Tech News

  • Sennheiser’s headphone business has been bought by hearing aid manufacturer Sonova
    Sonova, a Swiss company best known for its medical audio products like hearing aids and cochlear implants, is buying the consumer electronics division of German firm Sennheiser. That means Sonova is taking over Sennheiser’s portfolio of consumer headphones, wireless earbuds, and soundbars, moving into an expanding market for personal audio equipment. Sennheiser announced it was looking for a buyer for its consumer business
  • Report: Seattle digital remittance startup Remitly hires banks for IPO at around $5B valuation
    (Remitly Photo) The news: Seattle startup Remitly has hired investment banks to prepare for an initial public offering, according to Reuters. The IPO would value Remitly at around $5 billion, Reuters reported — a sizable spike from its last valuation of $1.5 billion in July. Remitly declined to comment when contacted by GeekWire. Remitly background: Founded in 2011, Remitly’s mobile technology lets people send
  • GeekWire 200 update: GeekWire Awards finalists climb the rankings as others ‘exit’
    The GeekWire Awards are fast approaching on May 20, but the spirit of our annual startup and technology celebration extends beyond a single ceremony. It is a true community effort. This year, GeekWire received nearly 200 community nominations and looked at each category anew through the lens of an ongoing pandemic. The nomination, selection and voting process spans more than two months. Over
  • Auth0 CEO Eugenio Pace on the $6.5 billion deal with Okta and his advice for entrepreneurs
    Auth0 co-founders Matias Woloski (left) and Eugenio Pace. (Auth0 Photo) Okta’s giant $6.5 billion acquisition of Seattle-area startup Auth0 officially closed on Monday. But for Eugenio Pace, the major milestone is just another marker — albeit a lucrative one — in the Auth0 journey. “The word ‘exit’ is often used when somebody sells a company,” the Auth0 CEO and co-founder said this week.
  • Seattle startup TwinStrand raises $50M to expand tech that identifies rare genetic mutants
    Jesse Salk, CEO and co-founder of TwinStrand Biosciences. (TwinStrand Photo) New funding: Gene-sequencing startup TwinStrand Biosciences raised $50 million in a Series B round led by Section 32, a California-based fund focused on biotech, technology, healthcare and life sciences. Total venture capital funding is now north of $70 million for the 6-year-old company. Double strands of innovation: TwinStrand, which spun out of the
  • Targus buys Sanho and its Hyper line of accessories
    Two companies that have built their businesses on computer accessories are coming together. Targus, a company best known for its laptop cases and bags, today announced that it’s acquiring Sanho. You might not be familiar with Sanho itself, but it’s more likely you’d recognize the company’s Hyper and HyperDrive lineup of USB-C accessories that are sold on Amazon, at Best Buy, and elsewhere.
  • How Shopify’s network of sellers can take on Amazon
    Today I’m talking to Harley Finkelstein, president of Shopify. Shopify is one of those companies that makes the modern internet go — it makes software that allows businesses of all sizes to set up online stores, and from there it can handle everything from shipping orders to financing loans for expansion. The company went public in 2015, and as online commerce has exploded
  • Why Epic is burning its own cash to cook Apple
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Epic Games didn’t sue Apple to get a big payout, but that’s because the lawsuit itself is an investment. And to rewrite Apple’s rules, Epic is spending a fortune. The reason Epic’s Fortnite got thrown out of the Apple App Store was that Epic rogue-updated Fortnite to offer a payment mechanism that bypassed Apple’s 30 percent
  • Verizon sells AOL and Yahoo for about half of what it paid
    Verizon has sold its AOL and Yahoo properties to Apollo Global Management in a deal said to be worth $5 billion, about half of the nearly $9 billion Verizon originally paid for the pair. Verizon will maintain a 10 percent stake in the company, now known as Yahoo and led by CEO Guru Gowrappan. The deal, which includes Verizon’s ad tech business, was
  • Seattle startup Modica turns shipping containers into software-driven microfactories
    Seattle-based Modica builds interconnected systems for micromanufacturing and houses it all in shipping containers. (Modica Image) Watching stacks of shipping containers come and go from Seattle’s waterfront, you might wonder what’s in them, where they came from and where they’re headed. One Seattle startup isn’t filling the brightly colored boxes with merchandise and is instead using containers to house microfactories that can churn
  • Marijuana data platform Headset raises $1.8M to expand into recently legalized markets
    Seattle startup Headset, which provides a business intelligence platform for the legal cannabis industry, announced $1.8 million in new funding. Headset will use the funds to expand into recently legalized markets. In the U.S., 16 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana for adults over age 21 and 36 states have legalized medical marijuana. In the past six months alone, half a
  • Instacart shoppers say their accounts were wrongly deactivated
    Some Instacart shoppers claim that the company has wrongfully terminated their accounts in response to fraudulent activity, locking them out of future earnings until they get reactivated, CNN Business reports. The shoppers CNN Business spoke to were identified as having “linked accounts,” which, in Instacart’s terminology, means an account believed to have indicators of fraud, though not necessarily with compromised data connected to
