San Diego’s Wireless Incubator Hatches, Geospatial Software Gains Ground, EcoDog Gets an Angel, & More San Diego BizTech News

6/22/09Follow @bvbigelow

As the unemployment rate climbed to 11.5 percent statewide in California, and 9.4 percent in San Diego County, two local industry groups announced major initiatives to encourage and support innovation in the region. Read up on that and the rest of San Diego’s business and technology news:

—San Diego’s software industry, which already hosts a cluster of developers that specialize in predictive analytics, is organizing a business networking group for geographic information systems, or GIS. Organizer Yash Talreja says a combination of mapping, GPS, and Internet technologies are making GIS a hot sector. Next month, some 14,000 people are expected to attend the conference held each year in San Diego by Redlands, CA-based ESRI, a leader in GIS mapping and modeling technology.

—With the recession opening a void in local startup activity, San Diego’s wireless industry is creating a non-profit incubator to provide free office space and business support for up to two years to communications-based startups. Rory Moore, who heads the industry group CommNexus, says the new EvoNexus incubator is intended to help a new generation of companies get started.

—San Diego DivX (NASDAQ: DIVX) CEO Kevin Hell says managing the video codec developer depends on anticipating the next step in the evolution of consumer media. That means enabling any online content to play on any device, according to the DivX boss. He views “video freedom” as being able to seamlessly move a video among a computer, TV, and wireless mobile device.

—The former chairman and CEO of San Diego Gas & Electric gave an endorsement of sorts to EcoDog, a Vista, CA-based startup, by allowing the company to announce that he is the first angel investor in an early stage round that aims to raise $5.6 million. EcoDog founder Ron Pitt told me he has developed a device that encourages conservation by helping homeowners monitor their electricity.

—San Diego’s Accelrys (NASDAQ: ACCL), which specializes in scientific software used in computation, simulation, and the management and mining of scientific data, named former Interwoven president Scipio “Max” Carnecchia as CEO. The company later said Carnecchia will be entitled to purchase up to 800,000 shares of the Accelrys common stock at an exercise price per share equal to $5.38. Carnecchia, also is joining the board.

—The era of employee ownership came to an end Friday at San Diego defense contractor SAIC, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. When nuclear physicist (and San Diego Xconomist) J. Robert Beyster founded SAIC 40 years ago to provide high-technology research and engineering services, he viewed employee ownership as crucial to the startup’s entrepreneurial culture. The defense conglomerate has become a more conventional public company since Beyster left the company in 2004. He wrote in his blog that the battle to preserve employee control at SAIC was lost years ago.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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