Microsoft Partners Up in Cloud-Computing Platform, Cobalt Gets Bought for $400M, Lockerz Reels in VC Funding, and Other Seattle-Area Deals News

7/13/10

There have been quite a few exciting deals for Seattle-area technology companies lately (maybe a sign that everybody in town is back from their summer vacations?). In the past week we’ve seen a digital marketing company for the auto industry get snatched up in a $400 million acquisition, several local startups bring in new funding, and Microsoft strike partnerships with a number of major global brands to expand their cloud-computer services. Take a look at the highlights:

—Seattle-based social commerce site Lockerz said it completed a Series B financing round led by Silicon Valley venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers for an undisclosed amount last week. The company, which boasts 15.5 million users worldwide, has previously had some big-name backers including online media conglomerate Liberty Media. The invitation-only rewards site allows people to collection points redeemable for discounts on brand name products by watching videos and interacting with the site’s online network.

—Here’s some interesting news for casual gamers. Leading casual game developer and distributor Big Fish Games has teamed up with Z2Live, both Seattle-based, to add voice chat and multiplayer capabilities to Big Fish’s popular hidden object game “Big City Adventure: San Francisco” for the iPhone and iPad.

—Seattle-based A Place for Mom, an online eldercare referral service, sold a majority ownership stake to major private equity firm Warburg Pincus. The company, started in 2000, provides a comprehensive online database and free referral service for seniors and families searching for a variety of elder care options nationwide. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

—Automotive digital marketing company The Cobalt Group, based in Seattle, agreed to be acquired by outsourcing products and services company Automatic Data Processing for approximately $400 million in cash. The 15-year-old Cobalt Group helps automobile manufacturers and dealers improve their marketing efforts online.

—Seattle-based radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems developer Impinj raised $5.8 million in debt and options financing last week. The 10-year-old company, which has been backed by a number of VCs including Madrona Venture Group, Samsung Ventures, and Unilever Technology Ventures, has been busy developing its tracking technology over the last couple of years, bringing in $14 million in financing in 2008 and taking over Intel’s RFID business.

DocuSign, an electronic signature automation software developer based in Seattle, raised $2 million in debt financing last week. The company previously raised $30 million in venture funding since it was founded in 2003.

—Redmond, WA-based Microsoft took some important steps forward with its cloud computing strategy this week. The global software giant said Monday at its Worldwide Partner Conference that it has signed agreements with Dell, eBay, Fujitsu, and Hewlett-Packard to use its Windows Azure cloud computing software platform. Financial terms were not disclosed, but some details on the nature of the partnerships were shared. For example, Dell will be partnering with Azure in order to deliver cloud-based services to its corporate customers, while eBay will be using the program to improve upon its existing e-commerce services.

Thea Chard is a correspondent for Xconomy Seattle. You can e-mail her at theachard@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/theachard. Follow @

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