SD BizTech Roundup: Ortiva Acquired, EcoATM, & Grid2Home Raise Cash
Here’s a quick roundup of new from San Diego’s technology sector over the past week.
—In a move that has implications for San Diego’s tech community, the University of California named Pradeep Khosla, dean of Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering, to succeed Marye Anne Fox as chancellor of the University of California, San Diego. Although UCSD officials are declining comment for now, former UC president (and UCSD chancellor) Richard Atkinson has been telling people he’s enthusiastic about the choice, and that Khosla is very “entrepreneurial.” Khosla’s nomination is scheduled to come before the UC regents for approval at their regular meeting on March 16 in Sacramento, CA. Information about Khosla’s compensation—which became a point of contention with Fox and some other UC officials—will be disclosed at the regent’s meeting. If confirmed by the regents, Khosla will be the eighth chancellor of the 29,300-student UCSD campus in August.
—Granite Ventures led a $2 million round of financing for Grid2Home, the San Diego developer of smart energy and home automation software for smart grid applications, according to a regulatory filing. Grid2Home develops wireless and wired network solutions for smart meters, lighting controls, in-home displays, water heaters, solar energy control modules, electric vehicle chargers, and other smart appliances.
—San Diego-based EcoATM, which developed sophisticated kiosks to recycle cell phones and other consumer-electronics, said it has raised $17 million from investors plus a federal grant to roll out its program nationally. Current backers Claremont Creek Ventures, Coinstar Inc. and Tao Venture Partners returned for the Series B round. New investors include AKS Capital, Moore Venture Partners, PI Holdings and Singapore billionaire Koh Boon Hwee. Valuation wasn’t disclosed.
—Memjet, the San Diego-based developer of new inkjet printing technology, said it has reached a key agreement to assume direct ownership and control of 4,000 issued and pending global patents that were previously held and managed by Australia’s Silverbrook Research. Inventor and Memjet co-founder Kia Silverbrook, will continue to support Memjet as a special advisor and consultant. In a statement from an industry conference in Germany last week, Memjet says the deal clears the way for the continued commercialization of Memjet’s revolutionary color printing technology.
—San Diego’s Chumby Industries, which raised about $29 million in venture capital and debt financing, has been selling off its technology patents and other assets. Former Chumby CEO Derrick Oien told me that Chumby’s 30 employees are now working for Technicolor, the media business that is now part of Thomson, the electronics and media conglomerate based in France. Chumby began with a simple Internet-enabled wireless device, about the size of a bedside alarm clock, with a touch-screen that could display the time, weather, traffic, and serve as a music and video player.
—Israel’s Allot Communications (NASDAQ: ALLT) said it reached a definitive agreement to acquire San Diego’s Ortiva Wireless, which specializes in optimizing video streaming across wireless networks. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Ortiva Wireless CEO Marc Zionts told me the company will keep its office in University City after the deal closes, which is expected by the end of June.