UBeam Raising $15 Million Debt Round

By GARRETT REIMTuesday, July 28, 2015

Wireless charging startup uBeam of Santa Monica is raising a $15 million convertible debt round, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The company declined to comment, but the filing said nearly $9 million had been raised from 23 investors since the offering was initiated July 10. 

UBeam’s technology promises to wirelessly charge electronics at a distance of up to 15 feet. It does so by converting electricity into ultrasonic waves, transmitting the energy through the air and converting the energy back into electricity within the device.

Debt rounds are less common in tech startup funding, but can be valuable for startups of a certain stage, argues Rami Rostami, managing partner of venture capital firm TYLT Lab of Santa Monica.

“A lot of times, depending on what the tech is, if it’s not 100 percent validated, or if it’s not certain it will come to fruition, startups will raise convertible notes,” he said. “If you’re not sure, (it’s) a safe bet, from an investor’s point of view, it makes sense to come in for a convertible note.”

On the flipside, startups sometimes use convertible debt as a way to raise money without selling equity on unfavorable terms.

“The main reason (startups sell convertible notes) is because they don’t want to give up equity,” said Rostami. “They think the value of their equity will increase massively in the future.” 

And that’s where uBeam sits currently: somewhere between massive market opportunity and uncertainty. The company’s wireless technology is promising, but it’s not ready for the mass market. It’s also in a race to become the standard in wireless charging, scrambling to establish its technology in the market ahead of San Francisco’s Energous Corp., another wireless charging technology startup that uses radio waves to transmit energy. 

Ultimately, Rostami said wireless charging technology was “one of the fastest segments of the market right now” and said if uBeam’s tech “is safe, fast and cheap enough they could really take over the market.”

UBeam’s financing history has seesawed between debt and equity, possibility and cautious optimism. As recent as last October, investors including Upfront Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Mark Cuban, Shawn Fanning and Marissa Mayer bullishly poured a $10 million Series A round into the company.

Technology reporter Garrett Reim can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @garrettreim for the latest in L.A. tech news.



TYLT Lab's Gerard Casale Speaks at UCLA

Special thanks to UCLA Anderson School of Management's GEMBA Program, Professor George Abe, and Italy's SDA Bocconi School of Management for hosting TYLT Lab Managing Director Gerard Casale!  Gerard met with students from SDA Bocconi in an engaging Q&A on the state of venture investing in Southern California.  Molto Bene!!


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A Brita Filter for Ad Fraud? Fake Traffic Fighter Pixalate Has Built One

Ad-Tech Firm's Hardware Sifts Out Fraudulent Traffic Before It's Up for Sale

By  Tim Peterson. Published on June 23, 2015. 

For advertisers and online publishers, combating ad fraud today is akin to a retailer trying to fight shoplifters by catching them in the act. But one ad- tech company has come up with an approach that's more like bouncing shoplifters before they can even enter the store.

Ad-fraud prevention firm Pixalate has built a piece of hardware it's calling the Pixalate Security Threat Intelligence Dome that serves as a Brita water filter to sift out fraudulent traffic before an advertiser buys an ad against those impressions and wastes its money.

Fake traffic has become a big problem for advertisers and publishers trying to coax brands budgets online. Advertisers will waste $6.3 billion buying ads against fake impressions this year, according to an estimate from White Ops, a company that makes money by helping advertisers identify fraudulent traffic. In a recent interview, CBS Interactive's Chief Revenue Officer and Interactive Advertising Bureau Chairman David Morris said that fraud ranks second behind viewability as the biggest issue facing publishers today.

But Pixalate thinks it has come up with a better way of fighting that fraudulent traffic. Instead of trying to figure out whether an impression is fraudulent each time an ad is bought and about to be served, or blocking ad buys to sites that are often home to fraudulent traffic, the company is keeping a running list of ad fraudsters and blacklisting them before an advertiser's money comes out of its pocket.

Here's how it works: Pixalate has already developed software that effectively creates a TSA no-fly list of ad fraudsters. To build that list, Pixalate constantly keeps an eye out for IP addresses -- unique codes assigned to computers and other devices connected to the internet -- that match ad impressions deemed fraudulent.

