Inrix’s $37M Led July Equity Deals in WA; Varolii, Lucid Commerce, PayScale, Yapta Follow

8/24/11Follow @curtwoodward

Traffic-data company Inrix‘s $37 million investment round easily outpaced all other deals to top July’s $93 million tally of Washington state equity financing deals in technology, cleantech and life sciences, according to data compiled by our partners at CB Insights. Two companies tied for second place with $8 million, while PayScale came in fourth and Yapta’s tie-up with deal-happy Concur came in fifth.

Inrix, founded in 2004, traces its roots to Microsoft’s work developing the SYNC in-car information system for Ford. The Kirkland, WA-based company has been profitable for about two years, and leaders said they didn’t really need the money—but took it to step on the gas for global expansion plans. CEO Bryan Mistele said the financing also helps speed up existing plans to go public—he said the IPO would now come “sooner rather than later,” although that comment was made before the U.S. credit downgrade and resulting stock market jitters began hitting tech stocks pretty hard.

Inrix was making news again this week, closing its $60 million acquisition of ITIS Holdings, a UK-based traffic information supplier. Inrix said the new addition brings $27 million in revenue and another 155 employees into the fold.

One of the $8 million fundraisers was Varolii, an 11-year-old company that handles customer and employee communications for big companies with software tools for text message, voicemail, and e-mail systems. Former Microsoftie David McCann is Varolii’s new CEO, and he says the infusion of growth cash is a vote of confidence in Varolii’s prospects for the future. As I wrote at the time, Varolii has seen plenty of ups and downs in the past several years—no surprise in some sense, as spending on software vendors by big business suffered during the Great Recession.

Also raising an $8 million round was Lucid Commerce, a TV advertising technology company that has DNA from aQuantive, including CEO Tyson Roberts. Lucid follows a similar model, with a technology arm called MarketScale and an agency called Proceed Media Group. The new round was led by Rho Ventures, with participation from StarVest Partners, Positec USA Inc., and existing investors OVP Venture Partners and Greycroft Partners.

Coming in fourth was PayScale, which announced a $7 million round in early July. CB Insights actually lists this one as $6.5 million, reflecting the SEC filing showing it as an unfinished round of as much as $7 million. The round was led by SAP Ventures, joined by Burke Dale Victor, Fluke Venture Partners, Madrona Venture Group, and Trinity Ventures. PayScale offers a database of compensation information, targeting both consumer and business customers who want to slice and dice trends in pay and benefits for their industries.

Rounding out our top five fundraisers for July was Yapta, which scored a $5 million strategic investment from Concur (NASDAQ: CNQR). Concur will use Seattle-based Yapta’s tools for tracking airfare and hotel rates in its TripIt Pro service, which helps business travelers manage their itineraries. Concur, which has been inking partnerships and investments at a fast pace this year, bought TripIt in January for up to $120 million.

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

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