Veoh Networks RIP, Connect Is Recruiting an Innovation Lobbyist, Envision Solar Goes Public, & More San Diego BizTech News

2/16/10Follow @bvbigelow

The big news last week came from venture-backed Veoh Networks, which is filing for bankruptcy liquidation. Founder Dmitry Shapiro told me Veoh was the biggest Internet company that San Diego has ever seen (see below).

—San Diego’s Veoh Networks, a video streaming website, was officially launched in 2005. It raised $70 million in venture capital, grew to 23 million unique visitors a month, and was generating about $1 million in advertising revenue every month. But Veoh Networks pulled the plug last week, and founder Dmitry Shapiro told me a copyright infringement lawsuit sounded its death knell (even though it won a summary judgment in the case).

Connect, the San Diego non-profit that supports local technology and entrepreneurship, has decided to hire a lobbyist and set up an office in Washington DC, at an estimated cost of $400,000.

Envision Solar, a privately-held solar development firm founded by San Diego architect (and Xconomist) Robert Noble, will soon become a public company following a reverse merger with a dormant public company. Noble told me Envision Solar needs capital to expand its capabilities in developing solar-integrated infrastructure and building systems.

—Wind turbine technologies startup Viryd Technologies, which was spun out last May by San Diego’s Fallbrook Technologies, just raised $5 million from existing angel investors and China’s Ningbo Shentong Auto Decorations.

—There will be lots of wireless news coming out this week from Barcelona, where the GSMA Mobile World Congress began yesterday. Novatel Wireless (NASDAQ: NVTL), for example, last week claimed it had made the first data transmission call using Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G technology.

—At a time when people spend spend more and more of their lives on the Internet, why does online advertising represent only a fraction of the total amount of advertising? Russ Mann, the CEO of San Diego-based Covario, said the answer could be that the Gen-Xers, who are more comfortable using the Internet, social networking sites, and computers, will have to assume command of corporate marketing departments before we’ll see widespread change.

—San Diego-based Leap Wireless was the subject of fresh merger rumors earlier this month, after The Wall Street Journal reported that Leap has hired investment bankers to advise the company. Now rumors are also circulating about a Leap rival, Dallas-based MetroPCS, after Reuters reported last week that MetroPCS has hired investment banking firms JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Credit Suisse Group AG. Leap and MetroPCS were in a merger deal that fell apart in 2007 after the two low-cost wireless carriers failed to agree on a price.

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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