Investing Start Ups

Investing with a Team: Palo Alto’s Pie Capital

Silicon Valley past and future

 Did you forget a gift?  this is perfect  –  a GREAT gift. $50 gets a piece of the pie. What’s cooler than owning part of a startup? Nada. Nothing.  Click to see what’s available and give the coolest gift.  Birthday coming up for someone? Or yours! How about owning a piece of a start up? 9 unique windows of the future – go ahead, look:  PIE CAPITAL  

Time to Invest 

So you want to invest in a startup? Good – because the innovation machine is on a roll and you might be on for the ride of a lifetime.

However if you don’t live in Silicon Valley and you don’t know anyone in a startup and you haven’t got a clue what to invest in but you want a piece of the pie what are you going to do?

First, congratulate yourself that you don’t need to find a place to live in the highest priced real estate market in the U.S.  It really is true that a 500 sq ft.  shack will cost you over a million. That topic is exiting stage left right now.

Second, here’s the good news: you aren’t stuck with the guesswork of a Kickstarter or Indiegogo (though I love them they can be confusing to an investor) in order to invest. With a new company in Palo Alto, Pie Capital, you have someone looking out for you, finding the latest and greatest startups and doing all the pre-vetting work for you.  And then, letting you in on the ground floor for as little as $100.00 and even better…letting you decide how to allocate whatever amount you decide to invest. I recently spoke with Bill Eichen, founder and CEO of Pie Capital. He explained what Pie does differently.

I am quite impressed with the vetting process the team at Pie Capital does. A start up can’t just throw together a cool video, a dubious product, make an app and say, “Give me money and I’ve got a t-shirt for you.” and expect to make it to Pie Capital’s recommended list for investment.

Let me insert a personally embarrassing but relevant  anecdote here. I had the co-founder and then CEO of Pinterest renting the studio at my house while they were  in beta.  I saw their site before it was released to the public.  But then out it went and Paul (Paul Sciarra, co-founder, former CEO) was worried one day – VC’s were going to be looking at the site’s traffic the next day and he thought they might not have enough.  I had a  newsletter I wrote with 2000 on my list.  I told Paul I would send out a notice: “Drop everything, go have fun, here’s a great new site you are going to love.”  I sent it and silently felt like a fraud. I did not really like Pinterest. I thought it was silly and due to fail.  Now you know the embarrassing part: as of May 2018, Pinterest had 200 million active monthly visitors.

How wrong was I?

Very wrong. How wrong were the local venture capitalists that funded Pinterest? Not at all.  And that’s what Pie Capital brings you. Thorough vetting and not a single mini me to make the mistake of thinking: ‘If I don’t like it no one else will’. The team at Pie Capital brings sensors, software, engineering, MIT, finance experts, CEO’s, COO’s, which all adds up to an embedded sense of knowing which startup has the brightest potential. I asked Bill Eichen, founder and CEO of Pie Capital if they have any secret sauce in how they make a decision for inclusion. They do. (This is so cool!)  They have a trademarked AI they call an Autovet engine.  Input the cap table, balance sheet and income statement of the startup to the engine and out pops the magic Bill and the team at Pie Capital use to decide who gets in. (Ok, I gave you the TL:DR version. But it is proprietary and what’s important is that these veterans of the Valley know what to do with it and what it means.)

Most importantly, they know what VC’s do: you don’t have to like the product, use it, or want it, but will the market ?  If so, you have a winner. Like Pinterest.

As great as Kickstarter and Indiegogo are, they do not make it easy to evaluate assets which means  a high barrier for entry for the public. And if you have no experience or knowledge base and don’t hang out with the founder then you need the wisdom of the team at PIE to help you evaluate.

Many seek out PIE but only a few are chosen.  We have no lack of startups today but picking the quality ones is a skill and an art. I love that Pie Capital brings this to the table.

