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Sharethrough Acquires UK’s VAN As A Springboard For International Growth

submitted 2 months ago by in Acquisitions

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sharethrough Advertising company Sharethrough announced today that it’s moving into Europe with the acquisition of a London-based company called VAN.
The financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed. Sharethrough’s head of communications Thomas Channick told me via email that the VAN team will form “the core” of European operations, although the company plans to double the… Read More



Square To Acquire Caviar Delivery Startup

submitted 4 months ago by in Acquisitions

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Square is on a mission to diversify, and it’s turning to the red-hot food delivery industry to do so.

The payments company run by CEO Jack Dorsey plans to announce this week that it has acquired San Francisco-based Caviar, according to a person familiar with the deal. Caviar runs a service that lets consumers order meals to be delivered to their homes or offices from restaurants that don’t normally offer delivery.
Caviar will receive only Square stock in the transaction, this person said. The New York Times reported on Friday that the deal, which was first reported by TechCrunch, will be valued at $90 million.

A Square spokesman and Caviar CEO Jason Wang declined to comment.

A move into delivery by most payments processing companies would be a head-scratcher. But it could make sense for a company in Square’s position. It has been furiously expanding the menu of services it offers over the last few months as it attempts to add new revenue streams that would help justify its $5 billion valuation.

Among the new products are a merchant cash advance program called Square Capital, a customer survey product called Square Feedback and a food pickup app called Square Order, which replaced the failed Square Wallet. The question remains whether Square is betting on the right new products and services or grasping at straws. In the world of food delivery, Caviar faces fierce competition from companies such as DoorDash with similar propositions as well as traditional delivery companies such as GrubHub.

With Caviar on board, Square could in theory offer the delivery service to restaurants and cafes that already run on its payments system, in a package deal or a la carte. It’s not clear what percentage of its customer base are restaurants and cafes. The company could also give restaurants and cafes that already work with Caviar a discount to start processing payments through Square.

On the consumer side, Caviar could eventually be integrated into Square Order, so customers could browse pickup and delivery options in their area from the same app. (Caviar hasn’t yet released its own app, which it has been able to get away with since about 50 percent of orders come from businesses for office meals.)

In the interim, Caviar gives Square an immediate delivery presence in around 10 U.S. cities. Its restaurant customers include big-city staples such as Momofuku in Manhattan and Nick’s Crispy Tacos in San Francisco.

The company charges customers $9.99 per delivery, though it recently told Re/code it would soon be dropping the fee to $4.99. Caviar takes anywhere from 10 percent to 25 percent of the bill as its cut from the restaurant. It has 70 employees, not including the independent contractors it pays $15 per order to pick up and deliver the food. Wang recently told Re/code that the company turned a profit three months after launch, but has since slipped into the red as it spends cash to accelerate growth.

It has raised $15 million in funding from investors including Andreessen Horowitz and Tiger Global. Perhaps its best-known competitor, DoorDash, recently announced a $17 million investment led by Sequoia Capital.

Additional reporting by Liz Gannes.




Tribe acquires infielder Sellers from Dodgers

submitted 9 months ago by in Acquisitions

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Swisher chooses to ease into Spring Training

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — It is not uncommon for a veteran player to ease his way into the Spring Training routine. Nick Swisher took that approach in the early days of camp this year, but the Indians first baseman was back on the field Sunday afternoon.

For his Cactus League debut, Swisher was slotted into the second spot of the lineup for the Indians, providing an early look into how he might be used this season. Swisher said he was thrilled to be back in the order as Cleveland begins its quest to build on last summer’s run to the postseason.

“It was nice to get out there, man,” Swisher said, “just to be out there with the guys and playing. We’re super early in Spring Training now, but just to be able to get out there, get a few hacks, it felt good.”

Swisher went 0-for-3 in his three plate appearances for the Tribe, but he did strike the first blow within a three-run outburst in the fifth inning. With one out and runners on the corners, Swisher chopped into a fielder’s choice, but Yan Gomes scored from third base to put Cleveland on the board.

