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High-Tech Titan unveils new ‘child’ e-tenna



Venture Catalyst Warned of Possible

Nasdaq Delisting

San Diego-based e-tenna Corp. has been what Titan Corp. likes to call one of its “emerging” businesses.

It might be likened to the child of some society luminary from La Jolla or Fairbanks Ranch.

People may have heard of the up-and-comer. Seen it around (or on the pages of an annual report).

But they had not been formally introduced.

The formal introduction came last week, when e-tenna made its debut with several splashy announcements.

The subsidiary, which creates radio frequency subsystems and components, has secured $7.3 million in financing so far, Titan announced May 14. Leading the investors is New York’s Archery Capital. Titan maintains a majority interest.

Titan and e-tenna also introduced the company president last week: He is David McCartney, formerly of RangeStar Wireless. Lee Stein is the company’s chairman and CEO.

E-tenna’s headquarters are in San Diego; its engineering facility is near Baltimore.

The Titan subsidiary takes technology developed for military and government customers (often under contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and applies it to the commercial wireless communications market.

Titan plans to have e-tenna develop and license such technologies.

E-tenna’s core technology and expertise can be traced back to Titan’s 1999 acquisition of Atlantic Aerospace Electronics Corp., according to Titan’s 2000 annual report.

Titan has since developed the company and released its entire portfolio of antenna-related patents and intellectual property to the unit. They include four patents issued, five pending, and another 10 yet to be submitted, according to e-tenna’s Web site.

The site says the intellectual property represents 14 years of research. Key features of e-tenna’s technology, according to the Titan annual report, are “that it suppresses undesired radio frequency currents, thereby isolating the antenna from influences that could degrade performance. It also improves signal strength by causing power to radiate away from the device in which the antenna is being used.”

Benefits of the technology, according to the report, could be “improved quality of service, longer battery life, better coverage and system capacity, and lower levels of specific absorption rate, which measures the quantity of radio frequency energy that is absorbed by the human body in connection with a cell phone’s use.”

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Nasdaq Notifies VCAT:

The Nasdaq stock exchange has formally warned San Diego-based Venture Catalyst Inc. that the company no longer meets rules for listing on the exchange.

The company, which has provided consulting and technology integration to Native American casinos, made the announcement, adding the exchange gave Venture Catalyst an Aug. 6 deadline for compliance.

Venture Catalyst’s stock, which goes by the symbol VCAT, has been trading below $1 since late March. During the week of May 7-11, the company’s stock traded in the range of 42 cents to 72 cents per share. It closed May 11 at 54 cents per share.

Nasdaq requires a $1 minimum bid for 30 tracking days. It also requires a stock’s public float to be at least $5 million. Venture Catalyst had a public float of $3.6 million as of mid-May.

The company statement added that if it is unable to show compliance by Aug. 6, it could appeal the matter.

“We consider the maintenance of our Nasdaq National Market listing to be important,” said Don Speer, the company’s chairman and CEO, in a prepared statement. “We are executing our plan to conserve capital, reduce operating expenses and exploring additional means to build value for our shareholders.”

Venture Catalyst reported $77,000 in revenues for its third quarter ended March 31, compared to $3.49 million in revenues for the same time last year. The company reported it received no fees from Barona Casino, and revenues from other clients were down 93 percent.

The company restructured during its second quarter at a cost of $6.8 million.

Send high-tech news to Graves via e-mail at bgraves@sdbj.com.

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