GM, Pier 38, TechCrunch: The 1-Minute Version of Last Week’s Bay Area BizTech News

9/12/11Follow @wroush

Though last week was a short post-holiday week, Bay Area entrepreneurs managed to pack in a lot of action.

—More than 90 companies met with investors and journalists at a new demo event called Pitch San Francisco ’11 at AT&T Park. We captured seven of them on video.

—Our biggest feature of the week was a look at GM’s Advanced Technology office in Palo Alto, where the big automaker is busy building bridges with the Silicon Valley developer community. Given the crucial role of infotainment, navigation, and other types of software in the cars of the future, GM can’t afford not to have a presence in the valley, managing director Byron Shaw argued.

—We previewed the DC to VC Healthcare IT Showcase competition coming up September 22 in Mountain View with an exclusive collection of videos from the competition’s 11 finalists. Morgenthaler Ventures is sponsoring the event, which is designed to highlight the variety of investable health IT startups in the works around the country.

—The AOL-owned tech blog TechCrunch and its founder Michael Arrington spent the week in the spotlight as controversy built over Arrington’s plans to start a venture capital fund called CrunchFund. According to reports today, Arrington is officially out as an employee of AOL, but he will continue to run CrunchFund, with AOL as an investor. In my Friday opinion column, I argued that TechCrunch can survive without Arrington—and that if worst comes to worst and the publication is unable to function without its founding editor, Silicon Valley can survive without TechCrunch.

—The community of tech and investing companies at San Francisco’s Pier 38 will have to clear out by September 30, the Port of San Francisco notified all tenants last week. That includes Automattic (maker of WordPress), True Ventures, Socialmedia, and Polaris Venture Partners’ Dogpatch Labs. Port authorities explained in a letter that after taking possession of the property from longtime leaseholder Carl Ernst on August 1, fire marshals found enough safety and fire code violations to warrant the building’s shutdown. No word yet on where the dislocated organizations will end up.

—In acquisitions news, Sunnyvale, CA-based Telenav acquired Boston travel search startup Goby, as my colleague Greg Huang reported; Google acquired Zagat; BuyWithMe acquired TownHog; BigDoor Media bought OneTrueFan; and Hitachi Data Systems bought San Jose-based BlueArc.

—In other deals news, Y Combinator-backed Lanyrd raised $1.4 million, Mashape raised $1.5 million, Clean Power Finance raised $25 million, IndieGoGo raised $1.5 million, Project Frog raised $22 million, Platfora raised $5.7 million, Powergetics raised $10.3 million, Striiv raised $6 million, and Lending Club landed investments from Peter J. Thomson.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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