Cleveland played its first three games of the spring without Swisher, who asked manager Terry Francona to keep him off the field for a handful of contests to start the preseason. Swisher took that approach due to feeling that he pushed things too hard too early in the schedule last year, when he joined the Indians after signing a four-year, $56-million contract.

Swisher felt that too much was made this past week over the fact that he took the first few games off.

“In February? It’s not a big deal,” Swisher said. “I just said, ‘Hey, man, let’s give myself a week to get into Spring Training and then start playing some games.’ I don’t know, man. I think you guys are looking way too into it. Go to some other clubs and see how they do it.”

In 146 games for Cleveland last season, the 33-year-old Swisher hit .246 with 22 home runs, 27 doubles and 63 RBIs. At various points throughout the year, Swisher dealt with a left shoulder issue, which had its roots in Spring Training.


Google Acquires To Help Spot And Stop Online Ad Fraud

submitted 9 months ago by in Acquisitions

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Article Details plus googleLondon-based has been acquired by Google, the company’s DoubleClick advertising blog announced today (via Re/Code). is a startup that specialized in weeding out fraudulent clicks around online ads. The three-year old company has tech that will help Google identify bad behavior around their content in video and display ads on the web, to help them get a more accurate picture of what is and isn’t succeeding.

From Google’s official blogpost on the deal:

Advertising helps fund the digital world we love today — inspiring videos, informative websites, entertaining apps and services that connect us with friends around the world. But this vibrant ecosystem only flourishes if marketers can buy media online with the confidence that their ads are reaching real people, that results they see are based on actual interest. To grow the pie for everyone, we need to take head on the issue of online fraud.

Google isn’t revealing the terms of the deal, but the small London company is only seven strong, and this is a fairly specialized niche product so it’s unlikely to have been a huge exit. Still, the team brings some impressive talent to Google’s ranks, including three PhDs and a an ex-Yahoo natural language processing and artificial intelligence expert.’s tech is designed specifically to detect attacks originating from PCs infected by malware. Often these hijacked computers are programmed by their attackers to place a high volume of ad requests, thus skewing the numbers and defrauding online advertisers out of millions of dollars. An FT article from last year revealed that one botnet last year managed to falsify billions of web-based ad clicks, sometimes accounting for as much as two-thirds of the sum total of visits to some websites.


Apple to Buy Radio App Swell for $30 Million

submitted 4 months ago by in Acquisitions

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Apple is close to buying the Pandora-for-talk-radio app Swell, according to multiple sources.

The deal is worth about $30 million, these sources say.

Swell had raised $7.2 million from investors including DFJ, Google Ventures and InterWest Partners. Its iOS app compiled various podcasts and shows and stitched them into personalized streams.

The Swell acquisition comes as part of a string of content apps that Apple has picked up over the last couple of months, including Beats, which had a significant $3 billion price tag; and book recommendation service BookLamp, which was another small-ish buy.

It seems like a pretty clear-cut story: Despite Swell’s simple UI that lended itself to in-car listening, as well as high engagement among fans, the app had trouble finding a lot of users.

As part of the deal, the Swell app is to be shut down this week.

Apple does have its own in-house podcast app, but it is not well-loved, with users rating it 1.5 out of 5 stars in the Apple App Store.

Swell had been beta-testing an Android app, but never released it to the public.

Much of the Swell team is to join Apple. CEO Ram Ramkumar and other members of the Swell team previously sold their image-recognition startup SnapTell to Amazon.

Ramkumar did not respond to requests for comment. Apple declined to comment.



