Shopobot, Angels, AT&T: The 1-Minute Week in Seattle Tech

9/20/11Follow @curtwoodward

—A startup caught in the crossfire of Amazon.com‘s battles with big-box retailers and money-starved state governments is finding a new home in Seattle. Shopobot, a price-tracking site for electronics shopping, got its start in San Francisco, including a spot in the AngelPad accelerator program. But when Amazon dropped its affiliates over an attempt to make it collect California sales tax, Shopobot high-tailed it for Seattle, where the founders both have roots. Irony alert: They ended up with offices at the Founder’s Co-op building, right next door to the new Amazon campus.

—Several regional angel investor groups are tying together in a bid to sweeten deals for entrepreneurs, and keep startups in the angel ecosystem a little longer—rather than fleeing into VC-land. Seattle’s Alliance of Angels is among the groups joining the new Angel Syndication Network. The idea: Develop common standards for due-diligence so that others in the network can make investments without everyone re-doing the whole process, potentially lengthening the financial “runway” for entrepreneurs.

—Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna joined his counterparts from six other states in backing the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit blocking AT&T‘s $39 billion buyout of T-Mobile. McKenna cited the potential for higher consumer prices, and there’s also the nagging issue of lost jobs at T-Mo’s Bellevue headquarters if the deal goes through. McKenna is the Republican favorite for next year’s governor’s race, where he’ll most likely face Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee—who is also no fan of the merger.

—In an amazing and inspirational guest column, former Microsoft executive and entrepreneur Paul Gross tells the story of how he and some other Seattle-area folks tackled the dearth of research into hydrocephalus, and have helped transform the national conversation and funding landscape for this disease. It’s a personal story, as Gross’ young son has the condition.

Clearwire (NASDAQ: CLWR) took another step towards adopting an LTE-based network by announcing a collaboration with China Mobile, a large Asian provider, to develop common standards for networking gear and end-user devices to run on LTE networks. Clearwire is still looking for the money to plow into the expensive work of building out its network.

—Anyone who’s ever had to shop for insurance coverage knows the pain that Urbanspoon co-founder Adam Doppelt encountered: Nonsensical terminology, confusing explanations, and wild price differences. So what did the tech entrepreneur do about it? He tried to hack together a better solution, of course—the first version of a project called PickHealthInsurance.

Bill Gates made the list in the first round of stars for the Entrepreneur Walk of Fame, over in Cambridge, MA’s Kendall Square. The other names: Edison, Hewlett, Packard, Jobs, Kapor, and Swanson.

—Finally, we had a flurry of regional financings to detail, led by HootSuite‘s $3 million debt round, and Symform‘s $1 million extension of its Series A.

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

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