San Diego VC Activity Falls 55 Percent, Ford Adopts Focus as EV “Tech Platform,” Verve Raises $3.5M, & More San Diego BizTech News
While venture capital activity increased nationwide during the first quarter that ended in March, VC investing in San Diego fell to its lowest level since the first quarter of 2009. Our roundup of that and the rest of last week’s tech news begins now.
—Data on first-quarter venture capital activity arrived separately from New York-based CB Insights and the MoneyTree Report, which is put together by the National Venture Capital Association, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Thomson Reuters. CB Insights found that venture investors sunk $7.5 billion into 738 deals throughout the country, while the MoneyTree Report said $5.9 billion was invested in 736 deals. Both reports say the dollars invested were up sharply from the same quarter a year in 2010—27 percent in CB’s case and 14 percent, according to MoneyTree.
—In the San Diego area, VCs invested just over $100 million in 22 startups during the first quarter, a 55 percent drop in capital and a 29 percent decline in deals from the first quarter of 2010, according to the MoneyTree Report. CB Insights does not break out regional data on venture capital investing.
—The Ford Motor Company is targeting San Diego for the initial launch of its 100-percent electric vehicle later this year. In an exclusive interview, Ford’s Mike Tinskey told me how Ford used its popular Focus model compact as the automotive package for its all-battery drive train in order to leverage its existing economies of scale, since Ford has been selling about 2.6 million Focus compacts a year. Ford also hopes to differentiate itself from rival EV carmakers by developing its own charging stations, which it says are capable of recharging an EV twice as fast as other chargers.
—San Diego’s Mushroom Networks has developed HD video capability for the Teleporter technology it launched a year ago. Mushroom Networks said that makes its Teleporter the first cellular-based high-definition live video streaming technology, enabling a TV crew to transmit real-time HD video from any location where cellular broadband services are available.
—Verve Wireless, a mobile advertising platform company based in Encinitas, CA, and Bethesda, MD, has raised $3.5 million of a planned $6 million from investors. Verve previously raised $12 million from BlueRun Ventures and the Associated Press.
—San Diego-based Cymer (NASDAQ: CYMI) said that TCZ, its division that has been developing systems used to make advanced flat panel displays, has received a volume order for TCZ’s new Gen 5.5 crystallization system from an unnamed leading Asian flat panel display (FPD) manufacturer. The company says this represents TCZ’s second volume order in 2011 and its fourth tool customer. Cymer said its TCZ-1500B system is used for the production of advanced liquid crystal display and next-generation organic light-emitting diode displays. Cymer told me last year that TCZ would sell its tools at a range of $7 million to $12 million per system.
—The San Diego-based West Wireless Health Institute awarded a $10,000 prize to Steven Palmer, a Rhode Island software developer, for an iPhone app he developed for use in a monthly self-examination for signs of melanoma. Palmer answered a challenge the institute issued six months ago in conjunction with the Veterans Affairs Innovation Initiative (VAi2).