Daniel Drimmer Acquires Units of True North Commercial Real Estate Investment Trust

submitted 4 months ago by in Acquisitions

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TORONTO , July 31, 2014 /CNW/ – Daniel Drimmer announced today that in connection with the completion of the acquisitions by True North Commercial Real Estate Investment Trust (the “REIT“) of an industrial property located at 63 Innovation Drive in Hamilton, Ontario and an office property located at 295 Belliveau Avenue in Shediac, New Brunswick (the “Acquisitions“), and a contemporaneous non-brokered private placement (the “Private Placement“) of 378,787 trust units (“Units“) of the REIT, Mr. Drimmer through D.D. Acquisitions Partnership (the “Acquiror), an entity controlled by him, acquired beneficial ownership of 378,787 Units (the “Acquired Units“) pursuant to the Private Placement, at the offering price of $6.60 per Acquired Unit.

The Acquired Units represent approximately 2.91% of the outstanding Units based on (i) 13,020,170 Units outstanding as of July 31, 2014 , after giving effect to the Private Placement and exchange of all outstanding class B limited partnership units (“Class B LP Units“) of True North Commercial Limited Partnership (a limited partnership controlled by the REIT) for Units on a one-for-one basis; and (ii) the 204,167 options (“Options“) held by Mr. Drimmer to purchase Units pursuant to the REIT’s amended and restated unit option adopted with effect from June 28, 2013 .

After giving effect to the Private Placement, Mr. Drimmer, the Acquiror, and Drimmer Holdings Ltd., beneficially own 3,357,340 Units, including an aggregate of 1,032,290 Units that may be acquired upon the exchange of: (i) 204,167  Options; and (ii) 828,123 Class B LP Units (which Class B LP Units are accompanied by 828,123 special voting units of the REIT (“Special Voting Units“)), representing approximately 25.79% of the outstanding Units (based on: (a) 13,020,170 Units outstanding as of July 31, 2014 , after giving effect to the Private Placement and exchange of all outstanding Class B LP Units for Units on a one-for-one basis; and (b) the 204,167 Options held by Mr. Drimmer).

Pursuant to an exchange agreement dated December 14, 2012 , among the REIT, True North Commercial General Partner Corp. and Starlight Investments Ltd., each Class B LP Unit may be exchanged for one Unit without further consideration at which time a corresponding Special Voting Unit will be cancelled.

The 378,787 Acquired Units were acquired by the Acquiror under the Private Placement for investment purposes pursuant to the applicable prospectus exemptions set out in National Instrument 45-106 – Prospectus and Registration Exemptions. Mr. Drimmer, the Acquiror and Drimmer Holdings Ltd. may from time to time acquire additional securities of the REIT and its controlled entities (whether pursuant to property acquisition transactions or otherwise), dispose of some or all of the securities of any such entity or maintain its current securities position in the entity.

This press release is being issued pursuant to National Instrument 62-103 – The Early Warning System and Related Take-Over Bid and Insider Reporting Issuers which requires a report to be filed under the REIT’s profile on SEDAR ( containing additional information respecting the foregoing matters. A copy of such report may be obtained by contacting Daniel Drimmer at (416) 234-8444.

The names and addresses of Mr. Drimmer, the Acquiror, and Drimmer Holdings Ltd., filing the report are:

Mr. Daniel Drimmer
1801 – 3300 Bloor Street West
West Tower
Toronto, Ontario
M8X 2X2

D.D. Acquisitions Partnership
1801 – 3300 Bloor Street West
West Tower
Toronto, Ontario
M8X 2X2

Drimmer Holdings Ltd.
1801 – 3300 Bloor Street West
West Tower
Toronto, Ontario
M8X 2X2


SOURCE True North Commercial Real Estate Investment Trust

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Is mindfulness and less stress worth $299? The Muse makes a case (review)

submitted 2 months ago by in Acquisitions

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Is mindfulness and less stress worth $299? The Muse makes a case (review)

Above: Interaxon’s Muse brain-sensing headband

Image Credit: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

The most interesting wearable I’ve used yet isn’t a fitness tracker or a superfluous smartwatch. It’s a connected headband that helps you focus your thoughts.

With the Muse headband ($299), InteraXon is basically gamifying meditation — or at the very least, gamifying a path towards a more focused and relaxed mind.

