San Diego BizTech Roundup: Battelle, QuickPlay Come to Town, Qualcomm Growth Continues
There were some interesting portents of things to come in San Diego’s emerging cleantech sector last week. Here is our Monday morning roundup of the news you need to know.
—Battelle’s Bhima Vijayendran told me he’s on the lookout for new business opportunities with local San Diego companies, as both an R&D partner and as a potential investor. As the world’s largest non-profit technical services and R&D company, Battelle’s business is focused primarily on national security, life sciences, and energy. Vijayendran said he moved to San Diego a year ago because he is particularly interested in sustainable chemicals like soy-based plasticizers that use biotechnology to produce high-value chemicals from renewable raw materials—eliminating the need for petroleum-based chemicals.
—QuickPlay Media CEO Wayne Purboo briefed reporters and analysts on the Toronto-based startup’s purchase of the San Diego-based network operations center from Qualcomm, which built the center for its unsuccessful Flo TV business. Purboo said, “We are building a cloud-based, IP video head-end to manage and support video delivered across multiple devices.” With Qualcomm’s center, Purboo says QuickPlay can provide its premium-quality infrastructure for customers like AT&T, enabling them to transmitting Internet video at a lower cost than they might face if they tried to build their own network.
—Based on a series of tests conducted with independent experts, San Diego’s Achates Power said its “opposed-piston” engine shows a 20 percent reduction in diesel fuel consumption when compared to Ford’s state-of-the-art Power Stroke diesel engine. Achates Power has designed its prototype two-stroke internal combustion engine to be smaller, lighter, and more efficient that a conventional heavy-duty diesel engine with separate, in-line cylinders.
—San Diego’s BillMyParents raised $2.5 million in a planned $10 million round of equity and rights to acquire securities. The Web-based startup’s primary product is a prepaid (and reloadable) MasterCard for teens that offers a range of parental controls. Michael R. McCoy was named as chairman and CEO last month.
—Ortiva Wireless raised $2 million in debt, rights, and securities that consist of promissory notes convertible into preferred stock. The San Diego startup, which develops wireless video optimization and streaming hardware and software for wireless operators, has not disclosed other information about the financing.
—San Diego-based Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) said it posted record revenue of $15 billion in fiscal 2011, which ended Sept. 25, along with record earnings and record volumes of its wireless chipsets. Looking forward, Qualcomm said it expects to ship chips for 900 million CDMA-based devices—a 16 percent year-over-year increase. Qualcomm said it also has a little over $20 billion in available cash, with $5.7 billion of that banked in the U.S. A Seeking Alpha transcript of the company’s conference call with analysts is here. ThinkEquity analyst Mark McKechnie told San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Mike Freeman he sees the continuing growth as a good confirmation that Qualcomm is benefitting on the chip side from the Apple iPhone 4S. McKechnie says Qualcomm is providing two chips for the iPhone 4S; the company previously was a supplier for only one other Apple phone—the iPhone 4—but only on Verizon’s network.