Aptera Postpones Production, HR Biopetroleum and Shell in Biofuel Collaboration, Power Grid Needs Tech Innovation, & More San Diego BizTech News

11/23/09Follow @bvbigelow

It was a busy week for cleantech news. Local biofuels executives talked about their collaborative partnerships with big energy companies, and Vista, CA-based Aptera disclosed why it has pared back on some operations. Read all about it here.

Aptera, the Vista, CA-carmaker, said it has delayed production of its all-electric Aptera 2e that once was to begin in the fall of 2009. In a statement, the company said, “We’ll begin volume production vehicles once our current series of private funding has closed or when we secure financing through the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle loan program, whichever comes first.”

Global Analytics Holdings, a San Diego company founded by Krishna Gopinathan, has raised $10 million of a targeted $14 million round. Gopinathan, who was the primary inventor of the Falcon Fraud Manager that’s now part of Fair Isaac, started Global Analytics to develop software for statistical analysis, predictive modeling, and neural networks.

Collaborative partnerships with big energy companies are a crucial way for startup biofuel companies to advance their technologies and expand their business operations. At a Biocom forum, HR BioPetroleum CEO Edward Shonsey explained how his startup established a joint venture in 2007 with Royal Dutch Shell. But even with its partnership, HR BioPetroleum has had a hard time securing financing, as COO Martin Sabarsky told Voice of San Diego.

Sony Ericsson plans to close six offices worldwide, including one in San Diego, as it consolidates its operations and moves its North American headquarters from Research Triangle Park, NC, to Atlanta.

Ellen Pao, a partner and member of the GreenTech investment team at Menlo Park, CA-based Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, said one of the hottest areas for technology innovation and investment is the electric power grid. As she put it, “We use a lot of energy, and we waste a lot of energy.”

—Carlsbad CA-based Verdezyne, which has re-engineered its business strategy to focus on the “green design” of biofuels and industrial chemicals, is working to re-engineer a particular strain of yeast so that it makes ethanol much more efficiently. The company, which now has 26 employees, also has identified a key market for its technology in industrial chemicals.

Leonard Pool is seeking venture capital to expand his nine-year-old company, Sidus Solutions, which specializes in deep underwater camera and surveillance technologies for the maritime industry. Sidus Solutions is representative of a cottage industry in San Diego that is focused on marine technologies.

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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