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Tuesday, Mar 28, 2023
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Launches Run Gamut From Finance to Baby Skincare

Multiple Orange County startups have made this a bit of a launching season. They include:

• Newport Beach-based Tell Us About It LLC, which developed an app called GyRate that tracks and manages employees’ performance by facilitating direct feedback between peers and managers based on a set of cultural behaviors key to the company or organization. The goal is to help create an open culture of continuous improvement, as well as to increase involvement in the workday. The husband-and-wife team of Kjetil Skogen and Ingvild Hafstad co-founded the company and have self-funded it with $75,000.

• Irvine-based Hundred Grand Labs, a digital marketing agency serving niche verticals, including music, blockchain, technology, startups and social media. Lee Decker and Amir Marmar are co-founders.

• Huntington Beach-based MODe, which launched a line of cold-pressed sports nutrition beverages. Tammo Walter is co-founder and chief executive.

• eStockTIME, which four 70-somethings founded. The name is short for Electronic Stock Trading and Investing Made Easy. The company developed a free app with an integrated analysis tool and stock market game. It also includes an investment calculator that can set goals for home down-payment funding, education financing, and supplemental retirement plans. They’ve self-funded it to the tune of $100,000. The company got its legs at California State University-Fullerton’s incubator in Placentia.

• Tustin-based Skuddy, a social marketplace and app geared toward millennials that allows them to advertise their skills and talents to others and find the services they need. Examples include surfing instructors, photographers, and dog trainers. Marc Ghazvini is a co-founder and president. One in three millennials is actively looking for side gigs, he said, and 40% make less than the minimum wage. Skuddy helps them get hired through friends’ referrals.

• Newport Beach-based Lil ‘O’ Blossom, which developed a line of luxury baby skincare. Its products are sold in 14 states. Founder Lorie Collins is a mother who seeks “to fill the huge market gap of mothers in need of quality product options,” she said. “I never had these choices when my two daughters were babies, and now I am able to offer other moms the choices and solutions they need through my product line. The company donates part of its sales to some nonprofits, including Santa Ana-based Global G.L.O.W. and U.K-based Trees for Life.

• Westminster-based cGreen Inc., which produces an antidote to the mind-altering effects of THC in cannabis. Rob Rappaport co-founded the company and is chief executive. CGreen is currently raising a seed round of $750,000. It’s been self-funded so far.

• Irvine-based EvaDrop Smart Shower, developer of a shower system that saves water by tracking when it hits the desired temperature and shutting it off when the shower is unoccupied. It uses proximity sensors to detect where a user is in the shower, then adjusts the flow accordingly.

The company’s looking to raise $500,000 to get through its first round of manufacturing. It’s already received $145,000 in preorders, said co-founder and Chief Executive Torrey Tayenaka.

Target has invited the company to participate in a distribution test as part of its Open House, a connected-device concept store that provides hands-on interactions with new products and services, giving the entrepreneur community a venue to gather and learn from one another and from consumers.

Force for Good

An Irvine-based company that makes it easy to donate and track charitable giving and volunteering got a thumbs-up from the University of California-Irvine.

UCI will integrate Givsum Inc.’s platform on the university’s website so that it can measure the aggregate impact of its students, faculty and alumni on society, said Robert Kollar, a Givsum co-founder who serves as the company’s vice president and general counsel.

Givsum launched in 2015. It’s in the midst of a $500,000 raise at a $3.5 million valuation, he said. It’s already raised $100,000 and is open to talking to angel investors to raise the rest.

Stem Firm Raise

A company that provides a patient’s own stem cells for orthopedic use in surgery and osteoarthritis, as well as tendon, cartilage and ligament damage, is looking to raise approximately $2 million. Synova recently started providing stem cells for one of its surgical partners, the Orthopaedic Surgery Specialists in Burbank. Synova is based at the FastStart Studio incubator in Irvine and has lab space in Pasadena.

Its goals for the rest of the year include submitting additional grants, making key hires in expanding its team and establishing additional partnerships.

It’s been self-funded with approximately $100,000, founder and chief executive John Chi said.

Bits & Pieces`

Foothill Ranch-based SunScreen Display Technologies LLC launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $25,000 for its sunlight-readable, portable, outdoor display for a smartphone, laptop, camera or drone. Robert Rose is managing director of the company. … Los Angeles-based MedMen opened a dispensary in Santa Ana, its fourth in SoCal. That one has more than 3,000 square feet of retail space and offers more than 500 lines of cannabis products. MedMen is a cannabis management and investment firm. The investment side recently closed a $60 million fund and is embarking on a second fund of $250 million, a spokesperson said.

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