VC Task Force Looks to Expand Early-Stage Capital, MojoPages Gets Strategy Advice, Founder Institute Enrolls First Area Class, & More San Diego BizTech News

10/26/09Follow @bvbigelow

Much of last week’s San Diego business news involved venture capital—how much VC cash was recently invested in this area, and how the local tech community is working to get more. Read on, gentle reader, for all the VC wranglings and the rest of the biz tech happenings:

—The decline in San Diego-based venture capital firms prompted the technology community to form a task force to increase the access to capital for early-stage companies here. Windward Ventures’ managing partner Dave Titus is leading the task force. He told me, “When you’re talking about early stage companies, they don’t get done by out-of-town venture capital firms. They just don’t.”

V-Vehicle, the San Diego-based startup car manufacturer, was the single biggest recipient of venture capital—raising $62.25 million—during the three months that ended Sept. 30, according to data from Dow Jones VentureSource. It was among 29 startups that got a total of $248 million in venture dollars during the third quarter.

—During a panel discussion organized by the San Diego Venture Group, Mission Venture’s Leo Spiegel says his VC firm has been meeting with institutional investors with the intent of raising money for another venture fund. “We’d like to see more innovation in San Diego,” Spiegel said.

—In a presentation at San Diego’s MIT Enterprise Forum, MojoPages founder and CEO Jon Carder sought advice on how to build its online community and take advantage of its access to free advertising as the San Diego Internet startup expands. Carder said the company’s core business combines a searchable online business directory with a social network that provides consumer reviews of local merchants, restaurants, service providers, and other businesses. Carder views Yelp as their biggest competitor.

The Founder Institute, which provides training courses for startup CEOs, is finalizing enrollment for its inaugural San Diego class. The business mentoring program, which meets weekly over a four-month period, began in San Francisco earlier this year and is expanding to San Diego and other cities over the next few months.

—Brendan Boyd and partners Jan Anton and Eric Jacobson have re-branded their e-commerce website previously known as iSelfStore.com and launched it as Onemarketplace.com. The company’s Web-based application enables people to fill out a single form to sell items simultaneously on eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, and other merchandise sites.

—San Diego-based Senomyx (NASDAQ: SNMX) says it can now begin commercializing S6973, a compound it has developed to intensify the sweetness of sugar. The compound could help food makers reduce the amount of sugar they put into prepared foods.

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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