Everyone has a different tolerance for risk but no one wants to be last out of the gate. No one can guarantee a winner but you can have a head start. With a variety of vetted startups that range from coffee shop startups to the MVP’s (they have a minimum viable product) to those with traction (they are already on the go), Pie brings you choice.

It also brings you ease of mind in a chaotic arena when faced with hard to evaluate assets. There may not be a t-shirt in it but really is this what you want? And when you look at the startups on the front page of Pie Capital remember this anecdote: Years ago, sitting at Printers Ink in Palo Alto I overheard the following: “My friend’s roommate just did something stupid: he dropped out of Stanford temporarily  to start a website based on his bookmarks.” That website based on his bookmarks belonged to Jerry Yang and he called it YAHOO. Was it stupid? No 🙂

Click the logo and check out the startups at PIE. Come back and tell us what you like and why.



PS. Bill Eichen is going to be was a judge on June 15th at this startup meetup in San Francisco – hopefully soon the videos will be up:  Live Sharks Tank

General Investing Start Ups Startups

Pie Capital Launches Portfolio for Microinvestments

555 Bryant, Palo Alto, CA
For Immediate Release



Unique service allows anyone to invest as little as $100 in nine startups.


Revolutionizes the micro-investor startup industry

May 1, 2018…Palo Alto, California — Pie Capital today announced the immediate availability of their new pre-vetted investment platform across multiple technology market segments. Micro-investors can quickly evaluate companies by reviewing slide decks, business plans, pre-money valuations, videos, and detailed financials to make informed and efficient investment decisions on 9 different technology startups.

Investments from $100 to $2,500 are made online with a secure payment portal from PayPal, Stripe, Venmo and BitCoin.

Investors then receive either Common or Preferred shares in the company.

Pie Capital allows investments as small as $100 and all tools are free and available to all. Transaction fees are reduced by more than 40% for investments in the diversified portfolio.

“Pie Capital is a unique investment tool for early stage startup micro-investors who want early access” explained Bill Eichen, CEO of Pie Capital, Inc. “Our investors are busy professionals, angel investors, family offices and early stage investors who understand the risk and reward in early stage funding.”

By using today’s mobile communications technologies, Pie Capital users receive instant information about their investment opportunities and can make informed decisions. Clients update their preferences at their convenience to best manage their own portfolios and transactions to review business trends on prospective new companies.

“We encourage spreading micro-investments across the 9 company diversified portfolio” The companies span Fintech, automotive, digital health, sensors, sports, and IoT marketplaces.

“Pie Capital has demonstrated a revolutionary technology using standard mobile devices” said Brandon Apparcel, CEO of SportsNuttz, Inc, a leader in sports gamification mobile technology.

“Pie Capital utilizes the latest reactive technology to ensue multi-platform compatibility on mobile and laptop technology,” said Sanjeev Dharap, Founder and CTO at Pie Capital. “Our active clients enjoy a secure, fast, and reliable service.”

 Online customer support is available 24×7 to registered customers. “We have created a customer-facing corporate culture and strive to insure that our customers receive information in a timely and reliable fashion,” said Eichen. “Pie Capital provides a Learning Center reference guide for new investors.”

Pie Capital, Inc. is a privately held corporation in Palo Alto, California. Pie Capital designs, develops and supports vertically oriented internet products and tools for the financial industry. Financial professionals and related ecosystem partners are encouraged to contact Pie Capital’s affiliates department at Pie Capital may be reached at (650) 493-1801 or via email at

Pie Capital,, Autovet, and LearningCenter are trademarks of Pie Capital, Inc.

Big Tech Government & Technology

Cambridge Analytica and Facebook

silicon valley story










What took so long? This isn’t hidden info. I found Cambridge Analytica and its methods over a year ago. I tweeted. I told friends in the hopes they would stop announcing Trump was a narcissist and repeating it as news.  The Facebook echo chamber is so extraordinarily boring.  I begged them to stop complaining and devise strategy and tactics and begin with Cambridge Analytica and the Mercer Family.

Surely, surely, FB had to know.  If I did, didn’t they?

