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Hoverboard Billed as Less Risky Attracts $3 Million

A Newport Beach-based hoverboard creator just completed its seed round of funding, raising $3 million. Cutting Edge Products LLC plans to launch Mozzie in late August, when it will begin another round of funding, co-founder Nigel Stobart said.

Some of the first versions of hoverboards to hit the market tended to catch fire, not a great marketing tool. Stobart said he “recognized a significant opportunity to meet … unfulfilled consumer demand for a two-wheel ‘rideable’ that is safe, fun and reliable.” He said he also believed that “everyone was simply ripping off someone else’s legitimate IP.” He thought Cutting Edge Products could do it better with its own technology.

So he turned to lithium phosphate batteries, which he said are safer than the lithium ion batteries that reportedly caused the fires. Mozzie boards provide two hours of use. They include a built-in carry handle, LED lights and Bluetooth speakers.

The hoverboard industry is projected to surpass $1.8 billion in sales by 2021, based on an expanding youth population, as well as increasing adoption of the product for personal mobility and recreational activities, according to TechSci Research.

Alternate Realities

Two Irvine-based companies formed a strategic partnership to help both businesses leverage their expertise to bring virtual reality, augmented reality, and 360-degree video training experiences to the employee-management industry.

Monster VR joined forces with Engage Factors LLC. The former is a virtual and augmented reality development house with experience in training and marketing for multiuser capabilities. That allows many users on the same network to jump into the same experience and interact with each another. That happens remotely and therefore saves time and cost.

Engage Factors helps companies develop and implement online courses and testing to improve engagement and employee retention, especially for millennials and generation Z employees.

Chief Executive Gary Willison co-founded the company about a year ago and did a soft launch in the fourth quarter of last year. The company’s been self-financed.

Engage Factors is working with MonsterVR to integrate VR and AR into its “live” instructor-led competency-based structured interviewing program to help hiring managers become more effective at selecting the right people to fit the job and company culture they’re hiring for.

New Investment Fund

A Fullerton-based investment fund is looking for investors. Titan Angels LLC is an angel and pre-angel fund that will invest in very early-stage companies associated with the California State University-Fullerton community.

Investment units begin at $5,000 each; multiples can be purchased.

The fund is reviewing startups that fit with its investment criteria, including that they be “mixed use” and not specialize in a particular vertical or niche, said John Jackson, director of CSUF’s incubator in Placentia and one of the fund’s investors and founders.

The startups’ business concepts must be socially responsible and scalable, he said. Andrew Carroll is the fund’s managing director.

Dry-Eye Tech Lauded

Newport Beach based IACTA Pharmaceuticals Inc. acquired the North American development and commercialization rights for NM 133, a drug being investigated for the treatment of dry eye, from U.K.-based Nanomerics Ltd.

The technology behind the deal was recently awarded first prize in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition in the health division. The award recognizes the commercial and scientific excellence associated with Nanomerics’ nanotechnology, known as molecular envelope technology.

Nanomerics’ proprietary nanotechnology was developed at University College London to transport nanoparticles of highly insoluble drugs through tissues. Nanomerics has invested approximately $6 million dollars in its technology platform, received mainly through grants and private investments. The recent award came with a prize of $12,899.

IACTA was founded by Damon Burrows, who served as vice president and associate general counsel at Allergan from 2012 to 2015, when it was acquired by Actavis PLC. He serves as IACTA’s chief executive. Michael Adam, who was most recently at Redwood City-based A.P. Pharma, is IACTA’s head of drug development.

In January the company licensed from Nanomerics the ophthalmic formulation cyclosporine in the molecular envelope technology. The product forms nanoparticles of cyclosporine that solubilize and protect the cyclosporine as it’s being delivered to the eye, a “novel” delivery method that doesn’t require additives, Burrows said.

IACTA’s medication could eventually compete with Allergan’s Restasis, depending on when it comes to market. Analysts estimate that the current market for Restasis and Xiidra, another treatment for chronic dry eye made by Ireland-based Shire, is projected to collectively grow to more than $2 billion annually this year, Burrows said. IACTA is conducting studies to allow initiation of clinical evaluation of its product. It recently engaged Newport Beach-based CB Capital Partners Inc. to assist with capital-raising activities.

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