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Auto show, travel apps and CEOs as models among week's L.A. tech highlights

Auto show, travel apps and CEOs as models among week's L.A. tech highlights
Tinder CEO Sean Rad, left, Match Group Chairman Greg Blatt and Match Group CEO Sam Yagan celebrate Match Group's initial public offering at the Nasdaq stock exchange on Nov. 20 in New York. (Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

Tinder. Now that it’s part of a publicly traded company, will the outside world — including stock analysts — learn much more about Tinder’s operations than the little they know now?

Tinder is the West Hollywood-based casual sex and dating app. It’s part of the Match Group, which issued an initial public offering last week.

It remains to be seen whether Match will now offer significant transparency on Tinder in the reports it files with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “It is not easy to separate out Tinder from the rest of the business,” BTIG analyst Brandon Ross said in a note Monday. Financial analysts are concerned that more date-seekers will gravitate toward Tinder, whose revenue-generation model remains unproven, leading to struggles for the other brands and the overall business.

Cars. The Los Angeles Auto Show opened last week with plenty of hype around self-driving cars. John Zimmer, chief executive of ride-hailing app Lyft, said he doesn’t plan to teach his daughter how to drive, because, why bother. And the president of the Los Angeles Taxicab Assn. predicted that self-driving taxis eventually would lower fares 85%, to about 25 cents a mile.

Batteries. In other car news, EV Connect, a start-up that installs charging stations for electric vehicles and then provides software to manage them, announced a $2.7-million cash infusion. Investors in the El Segundo company include Double M Partners, Olympic Investors, 37 Technology Investors and ImpactAssets. EV Connect customers include Yahoo, Hilton Worldwide and the California Department of Transportation.

Video. Money continues to pour into video ad technology. Cinematique, a New York company with an outpost in Los Angeles, raised $3.5 million to improve its interactive ad technology: Consumers click to learn more about a product in a video ad without having to navigate elsewhere.
Business travel. Travo raised $2.4 million in initial capital to develop its online booking service for business travel. The Santa Monica-based firm isn’t processing reservations directly, like an Expedia or Priceline. Instead, Travo analyzes travel data such as gas prices, hotel rates and flight availability to suggest complete trip plans in an instant. The cash came from a group that includes Great Oaks Ventures, Baroda Ventures , Valence Ventures, TYLT Lab and Institutional Venture Partners general partner Dennis Phelps, according to Dow Jones. Travo is being led by Tae Lee, a former executive vice president at video technology start-up Zefr.
Personal grooming. Dollar Shave Club wants to enlarge a $75-million funding round announced in June to $100 million and has raised about $91 million so far, according to an SEC filing. SoCalTech first reported on the news from the Venice-based start-up, a mail-based subscription service for men’s grooming products.
Fashionable tech execs. Snapchat Chief Executive Evan Spiegel has started another trend. Last month, Spiegel donned a fancy robe, a leather jacket and other designer items on the pages of L'Uomo Vogue. But he isn’t the only guy in the Los Angeles tech industry doing fashion spreads. Now, a group of start-up founders is modeling for young, L.A.-based men’s fashion label Buck Mason, sporting “Slub Hoodies” that went on sale this week. The new fashion icons include leaders of online suit rental company the Black Tux, virtual reality video production company Stopp and snacks seller Thrive Market.

Chat with me on Twitter @peard33

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