January 2017  I sent this email:

Subject: How Facebook shows the news that people like

It’s Robert Mercer’s company – Cambridge Analytica
 This article is on big data and its role in politics  – Rebekah Mercer is trying to get this page supressed
The entire article is  Orwellian   And right now there is turf war: Kushner wants his data people but Rebekah wants their company – the one described here – and all the data collected is enormous – a data base of great wealth – literally

How to keep Clinton voters away from the ballot box

Trump’s striking inconsistencies, his much-criticized fickleness, and the resulting array of contradictory messages, suddenly turned out to be his great asset: a different message for every voter. The notion that Trump acted like a perfectly opportunistic algorithm following audience reactions is something the mathematician Cathy O’Neil observed in August 2016.

These “dark posts”—sponsored Facebook posts that can only be seen by users with specific profiles—included videos aimed at African-Americans in which Hillary Clinton refers to black men as predators, for example.

“Pretty much every message that Trump put out was data-driven,” Alexander Nix remembers. On the day of the third presidential debate between Trump and Clinton, Trump’s team tested 175,000 different ad variations for his arguments, in order to find the right versions above all via Facebook. The messages differed for the most part only in microscopic details, in order to target the recipients in the optimal psychological way: different headings, colors, captions, with a photo or video. This fine-tuning reaches all the way down to the smallest groups, Nix explained in an interview with us. “We can address villages or apartment blocks in a targeted way. Even individuals.”

In the Miami district of Little Haiti, for instance, Trump’s campaign provided inhabitants with news about the failure of the Clinton Foundation following the earthquake in Haiti, in order to keep them from voting for Hillary Clinton. This was one of the goals: to keep potential Clinton voters (which include wavering left-wingers, African-Americans, and young women) away from the ballot box, to “suppress” their vote, as one senior campaign official told Bloomberg in the weeks before the election. These “dark posts”—sponsored news-feed-style ads in Facebook timelines that can only be seen by users with specific profiles—included videos aimed at African-Americans in which Hillary Clinton refers to black men as predators, for example.

Nix finishes his lecture at the Concordia Summit by stating that traditional blanket advertising is dead. “My children will certainly never, ever understand this concept of mass communication.” And before leaving the stage, he announced that since Cruz had left the race, the company was helping one of the remaining presidential candidates.

Bitcoin Bitcoins Cryptocurrency

The Bitcoin/Blockchain Cosmos



To B or Not to B, That Is The Question

Bitcoin, blockchain, cryptocurrency – all are controversial topics. This is some food for thought with a link to an article worth reading.  Check it out. I’m  presenting opinions here, not investment advice. I do encourage engagement in the topic, if not the coin, because it isn’t going away.

FWIW, I’ve been going to bitcoin meetups for four years and have recently seen a huge increase in the number of people attending.  From 15 to 200 in one group. These are tech people in Silicon Valley. Imagine when the rest of the country and world have this much interest. I see an explosion of interest not the implosion some do. Read the link, think about it, and leave a comment with your thoughts.   Finally, if you buy btc, use it.

Personal opinion: not a bubble.

Do your own research.

Think about this: bitcoins are not tulips. Some will know what I mean, for others, google bitcoin, tulips.

I buy my coffee at Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto with bitcoin. Use yours.

“Bitcoin may be the first “buyable” S-curve.”   I agree. (FWIW)   That quote is from Brandon Green’s article:  Bitcoin Is Not a Bubble; It’s in an S-Curve and It’s Just Getting Started

I am an early adopter. I’ve been using bitcoin since 2012. If only I’d been saving it since then, oh well, you know where that is going…

To make my cryptocurrency adventure more fun – and because I believe in it – I bought some LISK (LSK)  Maybe you should check it out: LISK

Finally, I love this t-shirt.

pay with bitcoin

General Voices

So Much to Celebrate in Silicon Valley

What to Celebrate In The Valley

An interview with Tim Cook
A coffee with Mark,
Marissa has a tale for sure
Elon’s got 1000 companies to discuss

There’s robots and rockets,
the blockchain and bitcoin
the death of Moore’s law

quantum computing, AI,
and X’s from Tim, Elon or Google

Waymo cruising by with cameras and lidar
People doing coffee at Cafe Venetia
or planning a startup at Coupa Cafe.