  • If your paycheck is missing, QuickBooks may be to blame
    Due to an issue with QuickBooks processing direct deposits, some people had a very unpleasant morning, waking up to see either that their paycheck hadn’t arrived, or that they had a ton of employees asking why they hadn’t been paid. If you’re one of those people, it may not be time to panic just yet — QuickBooks says that the issue has been
  • Digital health startup Engage Technologies Group raises $15M for patient education tools
    Boise, Id.-based Engage Technologies Group closed a $15 million Series A funding round for its mobile patient platform targeted for the cosmetic, optometry, dental, and orthopedic industries. Founded in 2016, Engage Technologies’ platform allows patients to access educational video content about routine procedures and care. The healthcare startup was founded by CEO Michael Boerner. Total funding to date is $20 million. The company
  • Remote cardiac monitoring startup Vector Remote Care raises $12.5M
    Vector Remote Care, a digital health startup for care teams to remotely monitor patients with implanted cardiac devices, closed a $12.5 million Series A funding round led by Updata Partners. Based in Bend, Ore., Vector Remote Care will use the funds to double its headcount with a focus on product and engineering. The startup’s services have seen increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Amazon lawsuit alleging Trump bias in $10 billion military contract clears another hurdle
    An ongoing lawsuit pursued by Amazon against the US government and Microsoft will continue after a federal judge rejected a motion to dismiss the case. The suit concerns Microsoft’s success in securing the $10 billion JEDI cloud computing contract with the Defense Department — a decision that Amazon says was influenced by President Donald Trump’s dislike of the company and its CEO Jeff
  • Investors hooked on Minnow: Seattle startup raises $3M for its contactless food ‘Pickup Pods’
    A Pickup Pod food delivery and pickup station from Minnow. (Minnow Photo) New funding: Seattle-based startup Minnow, makers of a contactless food delivery and pickup pod, has raised $3 million in seed funding. The tech: The company’s IoT-enabled Pickup Pods are designed to offer a secure, convenient way to get food delivered to apartment buildings, offices, college campuses and elsewhere. Food is kept
  • Freight forwarding software startup Logixboard lands $13M
    Logixboard co-founders Julian and Juan Alvarez. (Logixboard Photo) New funding: Logixboard, a Seattle startup that helps companies manage and control their freight operations, raised a $13 million Series A round. The tech: Founded in 2017 by brothers Julian and Juan Alvarez, Logixboard sells a customer engagement platform for the freight forwarding industry. The idea is to take a manual process — managing freight shipments
  • Fuse raises more than $100M, adds Bay Area tech vet Brendan Wales as third founding partner
    Brendan Wales. The news: Brendan Wales, a longtime Bay Area tech startup investor, has joined Seattle-based venture capital firm Fuse Venture Partners as its third founding general partner. Fuse has also raised nearly $120 million for its first fund. Fuse background: The firm launched last year as a spinoff from Ignition Partners. Wales will join former Ignition colleagues Kellan Carter and Cameron Borumand as the
  • How this Techstars alum used a new crowdfunding law to raise nearly $1M for remote work platform
    Arc has a globally distributed team of 47 people across four continents. (Arc Photo) With a mission to bring its remote career platform to more people, Arc is also bringing the chance to invest in the startup to more people, raising almost $1 million in an equity crowdfunding campaign on Wefunder. GeekWire first reported on Arc almost eight years ago when the company
  • The UAW wants to unionize EV startup factory workers
    The United Auto Workers union is “laying the groundwork” to organize factory workers that will build electric vehicles for startups like Rivian and Lucid Motors, president Rory Gamble told CNBC. “That’s a given. We are formulating plans to go out to all these start-ups to give these workers a voice,” he said. “In today’s world, you have to think out of the box
  • Sony has sold 7.8 million PS5 consoles
    Sony has sold 7.8 million PlayStation 5 consoles as of March 31st, the company says in its latest earnings report. The number of PlayStation Plus subscribers is now 47.6 million, a 14.7 percent increase year on year. The fourth-quarter figures bring the overall PlayStation business to a total operating profit of 342.2 billion yen ($3.14 billion) for the 2020 financial year — a
  • GeekWire Awards: Which company will be the Next Tech Titan to emerge from the PNW?
    Amazon, Microsoft, Expedia, T-Mobile, Zillow, Redfin, Smartsheet, Avalara. The list of tech giants from the Pacific Northwest continues to grow — who will be the next to join this elite club? The Next Tech Titan finalists at the GeekWire Awards this year — Ally.io; Highspot; Icertis; Remitly; and Zenoti — are all poised to be the next dominant force in the PNW tech
  • BitTitan acquires Perspectium to bolster IT service management software
    BitTitan CEO Geeman Yip at the GeekWire Awards. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota) The news: BitTitan, a Seattle-area cloud services provider, announced the pending acquisition of Perspectium, a 75-person company that helps companies manage their data on ServiceNow. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal: The acquisition will expand BitTitan’s IT service management offerings and increase its headcount to more than 250 employees.
