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Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

High-Tech — Walker Digital Finds Creative Solutions From Local Base

SAIC to Provide Services

For Dept. of Agriculture

Under $81M Agreement

For Jeff Stiefler, it’s not about technology, it’s about solving problems.

That’s also the philosophy behind the company he works for, Walker Digital, which recently established its West Coast headquarters in San Diego.

Walker Digital’s mission is to reinvent and improve businesses by using new digital technologies in a creative way. Walker Digital, which dubs itself an invention and development company, invents proprietary new business methods, develops and operates new companies and partners with other companies to improve their performance.

The goal is to create values, solve inefficiencies and create new industry economics.

Walker Digital, which has about 30 employees in San Diego, plans to recruit several hundred more over the next year or so, said Stiefler, vice chairman and director of Walker Digital.

The company recently signed a 10-year lease for a 45,000-square-foot office in Carlsbad.

“We’d like to fill it,” Stiefler said.

He said Walker Digital plans to launch three new Internet-based businesses in San Diego within a year.

“We think we have the opportunity to create some very large, high-growth and successful companies,” he said.

Stiefler said San Diego is the perfect place to launch these E-businesses.

“At the business level, this is just a remarkable economy,” said Stiefler, who moved to San Diego after retiring as president of American Express in 1995. “It has all the things we need to get a great business started. We have a great education system, a tradition of innovation and a burgeoning core of Internet-related and technology-related companies that are creating a level of energy in the economy.”

Connecticut-based Walker Digital, launched in 1994, has invented about 350 new business methods covering 20 industries. Those methods have been invented by 60 full-time inventors who analyze industries and identify what needs to be changed in those industries.

One of Walker Digital’s most celebrated inventions is Priceline.com, which allows consumers to use the Internet to save money on products and services such as airline tickets and long-distance phone service.

“With Priceline.com, we identified a number of very significant problems in the travel industry,” said Stiefler, vice chairman and director of Walker Digital. “The airlines were seeing 500,000 seats per day go unfilled, but they didn’t want to deeply discount those seats.”

Stiefler said Priceline.com has generated about $1 billion in revenues, adding the company is expected to be profitable in the first quarter of next year.

“What we do with all of our businesses is create a world-class management team and also recruit a core group of investors,” he said.

Walker Digital has attracted more than $500 million in funding from companies like General Atlantic Partners & Co., Goldman Sachs, Liberty Digital, Vulcan Ventures, Wit Capital and Bain & Co.

“We have always operated under the presumption that if we have the right ideas, the right people and the right capital, we will be successful,” Stiefler said. “What we’ve done and what we’re planning to do is create companies of lasting value. Investors have capital which they need to deploy. They recognize there are relatively few good ideas and good management teams out there. They’re looking at firms like Walker Digital.”

He added Walker Digital is not an incubator.

“We see incubators as early stage venture capital businesses,” Stiefler said. “We start with transformational ideas, which we invent and own.”

– – –

Bits & Bytes: Science Applications International Corp. is digging an $81 million contract to do work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under the six-year contract, awarded by the Federal Systems Integration and Management Center, SAIC will provide services such as analysis, engineering, maintenance, installation, integration, local area network/wide area network support, and commercial off-the-shelf software support to the Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency. Cubic Video Technologies, Inc. has signed a three-year, multimillion-dollar contract with a Texas-based security integration company. The name of the company wasn’t released due to competitive reasons. Under the contract, valued at about $5.5 million, San Diego-based Cubic Video will supply more than 2,200 digital recorder systems that will be installed in stations and convenience stores for a major gas company.

Cubic Video currently has a patent pending on its proprietary video compression technology. San Diego-based Crywolf Consulting recently opened its 4,200-square-foot Macintosh Resource Center in Kearny Mesa. The center includes a full range of technical and creative solutions for the Mac community. Crywolf offers individual and classroom instruction, as well as design and production services, including graphic and Web design, digital audio and video production and QuickTime video streaming for the Internet. On the international frontier , Global space industry revenues are expected to soar to $96 billion this year, up from $87 billion in 1999, according to the Virginia-based International Space Business Council. The council also predicts revenues will increase another $81.2 billion by 2005. And, like all good things, this column and my time at the San Diego Business Journal comes to an end. Farewell, my tekkie friends.


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