Cricket Refinances Debt and Raises Cash, KESDEE Moves to mLearning from eLearning, Good Technology Buys Intercasting, & More San Diego BizTech News

6/1/09

In the short week after Memorial Day, we got a little European literature with tips on bootstrapping, Medsphere got some venture funding, and Good Technology got a San Diego startup, among other interesting news.

—At the San Diego Venture Group’s panel discussion on bootstrapping a business, MaxLinear’s CEO Kishore Seendripu talked defining bootstrapping, which he sees as a process of supporting a business without external help. That is what happened when Seendripu and seven other semiconductor veterans started MaxLinear in 2003 and funded the startup from their consulting work.

—How can a company slide from a 28 percent share of the U.S. market in 2002 to less than 10 percent now, when at the same time it still has almost 40 percent of the global market? That’s the question for Finnish cell-phone maker Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and its CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, who argued at the D7 conference in Carlsbad, CA, that Nokia’s San Diego engineering and design facility is the key to its comeback in the U.S.

—Phone-service company Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) revealed it’s raising more than $1.1 billion to refinance some of its debt. Leap, which operates Cricket throughout the country, also raised $264 million through a private stock sale. The deals set off some merger speculation.

—San Diego’s KESDEE is an all-digital, web-based eLearning company that is moving its financial courses business to mLearning, or mobile learning on mobile phones. “We want to become a dominant niche player in this market. Not Wal-Mart, but Nike,” says CEO Swarna Srinivas. Her company already has created 700 accredited interactive courses for the Federal Reserve Board, Citigroup, Standard Chartered Bank, and others.

—Carlsbad, CA-based Medsphere has raised $1.9 million of a $15 million secondary venture round. CEO Michael Doyle says they have $6 million worth of commitments. Previously the start-up has raised $50 million from Azure Capital Partners, Epic Ventures, and Thomas Weisel Partners to commercialize its electronic health-record system, which was developed decades ago for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

—Good Technology (now wouldn’t that be some idea?), based in Redwood City, CA, acquired San Diego’s social-networking firm Intercasting, although terms of the deal were not disclosed. Intercasting established the social media site Rabble for mobile phones in 2004, and has created the popular Anthem platform.

—And finally, San Diego’s lovable little digital-net creature, Chumby, raised $3 million through debt and security offerings. Chumby Industries previously raised a total of $20 million in venture funding.

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