An updated list of those fraudulent IP addresses -- as well as website domains full of fake traffic -- is sent to Pixalate's hardware every five minutes. That hardware plugs into the data centers that pipe ad impressions through ad networks, ad exchanges and automated ad-buying and ad-selling tools, for a flat fee to the companies operating those ad technologies.

Once an ad impression shows up in any of those ad-tech systems, it's run through Pixalate's hardware to check if the IP address matches one in Pixalate's blacklist of IP addresses sending fraudulent traffic. If there's a match, the impression is kicked out of the system. If not, the impression passes through and an advertiser is able to buy an ad against that traffic through the real-time auctions that sell ads against those impressions.

Like any fraud-fighting technology currently on the market, Pixalate's technology isn't perfect. Fraudsters can change the IP addresses they use to send fake impressions, and each time that happens it's essentially a new source of fraudulent traffic that Pixalate's technology needs to identify. And it happens pretty often; on average fraudsters shed IP addresses after three days of use, or roughly 100,000 impressions, said Pixalate CEO Jalal Nasir, whose company monitors 10% of IP addresses worldwide.

Pixalate uses what are called "honeypots" to lure fraudsters to send fake traffic to certain sites that Pixalate surveils in order to make it easier to identify them and then recognize them when they're running fake traffic around the web.

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Paper Battery Company Announces Availability of Power Responder Fast Charge Developers Kit

March 19, 2015 – Troy, NY— Paper Battery Company, developer of an innovative supercapacitor-based energy storage and battery enhancement technology, today announced immediate availability of the Fast Charge Developers Kit for its PowerResponder™ product line.  This kit enables product designers’ to incorporate fast charging PowerResponder cells in their products and prototype a variety of input charging devices and protocols, radically improving the use model of battery-powered devices.


With the Fast Charge Developers Kit, PowerResponder cells can be fully charged in less than five minutes.  A “charge in minutes to run for hours” capability is very attractive for applications such as power tools, toys, Bluetooth headphones, medical and industrial handheld devices and game controllers, where intermittent use cycles allow for rapid recharge in between uses.


“Anxiety over battery life is a major issue for users of all types of consumer and mobile devices.  In addition, larger and larger batteries are being built in to systems with increasing safety risks,” said Shreefal Mehta, CEO of Paper Battery Company.  “By fast charging and recharging the energy storage device in minutes to allow hours of runtime and replacing lithium batteries with supercapacitors, we are bringing exciting new tools to our customers so they can rethink energy management and provide an anxiety-free, battery-free customer experience.”


Charging of lithium batteries is slow, needing hours even for small batteries, and fast charging is limited because of safety issues.  The PowerResponder product line has much higher energy density than traditional supercapacitors, and can charge in minutes with none of the safety risks of lithium batteries. PowerResponders can be used in parallel with lithium batteries in external packs to enhance the charging rates and can also replace the lithium batteries in some cases. The PowerResponder cell could replace the lithium battery pack in the external power case sold for smartphones today, and provide two hours of talk time extension in two minutes of charging the external power case. 


The Fast Charge Developers Kit is available now from Paper Battery Company for $400 and includes a fast charger board, a user manual, technical support for optimizing the charging protocols and two 350F PowerResponder cells. Product developers can integrate the conformable PowerResponder™ supercapacitor over existing structural components, like in the headband of wireless headphones.


About Paper Battery Company

The Paper Battery Company has two supercapacitor-based product lines with game changing ultrathin form factors and industry-leading performance. Supercapacitors can replace batteries or enable companies to use smaller batteries without compromising energy or peak performance and the company’s patented form factor solution allows for revolutionary size changes in wearables, accessories, and mobile electronics. The company’s products provide scalable voltage, energy and power in a single, ultrathin package. The long life, environmentally friendly device works with existing lithium batteries, reducing waste, and fits in or around existing components. The company’s innovative business model and technology have garnered multiple awards, including the 2015 CES Innovation Award for embedded technology and multiple competitive awards from the NY State Energy and Research Development Authority. For more information go to


Paper Battery Company Media Contact:

Toni Sottak: 408-876-4418.