  • Profitable and growing, international shipping startup FlavorCloud raises $6.3M
    FlavorCloud CEO Rathna Sharad. (FlavorCloud Photo) New funding: FlavorCloud, a Seattle startup that helps e-commerce companies ship products around the globe, raised $6.3 million. The business: Described as the “Stripe for international shipping,” the company’s software helps ease the exchange of goods between customers and retailers doing business across borders. FlavorCloud’s technology analyzes complex customs regulations and product codes. The idea is to
  • Legal tech startup Clio valued at $1.6B after raising $110M
    Clio co-founder and CEO Jack Newton. (Clio Photo) New funding: Online legal giant Clio raised $110 million, boosting its valuation to $1.6 billion. The business: Founded in 2008 and based in the Vancouver, B.C., area, Clio serves thousands of law firms that use its software to run their business and manage relationships with clients. Clio is riding tailwinds from the pandemic that accelerated digital
  • Google banks big in Alphabet’s post-pandemic-peak Q1 2021 earnings
    During the height of the pandemic last year, Google was the rare tech giant that actually saw a revenue decline — the first in the company’s history — but only by 2 percent. To say Google has now recovered would be the understatement of the week: Alphabet’s just-released Q1 2021 earnings show it raking in a stunning amount of cash this spring, nearly
  • Meet the Seattle-area startups that just graduated — remotely — from Y Combinator
    Five Seattle-area startups just graduated from Y Combinator’s remote accelerator with new ideas on software containers, note-taking, reusable rockets and managing a hybrid workplace. Silicon Valley-based YC accepted a record 350 new companies for its winter program, which participated in a virtual Demo Day March 23. Though unable to attend in-person, Seattle participants said that a network of mentors, investors and thousands of
  • Articles by Marissa Nall – GeekWire
    Formerly the technology editor for the Pacific Coast Business Times, Marissa Nall covers tech, energy and the startup landscape in Washington and California. She graduated California State University Northridge and attended the Wharton Seminars for Business Journalists. Nall is an avid hiker, enthusiastic swimmer and merciless Scrabble player. Meet the Seattle-area startups that just graduated — remotely — from Y Combinator by Marissa
  • GeekWire Awards 2021: Vote for the leader who is getting things done as Startup CEO of the Year
    Startup CEO of the Year finalists, clockwise from top left: Alessya Visnjic of WhyLabs; Luis Ceze of OctoML; Maria Colacurcio of Syndio; Mike McSherry of Xealth; and Ray Meiring of Qorus Software. Managing fast-growing startups is not an easy task. Whether it’s keeping up with the competition, outsmarting big tech or raising more money to fuel ongoing innovation and growth, these CEOs are
  • Apple announces new $1 billion North Carolina campus and $80 billion additional US spending
    Apple has announced new spending plans for the US, including the establishment of a 3,000-employee “campus and engineering hub” in North Carolina and the commitment of an additional $80 billion in investment across the country. Back in 2018, the firm said it would spend more than $350 billion in the US over the next five years, but today, it announced it is increasing
  • Impel Neuropharma raises $80M in Washington state’s first IPO of 2021
    Impel CEO Adrian Adams. (Impel Photo) The news: Seattle-based biotech company Impel NeuroPharma raised $80 million in its initial public offering and will begin trading on the NASDAQ Friday under the ticker IMPL. It is the first Washington state company to go public in 2021 via a traditional IPO. Company background: Founded in 2008, Impel is a late-stage pre-revenue pharma company that develops
  • Venture Out expands to help more people validate their startup ideas while still working at a day job
    Venture Out leaders Sean Sternbach (left) and Ken Horenstein. (Venture Out Photo) Venture Out expands: The Seattle-based organization that aims to help tech workers leave companies and create their own startups has added a new program called Moonlighter Lab. What it does: The lab charges $1,499 for an 8-week program designed to validate startup ideas from people who are still working at full-time
  • Food tech startup SōRSE raises cash to further scale its science used in CBD-infused products
    SoRSE VP of science Michael Flemmens, left, watches as scientist Emily Skrobecki works with a powder version of the company’s product in a container of water at the company’s offices in 2019. (GeekWire File Photo) New funding: Seattle-based SōRSE Technology has raised $2 million to further innovate and scale its water-soluble emulsion technology used to blend cannabinoids more seamlessly into beverages, food and
  • Immigration startup Boundless raises $25M, eyes opportunity with ‘pro-immigrant administration’
    (Boundless screenshot) New funding: Seattle startup Boundless landed $25 million to help support people through the immigration process. Boundless CEO Xiao Wang. (Boundless Photo) The software: The company’s technology streamlines how immigrants get in touch with lawyers and file applications for spousal visas and U.S. citizenship. It has helped more than 70,000 families through the immigration process. Boundless spun out of Pioneer Square Labs
  • Canoo co-founder and CEO resigns, new chairman takes over
    The new executive chairman of electric vehicle startup Canoo, Tony Aquila, has taken over the role of CEO at the company. Existing CEO and co-founder Ulrich Kranz is resigning and so is Canoo’s chief lawyer, Andrew Wolstan. It’s another major shake-up for the startup, which just became a publicly traded company as part of a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
  • Panopto acquires Ensemble Video to bolster enterprise video management platform
    (Panopto Image) Seattle-based enterprise video platform Panopto has acquired Syracuse, N.Y.-based Ensemble Video, which also operates a platform to help customers manage and publish video content. Ensemble launched in 2005 after a group of Syracuse University employees came up with a new way to manage video content for the institution. It mainly works with K-12, higher education, and enterprise customers. Panopto, founded in
  • Medical device startup Nanodropper raises $1.4M for eye drop bottle adapter
    (Nanodropper Photo) Nanodropper, a medical device startup founded by University of Washington and Seattle University grads, announced a $1.4 million seed round this week. The company makes an FDA-approved adapter for eye drop bottles that reduces the size of eye drops to save money and medication. Co-founders Allisa Song, Elias Baker, Mackenzie Andrews, and Jennifer Steger were inspired to solve the problem outlined
  • Brave Care raises $10M to expand its primary and urgent care clinics for kids, grow remote services
    A Brave Care provider in Portland, Ore. treating a family. (Ali Rae / Brave Care Photo) New funding: Portland, Ore.-based pediatric health startup Brave Care raised a $10 million Series A round. How it works: Brave Care is akin to ZOOM+Care clinics but specifically targets kids. The startup offers around-the-clock remote care through an app and via phone lines staffed with pediatric nurses. Its
  • Fresh blueberries 8 weeks after harvest? RipeLocker raises $5M to extend life of produce with patented containers
    Left to right: RipeLocker lead systems engineer Eric Levi, head of software Andy Harrah and CEO and co-founder George Lobisser with a RipeLocker container. (RipeLocker photo) The news: RipeLocker raised $5 million in fresh funding, money that the Bainbridge Island, Wash., ag-tech startup will use to sell patented “low-atmosphere” containers designed to preserve recently harvested flowers and produce. It also announced that U.S.
