Mobile Madness, VC Dollars, Appature’s Growth: Wrapping up Seattle’s Tech Headlines

10/18/11Follow @curtwoodward

The biggest news out of Xconomy Seattle this past week is the announcement of Mobile Madness NW, our December 6 half-day forum presented with the Washington Technology Industry Association and hosted by F5 Networks.

We’ve got a stellar lineup of speakers, including Wesley Chan from Google Ventures, Tom Alberg from Madrona Venture Group, Bernie Yee from Bungie Aerospace, Giordano Contestabile from PopCap Games, and Mike McSherry from Swype.

There’s tons more to come—we have some killer startup demos lined up, and a few more special things to spice up the program. But the main point is that you have to get your tickets now to get the best rate. Don’t miss the special discounts on offer for startups and students.

Even though event planning is a monster load of work, I still managed to cover some pretty interesting ground in the past week. And just to keep me honest, I’ll even throw in a few things I couldn’t get to.

—I chatted with Kabir Shahani of Appature for the latest Xconomist of the Week, a regular feature where we profile one of our star guest authors. Kabir talked about the challenges of growing a startup beyond its home base for the first time, which Appature’s done recently by adding remote sales and marketing offices near major clients across the country.

—Research firm CB Insights crunched the numbers on third-quarter venture capital financing and found another up quarter, which could point to the biggest year for VC in a decade, if the investors keep the trend going. Washington state companies, of course, still lag way behind the pack leaders—the real action was the New York-Massachusetts dogfight for second place, after California.

—Speaking of Evergreen State fundraising, we caught up with the end-of-summer numbers for companies based here and found, not surprisingly, that Zulily‘s $43 million round was the easy leader for all financings in August. Zulily’s a fast-growing flash-sales service specializing in products for moms and kids—why someone hadn’t jumped all over that vertical before is a mystery to me.

—Luke checked in with Mobisante, a Redmond, WA-based company developing portable ultrasound systems that can be read over smartphones or tablets. No, it’s not ultrasound on an iPhone (yet), since the hardware requires a beefy USB connection to work properly. But this innovation stands to make things a lot easier and cheaper for doctors working in the developing world or budget-strapped clinics.

Microsoft Research and Carnegie Mellon showed off the OmniTouch system, a prototype projector-sensor device that can recognize “touchscreen” movements and turn all kinds of surfaces, from forearms to walls, into a user interface.

—Name-your-price crowd auction startup Zaarly got on a research kick and came up with this funny infographic tour through Seattleite cliches—which apparently have some grounding in reality. It behooves the fledgling company to do some market research, of course, since they have users and employees here. Plus people like me might re-post it.

And here’s a couple of important things I didn’t have time to fully chase down:

Clearwire (NASDAQ: CLWR) released some preliminary third-quarter financial results that helped prop up the struggling wireless provider’s stock price. Clearwire had taken a massive hit after majority shareholder Sprint left it out of next-generation network plans, and questions about Clearwire’s future were getting very loud.

—John Cook at GeekWire had a scoop about Brian Bershad, Google‘s Seattle-area head honcho, apparently taking a new assignment for the company somewhere in Russia. Bershad, who is also a University of Washington professor, declined to comment when I reached him asking to follow up on the report. Last I heard (from Brian himself at a UW event), Google was on pace to have about 1,000 people here in the greater Seattle area by year’s end.

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

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