Singularity U, NASA, a trip to Mars..

We are never bored here in the Valley.
There is always the new, new thing.
It’s fun and I love it and
I’ll donate my genome if you
will CRISPR my defects,
and if microdosing helps happiness, I’m in.

But today is Larry’s birthday so
let’s not forget this was once
The Valley of the Heart’s Delight
and the air was filled with sweetness
and on birthdays we celebrate that.

Happy Birthday, Larry

(with thanks to a house on Webster St.)



Augmented Reality Entertainment Games Start Ups Virtual Reality VR/AR

Curiopets AR Pet Game Now Available on App Store



An Augmented Reality Pet Simulator Game

Update: December 13:

Beyond One announced a contest: an all expense paid one week vacation to Hawaii for the player who completes the most quests by New Years Eve.  What are you waiting for? Download now! CurioPets

Palo Alto, CA – September 19, 2017 – Beyond One, Inc. just released its  first title, CurioPets, a multiplayer pet simulator mobile game that has been described as “Tamagotchi meets Pokemon Go” in Augmented Reality. If you are a pet lover, a gamer, nostalgic for the 90’s, or happen to love discovering things by travel, you won’t want to miss this!

Imagine being able to explore the world with your adorable pet anytime and anywhere, hassle free. CurioPets, short for curious pets, are adorable little pets you can carry with you in your phone to all of your favorite real-life places, such as parks, museums, beaches, and more. Through Apple’s ARKit, you can embark on adventures with your pet while collecting curious energy, also known as Curios, and discovering hidden treasures! Curios are generated by humans’ innate curiosity and is spread out all  across the world, concentrating in Curio spheres at popular locations with historical or cultural significance. The more Curio spheres you travel to, the bigger they get and the more Curios you collect. The more Curios you collect, the happier you can keep your pet as you feed, clothe, and decorate its home on a floating tree island.  What’s cuter than seeing that happy tail wag? Just like in Webkinz or Neopets, you can use your in-game currency (Curios) to buy yummy treats to feed your pet, cute clothes to dress your pet, and even cool swag to deck out your pet’s room!

“I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty pumped to try this out. Full disclosure, I have a highly addictive personality and I’m legitimately scared this game is going to take over my life.”

— TechCrunch, Megan Dickey

As a social app, CurioPets also allows you to hang out with friends for individual pet playdates or collaborate in the global competitive gameplay! In the global gameplay, you can rank up your pet alone or collaborate with friends to form exploration guilds and climb the ranks by competing with others through conquering the Curio spheres distributed across the world! In the spirit of promoting travel, exploration, and discovery, the top guild will win an all-expense paid trip somewhere brimming curious energy! More information on guilds and the global competition will be announced later this year! If you’re a more casual player, you can compete against your friends in the multiplayer mini-games, such as in Luna Lander, a rendition of the classic 2D arcade game Moon Lander, or Beach Bounce, a sandpit volleyball match! Whether in your backyard, living room, or kitchen, you can see your pets compete against each other in AR through these fun and challenging games!

Want to learn more about CurioPets and find out more about how they came to be? Read all about the first CurioPet to land on Earth, Coop the Explorer, and his adventures around Silicon Valley! You can find his Captain’s Logs and more information about CurioPets at You can also check out our trailer here.

“I never touched Pokemon Go, perhaps for the same reason I’ve steered clear of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Switch game: For fear it will take over my life. But it’s been nearly two decades since I last resurrected a dead digital animal, and the wagging tail of pixelated Coop the Explorer is just too cute to ignore. So, goodbye personal responsibilities, and hello virtually furry friend!”

—, Stephanie Mlot

CurioPets is available now in the Apple App Store for all devices running iOS 11.