TYLT Lab’s Gerard Casale Participates in Italia Restarts Up

TYLT Lab was selected as part of the US delegation to participate in Italia Restarts Up, a global event co-sponsored by the Italian Trade Agency and the Italian Ministry of Economic Development to showcase the growing startup ecosystem in Italy. TYLT’s managing director, Gerard Casale, joined over 50 investment firms from around the world in Milan to hear pitches from the most prominent Italian startups in the energy, design, biotech, nanotech, environmental technologies, avionics, ICT and agro industrial technologies. “The level of maturity of the startups showcased at Italia Restarts Up was very impressive,” said Gerard Casale.  “We are looking forward to directly working with the ITA and the Italian government to advance the Italian startups in Italy and in the exploration of bringing them to the US market.”



TYLT Lab Expands Its Reach Into Asia With New Hong Kong Office

TYLT Lab, a Santa Monica-based venture capital fund and advisory group has opened an office on the 28th Floor of the LHT Tower, located in the heart of central Hong Kong’s most prestigious business and retail district.

“Opening an office in Hong Kong was a natural move for us in order to better solidify our existing relationships of capital, resources, manufacturers, and distributors in Asia,” said Gerard Casale, managing director and co-founder of TYLT Lab.   “Our Hong Kong office offers greater connectivity with our Hong Kong partners and investors and a physical space to further our Shared Services Platform” internationally."



TYLT Lab, LLC is a venture capital and advisory group headquartered in Santa Monica, California. The fund is focused on identifying, capitalizing, and building early stage ventures into innovative, high-growth companies.  



TYLT Lab Raises $20M Fund for SoCal Startups

Santa Monica, CA—TYLT Lab ( launched an early stage fund focused on seed-to-A round investments and advisory services for companies executing on businesses disruptive to their industry. The fund launched with its initial LP and first investments late in 2013 and has now added limited partners with $20 million in committed capital toward their initial fund closing.  Seasoned L.A. entrepreneurs Rami Rostami and Gerard Casale founded the fund and sourced the TYLT Lab management team.

“We believe that the local startup ecosystem has finally reached a critical mass in Los Angeles-- specifically in the Silicon Beach area-- and our fund intends to be in the middle of all the action.   We are finding great companies right here in SoCal” said partner Gerard Casale.

TYLT Lab co-founder Rami Rostami is the first limited partner in the fund. Rostami has built the long standing and leading wireless accessory distributor Technocel of Simi Valley as well as the more recently launched accessory product and lifestyle brands TYLT and Jelly Fish. Collectively, Casale and Rostami have been privately investing in companies together since 2008. In the past, the pair had coupled their cash investment with the provision of management services, software and app development services, logistics, manufacturing and product development services to nearly a dozen companies before launching TYLT Lab together.   With TYLT Lab, they now commit to formalizing the process and bringing on a team of world-class advisors to the fund and the local Southern California venture community--- investing with a twist in offering what TYLT Lab calls its “Shared Services Platform.”

“We are looking to be involved in the companies with which we invest. We have a platform that has been tested with Fortune 100 companies over the past 20+ years which includes supply chain services, logistics, pick, pack and ship, rapid 3D printing/prototyping, global distribution network and much more, and we are offering this to early to mid-stage companies.  We think this is a unique offering to our entrepreneur partners,” said partner Rami Rostami.

TYLT Lab estimates that it will place 12-15 investments in 2014 ranging from $50,000 to a maximum of $2,000,000 per investment.   

About TYLT Lab:

TYLT Lab is a venture capital and venture advisory group based in Santa Monica, California with a focus on building innovative companies capable of producing outsized returns for investors.  The partners are entrepreneurs themselves and have a hands-on approach to working with founders.  Focus areas are consumer lifestyle products, mobile platforms and services, home automation, software focused on transactions and engagements, consumer goods, clean technology, e-healthcare, and entertainment. However, the firm’s scope is agnostic and will assess any company that has a great team seeking to intelligently disrupt an industry with great ideas and products.  


For information or to submit a pitch, please contact:
Suite 224
604 Arizona Ave.
Santa Monica, CA  90401
Phone: (310) 331-8797
Twitter: @TYLTLab