Daily Business Report-June 11, 2015
San Diego Startup Week party at Digital Telepathy in 2014. (Photo courtesy of Mike Newton Photography)
Startup Week Shines Light on San Diego Innovators
San Diego’s popular annual gathering of startups, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and innovators — now in its third year — kicks off Sunday on the waterfront Downtown.
San Diego Startup Week runs June 14-20, beginning with the launch festival Sunday afternoon on the Broadway Pier, and continuing at locations throughout Downtown San Diego.
“Startup Week is a great way to shine a light on what’s happening in San Diego’s exciting startup community and show people what it’s really all about,” said Melani Gordon, Startup Week founder and CEO of TapHunter.
“Startups get exposure and connect with the local ecosystem, whether it’s talented professionals looking for the next jobs, mentors, or service providers,” she added.
The year the schedule of events will be divided into four tracks to appeal to entrepreneurs at different stages:
Idea Track: Learn about startups and network with other entrepreneurs.
Development Track: Identify local resources and communities to help you build a successful product.
Seed Track: Complete your product and prepare your startup for seed financing.
Scale Track: Get help during the growth phase of your new business.
In addition, there will be social events throughout the week, from meetups to happy hours to dinners so that local entrepreneurs can network.
Sponsors include the Port of San Diego, which is providing the Broadway Pier, Holonis, Zeeto Media, Ashford University, Irvine Company, Ideator and the City of San Diego.
Last year San Diego leapt to national prominence when Forbes Magazine named the city the best place for a startup in the United States.
Passes for the entire event cost $50 ($20 for students) and are available online.
— Times of San Diego
TapHunter: More Than Just a Beer Finder
Before the Digital Age, discerning drinkers had no easy way to find their favorite tipple. Now there’s an app for just about every booze-related endeavor, though none come close to TapHunter.
Founded by married duo Melani and Jeff “Flash” Gordon, the local tech company is revolutionizing the alcohol industry for purveyors and consumers.
“We started as a simple beer finder,” explains Melani. “But we quickly realized it was the bars and restaurants that needed help.”
With pro bono assistance from local tech startup incubator EvoNexus, the Gordons developed a more comprehensive solution. TapHunter’s suite of Web and mobile tools let owners manage their offerings and increase sales while kicking the useful data back to consumers through their newly rebranded app.
Local burger chain Slater’s 50/50 was the first major client. Now the company is closing deals worldwide. It’s most popular product? Digital drink boards, updatable in real time and powered by a device in-house. It caters to everyone from casual brewpubs to craft cocktail lounges. “We can hardly keep up with the demand,” says Melani.
The East Village residents fill yin-yang roles at Taphunter.
“I’m obviously the quiet one,” says Flash. (“Only his mother calls him Jeff,” notes Melani.) “I’m level-headed and analytical. She’s pure Type A.”
“And businesswise, there’s trust to the nth degree.”
TapHunter, now at 17 employees, shares an open space with 10 other startups in a Downtown high-rise with views of the Coronado Bridge. There’s even a Kegerator for craft-beer breaks.
“It’s pretty much a dream,” says Melani. “We worked really hard for this but still have to pinch ourselves sometimes.”
— From Modern Luxury
San Diego Counted Record
44 Tech Startups Last Year
With venture funding easier than it has been in years, San Diego saw a record 446 technology startups in 2014, the incubator CONNECT reported Wednesday.
CONNECT CEO Greg McKee said the startups received $805 million in venture-capital funding, plus over $4 billion in traditional private equity and stock-market funding.
“There is more money now than ever before. It’s really quite staggering the amounts of dollars,” said McKee, who reported the numbers at CONNECT’s annual Rock Stars of Innovation conference at the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine.
According to McKee, the 2014 startups were in these industries:
• 248 in software
• 86 in communications, computers and electronics
• 70 in life sciences
• 16 in defense and transportation
• 16 in recreational products
• 10 in environmental technology
These companies created 1,860 new jobs in the San Diego area.
In addition, research funding from the National Science Foundation
and other sources provided over $1.3 billion in 2014 to support basic research that later makes its way into new products.
“I’ve been utterly stunned by the staggering amount of research” in the San Diego community, McKee said. “The ecosystem is so rich.”
McKee said CONNECT helps startups reach the right people and resources at every stage, from launch through growth and expansion to exit.
“CONNECT is about just that…providing connections,” he said. “We want to provide the right introductions to the right people at exactly the right time.”
— Times of San Diego
Halozyme Adds AbbVie to its Roster
Of Big Pharma R&D Collaborators
Halozyme Therapeutics has a new Big Pharma collaboration to boast about.
The San Diego-based company’s fortunes are based on its Enhanze tech platform, which essentially offers to take large molecules that would normally have to be delivered intravenously and make them available under the skin in a subcutaneous jab.
And now AbbVie is jumping aboard, paying $23 million in an upfront and up to $130 million in milestones on each of up to nine programs.