  • IoT connectivity startup Teal Communications raises $9.1M
    Teal Communications co-founders Robert Hamblet (left) and Michael Johnston.  (Teal Photo) New funding: Teal Communications raised $9.1 million for its networking service used by Internet of Things device operators and others. The tech: The Seattle-area startup operates an “eSIM platform” that lets companies connect their IoT devices to thousands of carriers by installing a standard or physically embedded SIM card. The startup has customers
  • Startup of the Year: Vote for the hottest up-and-coming company at the GeekWire Awards
    The five finalists for this year’s Startup of the Year category at the GeekWire Awards reflect the strength of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Seattle and the greater Pacific Northwest. Common Room; Ozette; SeekOut; Shelf Engine; and Strike Graph are on the brink of stardom. But more importantly, they are innovating, executing, and making a difference. Seattle enterprise software startup Ally won last year’s
  • Data infrastructure startup Era Software lands $15.2M to manage cloud-native workloads
    Era Software CEO Todd Persen. (Era Software Photo) New funding: Seattle-area database architecture startup Era Software, formerly known as EraDB, raised $15.2 million in a Series A round led by Playground Global. The tech: Era helps companies manage their cloud-native workloads. Its first product, EraSearch, is built for log management and offers an alternative to Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana. The idea is to reduce
  • Oatly investors should beware climate change
    Oatly is going public, so out of prurient interest, I picked up their registration statement. Did you know: a risk factor to Oatly’s business? Climate change. In 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission provided guidance about how to apply climate change disclosures — since it might be required in the risk factor section, among other places. And according to the SEC, investor demand
  • Seattle startup adyn raises $2.5M from 23andMe CEO and others for birth control prescription test
    adyn CEO Elizabeth Ruzzo. (adyn Photos) Seattle startup adyn raised a $2.5 million seed round co-led by Lux Capital and M13. The company plans to launch its flagship birth control optimization test later this year and currently has a waitlist for early access. Adyn’s test analyzes hormone levels to identify potential side effects for women — from acne to blood clots — caused
  • Mastercard will pay $850M to acquire identification startup Ekata, which spun out of Whitepages
    Rob Eleveld. (Whitepages Photo) The news: Financial giant Mastercard announced today that it will acquire Seattle startup Ekata for $850 million. Ekata’s background: The company sells identity verification products to help more than 2,000 businesses such as Postmates, Alaska Airlines, and Lyft discern between good and bad actors. It spun out of Whitepages in 2019 and has around 200 employees across offices in Seattle, Amsterdam,
  • Robinhood can’t handle the Dogecoin rally
    Yesterday and today, the enthusiasm for joke cryptocurrency Dogecoin overwhelmed Robinhood, leading to “sporadic crypto order failures and delayed notifications for some customers,” Robinhood wrote in a blog post. “These interruptions aren’t acceptable to us,” Robinhood wrote in its post. “We believe we’re the most intuitive crypto platform for Dogecoin traders and we’re proud to be a top choice for this community.” Robinhood
  • Meet the latest Techstars Seattle cohort: 10 startups on how they’ve adapted to the pandemic
    The latest Techstars Seattle cohort kicked off an entirely virtual 3-month startup accelerator journey in January. Unlike the 2020 class, which had to pivot to a remote format in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 participants and Techstars organizers are applying lessons learned from the past year of remote work. Techstars Seattle Managing Director Isaac Kato. (Techstars Photo) The virtual
  • The GeekWire Awards return: Finalists announced, voting opens across 13 categories
    The GeekWire Awards, presented by Wave Business, return in a virtual format on May 20. The GeekWire Awards return on May 20, but before we get there we could use a little help. Today, we’re announcing the finalists across 13 voting categories — everything from Startup of the Year to Next Tech Titan to Deal of the Year. We’ve also added two awesome
  • Dogecoin is on a run, has escaped the yard, and is headed to the moon
    Oh, super, Dogecoin is spiking. The joke currency, which as recently as January 27th was worth less than a cent, hit 47 cents this morning, according to Robinhood’s tracker. As I type this, the market cap is more than $51 billion. The currency is based on an au-courant-as-of-2013 meme of a Shiba Inu, and was intended to satirize bitcoin. Well, kids, the joke’s
  • Crazy for crypto — or not: Seattle VCs sound off on tech’s hottest topic following Coinbase IPO
    Coinbase is the talk of tech world this week as the cryptocurrency startup went public and its valuation soared to $85 billion. (Coinbase Photo) Sometimes, making an exception can pay off. That’s what happened to Version One Ventures, which typically invests in early-stage startups but veered off course to make a bet on a fast-growing cryptocurrency company four years ago. That investment in
  • Uber vets raise $12.5M for real estate property management startup Doorstead
    Doorstead executives, from left to right: William Wu, CTO; Jennifer Bronzo, co-founder and COO; Jason Karas, VP of Growth; Ryan Waliany, co-founder and CEO. (Doorstead Photo) New funding: Doorstead, a San Francisco real estate property management startup founded by former Uber employees, raised a $12.5 million Series A round led by Seattle firm Madrona Venture Group. Company background: The 2-year-old startup targets 15 million
  • Marc Benioff-backed microbiome startup Viome says it expects $100M in revenue next year