Download here: CurioPets

The CurioPets Company, a subsidiary of Beyond One, Inc., is an Augmented Reality gaming studio dedicated to creating social exploration games that connect people. The team, comprised of creatives, visionaries, and enthusiasts, is passionate about using technology to augment real conversations and interactions between people, rather than disrupt them. To learn more, visit

Like and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!


Press Contact
Name: Nathan Kong

Augmented Reality Entertainment Games Start Ups VR/AR

Augmented Reality’s Cutest Pet App Is Here! Meet Curiopets.

curio pets augmented reality app

Every Good Story Begins at a Chocolate Factory

especially when you can take your favorite pet there.

AR Curiopets

Maybe Tim Cook is too quiet when he tells us about Apple and where it is heading because it took the media and the public a long time to understand  he had  a vision that is soon to be visible, big time. Here’s a clue to Tim: when he repeats the same thing at different times in various venues, no matter how short a time he spends on it, he is serious.

And that’s what happened with augmented reality. AR is computer generated objects overlayed on the real world. Your camera shows the real world, the AR programmer brings you the rest. No matter how simple that sounds it is not. But this is not the place to get technical. But it is the place to tell you that AR is about to enter your life, big time.

Taking advantage of Apple’s ARkit, a developer’s start box, is someone we have met before here at The Silicon Valley Story, Nathan Kong. We met Nathan developing worlds for his VR educational project.  But something spectacular has happened to Nathan recently. He has been found by Coop, an alien visitor whose home has exploded somewhere in the cosmos. Coop is a puppy. He is a CurioPet. It get complicated but that’s where the fun kicks in because like any puppy he wants to hang out with his cool human and have grand experiences. In fact, Coop collects experiences. That’s where you come in. Buckle your belts, this is one heck of a ride.

Nathan defines CurioPets as an Augmented Reality pet simulator multiplayer game that encourages real world exploration. “We built the app using Apple ARKit and intend to launch as soon as iOS 11 is released. With CurioPets, our goal is to promote exploration as gamers travel with their virtual pets around the world. The features of the game include dressing, feeding, and playing with your pet, decorating your pet’s room, competing against your friends in mini games, collecting rare items, and discovering hidden treasure by exploring your surroundings.”

You can decorate Coop’s home, dress him, play with him, invite friends over…and of course if you go to Santa Cruz, he’ll be with you.

Intertwining words via a story telling blog and AR, Nathan explains how he met Coop and we see it through Coop’s eyes:

Today I discovered a small blue planet called Earth. Upon descending on Earth, I met a somewhat intelligent life-form by the name of Nathan. Nathan is a homosapien, colloquially known as a human. Surprisingly, this two-legged life-form had the intelligence to speak and shares my desire to explore the world.

Hey Coop – I get it! It isn’t easy communicating with other life-forms. Glad you found Nathan, he’s easy to talk to and understands foreign life forms.

Coop and Nathan hang out together at various locales. Here they are at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.



Tim Cook tells us Apple will become the world’s largest augmented reality platform. No reason not to believe it – they control the hardware and software. Coop you have one great home (and I know, one day you will live in Android land too).


Curiopets is fun, engaging, ever changing, interactive, and we want to know, does the SPCA know about it? This game is teaching good care of animals….so have fun, get involved in the most addictive new and good for you tech – augmented reality. It’s here and you should be too. This is the beginning of a massive change – begin with Curiopets and see where it takes you.

Stay tuned at CURIOPETS to find out more and get the first update about downloading the app when it launches on September 12. 




Entertainment General Health John Heard Stanford

John Heard and Stanford Medical

John Heard

To John Heard




Well known, loved  and respected actor John Heard died in Palo Alto on Friday after back surgery at Stanford. So let’s talk Stanford Hospital because Stanford is  a major part of the Silicon Valley story. And the Medical Center has problems.


John said he had a laminectomy.  As I write this we do not know what he died from and since his doctor said the surgery went really well, let’s not assume it was the surgery itself.  Time will tell from the medical examiner’s office what was the cause.

