Jessie Yount

Startups Reporter

Phone: 949-833-8373 Extension: 224

Recent Stories

UCI’s $2B Campaign: Quiet No More

EDUCATION: Seeks donations to fund health, tech, museum

The University of California-Irvine wants to raise $2 billion by 2024—the largest-ever fundraising campaign in the history of Orange County.

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Chapman Looks to Expand Enrollment

EDUCATION: STEM, housing, research plans

Chapman University is preparing for growth, and the Orange-based school is optimistic that the city of Orange will support its plans to expand.

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CSUF’s 20-Year Plan

More students; $175M Campaign

California State University-Fullerton is the biggest campus in the Cal State system. It wants to get bigger.

Spring Road Trip For Western State

Westcliff Adds, Moving Law School

Orange County’s oldest law school, Western State College of Law, is on track to get a new base of operations and a new lease on life.

Cruttenden’s Next Fintech Helps Gamers Save

INNOVATION: Blast tackles micro saving

Some of Walter Cruttenden’s biggest ideas begin with very small numbers.

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MBAs Reflect National Trends: Fresh Choices Rule

Brandman Enrollment Up, Nabs Corporate Partners

Traditional MBAs are in decline across the country.

Community Colleges: Enrollment Mixed, More Grads

Institutions Get Grants, Join With Groups on New Work

Local community colleges saw full- and part-time enrollment drop this year, by 0.6% and 3.5% respectively, for an overall decline of 2.6%.

Medical Device Accelerator Unveiled

INNOVATION: K5, Edwards vets involved

Koa Accel, a recently unveiled accelerator for early-stage medical device startups, is betting on its experienced team to achieve success.


Irvine-based GigX Inc., an online job directory that caters to professionals seeking part-time, long-term work at a variety of C-level positions, has launched.

Unlocking Cancer Coverage

Lab Co-Op Tests Get Insurance OK

Genomic Testing Cooperative added insurance approval for two cancer tests, a move it said will cut medical costs and boost care.

Before the Butcher Plants Meat Alternatives

FOOD: Aims for 3,000 stores by year’s end

Irvine’s Before the Butcher earlier this year became the first vegan brand to see its products hit the meat counter at the supermarket chain Bristol Farms.

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Startups & Innovations

Seal Beach-based Cuddly Inc., a fundraising platform for animal organizations that likens itself to Amazon, GoFundMe, and WishGo all in one, recently announced its new pet adoption tracker product, created in collaboration with San Francisco-based globaliD Inc.

CBD Focus for Ex-LifeLock CEO

RETAIL: $10M+ raised; $50M ad budget

Todd Davis, co-founder and former chairman and chief executive of Tempe, Ariz.-based identity protection firm LifeLock Inc., has set his sights on a new industry: CBD.

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SimRated, a simulation-based e-learning tool, has developed software that allows students and other healthcare practitioner users to learn and practice a variety of medical procedures.

New Heights For Climbing Gym

More Locations on The Way; Pushing $8M

Sender One Climbing, an indoor rock climbing gym—where, full disclosure, I coached youth climbers for nearly three years prior to joining the Business Journal—is scaling new heights.

Double the Money For Happy Money

FINANCE: Fintech raises $70 million

Scott Saunders is on a mission “to transform sad money” at Happy Money.

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Irvine-based Huckleberry Labs Inc. is incorporating artificial intelligence into its baby tracker app, which helps parents maintain and improve their child’s sleep patterns.

Fintech with Credit Card Alternative Gets $70M Funding

Fintech upstart Happy Money has raised $70 million.

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Chapman Looks to Expand Irvine Science Campus

EDUCATION: Student count from 500 to 906

Chapman University is moving ahead with a sizeable expansion plan at the Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus, the Orange-based school’s graduate health science campus in the Irvine Spectrum.

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Newport Beach-based Protecht Inc., an event ticketing and insurance company, has announced a partnership with Spectra, a venue management and hospitality services firm based in Philadelphia.


Aliso Viejo-based OCTANe, the business technology accelerator that largely operates within the medical and technology industries, raised about $306.7 million in the first half of 2019 for small business development specializing in tech and life science entrepreneurs.


Irvine-based Vusar has launched its immersive visualization tool, an augmented reality product that allows design-focused consumers to interact intuitively with a company’s product design.

Tech Coast Angels Sells Stake

An off-market secondary sale of Tech Coast Angel’s stake in Marina del Rey-based LeaseLock closed last week.

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PR Agencies See Modest Boost in Employees

Employee Retention Remains Tough Task

Send out the press release: Orange County’s biggest public relations firms boosted their employee counts by a modest 1.5% in the 12 months ended July 31.


Irvine-based virtual reality language tutoring platform Immerse Inc. has partnered with Nashua, N.H.-based Transparent Language Inc., a large contractor for language learning that services the U.S. government.