Top stories from the past week in Seattle Tech and Startups
Startup Labs is a Startup Weekend spin-off by its director Clint Nelsen that promises to find funding to launch the bright ideas generated at the marathon development sessions. Partnered with Startup Weekend veteran and entrepreneur Arkady Moreynis, Nelsen admits these uniquely early-stage investments pose built-in risks, but with the potential for real returns, as evidenced by past participants like Giant Thinkwell.
As new CEO at Opscode, Mitch Hill takes the wheel from co-founder Jesse Robbins, now chief community officer of the Seattle startup with a popular new cloud platform and fresh funding. Opscode corners the market with the debut of Hosted Chef service, which already counts over 5000 commercial customers of its one-of-a-kind automated infrastructure and management service.
After hard learned lessons from Zango, the leaders of BigDoor Media are making the gamification craze pay off for the Seattle startup and publishers who use its free platform in exchange for a share of virtual currency. Finding the right friction formula is the challenge of BigDoor Media’s ‘engagement economy’ strategy, which aims to engage digital content users by providing virtual incentives, while utilizing the transactions to garner data, ensure repeat visits and boost ad revenue.
Zulily captures $43 million in venture capital SeattleTimes
A spacious new base in Sodo offers Zulily relief from rapid growth pains, and a whopping $43M in new funding from Meritech Capital Partners will fuel further expansion. With a focus on moms and tots, Zulily is the leader in short-term, direct Flash sales that skip the coupons, putting the Seattle startup on the cutting-edge of a craze that is helping usher in the tipping point where online sales exceed brick and mortar shopping.
Startup of the Week: Appature TechFlash
The Seattle startup helmed by Kabir Shahani owns its niche as a provider of cloud-based healthcare marketing solutions through Appature Nexus, which incorporates patient and professional data to create and monitor campaigns. Co-founder Chris Hahn compares the company’s ‘mission impossible’ to bringing unicorns to life through visionary technology.
Zipline boasts new angel funding and a fresh face for its board in Shane Kim, who brings impressive industry credentials from Microsoft Game Studios. As creator of Moai, the Seattle startup provides the key that allows game-makers to issue titles playable on diverse mobile platforms – a capability it will highlight with the upcoming debut of its own game, WolfToss.
Seattle-based Comcast subsidiary thePlatform boasts a far-flung scope, adding digital media companies in Australia and Scandanavia to the mix. Real Life Venture AB and Hemisphere Interactive are taking advantage of thePlatform’s video publishing format, which now incorporates Microsoft tools to provide HD viewing and uninterrupted streaming of video.
Ubermind is hunting for developer talent to fill its new Seattle base intended to accommodate an expanding role as a leading mobile app designer. Headed by Shehryar Khan, the bootstrapped company touts clients like Alaska Air and Target, which turned to Ubermind for a mobile shopping tool.
Game On: Google+ Now Offers Games Search Engine Land
A gateway to gameplay is the the newest plus on social network Google+, which debuts 16 titles and an eye-catching addition to its toolbar. By offering social-enhanced gaming, the site aims to lure Facebook fans, while the debut of a blog catering to developers is part of the bigger game plan for Google+.
Google+ Poised To Become Number Two Network In 12 Months According To Survey Search Engine Land
Although it currently trails MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn and solid leader Facebook, Google+ is on a path to hit #2 among social networks within the next year, according to a survey of online adults by Bloomberg-YouGov. Google+ gets its edge from impressive engagement levels among its core demographic of young and educated males, including 45% who are daily users – but its account abandonment numbers are also high.