Microsoft Buys Interactive Supercomputing, Digeo Acquired for $20M, Ignition’s Cloud Portfolio, & More Seattle-Area Deals News

9/30/09Follow @gthuang

The Northwest deal flow in the past week tended toward small partnerships and acquisitions. But there was still some significant activity in software, Internet, and entertainment.

—As ghostbuster Bill Murray once said, “Dogs and cats living together…mass hysteria!” Seattle-based Pet Holdings, operators of I Can Has Cheezburger (Lolcats) and other humor websites, formed an advertising partnership with San Francisco-based social network Dogster. Dogster will sell ads for the Cheezburger network in exchange for the greater traffic on Pet Holdings’ popular sites (which will hit 1 billion page views this week). Details of the revenue split were not given.

—The Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) joined forces with advocacy organization TechAmerica in Washington state, thereby broadening its membership to include more companies in hardware, electronics, and devices. WTIA has now become TechAmerica’s exclusive management and marketing partner in the state.

—Seattle-based Appature is getting close to securing its first round of venture funding. No deal has closed yet, but the bootstrapped and profitable healthcare marketing startup has generated a lot of interest in the VC community. Appature was founded in early 2007 and develops software that helps companies in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices understand their customers better and do more effective marketing.

—Kirkland, WA-based Digeo, the home entertainment company backed by Paul Allen, was bought by Arris, a Georgia-based broadband communications firm, for $20 million in cash. Arris will acquire Digeo’s high-definition digital video recorder, called Moxi, along with about 75 Digeo employees and their expertise in video networking and multimedia services. About 10 Digeo staff members will lose their jobs in the transition, however.

—Seattle-based Maveron and Boston-based Spark Capital co-led an $8 million Series A investment in Altius Education, a San Francisco company deveoping online higher education programs through partnerships with nonprofit universities. The Noah Fund also participated in the funding. Maveron was founded in 1998 by Howard Schultz and Dan Levitan, and focuses on investments in consumer and tech companies.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) acquired the technology assets of Interactive Supercomputing (ISC), a parallel computing software firm in Waltham, MA, as Ryan reported. Financial terms of the deal weren’t given. ISC’s chief executive, Bill Blake, and the firm’s technical experts are moving into Microsoft’s New England Research & Development Center in Cambridge, MA.

—This was not a new deal, but I took a closer look at Bellevue, WA-based Ignition Partners’ investments in cloud computing and virtualization. The VC firm’s biggest win to date is XenSource, the Palo Alto, CA-based virtualization company that was bought by Citrix (NASDAQ: CTXS) for $500 million in 2007. Three other Ignition investments in the space—Skytap, InstallFree, and Xeround—are still in pretty early days, but are off to promising starts.

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. Follow @gthuang

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