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Updated: 6 hours 9 min ago

Pasadena Venture Capital Group Said It Closed Inaugural Fund with Nearly $80 Million in Capital Commitments

7 hours 33 min ago

Company Partners Kevin Dunlap and Jason Schoettler. Courtesy image

A venture capital firm based in Pasadena says it has successfully closed its inaugural fund with nearly $80 million in total capital commitments.

Calibrate Ventures, L.P., which supports transformative companies across the consumer and enterprise sectors, said it has received commitments from institutional investors, including Shea Ventures and Foundry Group.

Founded in 2017 by veteran investors Kevin Dunlap and Jason Schoettler, the company partners with early revenue startups to accelerate growth, drive commercialization, and maximize potential through right-sized financing and expert operational guidance.

“We are pleased with the support we received from a high-quality investor base in closing our first fund as we continue to help pioneering companies and their founders bridge the gap between idea and opportunity,” Dunlap said. “Having made five investments since launching the firm, we are off to a strong start and are excited by the numerous near- and long-term opportunities ahead.”

The firm typically targets an initial investment of $5 million in companies generating revenue between $1 million and $5 million. Currently, Calibrate’s portfolio include Alpha, Broadly, Built Robotics, Embodied, and Soft Robotics.

“Investors and founders today are both looking for an edge,” Schoettler said. “At Calibrate, we have built an influential network of entrepreneurs and partners, bring a unique approach to identifying attractive investment opportunities and strive to apply our rigorous process and values to each company we support.”

Foundry Group founder and Managing Director Brad Feld said they have worked alongside Dunlap and Schoettler as co-investors and have deep confidence in their strategy and investment approach.

“We look forward to continuing our successful relationship as limited partners in Calibrate’s fund,” Feld said.

Dunlap and Schoettler served as Managing Directors at Shea Ventures for over a decade before forming Calibrate. Dunlap was an aerospace engineer working in New Mission Design and Moog in Launch Systems at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Schoettler previously served in an operating role at Oak Grove Systems, an enterprise software spin-out from JPL and CalTech, and as a management consultant at Ernst & Young.

To learn more about Calibrate Ventures, visit

Pasadena-Based CIT Bank Launches Community Investment Loan Program

Tue, 2018-12-11 12:53

CIT Bank N.A., the banking subsidiary of CIT Group Inc., Tuesday announced a new Community Investment Loan Program offering construction loans and permanent financing for multifamily affordable housing and community facilities across Southern California. CREA LLC, a trusted real estate advisory firm, will support CIT with the affordable housing portion of the program.

“CIT is pleased to expand its community investment efforts in Southern California to ensure residents have access to affordable housing as well as essential community services such as health centers, schools and public safety centers,” said Steve Solk, president of Consumer Banking for CIT. “This new program builds on our investments in affordable housing developments and low-income housing tax credits to serve our local community.”

“CREA is proud to partner with CIT to help create high-quality affordable housing across Southern California,” said Gary Rodney, chairman of CREA. “Together we will provide an outstanding debt and equity financing platform, streamlined process and competitive terms for local affordable housing developers.”

CIT’s banking subsidiary is based in Pasadena, CA, and includes the OneWest Bank Southern California branch network and the national online bank CIT Bank. In 2017, CIT committed $87.5 million to develop 7,000 affordable housing units for Southern California residents.

For more information on the program visit or contact

Pasadena’s General Finance Corporation Acquires Instant Storage Company

Mon, 2018-12-10 18:11

Instant Storage, Bakersfield CA

Pasadena-based General Finance Corporation announced its subsidiary Pac-Van Inc. has acquired the assets of Instant Storage, a company that offers storage container and office container rentals.

Instant Storage has offices serving customers in and around Miami, Florida and Bakersfield, California.

With the acquisition, Pac-Van now has more than 2,200 additional fleet rental units and has added 14 new professionals to their team, Jody Miller, General Finance Corporation CEO, said.

