San Diego Tech Roundup: Flud, Verve, and a “Swiss Cheese” Job Market

3/26/12Follow @bvbigelow

Here’s the important technology news from the past week:

—The latest jobless numbers for San Diego County remain unchanged—at 9.3 percent—from January to February, according to data released Friday by the California Employment Development Department. While unemployment in San Diego has declined from 10.2 percent a year ago, job creation is still anemic and the job market continues to look like Swiss cheese to both employers and job seekers. That’s because San Diego still has big gaps in certain technical fields, such as software development, according to Randy Franks, who is local managing director for the human resources firm Modis. He says, “We’re at a point where there’s over-demand and under-supply” for jobs with such titles as Web developer, desktop technician, network administrator, and network architect. County job data can be downloaded here; state data is here.

—The American Chemical Society (ACS) is unveiling an initiative for entrepreneurs tomorrow in San Diego. ACS leaders will outline their plans, which include twice-a-year entrepreneurial scholarship awards and an entrepreneurial resource center, at a news conference set for 9:15 am PST during its 243rd National Meeting & Exposition at the San Diego Convention Center. You can watch the ACS webcast of its news conference here. The ACS panel includes Rosibel Ochoa, Executive Director of UC San Diego’s William von Liebig Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology.

—Larry Smarr, evangelist for a fast-emerging sector called “quantified health,” is taking the stage later this week at “The Rock Stars of Innovation Summit.” Quantified health might be described as “big data meets big biology.” As director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, Smarr understands the computational requirements needed to use genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics to track patient health in unprecedented detail.

Avalon Ventures founder Kevin Kinsella says Zynga already was cash-flow positive by the time the game developer closed its Series A venture round. Kinsella offered his thoughts about Zynga and other investment gems during a gathering of current and former MIT students last week at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. Avalon partner Rich Levandov led the firm’s $5.3 million investment in Zynga, which yielded about $340 million in Zynga’s December IPO.

Verve Wireless has found plenty of business in developing a Web-based platform that regional newspaper publishers and broadcasters can use to provide news and serve ads to their customers’ mobile devices. Now the startup, which is based in Encinitas, CA, and Washington DC, is helping educate its media customers to understand the paradoxical market. Why paradoxical? Verve’s chief marketing officer says people spend 23 percent of their time on mobile devices, yet mobile gets only about 1 percent of total spending on media advertising.

Flud co-founder and CEO Bobby Ghoshal talked with Sarah about the app developer’s “do-over.” Flud, which is based in San Diego and Detroit, pulled its news aggregating app for Android after a month and a half of user complaints and critical reviews. After reaching out to Google, Ghoshal said Flud overhauled its Android app.

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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