    (Viome Photos) The news: Viome, the Seattle-area wellness startup that analyzes microbiomes, told GeekWire that it has more than 200,000 customers and expects to hit $100 million in revenue next year. The company also announced the hiring of Dr. Emmanuel Hanon as global head of R&D; Hanon was previously a longtime exec at GlaxoSmithKline. Company background: Founded in 2016, Viome analyzes its customers’ microbiomes through
  • Coinbase is on the Nasdaq, in case you want to bet on cryptocurrency using dollars
    The nice thing about Coinbase going public today is that if you want to get involved with cryptocurrency without ever leaving the almighty dollar, now you can. On Tuesday, Nasdaq set $250 as a reference price for Coinbase, though no one necessarily bought at that price because this is a direct listing. Coinbase closed trading today at $328.28, giving it a market cap
  • Behavioral science startup 2Morrow raises $1.5M to grow digital therapeutic platform
    New funding: 2Morrow, a Seattle-area startup that develops digital coaching software to help people reach health goals, has raised $1.5 million. Total funding to date is $2.9 million. Company background: Founded in 2011, 2Morrow works with employers, states, health plans, retailers, providers, and public health organizations that use the its smartphone-based apps to help patients curb smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, and more. It
  • Boise-based PlexTrac raises $10M for cybersecurity collaboration and workflow software
    PlexTrac CEO Dan DeCloss. (PlexTrac Photo) New funding: PlexTrac, a Boise, Id.-based cybersecurity software startup, raised a $10 million Series A round led by Madrona Venture Group and Noro-Moseley Partners, with participation from StageDot0. Total funding is $11 million to date. The tech: PlexTrac helps companies both with defending and eliminating threats, as well as their penetration testing, or simulated cybersecurity attacks. Its software aims to
  • GeekWire Awards: Vote for Deal of the Year
    SPACs. IPOs. M&A. The past 12 months ushered in a frenzy of deal activity, with mammoth public offerings and blockbuster acquisitions. Today in GeekWire Awards voting, we’re recognizing some of the biggest and most important transactions in the Pacific Northwest technology industry — deals that propelled companies to new heights. In fact, there were so many deals happening in the past 12 months,
  • Isilon founder lifts the hood on farming startup Carbon Robotics and its weed zapping machine
    Carbon Robotics’ Autonomous Weeder uses artificial intelligence to identify and zap weeds growing in fields of vegetables. (Carbon Robotics Photo) Carbon Robotics, a Seattle company led by Isilon Systems co-founder Paul Mikesell, is unveiling its self-driving robot that uses artificial intelligence to identify weeds growing in fields of vegetables, then zaps them with precision thermal bursts from lasers. The startup, previously known as
  • Funding to Seattle-area startups hit new Q1 record with $1.6B invested — here were the top deals
    (Bigstock Photo) The news: PitchBook and NVCA are out with their Q1 Venture Monitor. Investors continue to pour gobs of money into U.S. startups following a 2020 that set records despite the ongoing pandemic. The numbers: VC deal activity hit $69 billion — up 92.6% year-over-year — across 3,987 deals over the first three months of 2021. Seattle-area startups set a new record
  • Tech Moves: Ex-Amazon leader Jeff Wilke joins Scale AI as advisor to CEO; Skilljar and Auth0 hire execs; T-Mobile board shuffle
    Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, at the 2017 GeekWire Summit. (GeekWire Photo / Dan DeLong) — Jeff Wilke, the former CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer, has joined Scale AI as advisor to the CEO. Founded in 2016, the San Francisco startup helps companies develop and manage their AI and machine learning systems. Customers include Toyota, Samsung, the DoD, PayPal, and Etsy.
  • Seeq lands $50M to grow manufacturing analytics software platform
    Seeq CEO Steve Sliwa. (Seeq Photo) New funding: Seattle startup Seeq raised $50 million in a Series C round. Seeq’s software: Founded in 2012, Seeq’s analytics software is used by industrial manufacturers to collect and analyze data. It pulls numbers from sensors and instrument systems to help answer questions like, “When did the pump draw more than 38 kW?” or, “When was temperature
  • Seattle smart home startup Wyze releases new floor lamp and shines light on busy year
    The Wyze Floor Lamp. (Wyze Photo) New product: The spotlight is once again shining on Seattle-based smart home products maker Wyze Labs, which announced Tuesday that it’s taking preorders for a new Wyze Floor Lamp. Priced at $29.99, the smart dimming task lamp stands nearly 6 feet tall and relies on a Bluetooth remote for 11 levels of brightness adjustment. Artificial intelligence in
  • The PC market isn’t slowing down after an amazing 2020, despite chip shortages
    The PC market had a great first quarter, despite the global shortage of semiconductor chips. Research firm Gartner estimates that shipments of “traditional PCs,” meaning laptops and desktops, are up by 32 percent compared to Q1 2020 (via CNBC). IDC puts the number even higher, estimating 55 percent growth year-over-year. This seems to be the continuation of a trend — the PC market
  • Seattle podcast monetization startup Glow, a spinout of PSL, acquired by hosting platform Libsyn
    Amira Valliani, Glow CEO and co-founder. (Glow Photo) Podcast monetization startup Glow, a spinout of Seattle’s Pioneer Square Labs, has been acquired by Libsyn, a podcast hosting network. Glow launched in June 2019 with a way to help podcasters make money through membership programs. Publicly traded Libsyn will utilize Glow’s technology, including private feed distribution and subscription billing, for its more than 75,000 podcasts.
