ISE Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, West Wireless Offers Incentive Prize, Psilos Group’s Suennen Scouts Health IT, & More San Diego BizTech News

8/16/10Follow @bvbigelow

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. ISE’s bankruptcy filing marked the only bit of pain in what was another serene week of tech news and unseasonably cool summer temperatures in San Diego. Get caught up on everything you need to know here.

ISE Corp. the Poway, CA-based maker of hybrid-electric drive trains for buses and other heavy-duty vehicles, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. The company, which went public less than six months ago on the Toronto Stock Exchange, had a total deficit of nearly $90 million at the end of March. VentureWire reported that ISE’s main shareholders are NGP Energy Technology Partners and Rockport Capital Partners, which each owned about 17.1 percent of the company as of June. Siemens Venture Capital owned about 13.6 percent.

St. Bernard Software CEO Lou Ryan told me that as part of the San Diego company’s purchase of Red Condor’s e-mail spam-filtering technology, two of Red Condor’s longtime venture investors also made an investment in St. Bernard Software (OTCBB: SBSW).

—The West Wireless Health Institute announced an incentive prize competition that’s intended to advance mobile health technology through a standardized social network platform. The institute says it is offering a $10,000 prize to software developers around the world to design a method for integrating personalized information from an established social network interface (such as OpenSocial) with health data derived from wireless health sensors. More on the prize can be found here.

—Ryan talked with Lisa Suennen of Psilos Group Managers about the New York-based venture firm’s investments in health IT startups. Suennen is a regular visitor to San Diego, where she serves on the board of PatientSafe Solutions, which makes handheld devices that deliver data that help reduce medication errors.

—A CB Insights demographic study of Internet startup founders found that Massachusetts has a far higher proportion of women founders (27 percent) than California (6 percent) or New York (7 percent). The study also looked at the education of these entrepreneurs, and found throughout the country that more startup companies are headed by founders with MBAs (55 percent) than by MS degrees (32 percent) or law degrees (9 percent).

Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs and his wife Joan decided recently to go public about their recent decision to give at least half of their $1.2 billion fortune to charity,according to a page one story in The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Sunday newspaper. The Jacobs family joined a group of 40 U.S. billionaires, led by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, who agreed to pledge 50 percent or more of their wealth to philanthropic causes. The Jacobs family says it already was doing that anyway; the newspaper says they have publicly disclosed pledges of roughly $120 million for the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego, $75 million for a UCSD specialty hospital, $120 million for the San Diego Symphony, and $20 million to replace San Diego’s downtown central library.

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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