Tech Roundup of the Week: Ford Focus EV, Flud, Legend3D, Sotera

12/19/11Follow @bvbigelow

Quest Software (NASDAQ: QSFT), the IT software provider on the border between San Diego and Orange Counties, said today it acquired BitKOO, a North Hollywood, CA-based specialist in identity and access management technology. Financial terms were not disclosed. Combined with the recent acquisitions of e-DMZ (privileged identity management), Völcker Informatik AG (provisioning), and Symlabs (virtual directories), Quest says the BitKOO deal extends the strength of its Quest One Identity Solutions business.

—San Jose, CA-based EnVerv, a chip design firm with a San Diego office, said it raised $12 million in a Series B round for its power line communications technologies, which enable electric utilities to use their own power lines to serve as a smart grid communications network. Benchmark Capital led the new round, which was joined by existing investors New Enterprise Associates and Walden International.

UC San Diego computer security researcher (and San Diego Xconomist) Stefan Savage talked with me about recent research into spam networks and hacking the automotive software used to control cars. Savage said he takes a more holistic approach to protecting computers and networks against malicious intruders. While a great deal of money and effort are devoted to technically “hardening” computer systems against spam, for example, Savage said the payment systems by which advertised goods and services accept consumer credit cards “is a huge weak link that has no cheap substitute.”

—Ford’s Dan Kapp came to San Diego to plug the carmaker’s new plug-in, the 2012 Focus EV. The electric vehicle will go on sale at San Diego Ford dealers during the first quarter of 2012. Ford said its Focus Electric is the first five-passenger electric vehicle expected to get a 100 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) fuel-efficiency rating.

—Xconomy Detroit Editor Sarah Schmid talked with Bobby Ghoshal, the co-founder and CEO of San Diego-based Flud, which launched a new version of its news aggregation app for the iPhone and iPad earlier this month. The Android version is set to launch in January. Detroit-based Ludlow Ventures and Detroit Venture Partners recently funded Flud.

—San Diego’s VMIX launched Givit, an invitation-only platform for sharing videos online with designated friends and family. VMIX said users can download the Givit app for use on the iPhone and iPad. The technology was previously available as an app for Windows or Mac OS-based laptops and desktop PCs.

—San Diego’s Legend3D, a post-production film studio that renders conventional 2D movies as 3D feature films, raised $19 million in a Series E preferred stock offering. Legend3D said the proceeds would be used to further research and development, and to help Legend3D finance some post-production 3D film conversions through partnerships with major Hollywood studios-a new business initiative.

—While San Diego-based Sotera Wireless awaits to learn if the FDA has approved its wireless healthcare monitoring system as a medical device for use in hospitals, Singapore’s EDB Investments led a $12.2 million round of Series D funding. Other Sotera investors include Qualcomm Ventures, Sanderling Ventures, Intel Capital, and the West Health Investment Fund. Sotera, which also signed a commercial agreement with Cerner, the Kansas City, MO-based giants, said Cerner’s corporate venture capital arm also joined in the latest round.

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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