John was released from Stanford Hospital 11:30 am Thursday morning, July 20th and I picked him up.  Some are worried he was left for dead in the hotel for days.  He was not. His surgery was the day before.  His room was not ready yet at the Sheraton so we came to my house and had lunch.  He was using a walker but did not seem in significant pain. He was in some pain but it seemed he was dealing with it.  We spent several hours here and then checked him in to the hotel by 3.  By that time he was significantly worse on the pain scale and wondering what to do.  It was harder for him to move and he was visually uncomfortable.


He called his surgeon and left a message. There was no response.  Later that afternoon he called again and this time I heard the message he left. It was lengthy and descriptive.  He expressed deep frustration that there had been no call back, that no one had told him what to expect in terms of pain and for how long and what he should do about it.   He mentioned the lack of information he had been given as he left the hospital.

These were the same comments he made to me throughout the afternoon. I was not in the hospital as he was being released and can only report what John said regarding his care at the hospital upon leaving.  He was also unhappy with the very short visit from his doctor at the hospital.

It was frustrating to watch the pain increase and John’s misery along with it.  We decided to Google his operation and see what to expect post op.  I used Web MD figuring they would be as close to Stanford’s mindset as any site.  They described what he was going through (pain and the meds to use for it) and it seemed to fit his experience. He felt better knowing that pain was to be expected at this time but should decrease over time.

Which brought us back again to the doctor.  When I left John that night he was still waiting for a call back. We had planned on a little car drive through Stanford (across the street from his hotel) which he asked for but then he decided against it as he also decided against dinner at the hotel restaurant. Too much pain.


I told him to call when he was ready the next day if he wanted dinner together or needed something, otherwise I would let him rest and watch TV.

The call never came. Alive at 11 am on Friday but gone by 1 pm.


Stanford Med thinks highly of itself. It recently announced it had completed research that shows  good nutrition is important before and after surgery and people should eat. Newsflash: always has been known that eating well helps improve surgery outcomes.  John received no information on nutrition that I know of.


Stanford has a good reputation but facts are something else.


On July 11, 2017  abc7news reported:

….the infection rate at Stanford isn’t just bad by comparison to other Bay Area hospitals, it’s actually among the lowest 25 percent of all hospitals across the United States.
Anish Singh sits with patients at Stanford University Medical Center all day long. “I’m here today because I care about the patient’s safety,” he said.

Singh is part of the workers’ union that says Stanford has a higher infection rate than seven other Bay Area teaching hospitals.”Stanford is supposed to be a world renowned hospital. It’s just shocking,” Stanford unit secretary Linda Cornell said.

Cornell attributes the high infection rate to under staffing and a lack of training for housekeepers. “On the day-to-day basis it seems like a factory mentality, patients are pushed in and pushed out, everybody is rush, rush, rush, we’re short staffed.

Stanford: you have to do better. No one deserves to put their lives in your hands, pay your salaries and not have enough help.


Was John the victim of “rush, rush, rush”?   No information on after care?  what to eat? what to expect? how to take meds?  Perhaps not making sure he had the info with him if given?  Lack of it to begin with?  He says he received none.


RIP John Heard and thank you for the years of joy you brought to all. The film archive that is your life is grand in scope and moving and  skillfully crafted and a gift to those you leave behind. You were outspoken and quirky and stood up for your friends. This post is a gift to you in hopes it makes a ripple in the pond and saves others, in your honor and your memory.  Maybe Stanford had nothing to do with why you died and I do not dismiss the good they do, but sometimes, some things need to be said.  Tangential or causal is not that important when it comes to better outcomes. They just need to happen.


John Heard
Fraud General Stanford Voices

Got a Ticket? Fraud Alert! Data Ticket

How California’s Outsourced Company for Ticket Revenue Is Scamming You 

data ticket scam

There are start ups all over California. I like them.  Now, I would like to propose a start down.  It’s time to go, Data Ticket, you are not good for California and you waste taxpayer money.

