Aneesh Chopra on Innovation, Pinpoint Pickup Takes on Uber, Charles River Embraces IP, & More in the Seattle-Area Tech Roundup

5/10/11Follow @curtwoodward

A chat with the nation’s first chief technology officer was one of the highlights of the past week in tech news. Aneesh Chopra, President Barack Obama’s CTO, is in town this week for a panel discussion at the Technology Alliance’s State of Technology luncheon. He had lunch with local corporate execs yesterday, and we published this interview that touched on just a couple of the administration’s main topics: Why innovation is primed to take off in healthcare, and how the new Startup America Partnership can help the private sector develop strong infrastructure for new companies.

Elsewhere in Seattle-area tech news from the past week or so:

—I profiled startup Pinpoint Pickup, a towncar-booking app that has bootstrapped its way to services in seven cities. This all comes as competitors like San Francisco-based Uber get tons of press and millions in investment, all without anything near the scope of expansion that Pinpoint has achieved.

—Xconomy’s Greg Huang checked in with Charles River Ventures about the firm’s stake in Intellectual Ventures, the intellectual property machine founded by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold. Charles River Ventures has put a whopping $300 million into Intellectual Ventures. Partner Izhar Armony says more investors would get into the developing market if they weren’t convinced that IP is “a dirty world controlled by lawyers.”

—Like just about everybody in the local startup scene, I swung by the Seattle 2.0 Awards. It was an interesting mix of celebration and navel-gazing (the good kind), punctuated by an energetic keynote speech from California VC Mark Suster—lots of F-bombs, a Public Enemy reference, and even a bit of aggressive crowd control. Also featured: Rampaging mascots.

—There were a couple of acquisitions to report, both on the same day. BuzzLabs, a member of Seattle’s burgeoning social media cluster, was snapped up by CityGrid Media, a unit of Barry Diller-headed IAC. BuzzLabs works on social media monitoring, helping other companies sort through the tons of things people are saying about them online. The other deal involved Seattle’s Smashing Ideas, a 15-year-old digital media and marketing company. It was acquired by Random House, the publishing unit of Bertlesmann AG. Terms were not disclosed for either deal.

—Finally, two bits of Xconomy news. We have a recharged Facebook page, to which we’re adding photos, stories, and all the other goodies you’d expect—with more to come. And it comes with a promise: No spam. We’re selecting three of our best stories throughout the day to push through Facebook, so we won’t clog up your feed with every last tidbit. We’ve also added more horsepower to our upcoming event, “Separating Hype from Reality in Alternative Fuels.” Kelly Ogilvie from Blue Marble Energy joins folks from Harvest Power, General Biodiesel and more as we sort through the opportunities for this industry in the years ahead.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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