Roundup: 9Mile, Invoke, nFluence, FlexMinder, Sigby, and Globys

1/31/13Follow @bromano

Another Northwest startup incubator is launching, this one in Vancouver, BC, while Seattle’s newest, 9Mile Labs, adds to its roster of partners. Meanwhile, nFluence Media, FlexMinder, and Sigby each took on more than $1 million of additional investment, and Globys moved its headquarters to accommodate growth.

Voyager Capital alum Enrique Godreau and Microsoft exec Tom Casey are joining the existing partners behind Seattle’s new business-to-business startup accelerator, 9Mile Labs.

Partner Sanjay Puri says Godreau brings venture capital and finance expertise, plus the experience of being on a dozen company boards, while Casey provides perspective, relationships, and networks from a 16-year career at Microsoft, that included roles handling the SQL Server business intelligence and online commerce businesses.

“The biggest value that entrepreneurs get from an accelerator is the network of mentors, and then their networks and the benefit of their experience, and with both of these additions, I think we just multiplied the impact that we can have on our cohort,” Puri says.

9Mile Labs, which we first profiled earlier this month, is accepting applications until Feb. 15 for its initial class of up to nine companies, which will begin April 8.

Invoke, the Vancouver, BC, the interactive marketing agency best known for its spinout social media management toolset HootSuite, is launching a new incubator to ramp up early-stage tech company and product development.

Invoke Labs, which will offer incubator services to tech startups in exchange for equity stakes, joins the incubator/accelerator trend seen across the U.S., and in the Pacific Northwest, most recently with 9Mile Labs. Invoke’s unique proposition includes access to the digital marketing heft of the affiliated agency, now known as Invoke Media.

Geoff Entress, a venture partner at Seattle’s Voyager Capital, is joining the Invoke Labs board of directors as an individual angel investor, along with Invoke co-founders David Tedman, Dario Meli, and Ryan Holmes, who is currently CEO of HootSuite; and Ernest Lang, founder of the Meritus Group of Companies.

Entress, who invested in HootSuite and another Invoke spinout, Food.ee, tells Xconomy that participating in the incubator gives him “a more programmatic way to invest in all of the Labs companies,” which he expects will be similar to Invoke spinouts to date: “capital efficient online businesses which can benefit from the product expertise that the Invoke team offers.”

nFluence Media, a Seattle startup making a technology to quickly analyze an individual consumer’s interest graph, has raised nearly $1.6 million in equity, according to an SEC filing. The company’s technology is aimed at improving the relevance of a range of commercial content, including ads and daily deals, while leaving consumers in control of their data. The company raised about $3 million last year from investors including Alliance of Angels and Voyager Capital.

FlexMinder, which helps companies track healthcare flexible spending accounts, has raised $1.4 million from WRF Capital, Founder’s Co-op, and other angel investors. The company serves third-party FSA plan administrators with a SaaS offering that helps digitize, aggregate, and automate account reimbursement. The company, launched in Seattle in 2011 and a TechStars graduate, will use the Series AA funding to add functionality to its service and expand its operations and footprint.

Sigby, a Seattle startup that helps parents find activities for their kids, has landed more than $1.2 million in seed funding from Trilogy Equity Partners, WRF Capital, Clear Fir, and angel investors. The service’s online marketplace of local classes, camps, and other activities can be searched by age, interest area, and other relevant factors. Sigby provides a “universal registration form,” meant to ease the process of signing up for classes. It makes money by charging program providers a fee only when someone books an activity through the site. The company was founded by Katie Thompson.

Globys, which provides contextual marketing for mobile communications operators, has moved to a 25,000-square-foot office in 705 Union Station, twice as big as its previous digs to accommodate significant hiring planned this year.

Globys has 150 employees—100 of whom are in Seattle—and expects to make 40-50 new hires in 2013 in engineering, data sciences, client services and sales.

For a flavor of the mid-size tech company’s offices circa 2013, check out CEO Derek Edwards’ blog post on the new “open concept” space, where he touts features including “a pub complete with video gaming and shuffleboard for relaxation, a coffee shop, library, open deck, and glass walled conference rooms,” as well as the use of sustainable, nontoxic materials in workstations and natural lighting.

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email him at bromano [at] xconomy.com. Follow @bromano

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