Daily Business Report-June 1, 2015
Qualcomm Institute-Based Startup
Competes in World Cup Tech Challenge
One of the inaugural startups located in the Qualcomm Institute Innovation Space, VirBELA, has been selected to compete June 4 in the second annual World Cup Tech Challenge. The Silicon Valley contest will culminate in the event at Microsoft in Mountain View, where 25 competing startups from 17 countries will present their companies.
VirBELA is one of only six U.S. startups selected to compete this year, one in each of six categories ranging from mobile digital media to health technology and enterprise software. The winners in each category will be based on points amassed by each startup in three areas: a panel of experts, the audience at the live event on June 4, and online voting that is now underway on the World Cup Tech Challenge website.
VirBELA is one of four startups in the EdTech educational-technology category, where it faces off against three other startups: Russia’s Labicom, a global web platform of online engineering labs; Brazil’s Livox, a platform for tablets enabling disabled people to communicate and learn; and Corinth of the Czech Republic, which converts standard two-dimensional educational graphics into interactive 3D content.
VirBELA has created multiplayer 3D simulations for graduate management training to challenge and rate individuals’ business acumen and leadership. The virtual-reality-based software was first developed in collaboration with UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management and the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, and the partnership with the Clarke Center continues.
Commuter Flights Moving to Main
Airport Terminals at Lindbergh Field
Airlines currently using the Commuter Terminal at San Diego International Airport will be moved to the main airport terminals beginning on Thursday, the San Diego Regional Airport Authority announced.
The Commuter Terminal will continue to house the Airport Authority’s offices and many of its 380 employees. The building’s fate will be determined in the next few years by the Airport Development Plan that is currently being developed.
The agency said that airlines that fly to Los Angeles from the Commuter Terminal are replacing smaller aircraft with larger, more efficient planes, and the move is to better accommodate the larger aircraft.
• United flights to Los Angeles operated by United Express will relocate service to Terminal 2 West, using the airlines’ existing facilities in Terminal 2.
• American Airlines flights to Los Angeles operated by American Eagle will relocate to Terminal 2 East, also using the airlines’ existing facilities.
• Seaport Airlines will move its air service to the west end of Terminal 1.
The agency said that passengers on flights that previously used the Commuter Terminal will now have the opportunity to experience all of the new dining and shopping options and other amenities offered at Terminals 1 and 2.
General Atomics Delivers Third Predator
Remotely Piloted Aircraft to the French
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. said it has delivered a third Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) to the French Ministry of Defense.
Delivered less than two months after contract award, the aircraft joins two other French Reapers in service, which together have accumulated over 4,000 flight hours since operations began in January 2014.
“This latest order from the French Defense Procurement and Technology Agency is a testament to Reaper’s ability to enhance the ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) of the French Air Force in support of national, NATO, and other coalition operations,” said Frank W. Pace, president of Aircraft Systems for the company.
Pilots and sensor operators from Drone Squadron 1/33 ‘Belfort,’ 709 Air Base Cognac-Château Bernard are performing mission operations to include delivering increased battlefield situational awareness, augmenting combat search and rescue, and providing ground troop support. A total of 12 aircraft are planned to be in service by 2019.
The multi-mission Predator B is a long-endurance, medium-high-altitude RPA that can be used for ISR as well as targeting missions. Predator B is currently operational with the U.S. Air Force and Royal Air Force as MQ-9 Reaper and with the Italian Air Force as MQ-9.
Scripps Institute Scientists Link Brain
Protein To Binge-Drinking Behavior
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have discovered that a brain protein has a key role in controlling binge drinking in animal models. They found that deleting the gene for this protein in mice ramped up alcohol consumption and prevented the brain from signaling the rewarding properties of alcohol.
“Alcohol hits a lot of different targets in our brain, which makes disentangling the in vivo effects of alcohol quite complicated,” said TSRI biologist Candice Contet, senior author of the study. “Our study sheds light on the molecular mechanisms implicated in binge drinking.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, binge drinking — defined as drinking to the point of intoxication — puts people at greater risk for health problems such as cardiovascular disease, liver disease and neurological damage.
Pictured are Scripps Research Institute Assistant Professor Candice Contet (right) and Research Associate Melissa Herman were among the authors of the new paper.
City Asked to Regulate Vacation Rentals
The City Council’s Smart Growth and Land Use Committee on Friday unanimously requested the mayor’s office to increase funding in the upcoming fiscal year to enforce noise, overcrowding and refuse regulations that often are violated by occupants of short-term rental units in San Diego.
The committee members, wrapping up a hearing that covered parts of two days, also asked staff to develop a land-use ordinance that would create specific regulations for vacation rental properties, which have proliferated in the beach areas and other sections of town.
Committee Chairwoman Lorie Zapf, who represents areas such as Mission Beach and Pacific Beach, said she repeatedly has heard from constituents worried about how the rental properties impact their neighborhoods.
“They were specifically concerned about the vacation rental units changing the fabric of the single-family residential zones, where the impacts of noise, parking, and frequency of guests are most noticeable,” Zapf said.
Councilman David Alvarez apologized to the large crowd that attended the hearing in a meeting room above Golden Hall.
“We have really been failing our neighborhoods because we have not enforced laws that are on the books today,” Alvarez said.
While funding for extra code enforcement could go on the books for the fiscal year beginning July 1, it could take up to two years for a more comprehensive law to take effect.
An ordinance drafted by staff would need vetting by community groups and the Planning Commission before it returns to the committee and, eventually, the full City Council.
— City News Service
Locale Advisors Purchases Office Building for $10.7 Million
Locale Advisors, a San Diego-based real estate investment firm, has purchased a vacant, one-story office building at 5825 Oberlin Drive in San Diego for $10.7 million.
The new owner intends to convert the property into a “creative/lifestyle office community campus” featuring a common area courtyard, indoor and outdoor work spaces and interior buildouts, according to DTZ, which represented the seller, Emri Group and Alex Brown Realty, and will handle project leasing.
Ruling on Water Authority Lawsuit Near
The decades-long struggle between two water giants — one serving San Diego County and the other serving most of Southern California — is about to reach a critical milestone.
The San Diego County Water Authority says it is being charged illegally high fees by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California for transporting water it is getting under contracts with Imperial Valley farmers. About $2 billion in overpayments could accrue over the deal’s 45-year lifetime, the authority says. It filed suit against Metropolitan in 2010.
By the end of June, a tentative decision is expected from San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow about how much Metropolitan has overcharged the authority, and how much it has to return.
In 2014 Karnow ruled that Metropolitan violated state cost-of-service rules from 2011 through 2014.
— San Diego Union-Tribune
North Park Coach Earns Day in His Honor
North Park Little League Coach Joe Schloss, 88, has devoted 60 years of his life to teaching baseball to local youth. His coaching has positively impacted his players and helped them learn integrity and the importance of physical activity.
Because of his devotion to the kids, May 16 was named Joe Schloss Day by the city of San Diego. A ceremony was held at the North Park Little League.
A World War II Navy veteran, Schloss has also owned A&B Sporting Goods in North Park for decades and raised his family in the neighborhood. He has vowed to keep coaching baseball for many more years.
A&B Sporting Goods has anchored the corner of University Avenue and Ohio since 1940, when Joe’s parents bought it. He started working there in 1946.