“With these newly acquired assets, we are able to achieve increased market penetration into both the Central Valley region and the greater Los Angeles area of Southern California, as well as in Miami and the south Florida region, building upon our market share while continuing to deliver highly valued and convenient portable storage and office space solutions,” Miller said.

Pac-Van, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary that leases and sells storage containers, mobile office trailers, modular buildings and bulk liquid storage frac tanks. Customers include those in the commercial, construction, education, government, health care, industrial, and retail sectors.

Pac-Van is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, and has over 50 offices throughout North America.

General Finance Corporation’s expertise in the portable storage, modular space and liquid containment solutions sectors drives disciplined growth strategies, operational guidance, and capital markets support for the company’s subsidiaries such as Pac-Van.

In the Asia-Pacific region, General Finance Corporation has leasing operations in Australia and New Zealand consisting of Royal Wolf Holdings Limited, the leading provider of portable storage solutions in those countries.

The company also owns Lone Star Tank Rental Inc. and Southern Frac, LLC, a manufacturer of portable liquid storage tank containers and other steel-related products in North America.

For more information, visit






Pasadena Startup with Revolutionary Commercial Kitchen Concept Expands Eastward

Mon, 2018-12-10 05:56

Image Courtesy Kitchen United website

Kitchen United, the revolutionary virtual restaurant provider based in Pasadena, is expanding eastward and will be opening a 35,000-square-foot facility in Central Ohio around January 2019.

The Google-backed commercial kitchen will be setting up in Grandview Heights, a report by Ohio-based Columbus Business First Friday said.

Just last month, Kitchen United announced it has secured $10 million in a funding round led by Google Ventures (GV), and was working with restaurant partners to start work on a Chicago-area facility that could open around January or February.

“We don’t cook. We don’t drive,” Kitchen United CEO Jim Collins told Columbus Business First as he described the setup. “All they have to do is bring the cooks.”

The restaurant operators who will rent space on the Ohio facility, called a “kitchen center,” will make their own food, and use delivery services such as DoorDash and UberEats to handle the pick-up and delivery. Kitchen United provides base kitchen equipment and can also handle receiving, cleaning and other back-of-the-house duties, depending on the terms of the lease.

Designed for pick-up and carry-out business only, Kitchen United has no brick-and-mortar restaurant for dine-in services. Instead, “we’re helping restaurants answer the explosion of off-premise dining,” Collins said.

The facility will house from 10 to 20 kitchen spaces for operators in about 15,000 square feet, with the rest of the space to be used as equipment storage.

The restaurant operators who will rent space on the Ohio facility, called a “kitchen center,” will make their own food, and use delivery services such as DoorDash and UberEats to handle the pick-up and delivery. Kitchen United provides base kitchen equipment and can also handle receiving, cleaning and other back-of-the-house duties, depending on the terms of the lease.

Designed for pick-up and carry-out business only, Kitchen United has no brick-and-mortar restaurant for dine-in services. Instead, “we’re helping restaurants answer the explosion of off-premise dining,” Collins said.

The report said Grandview Heights approved the company’s proposed use for the building and site plan, and work is set to begin with a spring 2019 opening targeted. The place used to be occupied by a light industrial-zoned printing business.

Kitchen United was founded in 2017 and opened its first unit in Pasadena in June 2018.

After the Chicago and Grandview Heights units, new locations could open next year in New York, Atlanta or Jersey City, Collins said in the report.

Kitchen United’s “kitchen centers” are facilities that can house 10 to 20 restaurants with commercial kitchens optimized specifically for the catering, delivery and takeout marketplace. The company creates turnkey solutions for restaurants and positions its kitchen facilities in areas where demand is high and the local restaurant infrastructure is strained by the influx of non-traditional business.

“Kitchen United’s data-driven approach to flexible kitchen spaces unlocks critical value for national, regional and local restaurant chains looking to expand into new markets,” GV board member and general partner Adam Ghobarah said in a statement.

The start-up introduced its first kitchen center in Pasadena in February, a 12,000-square-foot fully equipped kitchen space that leverages technology, including integrated point of sale software, back-of-house automation, and efficient order interfaces that combine inbounds from various delivery platforms, to enable new levels of efficiency for food businesses.