Travis and Marjorie

Let me introduce the Travis  Kalanick of the ticket collection world. Meet Marjorie Fleming, CEO of Data Ticket and (and daughter Brook).  Getting all the tax benefits of being a “woman centered” company, Mama and daughter cheat you one check at a time.   When you get a ticket in Santa Clara County, including Stanford, or any number of cities and counties in California, Data Ticket collects the fine and as they say in their marketing: “We maximize revenue.”  Very few ways to maximize revenue on a $45.00 ticket but they found it – they get an interest free loan by double dipping and maximize their profits.

Here’s the scam, the stealth fraud, easy to miss but in reality, not that clever.  1. Get a parking ticket.  2.Pay with check or credit card.  I went with check. Bad choice. 3. About 2 weeks  after sending the check get a notice you haven’t paid.  An 800 number is given (“if you think you paid” – oh, they know exactly what they are doing!).  4. I call.  5.I am told to pay with cc.  I say, “Then when you get my check you will not cash it?” Response: “Oh no, we will cash it. We have no way of knowing if you pay or not.” Holy algorithms!  And cash it they do as soon as I pay with cc. They have held the check for a month, sent me a warning, and demanded payment or fine and reporting to DMV.

Jaw drop. A company with no bookkeeping system at all.  (Marjorie, Brook, maybe you’ve heard of Silicon Valley and tech and algorithms and AI and the blockchain? OTOH, sounds like even basic accounting is unknown.) Actually what they are doing is holding on to the checks, cashing them eventually and then using both monies as an interest free loan.

UPDATE: From an RFP for City of Bell, Data Ticket explains EXACTLY what it does = (the big question is why does it lie to the public?) so we can see here they know exactly when a ticket is paid (we knew this, Marjorie, Brook!)

  1. Manual Payment Processing: Included
    • Manually received payments (checks, cash, money orders and credit card payments sent via US Mail) are received at our PO Box in Newport Beach where a bonded and insured courier picks up the mail daily and delivers it to our Newport Beach office
    • On-site Mail Department opens, sorts and batches the payments before providing them to our on- site Data Entry Department
    • After double-blind entry of each payment, the citations are updated by our Quality Assurance team
    • Payments are then provided to our Accounting Department where daily deposit slips are

completed and provided to a bonded, insured courier who takes them to the bank

As they say on their website: Data Ticket is a full-service parking and administrative citation-processing agency that focuses all our efforts and expertise on maximizing revenue for our clients (and apparently for themselves). Remember: these are YOUR parking tickets they are referring to.

I researched Data Ticket and their RFP’s and the many complaints online. The stories are the same. Here is one from another victim of their fraud. This is a perfect example of a usual method of defrauding:  (from RIP OFF REPORT along with other victim stories):

“I appealed the ticket and the appeal was denied.  I wrote the check and sent it to the citation processing center.  After a few days I checked their website and it hadn’t been processed.  I called them after 8 days and inquired.  I was told that all payments are processed and posted within 24 hours.  I asked if it could be sitting on someone’s desk waiting for processing and was told no that’s no possible.   So I asked if I could pay with my credit card over the phone because the check must have been lost in the mail.  The payment was made over the phone.  The next day I checked back on-line and the check showed it was processed 8 days ago.  Obviously it was back dated or just processed with the date it was received.  It also showed my credit card payment.  I called the Citation Center back and told them I’d like a credit card credit, as now I had paid twice.  They told me NO we can’t credit your credit card so I said then I’ll dispute it to my credit card.  I was put on hold and then was told that the supervisor said yes, I could dispute the charge.

