San Diego Venture Group Hires First President, Senturia Talks Entrepreneurship, Maxwell Arranges Financing, & More San Diego BizTech News

4/11/11Follow @bvbigelow

Venture capital for early stage companies remains a serious concern among San Diego’s high tech startups. We have details on how that is being addressed, along with a wrap-up on the rest of the week’s biztech news.

The San Diego Venture Group has hired a local VC, Windward Ventures co-founder David Titus, to serve as its first official president. Titus, who has been working on ways to improve the availability of venture capital in San Diego, wants to establish a networking group like the Western Association of Venture Capitalists in the Bay Area. He also wants the SDVG to become a better resource for out-of-town VCs looking to invest in San Diego companies.

Can online social networks be used to accomplish widespread social change? A debate has been underway for at least a year, with The New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell arguing against the idea. UCSD professor James Fowler says online social networks include both weak ties with acquaintances and strong ties with close friends and family—and the strong ties can make all the difference when it comes to overturning governments in Tunisia and Egypt.

Sportaneous, a San Diego-based startup, won the grand prize for popular choice and second prize overall in this year’s NYC Big Apps 2.0, a competition created by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The mobile app and website urges users to “be sportaneous” won recognition for using public data to allow users to arrange and play pickup sports games with the help of location-based technology.

—San Diego’s Maxwell Technologies (NASDAQ: MXWL)  said it had submitted a shelf registration filing that will enable the company to arrange as much as $125 million in stock sales or debt financing, as needed. The company, which makes energy storage devices called ultracapacitors, says the amount to be raised, type of securities, and other issues will be determined at the time of sale, if such a sale occurs.

San Diego and other Xconomy cities finished near the bottom of a list that Forbes magazine recently compiled of the best U.S. cities for minority entrepreneurs. Forbes ranked San Diego at 48th, behind Detroit (47th), Boston (45th), New York (39th), San Francisco (35th), and Seattle (27th).

—I sat down with San Diego serial entrepreneur Neil Senturia to talk about startups, entrepreneurship, and his self-published book, “I’m There for You Baby: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to the Galaxy.” As a startup CEO, Senturia says you don’t need to know everything. You just have to know what you don’t know. He says, “If I’m the dumbest guy in the room, my company has a chance.”

—San Diego’s Active Network said it plans to expand its Schwaggle deal-of-the-day program into New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago later this month. Active.com intends to launch Schwaggle offerings, such as discounts on golf tee times, in a total of 25 major markets by the end of 2011, and in select international markets next 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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