  • Microsoft buys AI speech tech company Nuance for $19.7 billion
    Microsoft is buying AI speech tech firm Nuance for $19.7 billion, bolstering the Redmond, Washington-based tech giant’s prowess in voice recognition and giving it further leverage in the health care market, where Nuance sells many products. Microsoft will pay $56 per share for Nuance, a 23 percent premium over the company’s closing price last Friday. The deal includes Nuance’s net debt. Nuance is
  • New iPad Pro still coming soon but supply could be short, says Bloomberg
    Apple’s next iPad Pro may face supply constraints at launch due to issues in production, according to a new report in Bloomberg. Apple’s suppliers are said to be having trouble with low manufacturing yields for the new Mini LED display rumored to be the key feature of the new 12.9-inch model; one manufacturer has reportedly paused production. Nikkei reported last week that iPad
  • Seattle biotech firm Impel NeuroPharma files for $75M IPO
    Impel CEO Adrian Adams. (Impel Photo) Seattle-based biotech company Impel NeuroPharma is set to go public. The company, which develops drugs for central nervous system disorders such as migraines and Parkinson’s, submitted paperwork on Friday for a $75 million IPO. Founded in 2008, Impel is a late-stage pre-revenue pharma company known for its Precision Olfactory Delivery (POD) platform, which sends drugs into the
  • Why this Seattle tech CEO pulled his company out of downtown, and isn’t returning anytime soon
    Ad Lightning CEO Scott Moore on the third floor balcony outside his former office in Seattle, after a downtown Seattle shooting in January 2020. (GeekWire File Photo / Kurt Schlosser) “Until there’s a credible, durable solution to crime and homelessness in the downtown core, I think Seattle will have a hard time luring tech companies back. … Seattle’s government leaders need to send
  • Take note: Amazon vets raise $2M for Dendron, a tool to manage large amounts of information
    Dendron founders Kevin Lin, left, and Kiran Pathakota. (Dendron Photos) New funding: Seattle-based startup Dendron has raised $2 million in seed funding for its open source note-taking tool that helps users manage any amount of information. The founders: Kevin Lin is a former software engineer at Amazon Web Services who left after five years to launch his own company. The former Geek of
  • Prefunq combats Zoom fatigue with pre-meeting mini concerts to support artists hurt by pandemic
    (Prefunq Image) As COVID-19 sent everyone retreating to social isolation and virtual gatherings, it proved particularly difficult for the performers and musicians who rely on live events to make a living. The pandemic has also made us all really tired of virtual gatherings. Prefunq is a new service designed to combat so-called “Zoom fatigue” and put artists back to work in front of
  • Starbucks trying reusable cups to cut down on waste while teaming with Seattle recycling startup
    A reusable Starbucks cup is scanned and then dropped into a contactless kiosk at a participating Starbucks store drive-thru. (Starbucks Photo) Starbucks is launching a new effort to cut down on waste from its ubiquitous beverage cups with a limited trial in Seattle of a “Borrow a Cup” program. The program will offer customers the option to receive their beverage in a reusable
  • WiBotic wins European seals of approval for its wireless robot charging systems
    A drone outfitted with WiBotic’s OC-251 onboard charger sits on top of a WiBotic PowerPad with a TR-301 transmitter housed inside an enclosure. (WiBotic Photo) Two of the wireless charging systems made by Seattle-based WiBotic have won safety approvals in Europe, marking what the startup’s CEO calls a major milestone. The chargers and transmitters now have CE Mark approval, which means they meet
  • Please, I need the Robinhood S-1, my family is starving
    I love it when companies go public. I am never more excited than when I get to read a mandatory S-1 filing for the first time. Anything could be in there! Maybe the company has wildly more people using its products than I would have guessed. Maybe the company is surprisingly profitable. Maybe the company is WeWork! Anyway, there is a new Robinhood
  • Tyler Technologies acquires ReadySub, which makes scheduling software for school districts
    ReadySub, a Seattle-based maker of a cloud-based scheduling platform for school districts, has been acquired by Tyler Technologies, a company that provides software and technology services to the public sector. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. ReadySub works with approximately 1,000 school districts across the U.S. while Tyler Technologies has 2,000 school districts as clients. David Vail and Vince Zanella founded ReadySub,
  • Outreach founders raise $1.7M to build ‘Sims for the enterprise’ with new Seattle startup Spot
    An example of a virtual GeekWire office built with Spot. (Spot Photos) New funding: Spot, a year-old company led by the founders of billion-dollar startup Outreach, has raised $1.7 million. Company background: GeekWire initially spotted Spot back in June when it was in stealth mode. The 7-person startup is building software that creates a virtual representation of an office. Spot CEO Gordon Hempton compared
  • Global chip shortage hits iPad and MacBook production, says report
    Apple has not been spared the effects of the ongoing global component shortage, according to a new report in Nikkei. The publication says that some production of MacBooks and iPads has been delayed, with “a portion of component orders” pushed back to the second half of 2021. The issue with MacBooks is said to be related to the ability to mount certain components
  • Best Buy’s new Beta program promises concierge tech support for $200 a year
