dies of Breast Cancer

Hutchens was the 12th Orange County sheriff and first female to head the department

Former Orange County sheriff Sandra Hutchens, the first woman to hold the post, died Monday after a lengthy battle with breast cancer

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OC LEADER BOARD

A Year of Memorable Leader Boards

In the early 1950s, Walt Disney toured New York City’s most famous seaside attraction, Coney Island, which he described as “run-down and ugly.”

SCP Hospitality Plans $200M+ in Hotel Investments

Offshoot of Cruse’s Alpha Wave Investors

Soul Community Planet, a hospitality company launched in 2018 by former Sunstone Hotel Investors executive Ken Cruse, is in expansion mode with plans to invest north of $200 million in hotel deals and opportunities via a new investment fund.

Shea Lands Big Tenant at Airport Area Industrial Project

Storage Co. PODS Takes 167K-SF

Aliso Viejo-based Shea Properties ended 2020 with plenty of leasing activity at its just built Shea Business Center in Santa Ana, including signing on its largest tenant to date.

Cosemi Lands $8M in Funding from Japan

Optical Cables Increasingly in Demand, Says CEO

Cosemi Technologies Inc., an Irvine-based maker of high-speed active optical cables, said it plans to accelerate growth and address market opportunities after obtaining $8 million in a financing round led by Nitto Denko Corp. of Japan.

EV Infrastructure Looks for National Growth After Purchase

White Deer Buys Costa Mesa Electric Charging Station Firm

EV Infrastructure in Costa Mesa says it’s looking forward to increasing its presence in existing markets and expanding within the U.S. with its electric vehicle charging stations, following its acquisition by Houston-based White Deer Energy.

STARTUPS & INNOVATIONS

Newport Beach-based NuEyes Technologies Inc. recently unveiled its Pro 3 smart glasses.

Beckman Coulter Plans $4 Rapid COVID Test

Aims to Produce 25M Tests/Month

Beckman Coulter Inc. of Brea said late last month it plans to launch a $4 antigen test for mass screening of COVID-19.

Inari Medical Expands Treatment Options

Clot Maker’s Market Cap Tops $4 Billion

Inari Medical Inc. (Nasdaq: NARI) announced late last month its FlowTriever system received federal clearance to treat right atrium clot in transit (CIT).