Amazon Acquires Shelfari; SnapIn Gets Snapped Up by Nuance; AltaRock Closes Funding Round with Vulcan, Google, and ATV; & More

8/27/08Follow @gthuang

In the last week, there have been some very interesting deals (and other news) in wireless, social networking, and cleantech. Perhaps it’s a sign of things to come after the holiday weekend, when we expect the deals to really pick up.

—Amazon is acquiring Seattle-based Shelfari, a social-networking site for book lovers, for an undisclosed price. The deal has stirred some controversy, as Tim Spalding, CEO of Shelfari’s arch rival LibraryThing (which Amazon owns a 40 percent stake in), has blogged some harsh criticisms of Shelfari. Which leaves us wondering what will become of these two rivals, and what Amazon’s plans are.

—SnapIn Software, based in Bellevue, WA, is being acquired by Burlington, MA-based Nuance Communications for $180 million in stock. SnapIn, which has secured more than $30 million in venture funding, makes mobile software for automating customer support. The deal is expected to close in October, and could improve SnapIn’s business with wireless carriers and handset vendors.

—Not to be outdone, Seattle-based software startup Medio is moving towards a deal with Google and Verizon to provide mobile-search services for consumers. If the deal goes through, it could signal that wireless carriers need help from the big players in Web search—and that small mobile-software companies could reap rewards there as well.

—Luke took a look at the Seattle Science Foundation, a new nonprofit dedicated to collaboration between doctors, scientists, and engineers. The foundation is putting an emphasis on social networking—with its goals being both to improve healthcare and medical knowledge, and to encourage scientists to start companies.

—Speaking of social networks, Tacoma, WA-based Konnects has rolled out a new user interface for its business networking site. Konnects focuses on making professional contacts and transactions, and it aims to occupy the space between business sites like LinkedIn and more open, social sites like Facebook.

—AltaRock Energy, a renewable-energy startup born and raised in Seattle (now headquartered in Sausalito, CA), has raised a $26.25 million funding round. The new investors are Vulcan Capital, Google.org, and Advanced Technology Ventures, which join Khosla Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The financing of AltaRock, which is working on next-generation geothermal systems, shows the diversity of promising approaches in cleantech these days.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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