    Best Buy is piloting a new paid membership service that would provide exclusive perks, including concierge-style tech support and exclusive pricing. The subscription service, which will cost $200 a year or $180 if you have a Best Buy credit card, bears similarities with Amazon’s Prime subscription as Best Buy looks to expand its services outside the sale of consumer tech products. The new
  • Univ. of Wash.-spinout Icosavax raises $100M to fund vaccine development technology
    Icosavax creates virus-like particles with technology licensed from the University of Washington’s Institute for Protein Design. (Icosavax Photo) New funding: At a moment when vaccines are on everyone’s mind, a Seattle-based biotech company that has an unusual approach to vaccine production has raised $100 million in a Series B round. The startup creates computer-designed, virus-like particles that are used in vaccines to trigger
  • Former Facebook exec Vijaye Raji leads new startup Statsig to help developers build features quickly
    Vijaye Raji (left) and the Statsig team. (Statsig Photo) New startup: Vijaye Raji, a tech vet who previously led Facebook’s 5,000-person engineering outpost in Seattle, is CEO and founder of Statsig, a Seattle-area company that just formed to help developers build and launch features quickly. Statsig’s pitch: Raji spent a decade at Facebook and learned how it used internal development tools to streamline
  • Seattle tech vet launches startup accelerator exclusively on Clubhouse with 13-company cohort
    Plenty of tech personalities and veterans have turned to the popular invite-only conversation app Clubhouse for insights related to the industry. Now a new startup accelerator is using the platform to host a 13-company cohort for the first time. The FounderStreams Accelerator was launched this week by Jonathan Blanco, founder of TF Labs and FounderStreams. TF Labs is a Seattle-area startup studio and digital
  • Portland startup ConductorOne raises $5M for platform to automate IT access requests
    ConductorOne announced a $5 million seed round led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Accel. Fuel Capital, Fathom Capital and Active Capital also participated. Founded late last year by veterans of enterprise ID startup Okta, ConductorOne will use the funding to build a platform that helps IT professionals automate and manage employee permissions for cloud apps and infrastructure. Alex Bovee is co-founder and
  • These startups are solving Amazon’s potty problem, helping delivery drivers find relief on the go
    A rendering of Throne bathroom facility designed for mobile workers. (Image via Throne) Amazon stepped into an unexpected public relations mess recently when company officials claimed that its workers would never have to resort to urinating in bottles. The absurdity of the situation came to a head last week after evidence quickly emerged that Amazon delivery drivers — not to mention Uber, UPS
  • Seattle-area AI startup Darklight raises $5.1M to help companies automate cybersecurity tasks
    Darklight CEO Dan Wachtler. (Darklight Photo) New funding: Seattle-area startup Darklight raised a $5.1 million round. Investors listed on an SEC filing include Jay Lee of Agile Defense and Tom Bruderman of MAG Ventures. Total funding to date is about $10 million. The tech: Founded in 2014, Darklight’s software uses “knowledge-driven” artificial intelligence to help automate workflow tasks. It will soon launch its first
  • OceanGate selects its support ship for this summer’s submersible trips to the Titanic
    OceanGate Expeditions will use the offshore support vessel Horizon Arctic during expeditions to the Titanic. (OceanGate Photo) Everett, Wash.-based OceanGate Expeditions has taken one more giant leap toward sending its submersible to the world’s most famous shipwreck, with the selection of the expedition’s support vessel. The Canadian-owned, 93.6-meter (307-foot) Horizon Arctic will serve as the seagoing base of operations for the Titan submersible’s
  • Hulu’s WeWork documentary gives us Adam Neumann and little else
    The problem of making a documentary about a showman is that it’s hard not to be ensnared by him. WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn is so focused on WeWork’s turbulent co-founder, Adam Neumann, that it ultimately loses the plot. WeWork, you may recall, was the subject of a tremendous scandal around the disclosures in the S-1 document
  • Aptera and its solar car are back from the dead
    Image: Aperta And so is the government program that killed it A decade ago, a small electric vehicle startup died. But now it’s back from the dead — and so is the government program that helped kill it. This zombie company, called Aptera, is once again trying to sell people on a curious idea: an ultra-efficient three-wheeled electric vehicle powered, in part, by
  • Tech Moves: Magic Leap adds another Microsoft vet; GameStop hires Amazon and Zulily execs
    Anuj Gosalia. (Magic Leap Photo) — Magic Leap continues to hire from the Seattle region. Anuj Gosalia, a veteran of Microsoft, Facebook and Google, joined the company as its chief software and cloud officer. This is the third recent executive hire from the Seattle area by the augmented reality company based in Plantation, Fla. Gosalia spent the past four years as senior director of
  • Seattle startup Common Room emerges from stealth mode with $52M in funding
    Common Room founders, left to right: Tom Kleinpeter; Viraj Mody; Francis Luu; and Linda Lian. (Common Room Photo) The news: Common Room, a year-old startup based in Seattle, is coming out of stealth mode in a big way. The company revealed $52 million in total funding and big-name customers using its software that aims to help companies deepen relationships with their users and customers.
