MaxLinear Ready for IPO, Lindbergh Grandson Announces Electric Aircraft Prize, EMN8 Raises $14.4M, & More San Diego BizTech News

3/22/10Follow @bvbigelow

We had an interesting mix of high-tech news last week, as several efforts to raise capital took shape, and famed aviator Charles Lindbergh’s grandson announced an electrifying new incentive prize. Read on to learn what it’s all about.

—Carlsbad, CA-based chipmaker MaxLinear is expected to go public this week. The company, which specializes in designing wireless chips used to receive and process TV and Internet video signals, is expected to raise between $43 million and $50 million. MaxLinear plans to use the capital for general corporate purposes and acquisitions. The company’s shares will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol MXL.

—Seattle-area resident Erik Lindbergh came to the Torrey Pines Glider Port Friday to announce the creation of the Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize, or LEAP, which is intended to help launch the fledgling electric aircraft industry. Four LEAP awards, which have yet to be funded, will be awarded annually at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual AirVenture, the air show held each July in Oshkosh, WI.

—San Diego’s EMN8, a maker of self-service kiosk technology, is raising more than $14.4 million in venture funding. EMN8 sells its touch screens for use in fast-food restaurants, theaters, theme parks, and other retailers.

Ventana Capital founder Tom Gephart wants to rally support for a proposal to win $5 billion (with a ‘b’) in federal economic stimulus funding, which would be invested in startup companies throughout the U.S. Gephart’s plan calls for dividing the billions among a family of 20 venture capital firms, and which would provide $250 million for each firm to invest and manage.

Tom Cassidy, the retired rear admiral hired to lead a DARPA-funded effort to develop a robotic spy plane in 1987, has retired from the company he helped create—General Atomics Aeronautical Systems of Poway, CA. The company has made more than 380 Predator and Reaper aircraft, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. Cassidy, 77, will remain as nonexecutive chairman of the company that Neal and Linden Blue created as an affiliate of San Diego’s privately held General Atomics.

—Organizers said there was a record turnout for Roth Capital Partners’ 22nd Annual OC Growth Conference, which was held last week at Laguna Niguel, CA. More than 370 companies and 3,000 investors and analysts attended the event. There were 21 presenting companies from San Diego, including Qualcomm, Overland Storage, DivX, and Maxwell Technologies.

Fallbrook Technologies spokesman Emile Barrios told me the San Diego cleantech company has partnered with China’s Tri-Star Group to manufacture Fallbrook’s proprietary design for a more energy-efficient continuously variable transmission bicycles and light electric vehicles. Tri-Star will make Fallbrook’s transmission at its plant near Shanghai, China.

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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