SG Biofuels Gets $9.4M to Develop Jatropha, Motorola Spinout Could Land in San Diego, Startup Grid2Home Emerges Here, & More San Diego BizTech News

If Motorola’s mobile devices spinout establishes its new headquarters in San Diego, as many as 200 new jobs would be created here. That would be good news, of course, for a county where the unemployment rate in August was just reported to be 10.6 percent. We have that and the rest of the BizTech news wrapped up here.

San Diego is one of three finalists under consideration as a potential headquarters for Motorola Mobility, the Libertyville, IL-based division that Motorola plans to spin out as an independent company early next year. The other two sites are in the San Francisco Bay Area and Austin, TX.

—San Francisco’s Granite Ventures raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding (reported by VentureWire to be several million dollars) for Grid2Home, a smart grid technology startup that moved to San Diego earlier this year from Campbell, CA. The CEO is Rick Kornfeld, a former Qualcomm vice president of engineering.

Qualcomm said it is renewing its global incentive prize competition for wireless technology startups. The Qualcomm QPrize is offering a total of $750,000 in convertible note financing (meaning the note gets converted to preferred shares of the startup company at their next round of equity financing) to startup companies with the best business plan in North America, Europe, China, South Korea, Israel, and India.

SG Biofuels, the Encinitas, CA-based developer of Jatropha-based fuels, received $9.4 million in Series A financing from investors that include Flint Hills Resources of Wichita, KS (a Koch Industries subsidiary), and Carlsbad, CA-based Life Technologies, (NASDAQ: LIFE). Jatropha development, though, may have to overcome some big challenges, such as water consumption and cost of cultivation. One of the best analyses of the deal I read was in Biofuels Digest.

Independa, a San Diego healthcare technology startup founded last year, introduced its integrated Web services platform that enables seniors to remain at home while providing their relatives a way of monitoring their well being., a San Diego startup that has developed automated license plate recognition technology, also launched last week. The company is providing social media technology that enables users to send voice, text, and e-mail messages to motorists, based on their license plate numbers.

—San Diego’s Astute Networks, a 10-year-old venture-backed startup that has developed ruggedized blade storage systems for use by the military and commercial customers, received an undisclosed amount of funding from Palo Alto, CA-based Tallwood Capital.

—John Madrid, who was previously the chief information officer at Vericrest Financial, was named CEO at San Diego’s xplair Technology, a startup founded last year to provide web-based mortgage management portfolio services and support.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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