Amazon Acquires Woot, Symform Raises $4M, Starbucks Offers Wi-Fi for All, & More Seattle-Area Deals News
It’s been a slow deal week for Northwest tech companies, most likely because of the holiday weekend. But that’s not to say nothing of note happened. In the past week we’ve seen two cloud storage and health IT startups rake in some dough, the free Wi-Fi trend expand to one of the biggest retail brands in the world, and another online marketplace get snatched up by a big time e-retailer. Take a look at the highlights:
—Seattle-based cloud storage and data protection technology startup Symform raised $4 million in a second round of funding led by Boston VC Longworth Venture Partners and original investor, Kirkland, WA-based OVP Venture Partners. The company, founded in 2007 by ex-Microsofties Praerit Garg and Bassam Tabbara, received $1.5 million in Series A funding from OVP back in April 2009. As a condition of the deal, Longworth partner Nilanjana Bhowmik will be joining OVP managing directors Mark Ashida and Lucinda Stewart on Symform’s board of directors.
—Health IT startup Medify raised $1.3 million in first-round financing led by Seattle-based Voyager Capital. The company, started by former Classmates.com vice president Derek Streat and former Farecast vice president Jay Bartot, says it will provide “data-driven care management” for consumers. And though the company is relatively young (the two teamed up in late 2009), its co-founders are an experienced and business savvy duo.
—This isn’t exactly a deal, unless you sometimes feel (as I do) that Starbucks owes you a little something for the thousands of double-tall non-fat lattes you’ve purchased over the years. On July 1 the Seattle-based global coffee megabrand began offering free, unlimited Wi-Fi in all its company-owned stores across the United States and Canada. And the move has been a popular one, as many startups and small business owners have turned to mobile coffee shop offices since the economic downturn. Matt Shapiro, the CEO of Tooble, went so far as to suggest the company be called “Startbucks,” as a place for startups, in this guest editorial for Xconomy.
—Although this isn’t really a deal, Taft Kortus of Seattle accounting firm Moss Adams offered up an insightful guest op-ed on how companies can get the maximum bang out of an M&A deal in a market where buyers and investors are still pretty wary.
—Online deal-a-day marketplace Woot, based out of Carrollton, TX, agreed to be acquired by Seattle-based online shopping goliath Amazon (NASDAQ: [[ticker: AMZN]]) this week. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Woot did say that the agreement stipulated that the company would become an independent subsidiary of Amazon, much like the relatively autonomous Audible and Zappos. And the folks at Woot seem to be taking the news well. On the day of the announcement CEO Matt Rutledge explained the decision to Woot staffers by way of a memo seeping with silliness. Thirty minutes later, the company posted a music video to their blog starring a stuffed animal monkey rapping for almost three minutes about the acquisition (watch below). It’s funny stuff. Suffice it to say, I think they’re doing just fine.