DriveCam Raises $85M, SwoopThat Wins PitchFest, & More San Diego BizTech News

Last week was the storm before the calm, as a warm front of high-tech news moved through the San Diego region before the Thanksgiving holiday. We’ve got the details here.

—San Diego-based DriveCam said it raised $85 million through a private placement that will be used mostly for its acquisition of RAIR Technologies. As I explained a couple of years ago, DriveCam puts its video data technology on the dashboards of fleet vehicles. Brookfield, WI-based RAIR provides technology that helps U.S. Department of Transportation-regulated fleet operators manage driver qualification requirements, vehicle inspection requirements, hours-of-service logs, and scoring for compliance, safety, and accountability. A New York private equity firm, Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe, provided the $85 million in investment capital.

—The San Diego Venture Group awarded top honors—and $10,000 in startup capital—to San Diego-based SwoopThat at its annual PitchFest event. More than 70 early stage startups applied for the PitchFest competition, which ended last week in final presentations by SwoopThat, Gamer Grub, and Deal Current Network. SwoopThat helps college students at 2,347 schools nationwide save both time and money by purchasing their textbooks through Web-based technology that matches buyers with sellers of used textbooks. SwoopThat also operates a search engine that provides price comparisons for over 15 million products.

—A model fuels consortium formed six years ago by San Diego-based Reaction Design has developed software that can accurately simulate the formation of soot particulates during internal combustion. The modeling software was developed in anticipation of new engine exhaust regulations aimed to dramatically reduce the size and number of soot particles in gasoline and diesel-powered engines. As I had previously explained, Reaction Design develops software that models gaseous chemical reactions.

—A new San Diego startup, Swarmology, said it has raised $1.2 million as part of its emerging Web-based business, which mines social media as part of an integrated marketing approach for healthcare clients. Pharmaceutical and health IT executive Malcolm Bohm founded Swarmology to analyze online conversations about specific health concerns.

—Austin, TX-based car2go, a subsidiary of Daimler North America, announced the debut of its all-electric car-sharing program in San Diego—the first in North America. The company began deploying 300 zero-emission smart “fortwo” electric-drive vehicles here Friday, and said they are now in service.

—First, IBM’s Watson beat the best players on TV’s Jeopardy! game show. At last week’s SuperData Summit, IBM executive Christine Kretz said the company is now working on potential uses for Watson’s 2,880 computer processors, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. One possibility, Kretz said, was to provide a second-opinion diagnosis system for WellPoint and other big health insurance providers. San Diego has a cluster of more than 100 data analytics businesses, including units of such out-of-town companies as Opera Solutions, Teradata, and FICO.

—Samsung Electronics said it had acquired a division of ITC Nexus that specializes in cardiac testing kits. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Samsung said the Nexus division will continue to operate from its San Diego headquarters and will be integrated with Samsung’s HME division, which focuses on developing healthcare technologies.

Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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