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Thursday, Jun 30, 2022
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STARTUPS & INNOVATIONS

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Acquisitions

FunPlus, a game developer with offices in Shanghai and Irvine, has acquired Irvine-based Imagendary Studios on undisclosed terms.
 
Imagendary Studios was formed in mid-2019 by Wei Wang, the co-founder of Irvine-based independent gaming studio Bonfire Studios.

 
Prior to launching Bonfire Studios, Wang was a principal artist at Irvine-based Blizzard Entertainment for over a decade, where he helped develop World of Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Hearthstone and StarCraft, among others.

 
“Wei’s iconic art has been beloved for years by fans of the many games he has been integral in crafting,” Andy Zhong, CEO of FunPlus, said in a statement.

 
“His ability to not only imagine entire worlds but also bring them to life is second to none, and we’re thrilled to have him lead FunPlus’ global creative teams as we strive toward our shared goal of continuing to break the boundaries of what games can be.”


FunPlus makes and invests in a range of massive multiplayer strategy games and roleplaying games.

MyEllevate, the Newport Beach-based maker of a facial rejuvenation system, said it has entered an agreement to be acquired by Cynosure of Massachusetts.
 
Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

 
Gregory Mueller, a plastic surgeon with Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon, is the inventor of the MyEllevate system, which uses ICLED light guidance to help plastic surgeons accurately place sutures for a neck lift without incisions.

 
The minimally invasive procedure takes about an hour to perform under local anesthesia. Most patients have minimal bruising and can return to normal activities within days, according to the company.

 
“Also known as the Zoom Lift, MyEllevate has gained popularity recently as more patients look for minimally invasive solutions to improve their appearance in today’s world of virtual meetings,” Todd Tillemans, CEO of Cynosure, said in a statement.
“It’s a cutting-edge treatment, and we’re thrilled to be able to offer this highly sought-after procedure to our customers so that they can bring out the beautiful energy in everyone.”


MyEllevate can be used in combination with other treatments such as laser lipolysis treatments and energy-based skin tightening technologies made by Cynosure.

Partnerships

Helio Health, an Irvine-based cancer test maker, was recently awarded a grant in collaboration with the National Cancer Center from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China.

Funds will support a National Cancer Center-led study evaluating the performance of Helio Health’s first product, a liver cancer detection test, in a study of about 3,000 subjects in China.

“This particular study is uniquely designed to evaluate the test in a larger screening population and will allow us to gain a better understanding of the real-world application for this important technology, including across rural parts of China where access to cancer detection and screening tests is often limited,” Chief Executive Kenneth Chahine said.

Liver cancer is the fastest-growing and second-deadliest cancer worldwide. Early detection of liver cancer has a survival rate that is 12 times higher if caught in early versus late stages.

In China, there are more than 400,000 liver cancer diagnoses each year and nearly 100 million people in China are living with hepatitis B virus (HBV), which significantly increases the risk of liver cancer, according to Helio Health.

Helio Health, previously known as Laboratory for Advanced Medicine, has raised north of $120 million in funds since its 2014 inception.

NetObjex, an Irvine-based software-as-a-service firm, is working with Zortag of New York to introduce enhanced security measures for NFTs.

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are unique digital and physical assets that you own—such as a movie, a painting, or even a tweet. These assets are authenticated using blockchain and can be traded on digital marketplaces.

NetObjex, founded in 2017, developed a platform with tools for tracking, tracing and monitoring assets in real-time with artificial intelligence, blockchain and internet of things technology.

The company said it will add Zortag’s anti-counterfeiting feature to its platform, which will allow consumers to verify physical goods and track their NTFs.

The new feature makes NetObjex an “end-to-end platform” with tools for creation, verification, storage, and trade of NFTs in one system, according to Chief Executive Raghu Bala.

NetObjex has more than 20 million assets under management on its platform, and licensed to 14 companies.

The company raised a $3 million seed round of financing last February led by Liberty City Ventures of New York.

Finance

Bling Financial Inc. of Irvine recently raised a $350,000 investment; the round is still open.

Backers of the mobile game maker include crypto-focused venture capital firms BlockTower Capital, Gumi Cryptos and Wave Financial.  

Bling Financial was created in 2017 by Amy Wan. She is an alumna of the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, and the former founder of Bootstrap Legal, a platform designed to help attorneys draft real estate syndication offering documents that merged with New York-based law firm Sosnow & Associates in late 2019.

Bling Financial has developed a number of mobile games, such as Bitcoin Solitaire and Bitcoin Pop, that reward users for game play and milestones with bitcoin. All of its games are 100% free to download with no in-app purchases.

The company said it has over four million users. It reported paying out over 500 billion gaming points worth more than $1 million in Bitcoin in 2020.

Gaggle Studios has closed a $2 million seed round of financing from New York-based venture firm Makers Fund.

The company, based in Irvine and Toronto, is the developer of Goose Goose Duck, an online game that requires players (geese) to work together and catch meddlesome intruders (ducks) to keep their spaceship in tip-top shape during an interplanetary quest.

The game is inspired by Among Us, an online multiplayer social deduction game, and aims to “fill a gap in the video game marketplace” where there is “a lack of frictionless, integrated voice and video-chat gaming,” according to the company.

Goose Goose Duck launched a free, early access version of its game on Steam last month. It is available for groups of up to 16 and integrates with chat platforms such as Discord.

New funds will support game development and team expansion for the company, which started in mid-2019.

The company was founded by CEO Shawn Fischtein and CTO Simon Chu, the latter of whom is also CEO of Irvine-based virtual reality software maker Escape VR.

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