Smart Grid Demo Projects Nabs $89M More, Green Startups Compete at Cleantech Open, Isilon & F5 Are Primed for Buyouts, and More Seattle-Area Deals News

10/5/10

Where are all the tech deals? I thought things were supposed to speed up as autumn set in, not slow down. But there wasn’t a single financing deal for Seattle tech companies that we tracked down over the last week. Still, a number of potential negotiations did work their way into the spotlight. Take a look at the highlights:

—Financing seems to be looking up for Seattle-area tech startups, particularly in the software and Internet sectors, at least according to data from New York-based CB Insights. In August Washington state startups brought in $59 million in total investments across all sectors. And while healthcare led in terms of the most funding, as it has in past months, the Internet and software sectors came in close behind, bringing in $16.9 million and $16.5 million respectively in August.

—Seattle-based startup Hydrovolts has a chance at another $175,000 in venture financing. The hydropower turbine developer last week was selected as one of five finalists for the prize at the Bend Venture Conference, which will be held on October 15. Hydrovolts was also one of 15 semifinalists at the Pacific Northwest regional Cleantech Open yesterday.

—The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project (PNW-SGDP) was given another $89 million in stimulus funding, authorized for release by the Department of Energy last week. The five-year project is a collaboration between the Bonneville Power Administration, the University of Washington, five technology partners, 11 utilities companies across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, and Battelle, which operates the Pacific Northwest National Lab, to test new smart grid technologies.

—Since we’re talking about deals, and regional innovation hubs that ink them, I thought it might be a good time to plug our San Francisco editor Wade Roush’s recent World Wide Wade column from this past week. While developing regional strengths, especially in technology, is always important, Wade argues that the debate between who leads—whether NYC or Silicon Valley—is a moot point. Innovation, he says, is happening everywhere.

—Yesterday 15 startups (including two from outside the region) teed off for top spots at the Pacific Northwest regional Cleantech Open. The companies, divided into various green and cleantech sectors, competed for three regional prizes worth up to $30,000 each, and a chance to progress through to the national competition, where a grand prize of $250,000 will be awarded. We should have the winners for you a little later this morning.

—Two Seattle-based companies, Isilon Systems and F5 Networks, are primed for potential buyouts, according to reports by Bloomberg and Reuters. Both data storage startups are considered likely targets for larger tech companies such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM. Companies in this sector are in high demand, according to the reports, bolstered by the competitive bidding war between Dell and HP over another data storage company, 3Par, last month.

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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