Qualcomm’s Top Executives Talk Shop, Verari Lays Off Nearly Everyone, Assay Depot Goes From Biotech Startup to Online Merchant, & More San Diego BizTech News

12/21/09Follow @bvbigelow

San Diego’s tech news slowed to a trickle last week, as considerable speculation focused on the restructuring at Verari Systems, which included laying off most of the data equipment supplier’s workforce. Keep reading to get the latest news.

—San Diego-based Verari Systems abruptly laid off most of its employees, prompting a flurry of reports that the boutique maker of blade-design computer servers and storage racks was shutting down. Dan Gatti, a senior Verari executive, denied that. Gatti said the company is reorganizing its business to protect its customers’ investment in Verari equipment and to provide continuing support capability. Gatti would not comment on the estimated 200 layoffs. The company has raised more than $80 million in venture capital from Celerity Partners, Carlyle Venture Partners, Sierra Ventures, and Voyager Capital.

Qualcomm’s Steve Mollenkopf emphasized that the San Diego wireless company’s capabilities as a wireless “systems on a chip” provider will be a key differentiator as the wireless industry moves from voice to data. Mollenkopf, who heads QCT (Qualcomm CDMA Technologies), Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, and COO Len Lauer gave their perspective on the wireless technology giant’s business at a town hall forum last week. CEO Jacobs noted that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset represents one of the big bets the company has placed on future technologies.

—What started out as a biotech services startup has morphed into a full-service e-commerce business for San Diego-based Assay Depot. The company’s co-founders told me when they started in 2006 with the big idea of creating a Web-based system that would make it super easy for biomedical researchers to order assays, screening tests, and other lab services. They changed their strategy in mid-2007, and now CEO Kevin Lustig describes Assay Depot as the Amazon.com of biotech CROs (Contract Research Organizations).

—Connect, the San Diego nonprofit program for technology and entrepreneurship, found that almost two-thirds of the $252 million in venture funding invested in San Diego during the third quarter went to seed-stage startups. In its third-quarter report on San Diego’s “innovation economy,” Connect says 78 technology companies were started during the three months that ended in September. Federal grants for basic research in San Diego also jumped to new highs.


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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