In March, the company appointed former Taco Bell executive Meredith Sandland as Chief Operating Officer. Sandland was Chief Development Officer at Taco Bell, where she added more than $1 billion in sales through the addition of 1,000 restaurants in just four years.

Kitchen United is currently based at 55 South Madison Avenue in Pasadena, and plans to expand to about 20 to 30 locations nationwide by the end of 2019.

To learn more about Kitchen United, visit

Pasadena Federal Credit Union Announces New President/CEO Christopher O’Malley

Wed, 2018-12-05 12:33

Christopher O’Malley

The Chairman of the Board of Pasadena Federal Credit Union (Pasadena FCU), Rich Haluschak, has announced the selection of Christopher O’Malley as President/CEO following the retirement of Ron Berry after 30 years of service in various roles to the member/owners of Pasadena FCU (PFCU) and the San Gabriel Valley communities it serves.

The announcement comes as the Credit Union nears completion of modernization efforts over the past two years that position PFCU to become the premiere Credit Union in Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley. Haluschak conveyed the excitement the Board feels about the knowledge and skills O’Malley brings to the Credit Union.

A Southern California native, O’Malley has 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. He has most recently served the members and staff of  $1Billion iQ Credit Union, headquartered in Vancouver, WA as both SVP of Retail Delivery and Chief Information Officer. Previously, he held Senior Leadership roles at Altura Credit Union, Citibank, Wachovia and Zion’s Bank. He has been active in the Northwest Credit Union Association and served on the Advisory Taskforce to the Director, Division of Credit Unions for the WA State DFI. He has passionately served his community as a children’s advocacy board member, as Vice Chair for Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries, and on many committees and task forces in local school districts. He is a fluent Spanish speaker and an ardent supporter of Hispanic outreach and community development initiatives. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Warner Pacific University in Portland, OR.

“I am very grateful to the Board of Directors for the incredible opportunity to lead a credit union that is steeped in a culture of community commitment, having a progressive vision to deliver on services that enrich the financial well-being of its members, through all channels and transactions. Pasadena FCU has been insightful in both approach and preparation for meeting member demand in our fast-evolving and complex, competitive financial services industry. There is no place I’d rather be. I also want to thank Ron Berry for the great and noble work he accomplished during his many years of service and for assembling a stellar Senior Leadership Team that will walk beside me daily. The future is very bright.”

“Ron Berry took the helm of PFCU during a very challenging time in the national economy, successfully navigating through some very tough challenges while other credit unions failed. He wisely invested in technologies that will allow PFCU and its members to thrive for years to come. We are very grateful and, even though he will be missed, we wish him all the best in his retirement,” said Haluschak.

Berry became a leader in the Credit Union movement in the early 1980’s as the Chairman of the Board of the Pasadena Star-News Federal Credit Union until it joined forces with PFCU, where he also served as Chairman for over 15 years prior to becoming President/CEO in March of 2008. Berry has been active with the Pasadena Rotary Club, the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, The Pasadena Police Foundation, The Pasadena Fire Foundation, and numerous other local non-profit, business, and charitable organizations. He is highly respected in the community and intends to continue assisting local agencies that serve the San Gabriel Valley.

Haluschak closed by saying, “For more than a year the Board of Directors has been engaged in deep thought, conversation, and planning for the future of Pasadena FCU. We are poised to embark on a path of growth while maintaining the stability and strong financial foundation of the credit union. There are opportunities to engage with underserved groups in the San Gabriel Valley. Ron Berry built a solid foundation and pulled together an excellent team within the Credit Union. The Board knows that with Chris’ leadership, the team will not only continue to improve service to our current membership but also grow and engage with our community in new ways.”

Pasadena Federal Credit Union is a non-profit financial cooperative established by municipal employees in 1935 and owned by more than 11,000 members today. It serves the employees of the cities of Pasadena, South Pasadena, San Gabriel, and Sierra Madre, as well as dozens of non-profits and businesses throughout the San Gabriel Valley.

For more see