I disputed the charge and the charge was removed.  Almost 3 months later I received an Official Notice of Delinquent Parking Citation.  The amount due was now $114.00.  I called and told them the story and was told they’d have to find the call I made to verify that I wasn’t told that there is a charge of $30 to cancel a credit card payment.  They told me to call back the next day.  I checked on-line again and found that the charge was changed to $30 from the $114.00 the day before. This Citation Processing Center changes the information on-line.  It still shows my check payment and my credit card payment but doesn’t mention the credit card payment cancellation charge.  The website also removed the Appeal feature and there is no complaint feature.  I filed my original Appeal on their website, but it still gives directions on their website on how to file an appeal on-line.

This has been a disgusting experience from start to current.”

Good summation. “Disgusting experience.” Being defrauded is always disgusting.

Uber gave good rides even if Travis was a jerk to some employees. Data Ticket just takes you for a ride and when you expose it they create stories out of thin air.  I’m especially fond of being accused of instigating “an email attack” against the company. That would be 2 unanswered emails!  (Thanks for making my day with that one.)  Ladies, I gotta ask: define attack.  And let me know why you didn’t respond to 2 emails  and why your phones don’t get answered – ringing for 10 minutes in the middle of the day.  How does one communicate with you people? (That’s the 800 customer service number that went unanswered.)

Again, here’s what they do – and its all recorded.  Send in check. They hold on to it. Send you notice your payment is not received although you sent it in 2 weeks prior in envelope they provided. Call. They tell you to pay via cc. You say, “and when you get check you will not cash it?” They reply: We will cash it. We have no way of knowing you paid.”

However they brag in their RFP to the cities and counties and universities that they want to hire  that they provide:

  • complete, real-time audit trail for every citation in the Solution, including data entry, adjudication, payments, customer service notes, notices, DMV interaction, user notes and more

They have that for their paying customers but not the people calling about their ticket payment?  C’mon ladies, we aren’t stupid. Just victims.

And about those recorded calls? I asked one employee about it and she hung up on me. I have asked for the recordings in my 2 emails (the email attack!) and no one has responded.

See Kight v. CashCALL, Inc., 133 Cal. Rptr. 3d 450 (Cal. Ct. App. 2011) (holding that §632 prohibits a business from monitoring its own customer service and other telephone calls conducted in the ordinary course of its own business unless consent is obtained from each person on the call, stating “we conclude the statute applies even if the unannounced listener is employed by the same corporate entity as the known participant in the conversation”); Montemayor v. GC Servs. LP, 302 F.R.D. 581, 584 (S.D. Cal. 2014).

If I hadn’t gotten caught up in this scam and uncovered it and had it recorded, I would never have known how our cities throughout California are wasting money with a company that is making money by defrauding people.  To the victims of Data Ticket, send this to your city, schools, county and ask them to hire another outfit. Don’t we reward thieves enough?

Like Uber, let’s go to the employees and see what they say. Quotes are from

Administration is cheap and stingy.

No leadership. The mother and daughters who run the business treat people horribly; destroy morale. I am surprised they have not gone out of business. There is a revolving door for employees. People are expendable. They fire good people/employees without cause instead of laying them off.

Nothing given to employees even though owners take huge bonuses for themselves. When something bothers the management they do not discuss with you or ask you to correct it, they just get rid of you. NO discussions.

Incredibly poor management. Worst software I’ve ever come across (and I’ve seen some nasty stuff). Ancient, outdated architecture which is slowly being replaced by mildly old, outdated architecture littered with anti-patterns. It really is a miracle that they are able to function at all.

Advice to Management: At this point, you either commit to a complete rewrite, or sell your business to someone who can give your customers the product they really need.

The CEO is so old and out of touch with technology she should retire, or she may drag the company down with lack of innovation. They are cheap. They will not invest in new new equipment to offer to our customers, or proper development equipment to improve what we have. They make employees clean the kitchen/break room area.

Take technical advice and do not debate against it especially when the one giving the advice is your only subject matter expert at the company. Either hire a real development manager or learn something about development

If Data Ticket is in your county, do what you can to get them out. Show the evidence to the city councils, to the police departments, to the federal government agencies on fraud and email Marjorie and Brook. Just be prepared for them to be slightly confused at what is legal and what is not.