And it’s more than just a gimmick. After using the Muse for a few weeks I noticed that I approached problems with a calmer and more focused mind. Situations that would previously frustrate the heck out of me (hello, breaking news) felt less taxing. Unlike most gadgets, its benefits extend far beyond when you’re wearing it.

Founded by CEO Ariel Garten, InteraXon raised nearly $300,000 for the Muse on Indiegogo, and it went on to raise $6 million from investors last year. Much like Oculus VR’s Rift headset, another crowdfunding darling that raised $2.3 million on Kickstarter (before VC money poured in and the eventual $2 billion Facebook acquisition), Muse makes a strong case for the viability of young hardware-focused startups.

Mindfulness, the notion of focusing your thoughts in the present moment, is very much in vogue, so it’s not surprising that InteraXon managed to raise investor interest. What is surprising is that it actually works pretty well.

Muse headband Muse headband Muse headband Muse headband The Muse's forehead sensor feels particularly fragile Muse headband

Zen and the art of gadget design

To put it simply, the Muse brings electroencephalography (EEG) technology, which detects brain activity, to the masses. Its curved and minimalist design makes it look like something you’d expect royalty from the future to wear, like a high-tech crown. There aren’t any stray wires and electrodes, just a simple, clean curve, made up mostly of a flexible, rubberized material.

The Muse sits above your ears, with the front part of the band pressed against your forehead. It is light and comfortable to wear for extended periods of time (after all, you wouldn’t want anything about the device’s fit disturbing your calm). It communicates with an iPhone or Android app wirelessly to walk you through calming exercises. While it’s not required, it was helpful to wear headphones while using the Muse to further block out the world and concentrate on its calming exercises.

After charging the Muse (for some reason it has two USB ports for charging, though you only need to plug in one at a time), you just need to pair it with your smartphone over Bluetooth. Next, open the Muse “Calm” app, which guides you through the basics of fitting the device on your head. I had to extend the Muse headband a bit for it to fit, but that was no tougher than readjusting a pair of headphones.  The Muse should be tight enough so all seven sensors can properly measure your brain activity but not so tight that it’s uncomfortable.

While it’s a mostly sturdy device, I always felt like I had to treat the Muse delicately because of the paper-thin sensors for the front of your forehead. It doesn’t feel like something you can just throw in your bag and bring to the office.

The Muse's forehead sensor feels particularly fragile

Above: The Muse’s forehead sensor feels particularly fragile

Image Credit: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

Meditation for the smartphone age

The Muse Calm app doesn’t feel as polished as the Muse hardware, but it’s colorful and easy to use. A short, narrated training process gives you a sense of how the headband works and also kicks off a quick calibration process, which involves thinking of a few items that fit specific categories (like “singers” or “brands”). That gives the Muse a baseline reading for when your brain is active, so it can better tell when you’re truly relaxed.

Once you’re done calibrating the Muse, you’re thrust into a full-fledged session, which can be anywhere from three minutes to 12. With headphones on, the Muse app basically recreates the sensation of sitting beside the ocean, with sounds of waves lapping the shore. The goal of each session, as much as there is one, is to relax yourself as much as possible. The app’s friendly instructor (you can choose a female or male voice) gives you one method of focusing your thoughts and calming your mind: Just count every breath you take, while trying to block out other distracting thoughts.

The seaside environment of the Muse app also reacts to your brain activity in real time. The wind picks up significantly if you mind is active and distracted — it’s a trip to notice that your thoughts alone can control something like the wind. If you’re calm for an extended period of time, you’ll be rewarded with the sound of birds landing nearby.

Once your session is completed, the app charts how long your mind was busy, neutral, and relaxed, and it rewards you points for your relaxed and neutral time. Sure, that doesn’t sound very Zen, but it’s an easy way for a mainstream user to judge if they’re actually using the Muse properly. If you’ve ever wanted numbers to prove that your time spent meditating works, Muse is just the ticket.

