EvoNexus Evolves: CommNexus Absorbs Incubator, Accepts San Diego’s Independa as Latest Resident Startup

12/7/10Follow @bvbigelow

San Diego’s CommNexus wireless industry group has reorganized EvoNexus, the free technology incubator it created last year, and has folded its operations into the non-profit group’s programs, according to CommNexus CEO Rory Moore.

Moore also confirmed that Cathy Pucher, who was hired as executive director when EvoNexus was founded, recently departed the incubator to head sales at Grid2Home, a year-old San Diego startup developing specialized software for smart grid wireless communications.

Moore says the CommNexus board elected a fellow board member, former DivX CEO Kevin Hell, to take over as the volunteer chairman at EvoNexus. Heidi Rockwood, a CommNexus staffer, has assumed day-to-day duties as EvoNexus Program Manager and is responsible for the incubator’s business operations and facilities.

When CommNexus announced in mid-2009 that it was forming a free technology incubator, Tyler Orion told me that EvoNexus had all the right ingredients: a rigorous selection process; good mentoring; and a strong director. Orion, who was a longtime executive director of the Pacific Incubation Network, praised Pucher last night for doing “a really good job” at EvoNexus. Orion also voiced some apprehension over the CommNexus decision to put a voluntary chairman in charge with a CommNexus staffer serving as a kind of incubator manager. While CommNexus traditionally relies on industry executives who volunteer to manage its programs, Orion says it’s “a very unusual model” for running an incubator.

Moore explained that operating EvoNexus as a separate entity proved to be cumbersome for CommNexus. There was a duplication of staff between the two organizations, fund-raising at EvoNexus proved difficult, and funding provided by CommNexus became … Next Page »

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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