SD BizTech Roundup: Qualcomm, Razer, Avalon’s Zynga Windfall, & More

Been on vacation? Get back up to speed with our end-of-the-holidays roundup of San Diego tech news.

—Almost half of the top 50 venture-backed startups had at least one founder who was an immigrant, according to a study from the National Foundation for American Policy. Such findings led author Stuart Anderson, who also is executive director of the Virginia-based foundation, to conclude, “America gains a great deal when we’re open to talent, wherever that talent was born.”

—The FCC approved Qualcomm’s sale of some spectrum rights to AT&T for nearly $1.93 billion. Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) had spent $683 million acquiring the lower 700-megahertz band and UHF Channels 55 and 56 for its FLO-TV network for transmitting television programming to mobile devices. As we recently reported, Toronto’s QuickPlay Media acquired the network operation center that Qualcomm built in San Diego for its FLO-TV operations. Qualcomm said the FCC approved the spectrum sale after AT&T abandoned its proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile. AT&T plans to use the additional spectrum to improve its network capacity as it rolls out its 4G wireless network.

—In a separate announcement, Qualcomm disclosed that founding CEO Irwin Jacobs plans to retire from the company board at its annual meeting on March 6. The 78-year-old Jacobs will officially become Qualcomm’s founding chairman and CEO emeritus.

Razer, the Carlsbad, CA-based maker of computer and video gaming peripherals, said it is raising $50 million in a Series A venture round led by the IDG-Accel China Capital Fund, a global investment fund established by IDG and Accel Partners. The 12-year-old startup’s funding previously came from angel investors and the company’s own operations.

—San Diego’s SweetLabs said it is extending its Pokki desktop apps under a partnership with Redwood City, CA-based Kabam by making four popular Kabam games available as Pokki apps. After introducing a number of utility apps for Windows-based desktops six months ago, SweetLabs says users can now add “always on” apps for Kabam’s Dragons of Atlantis; Edgeworld; The Godfather: Five Families; and Thirst of Night.

—San Francisco-based Zynga’s (NASDAQ: ZNGA) IPO last month provided a windfall for its founders and investors, including San Diego-based Avalon Ventures. Avalon, which invested $5.3 million in Zynga, holds a stake that was valued at $340 million at Zynga’s IPO, which priced the social game-maker’s market valuation at $7 billion. Regulatory filings show that Avalon reaped about $25 million by selling a slice of its stake in the IPO, and made nearly $20.9 million in an earlier share buyback.

—Cardiff, CA-based Restaurant Revolution Technologies, which provides order management services for restaurants, has increased the size of its previously disclosed equity round to $1.25 million, according to VentureWire. The company said in August that the BR Venture Fund, the MBA student-run venture fund of the Johnson School at Cornell University, was among the investors in the round.

—San Diego-based Tealium has raised $1.1 million from investors, according to a recent regulatory filing. As we previously reported, the four-year-old startup has developed Web-based software that enables corporate marketers to manage the Java-based tags used in online marketing campaigns.

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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