The breakdown from one of my Muse sessions

Above: The breakdown from one of my Muse sessions

The Muse Calm app lets you view the charts and details of all your past sessions. And once you’ve racked up enough points, you unlock additional ways to view your data, including a timeline view and personal insights.

Lasting results

It took a few sessions, but eventually I got into the groove of Muse’s sessions, and I began to look forward to them just as much as going for a run.

The Muse isn’t a magical device that will make you more relaxed, but if you put the work in, you’ll likely feel the benefits of regular meditation sessions. In general it helped me feel cope with stressful situations like huge press events, endless lines at the post office, or being crammed into a hot and AC-less subway car, better than I used to.

The other big benefit? Once you use the Muse enough, it won’t be tough for you to carve out quiet meditation sessions throughout the day without using the Muse at all. It’s sort of like training wheels for mindfulness.

Muse headband

A focused mind doesn’t come cheap

The biggest issue with the Muse so far is its price of $299, which puts it in the realm of expensive toys, rather than something a typical consumer may want to pick up. Given the design and engineering work that went into the Muse, I can understand why it’s so expensive. But it sure makes the device hard to recommend.

You may be better off trying to save your money and take some actual mindfulness meditation courses. You’ll likely still end up paying something for those, but it’ll probably be less than $300. Plus, you know, it’s nice to actually interact with other humans.

And for $299, the Muse is a tough sell since it really does only one thing right now. Garten previously mentioned that Muse’s brain-sensing tech could be used for other applications, like games or controlling devices around your home, but those remain pie-in-the-sky dreams. Right now you’re buying the Muse for one thing: calming the heck down.

Still, the Muse is the most affordable brain-reading gadget right now. Emotiv has been developing the technology for years, and its device currently sells for $500.

A solid meditation gadget — if you can afford it

If anything, the Muse is a sign of what’s to come the world of wearables. It’s still technically an activity tracker, but it’s nothing like the fitness-tracking gadgets out there right now, which are mainly focused on tracking external things like the amount of steps you take. The Muse makes a clear case for activity trackers that look deeper within our bodies.

It’s just too bad it’s out of reach for most consumers at the moment. If it were closer to $100, which may be possible in the next year or two, the Muse could be a must-have gadget for anyone who wants some peace of mind.

At InteraXon, we develop engaging experiences using brain sensing technology that frees you from physical, emotional and mental obstacles so you get more out of every moment. Our mission is to enable you to live a happier, healthier … read more »



Pluralsight grabs $135M to expand online learning for professionals

submitted 3 months ago by in Acquisitions

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Pluralsight grabs $135M to expand online learning for professionals

Above: Pluralsight CEO Aaron Skonnard

Image Credit: Pluralsight

Back in the days, if you were a professional wanting to learn some new skills to get that promotion, switch jobs, or even switch careers, you’d enroll in some community classes.

Today, you can use the Internet, and more specifically, services such as Pluralsight, which offers a variety of online courses for professionals and has just raised $135 million in a second round of funding.

In a sea of online courses of all shapes and sizes, Pluralsight wants to be the online education hub where professionals go to pick up extra skills, polish their current ones, or even just learn to use a new tool for work. Its courses cover topics like Javascript and how to use specific tools such as VMware. And while there are similar services such as Lynda and Udemy, Pluralsight co-founder and chief executive Aaron Skonnard told VentureBeat that his company’s offerings delve deeper into topics than its competitors.

“Lynda for example, has a really wide breadth of content, but it doesn’t go very deep in a particular area, with a few exceptions,” he said. He added that it would thus make sense for someone to start with Lynda courses, and then graduate to Pluralsight’s once they need more depth in a particular course.

Another competitor, Udemy, is more reliant on a community of folks to submit courses, while Pluralsight invests a lot of energy in vetting and recruiting teachers for its courses. There are several other competitors in the space, all with some variation on online education.

