Back from Vacation, Technology Alliance’s Susannah Malarkey Delivers the Goods On Startups

8/1/08Follow @xconomy

Susannah Malarkey had a relaxing vacation. How I can tell? The executive director of the Technology Alliance had such a restorative eight-day experience with family in central Oregon that when we sat down for coffee yesterday, and I asked for names of the most intriguing startups she’s seen lately, she drew a blank. I was dying to know, since, as Greg reported last month, the group’s Alliance of Angels is coming off its busiest month in years.

After giving it a few minutes’ thought, and making a quick phone call to double-check with Rebecca Lovell of the Alliance of Angels, Malarkey produced a list that didn’t disappoint:

Healionics. This Seattle-based company is working on materials to prevent the body from rejecting implantable medical devices. It doesn’t hurt that UW bioengineering professor Buddy Ratner, a prolific inventor (and an Xconomist,) chairs the scientific advisory board. “This is one of the most interesting life sciences deals we’ve seen where angels can participate,” Malarkey says. “Many life sciences deals are too expensive and need more money than angels can provide.”

Geospiza. This company isn’t really a startup, because it has been around since 1997. But Geospiza’s product—software that sorts through reams of genetic data—is one that a lot of labs have long done without. That’s changing. “Geospiza was an early adopter and a bit ahead of the curve. Now the market is catching up,” Malarkey says. This was confirmation of what I gathered from an interview with company president Rob Arnold a few weeks ago. A much more powerful breed of gene-sequencing machine is spitting out overwhelming amounts of data to biologists, who are beginning to use software like Geospiza’s to sort through it.

Billing Revolution. This Seattle-based company makes it easy for “Mom and Pop retailers to sell their services and items over a handheld device or [cell] phone,” Malarkey says. Billing Revolution’s website mentions mobile content, pizza, sports tickets, and furniture as things retailers might want to sell to cell-phone wielding consumers. “Making mobile devices work better and do more things for companies, that’s an area we have a sweet spot in Seattle,” Malarkey added.

For the record, Malarkey let me know this extended family get-together in Oregon involved 20 adults and about 40 kids, with the youngest around age 5. It sounded like a recipe for stress to me, but Malarkey assured me it wasn’t. There was hiking, sailing and of course, great scenery. “I only checked the BlackBerry once a day to make sure nothing big was happening,” she says. No word on whether she picked up an armoire or M’s tickets while she was at it.

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