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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, October 29, 2012, 5:00 am

Business News: Week of Oct. 29, 2012

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    Technology

    Corte Madera-based Message Bus, a developer of a cloud-based software behind messaging and email, closed an $11 million round of growth funding. The round was led by North Bridge Venture Partners and included True VenturesIgnition PartnersJames LindenbaumTim Young and Jesse Robbins. Message Bus plans to use the funding to accelerate its hiring and product road map.

    Real estate

    The average cost of apartment rent in the third quarter rose year-over-year in Sonoma and Napa counties, according to Novato-based real estate data firm RealFacts. In Sonoma County, the average monthly rent rose 5 percent from a year before, reaching $1,214 as of Sept. 30. Occupancy also rose 1.3 percent to 95.9 percent. In Napa County, rents rose 2.7 percent to $1,350, and occupancy fell 0.3 percent, to 96.6 percent. Nationally, rents rose an average of 4.8 percent and are expected to rise an average of 6 percent by the end of the year.

    Multiple Organics, Inc., a San Rafael-based wholesaler of organic ingredients for producing a variety of products, is consolidating its administrative and warehousing operations on the west coast into a new state-of-the-art facility in Hercules. The 11-year-old company had seen rapid growth, with 22 percent increase in revenue compared to last year. At a cost of $6 million, the new facility will allow for a 250 percent increase in inventory levels and combine operations of a warehouse in Oakland and administrative functions in San Rafael. The new location also provides easier access to trucking routes.

    San Diego-based Sunrise Management has expanded its Northern California office with the addition of two new Sacramento-area properties to their portfolio, including Cedarwood Apartments in Santa Rosa. These additions bring the regional portfolio up to almost 500 units, with several hundred additional units already in the pipeline.

    Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority announced the approval of Sonoma Flex Package, a new incentive program that enhances the current Energy Upgrade California program. The goal is to help Sonoma County homeowners undertake affordable upgrades that improve the home’s comfort, health and energy-efficiency. Energy Upgrade California is a state energy-savings program launched in 2010 with similar goals and provides homeowners with incentives, financing and access to participating contractors trained in building-performance and energy-efficiency work. Sonoma Flex Package is a pilot program of Energy Upgrade California, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Program and administered locally by the authority, which worked closely with local building performance contractors to design the program.

    Education

    Petaluma Educational Foundation is calling for support in its effort to raise an additional $50,000 to fund its grant programs for Petaluma educators. The group aims to provide $225,000 in grants for the 2012–2013 school year. The deadline to apply for a Major Impact Grant (pefinfo.com/grants.html) is Nov. 14. Applications for an enrichment grant are due Jan. 9. Since launching, the foundation has awarded more than $1.8 million in grants.

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