Like Lynda, Pluralsight charges its customers a monthly or yearly fee to access its content (not per course, as Udemy does), and says it has more than 3,000 courses in its library, created by 600 instructors, and totaling 9,900 hours of content, according to its website.

More focus on the enterprise

Although Pluralsight first started as a consumer-facing product, making its courses available to any professional Joe out there and marketing to him, it eventually started to sell its services to companies as well. Now, with its extra infusion of cash, Pluralsight will dedicate a good chunk of that money to growing its enterprise business.

“A lot of companies around the world are constantly facing this challenge. ‘How do we ramp up our people to get the skills we need them to have?’” said Skonnard.

Through Pluralsight, companies can purchase access for their employees at bulk discounts and digitally manage their employees’ education through Pluralsight. The traditional alternative to this has been to hire a very expensive expert to host a training program at the company, usually costing a small fortune and with mixed results.

But Pluralsight’s biggest challenge right now is to find ways to verify what a student has learned through its courses.

“How do we prove that these individuals have actually learned something?” said Skonnard.

Skonnard said the company is exploring a bunch of possible ways to accomplish this, though he declined to share specifics. Developing these is one of the things the company plans to use its new funds for.

Moreover, the company is also putting a lot more resources into its enterprise product, beefing up analytics, working to get better integration with companies’ systems, and increasing its library of courses.

Lastly, Pluralsight plans to use some of its new funding towards mergers and acquisitions if any opportunities arise, Skonnard said. The company is currently “looking at a few” possible targets, although Skonnard declined to provide more details. Pluralsight has already acquired four companies: Digital-Tutors, Tekpub, TrainSignal, and PeepCode.

Insight Venture Partners led the round, with additional participation from Iconiq Capital and Sorenson Capital.

Pluralsight was founded in 2004 by Keith Sparkjoy, Aaron Skonnard, Bill Williams, and Fritz Onion and is based in Farmington, Utah. The company previously raised $27.5 million. is an online learning company that helps anyone learn software, business, and design skills to achieve personal and professional goals. With a subscription, members receive unlimited access to a vast library of high… read more »

Pluralsight is the largest online tech and creative library on the planet. The revolutionary Pluralsight training library provides developers, IT admin and creative professionals everywhere with instant access to a rich collection of o… read more »



Yahoo buys recommendation service Zofari [UPDATE]

submitted 3 months ago by in Acquisitions

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Yahoo buys recommendation service Zofari [UPDATE]

Yahoo has bought recommendation platform Zofari, Zofari’s founders announced today.

“After meeting some of the amazing folks on the Yahoo Search team and hearing about their vision, the decision for our team to join Yahoo was an easy one,” reads the announcement. “We can’t talk about what we’re working on yet, but needless to say we are very, very excited.”

Zofari, which raised $150,000 from friends and family to get off the ground, recommends restaurants, bars, and other attractions based on other places a user has enjoyed. The developers have said the service was inspired by music recommendation service Pandora, as well as Netflix’s sophisticated algorithm for recommending films related to what you’e watched in the past.

The idea of a Netflix-style recommendation engine for physical places is a compelling one, especially in a city, though it poses complex challenges. Zofari drew a lukewarm mention on the New York Times as recently as late last year.

It’s not yet clear what Yahoo intends to do with the fledgling company, though TripAdvisor’s purchase and subsequent shuttering of similar service Wanderfly — as well as Yahoo’s acquisition and closing of GoPollGo — cast a long shadow in the age of the “acqui-hire.

What’s certain is that the buy plays a role in Yahoo’s scramble to rebuild traffic and influence under president Marissa Mayer, who has overseen the acquisition of A-list blogging platform Tumblr as well as a host of other startups, including another personalized recommendation outfit, Jybe.

“Zofari and Yahoo share a common goal to make the world an easier place to explore for as many people as possible,” said a Yahoo representative in a statement. “We’re thrilled to welcome the team to Yahoo, where they will join our growing Search organization and continue to build amazing discovery experiences.”


