Seattle Tech and Startup News from the Past Week
By accepting a bid that could ultimately net over $70M in cash and stock if benchmarks are met, Hipcricket is adding to the mergers & acquisitions buzz in the Seattle tech sector. The new pairing with New York’s Augme will create an impressive list of corporate clients that rely on mobile marketing expertise, and it will bring aboard Hipcricket leadership while keeping the Seattle operation going.
Sony buys Bellevue’s Sucker Punch Seattle Times
Maverick maker of the inFamous series for PlayStation, Sucker Punch Productions is slated for sale to Sony, although it will continue operations in Bellevue. The planned acquisition of the studio founded by Microsoft vets follows on the heels of EA’s mega-million buyout of Seattle’s PopCap Games, cements a long-time partnership and brings Sony’s total take to 16 studios.
A new iPhone app from the company headed by James Sun promises a smarter real-time daily deal solution for consumers and companies by utilizing geo-locating technology and Microsoft Tag. With mobile phones increasingly part of the shopping equation, Seattle’s Pirq plans to follow-up with something for Android users, offering buyers big discounts without pre-payment, while helping sellers avoid the pitfalls of deals that don’t reap return business and swamp stores at peak times.
ChoozOn cuts the coupon clutter with $3.2M Venture Beat
Tailoring deals to individual tastes makes ChoozOn a kind of Tivo for coupons, while taming the clutter and offering bonuses like deal clubs and an upcoming e-mail feature. The startup led by Nick Weir with an office in Bellevue just landed its own deal, earning a tidy angel investor sum that will help expand the coupon aggregator’s service and staff.
AdXpose’s digital ad tracking technology proved an irresistible match for comScore, “the center of the digital media planning universe,” in the estimate of the Seattle startup’s newest CEO, Kirby Winfield. The $22M acquisition is the latest twist for the company originated by Greg Harrison as Mpire; whether AdXpose will continue its Seattle operation is uncertain.
Startup of the Week: Seven Scale TechFlash
Independence and the flexibility it brings is a priority for the bootstrapped Seattle startup that has even coined a phrase for its hands-on approach, “The GitHub Way.” Founded by Troy Davis and Eric Lindvall, whose Cloudvox service sold earlier, Seven Scale recently released Papertrail as part of its log message aggregator solution for IT professionals.
Surprisingly sluggish sales for Dendreon’s breakthrough cancer drug contributed to a quarterly net loss in excess of $100M, resulting in lowered revenue projections and plans to downsize staff. Headed by Michael Gold, the company that is the star player in Seattle’s biotech roster argues that its recent victory ensuring Medicare reimbursement will spur adoption by doctors of Provenge, whose FDA approval fueled high hopes for patients and Dendreon.
Boasting the planet’s biggest mobile network base, China Mobile’s more than 600 million users will reap the benefit of Bellevue technology that promises to minimize service snafus. The automated testing method offered with Bsquare’s Handset Certification Program is about to be put to the test, with China Mobile as a massive test market.
Despite Seattle’s tepid venture capital stream, The State Entrepreneurial Index names Washington a close second to New York, based on a comparison of 5 key factors that add up to a promising environment to launch a business. Massachusetts, New Jersey and rapidly rising Oregon round out the leaders.
Dashwire is headed under the HTC umbrella as the Taiwan mobile device maker makes a multi-million dollar bid for the complementary data syncing service led by Ford Davidson. The startup will keep its Seattle base, operating as a fully-owned subsidiary and boosting the North American profile of HTC.