Microsoft, Medify, Evo Media: Your 1-Minute Week in Seattle Tech Headlines
Hewlett-Packard‘s surprise exit from the mobile computing business roiled the tech world last week—and its effects will be wide-ranging for a long time. Here in the Seattle area, the change cements Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) as “the vital new underdog” in mobile computing, as Xconomy’s Wade Roush wrote in the latest edition of his weekly column. “It’s a strange feeling,” Wade says, “but for the first time in my life, I find myself rooting for Microsoft.” Will more catch that feeling?
We also had this incisive guest column from Rebecca Lynn of Morganthaler Ventures, who chewed over the other huge story of the week, Google‘s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility. Lynn says Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is going to make at least some handsets a loss-leader to spread its mobile advertising network, and exercise more control over a fragmented open Android ecosystem. Sure, patents and set-top boxes are great, Lynn wrote, but “my advice to my portfolio companies is simple: plan for a scenario in which Google gives away Motorola phones for free and imagine how the market would be shaped in its wake.”
Our portfolio of local company profiles grew with a revealing look at the turnaround at Seattle’s EVO Media Group, makers of the DevHub website-building software platform. EVO has been through ups and downs in the past few years, growing and shrinking staff a couple of times as it built products and looked for profit. After churning through a good chunk of investment cash, EVO has hit upon what it believes is the foundation for long-term profitability: a private-label version of DevHub for small business portals like online yellow pages and domain registrars.
Seattle-based Point Inside told us all about its growth into a leading indoor-mapping company, including doubling up its sales goals for 2010 and partnerships with big players in the mobile navigation sector. Point Inside now sees a huge opportunity in developing a new advertising and consumer data platform in malls, airports, and big-box stores—a reason they’re sharing map data with companies like Google and Apple is the desire to build out the indoor map infrastructure. Quite an advancement for a company that was trying to find its voice not so long ago.
Medify also has big plans for creating a data and marketing platform, this time with consumer and professional access to a mountain of health data that its engineers are sorting and making more accessible for users. The Seattle startup, which has raised about $1.8 million so far, isn’t drawing revenue yet. But the company believes it’s found a sector ripe for disruption, with room for lots of sophistication in online marketing. Health-related searches are, by one prominent estimate, the third biggest activity online.
We also had a couple of financial trend reports, supplied by Xconomy San Diego’s Bruce Bigelow. In this piece, with data from San Francisco’s Cleantech Group, the admittedly sparse landscape of IPOs for cleantech companies revealed trends toward biofuels, materials, and energy efficiency. And demand for cloud computing and software-as-a-service is driving the increased valuations for public software companies, according to this data from San Diego’s Software Equity Group.
I rounded up a flurry of headlines around Clearwire (NASDAQ: CLWR), the Kirkland, WA-based wireless provider that’s been through its share of turbulence recently. Rumors of a buyout, a change in CEOs, and some prominent insider stock purchases drove the latest round of talk. And it looks like the hunger for spectrum could serve as nice buffer against some rough sailing lately.
Vancouver, WA’s nLight Corp. added $17.5 million in equity financing from existing investors, and is now looking toward a possible public stock sale. The company says it doesn’t have a particular date in mind for any filing with regulators, but is now reaching the size and scope where that would make sense. nLight makes semiconductor lasers for medical, defense, and industreal uses.
Finally, some quick hits: Digital Chocolate gobbles up Bothell’s Sandlot Games; Jeff Bezos gives $10 million to the Museum of History and Industry; Motricity is looking for a new CEO after terminating Ryan Wuerch.