Yahoo! is the premier digital media company. Founded in 1994 by Stanford PhD candidates David Filo and Jerry Yang as a way for them to keep track of their personal interests on the Internet, Yahoo! has grown into a company that hel… read more »



AirStrip Acquires Sense4Baby for Monitoring High-Risk Pregnancies

submitted 8 months ago by in Acquisitions

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Bruce V. Bigelow3/28/14Follow @bvbigelow

Pregnant Belly

AirStrip, a mobile healthtech company based in San Antonio, TX, has acquired FDA-approved technology developed by San Diego’s Sense4Baby that enables doctors and other healthcare providers to monitor maternal-fetal vital signs on a smartphone or tablet. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The San Diego-based Gary and Mary West Health Investment Fund put $4 million into Sense4Baby after the startup was spun out from the Gary and Mary West Health Institute. The wireless monitoring technology for high-risk pregnancies was developed in-house at the institute, and Sense4Baby was the first startup to be enrolled in a healthtech incubator Gary and Mary West established in 2012.

The West health investment fund and healthtech incubator are for-profit entities affiliated with the nonprofit West health institute. The telemarketing billionaires Gary and Mary West established all three organizations, along with a nonprofit health policy center, to work together to reduce healthcare costs.

Sense4Baby received clearance to commercialize its technology from the FDA and European regulators in 2013.

AirStrip says patient data from the Sense4Baby system will be integrated with its interoperable mobile technology, called AirStrip ONE, which is capable of transmitting data from multiple sources to caregivers using multiple mobile devices.

In a statement, AirStrip CEO Alan Portela says, “AirStrip pioneered data mobilization in women’s services ten years ago with the first FDA-cleared application that allowed doctors to monitor live data for patients in labor in the hospital setting. As a result, one in six babies born in the U.S. is now monitored using AirStrip ONE in labor and delivery. Now, AirStrip is innovating again by mobilizing waveform data of pregnant patients beyond the four walls of the hospital, expanding the ability to care for patients throughout the obstetrics care continuum.”

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


Red Robin Acquires Franchised Units

submitted 8 months ago by in Acquisitions

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Red Robin International, Inc. – a wholly owned subsidiary of
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc.


) – announced the acquisition of four franchised units in Upstate
and Mid-Hudson region of New York.

Previously owned by Connecticut-based Swan Concepts Inc., the
franchised units are located in Latham, Halfmoon, Fayetteville
and Poughkeepsie. Red Robin Gourmet Burgers currently owns and
operates 12 locations in New York, with another restaurant coming
up in West Babylon, NY.

Post Hurricane Sandy and the economic downturn, Hudson County is
poised for strong economic growth in 2014. Additionally, the
waterfront towns in the Upstate and Mid-Hudson region are popular
tourist attractions. In our view, the acquisition will be a
strategic success, as the profitable location will drive Red
Robin’s traffic.

The trend of transitioning to a company-based model is fast
picking up, although most companies still prefer franchisees. A
host of restaurateurs like
Panera Bread Co.


) and
Buffalo Wild Wings Inc.


) have also acquired franchised units in the recent past.

The strong growth witnessed in these franchised units makes them
a lucrative acquisition target. Hence, we view the deal as
strategically positive in an industry that depends largely on

At the end of the last quarter, Red Robin had 495 restaurants. Of
this, 6 were Red Robin’s Burger Works restaurants – the company’s
smaller prototype restaurant – 134 units were franchised and the
rest were company owned. The company has plans for aggressive
expansion and remains on track to unveil 20 units in 2014, along
with 5 Red Robin’s Burger Works.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers currently carries a Zacks Rank #3
(Hold). A better-ranked stock in the same industry is
The Wendy’s Company


), which has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

BUFFALO WLD WNG (BWLD): Free Stock Analysis

PANERA BREAD CO (PNRA): Free Stock Analysis

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WENDYS CO/THE (WEN): Free Stock Analysis

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Bernin (Grenoble), France, March 24th, 2014 -Soitec Solar Development, LLC (“Soitec”) announced today that Invenergy Solar Development LLC (“Invenergy”) has acquired Soitec’s 7 MWp (5 MWAC) Desert Green Solar Farm LLC (“Desert Green”) energy generation project in Borrego Springs, California.

