Clearwire Debt, Artale’s Latest, Zoomingo Raises: Week-Ending Seattle News Tidbits

11/18/11Follow @curtwoodward

Three quick items from around the Seattle-area tech scene this week:

Clearwire (NASDAQ: CLWR) shares have fallen sharply again on word from new CEO Erik Prusch that the Kirkland, WA-based wireless provider could skip an upcoming debt payment. Prusch discussed that possible step in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

The Associated Press and ZDNet quote separate industry analysts’ reports with somewhat contradicting takes on the news: Optimism that majority shareholder Sprint could kick in much-needed cash, and skepticism that Sprint would pay up unless there’s some sort of restructuring.

The math is pretty clear: At the end of the third quarter, Clearwire had about $700 million in cash and about $4 billion in long-term debt. The $237 million payment in question is due Dec. 1, although there is a 30-day grace period.

Frank Artale of Ignition Partners led a $15 million investment in ServiceMesh, a provider of cloud-computing platforms for businesses. As VentureBeat reports, Santa Monica, CA-based Service Mesh had been self-funded up until the Ignition-led investment.

It’s one of many cloud-computing investments we’ve seen this year from Artale, who has long experience in the sector as an entrepreneur, executive, and investor. Check out this profile I did in July, just before the flurry of announcements about Artale’s investments started hitting the news.

—Seattle-based startup Zoomingo, a new venture by the co-founders of language learning service Livemocha, raised $1.3 million from Naya Ventures, Benaroya Capital, and angels. Zoomingo is building an application and retailer platform that can deliver advertising and sales to consumers on mobile devices.

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

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