San Diego Tech Roundup: Givit, ID Analytics, and Rain on the Parade
—A steady rain is lingering this morning from the monster storm that blew through San Diego over the weekend. Also lingering is what you might call my “curiosity of the week:” Don Casey resigned as CEO of the San Diego-based West Wireless Health Institute, just two years after he was lured from Johnson & Johnson’s Comprehensive Care group to lead the non-profit institute. Casey, who will retain his seat on the institute’s board, expects to accept a position with a major health care company, according to a statement. I wonder if the institute is still working to identify its role? I hope to get a chance to provide more insight about what’s happening there.
—Timing is everything: The private online video sharing service that San Diego’s Givit unveiled in November officially started on Thursday—with an invitation to former FlipShare customers to move their videos over to Givit. FlipShare was the business that Cisco created from its $590 million purchase of Pure Digital Technologies, and then killed last year as the quality of video-enabled smartphones made a standalone camera increasingly irrelevant. Givit was created as a new business by San Diego-based VMIX. In an e-mail over the weekend, VMIX Founder and CEO Greg Kostello said user numbers are not yet available, “but the response has been really amazing.”
—As part of its plan to acquire San Diego’s ID Analytics, Tempe, AZ-based LifeLock raised $100 million from venture investors and another $70 million in debt funding. LifeLock CEO Todd Davis said the database that ID Analytics created has been an important base for the identity theft protection services that LifeLock provides to more than 2 million subscribers. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but I hope to talk soon with ID Analytics CEO Bruce Hansen.
—Connect, the San Diego nonprofit established to support technology and entrepreneurship, has arranged an opportunity for half a dozen San Diego Internet startups to make presentations to venture investors in San Francisco this week. Connect organized what it calls “The Connect Venture Roundtable Roadshow” as part of a broader series of initiatives intended to improve the venture funding prospects for startups in San Diego.
—The San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering got off to a soggy start Saturday. The “DNA Dragon Parade” through Balboa Park was postponed due to inclement weather. Not to worry, though. More than 500 events are planned in the week-long celebration of a four-letter word—STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math)—culminating in an Expo Day at Petco Park in downtown San Diego.
—A private equity firm, Vista Equity Partners, has acquired Essential Learning, a San Diego provider of interactive e-learning solutions for behavioral and community health, substance abuse, corrections, developmental disability and child welfare organizations. Financial terms were not disclosed, according to a statement. Essential Learning co-founder and president Lorraine Watson also will be retiring.
—San Diego-based Skinit, which sells customized covers for laptops, smartphones, and other electronic devices, has raised almost $8.1 million toward a nearly $12 million round from investors, according to a regulatory filing. The company increased the size of a debt, rights and securities offering to $3 million earlier this month. Skinit raised $60 million in a 2010 round led by ABS Capital Partners, with participation from Norwest Equity Partners, according to VentureWire.