  • Apple will use Tesla’s ‘megapack’ batteries at its California solar farm
    Apple announced Wednesday that it’s building a big battery storage project at a Northern California solar farm it spearhead in 2015. But what the company didn’t share is that the battery packs will come from Tesla, The Verge has learned. The newly-announced setup, which will store up to 240 megawatt-hours of energy, was approved by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors in 2020,
  • Seattle biotech OncoResponse raises $40.6M to create antibody-based treatments for cancer
    Clifford Stocks. (OncoResponse Photo) New funding: OncoResponse raised a $40.6M Series C investment round as it continues to develop antibodies that fight cancer. The science: The company examined the immune systems of cancer patients who responded unusually well to immunotherapy treatments. It aims to harness antibodies from those immune systems to make new immunotherapy treatments for patients whose systems do not respond well
  • Amgen to acquire Seattle biotech company Rodeo Therapeutics for $55M
    Rodeo Therapeutics CEO Thong Le. (Accelerator Life Science Partners Photo) The news: Pharmaceutical giant Amgen agreed to acquire Rodeo Therapeutics, a Seattle biotech startup creating small-molecule therapies that help repair and regrow tissues. Its goal is to treat inflammatory diseases, accelerate stem cell reconstitution following bone marrow transplant, and promote liver regeneration. The terms: Amgen will pay $55 million upfront. The deal includes future
  • Seattle biotech startup Outpace Bio raises $30M to fight cancer with custom-designed proteins
    Outpace Bio CEO (Outpace Photo) New funding: Outpace Bio raised a $30 million Series A investment round to design custom cell and gene-based therapies. The science: Founded in November, the Seattle startup is developing software and hardware to manipulate how cells interact with diseases. Its initial work is focused on T cell therapies that fight solid tumors. Partnership with Lyell: The 18-person company also
  • GeekWire 200 update: Top Pacific Northwest tech startups hold their ground atop the list
    (GeekWire Photo Illustration / Canva Pro) Companies such as Big Fish Games, Cheezburger Network, and Tableau Software once sat atop the GeekWire 200, our ranking of the Pacific Northwest’s privately-held tech startups. They’ve since “graduated” from the list after growing big and going through an acquisition or IPO. Fast forward to today, and startups including Auth0 and Rover are among the top 10. But
  • Huawei offsets US sanctions with dominance in China
    Huawei has released its annual report and financial information for 2020, demonstrating the effect that US sanctions had on its business last year. The report shows that while revenue from North America and Europe has fallen significantly, stronger performance in China has allowed the company to record higher sales and net profit than a year ago. Huawei doesn’t report traditional quarterly earnings, since
  • Dapper Labs, the Vancouver B.C. startup behind NBA Top Shot NFT craze, raises $305M
    (Dapper Labs Photo) New funding: Dapper Labs raised $305 million at a reported $2.6 billion valuation. The Vancouver, B.C., startup powers NBA Top Shot, a popular NFT-based digital trading card game that has generated more than $467 million in sales over the past five months. Top Shot: Dapper is partnering with the NBA to run the infrastructure for Top Shot via Flow, its blockchain
  • Strix Leviathan spins out Makara, a robo-advisor company that helps people invest in crypto
    Jesse Proudman. (Strix Leviathan Photo) The news: Seattle cryptocurrency startup Strix Leviathan has spun out a new robo-advisor company called Makara. The tech: Makara aims to make it more simple to invest in digital assets by creating “thematic baskets” that can meet various goals and interests such as the largest coins or emerging trends. The company hopes to capitalize on growing interest in
  • Lilium is merging with a SPAC from an ex-GM executive.
    Germany’s Lilium will be the latest electric aviation startup to go public via a reverse merger with a special acquisition company, or SPAC. Lilium will merge with Qell Acquisition, a SPAC founded by former General Motors executive Barry Engle. The newly formed company will list on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “LILM.” As part of the announcement, Lilium unveiled a new, seven-seat electric
  • PayPal will let US users pay with Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin starting today
    We already knew that PayPal was planning to support cryptocurrencies as a form of payment. And now, the online payment app announced US customers can do just that with its “Checkout with Crypto” feature, rolling out today. After rolling out the ability for US users to directly buy and sell cryptocurrency directly from their accounts last November, PayPal’s new “Checkout with Crypto” allows
  • Seattle venture capitalist Daniel Li leaves Madrona to launch new startup Plus, which just raised $5.5M
    Chloe Qi and Dan Li, co-founders of Plus. (Plus and Madrona Photos) Daniel Li is leaving Seattle venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group to launch a new startup. Li, who joined Madrona in 2015 and was promoted to partner in January, is leading a new company called Plus. He’s joined by Chloe Qi, a former colleague at Boston Consulting Group who previously worked
  • Seattle Seahawks star Bobby Wagner on tackling venture capital and business lessons from the field
    All-Pro NFL linebacker Bobby Wagner may best be known for his smart reads on the gridiron. But the anchor on the Seattle Seahawks defense also is tackling a side career as a venture partner at Fuse Venture Partners, a newly-formed venture capital firm that’s investing in early-stage Seattle entrepreneurs with groundbreaking ideas. Wagner, who became the NFL’s highest paid linebacker after famously negotiating