Qualcomm Sells Some Wireless Spectrum, Report Predicts Cleantech Job Growth in San Diego, JMI’s Paul Barber Talks About Investment Strategy, & More San Diego BizTech News

1/3/11Follow @bvbigelow

The holidays have ended, and we have some catching up to do. Get ready for 2011 with our wrap-up of San Diego’s recent tech news.

Qualcomm said it was coming: The San Diego wireless giant agreed to sell the wireless spectrum that runs its Flo TV mobile television service to AT&T for more than $1.9 billion, after spending $683 million to acquire rights in the 700-megahertz band over several years in the mid-2000s. Qualcomm Chairman and CEO Paul Jacobs said last summer that its Flo TV network could be used to “data cast” magazines, video, and other content to mobile devices in a much more cost-effective manner—and AT&T said that’s how it plans to use it. CNET put together a good rundown of what the deal means for AT&T, which you can find here.

—Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the twins who settled their lawsuit against Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg for $65 million, told the New York Times that they intend to appeal their own settlement for a chance at a bigger windfall. The Winklevoss brothers, who are now living in San Diego while they train for the U.S. Olympic rowing team, told the Times they will pursue their case on Jan. 11 before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco. The Winklevoss twins allege that Zuckerberg stole their idea in creating Facebook, which calls their contentions “absurd” and the claims “frivolous.”

—A report from the San Diego Foundation determined that clean technology companies in San Diego County have attracted $445 million in venture capital over the past five years. Based on existing trends, the report predicts that clean energy and cleantech industries will become major job creators here for years to come. The report also says local cleantech companies already have the potential to draw $200 million to $1 billion in further investments, and that would create between 5,400 and 27,000 jobs.

JMI Equity, based in San Diego and Baltimore, raised $875 million for its seventh fund, which San Diego managing member Paul Barber attributed to the performance of JMI’s previous investments. Barber told me there is “plenty of capital out there, but you have to demonstrate a consistency in your team, your focus, and your performance.” Barber also credits JMI’s performance to the firm’s narrow focus on software, Internet, business services, and healthcare IT.

—Xconomy gathered some of San Diego’s best business minds for an “on the record” dinner discussion in early December, and the experts agreed that access to capital remains the single biggest issue for seed-stage startups in San Diego. Hand in hand with the decline in local venture investing has been the shrinking size of the area’s indigenous venture industry.

—San Diego’s EMN8 has raised $12.2 million of a targeted $18.2 million equity round, after signing an agreement with IBM in September in which IBM is taking on EMN8′s manufacturing, services, and sales responsibilities. EMN8 makes transaction kiosks with touchscreen displays to accelerate customer orders at fast-food restaurants and other retailers.

—Del Mar, CA-based MeLLmo raised $10 million as the two-year-old startup broadens development of its visualization software for displaying business intelligence on mobile devices.

Two-thirds of VCs say they expect to see more venture-backed companies going public in 2011, according to a pre-holiday survey released by the National Venture Capital Association and Dow Jones VentureSource. The venture capitalists also predict that venture firms will invest more capital in the coming year.


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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