Desert Green will be located approximately 90 miles from the City of San Diego, in northeastern San Diego County.  The project will feature more than 2,800 Soitec Concentrix(TM) concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) modules, which are manufactured at Soitec’s Rancho Bernardo factory. 

Project construction is scheduled to begin this month, with commercial operations expected to commence by the end of 2014.  Power generated by Desert Green will be purchased by San Diego Gas Electric (“SDGE”) under a long-term agreement.  The facility will connect to SDGE’s Borrego Springs substation.

Invenergy is pleased to reach this agreement with Soitec, as California continues to lead the nation in its support for renewable power generation,” said Jim Shield, Chief Development Officer at Invenergy. “Desert Green is a real milestone for Invenergy as our first clean energy project in the state. We’re proud to invest in Borrego Springs, and look forward to a long and successful relationship with the community.”

In 2011, SDGE entered into five PPAs for 155 MW with Soitec Solar Development. Desert Green is the first project to start construction within that PPA portfolio.   These SDGE PPAs underpinned Soitec’s investment of over $150 million in its San Diego CPV module factory which to date has created over 250 jobs at Soitec’s Rancho Bernardo facility.  

This is an important milestone occurring shortly after the first year of operation of our San Diego factory and demonstrates Soitec’s success in executing its strategic plan to complete its portfolio of CPV projects supporting the San Diego factory,” said Clark Crawford, Vice President of Sales and Business Development. “Invenergy’s clean energy industry experience and track record of raising project finance – along with its proven construction and operational capabilities – will ensure that the Desert Green project is completed and operated with the highest standards.”

SDGE looks forward to working with Invenergy as it builds a new source of clean, homegrown energy here in Southern California, helping SDGE to meet its state Renewable Portfolio Standard goals,” said James Avery, Senior Vice President of Power Supply at SDGE. “SDGE is proud to have spurred Soitec’s investment in the local CleanTECH cluster with its San Diego factory, and the PPAs using Soitec’s CPV modules will help SDGE to meet its RPS goals.

The project is expected to create approximately 50 jobs during the peak of construction.   In its first year of operation, the Desert Green solar project will generate enough clean energy to power nearly 2,000 homes in SDGE’s service territory. The project will displace nearly 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, the equivalent of taking more than 1,000 cars off US roadways. 

The energy will be produced using Soitec’s Concentrix 5th generation CPV dual-axis tracking technology.  The Soitec CX-S530 system is designed to improve the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) for utility-scale solar power plants in the sunniest regions of the world.  With installations in 20 countries around the world, Soitec’s CPV technology has proven to be the most efficient and environmentally friendly solar power generation technology.  It demonstrates unique cost competitiveness compared to other solar technologies, largely due to its higher production yields throughout the sunlight hours and lower construction and maintenance costs.  In addition, CPV technology’s ability to operate without cooling water, withstand hot ambient temperatures with minimal environmental impact make it perfectly suited for use in desert areas such as Borrego Springs, CA.   

About Soitec

Soitec is an international manufacturing company, a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials at the frontier of the most exciting energy and electronic challenges. Soitec’s products include substrates for microelectronics (most notably SOI: Silicon-on-Insulator) and concentrator photovoltaic systems (CPV). The company’s core technologies are Smart Cut(TM), Smart Stacking(TM) and Concentrix(TM), as well as expertise in epitaxy. Applications include consumer and mobile electronics, microelectronics-driven IT, telecommunications, automotive electronics, lighting products and large-scale solar power plants. Soitec has manufacturing plants and RD centers in France, Singapore, Germany and the United States. For more information visit:

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