Altogether the back-end potential payoff amounts to $1.17 billion.
Enhanze relies on an enzyme (rHuPH20) that can temporarily degrade a chain of natural sugars in the body called hyaluronan, prepping the body for easier drug absorption and opening the door to an easier delivery approach for drugs. Simpler delivery can offer a key commercial advantage for companies.
“We are pleased that AbbVie, a global leader in the development of novel therapeutics, has chosen Halozyme’s Enhanze platform to augment their development pipeline,” said Dr. Helen Torley, president and chief executive officer. “AbbVie joins a growing number of top pharmaceutical and biotech companies partnering with Halozyme to develop new formulations that will benefit patients worldwide.”
Other top pharmaceutical and biotech companies partnering with Halozyme include Roche, Pfizer, Janssen and Baxter.
Qualcomm Inc. Appoints Frank Meng
As Chairman of Qualcomm China
Qualcomm Inc. announced the appointment of Frank Meng as chairman of Qualcomm China and the departure of Xiang Wang, senior vice president and president of Qualcomm Greater China.
Meng’s appointment will be effective Monday and he will report directly to Derek Aberle, president of Qualcomm.
Meng has 30 years of telecommunications experience, eight of those with Qualcomm, which included serving as senior vice president and president of Qualcomm Greater China from 2008 to 2010. Most recently, Meng was president of 21Vianet Group in Beijing, where he was responsible for strategic planning, branding and marketing, government affairs and strategic initiatives. Prior to 21Vianet Group, he was with Motorola Mobility in Beijing where he served as senior vice president and president of Greater China, responsible for overseeing all aspects of Motorola’s Mobile Devices business and sales operations for China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
During his 13-year tenure, Wang contributed to the expansion of Qualcomm’s presence in China. In 2010 he assumed leadership of Qualcomm Greater China.
Janet Beronio Named Chairman of
North San Diego Business Chamber
The North San Diego Business Chamber named Janet Beronio chairman of its board of directors for the 2015-2016 term. Beronio, general manager of Harrah’s Resort Southern California, will serve a one-year term.
“Janet embodies the mission that the chamber works so hard to advance and protect,” said Chamber President and CEO Debra Rosen. “Janet has proven herself to be a tireless leader on collaborating, competitiveness, and many issues of interest to the business community.”
Also elected to the board for 2015-2016 term were: Susan Miller, director, Systems Security & Release Management, Oracle; Charlie Piscitello, chief people officer, Petco and president of Petco Foundation; Ric Militi, CEO, InnoVision LLC; Patricia Reily, veterans services director, Cal State University San Marcos; and Richard Marks, founder/president of RDM Management Group.
Facebook Pioneer Gives UCSD $2 Million
An engineer who helped turn Facebook into a worldwide phenomenon is giving UC San Diego $2 million to help improve teaching in computer science, a program straining to deal with explosive growth, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported today.
The university has been hustling to meet industry demand for computer scientists, which has soared with the evolution of social media, e-commerce, smartphones and other areas of telecommunications.
Taner Halicioglu, a UC San Diego alumnus, split his gift in half: $1 million will be used to create an endowed chair in teaching, and $1 million will be used to cut the teaching load of lecturers so they can spend more time mentoring students.
The endowed chair is the first of its kind at UC San Diego, a campus that historically has emphasized research over teaching.
Film Critic Leonard Maltin to be Featured
In Inaugural Coronado Island Film Festival
Film critic, author and historian Leonard Maltin will serve as honorary jury president for the inaugural Coronado Island Film Festival to be held at Vintage Village Theatre and other venues Jan. 15-18, 2016.
The festival will feature films in three categories: documentaries, shorts and narratives. There will be an Opening Night Reception, a Filmmakers Reception and Celebratory Tribute, an Awards Reception and Ceremony and a family-friendly beach bonfire and movie at Del Beach on the festival’s closing night.
The festival will provide grants to five student filmmakers and will also bestow a “Service to Country” award to a film that embodies the concept of service.
Andy Friedenberg, executive director/producer of the festival, brought the festival to the attention of Maltin.
“I love the idea that a place associated with so many memorable movies has embraced the idea of its own, home-grown festival and I’m excited to be part of it,” Maltin said. “Everyone knows that Billy Wilder’s classic comedy ‘Some Like It Hot’ was filmed in and around the Hotel del Coronado, but in fact the community first welcomed moviemakers in 1912. During World War II the local naval base was featured in a number of films starring such notables as Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Walter Pidgeon and Fred MacMurray. There was even a 1935 musical feature called Coronado.”
Maltin is best known for his widely used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, as well as his 30-year run on television’s “Entertainment Tonight.” He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, appears regularly on Reelz Channel, and hosts the weekly podcast “Maltin on Movies” with Baron Vaughn for the Wolfpop network.
Among his books are “The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen,” “Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons,” “The Great Movie Comedians,” and “The Disney Films.”