Seattle Roundup: Powerit nabs $5.5m, SEOmoz’s Portland buy, more

12/5/12Follow @bromano

Holiday deal doldrums? Not yet. In addition to Smartsheet’s $26 million raise announced on Monday, a handful of other smaller financing and acquisition deals have emerged in recent days. Here are a few that caught our attention:

Powerit Solutions, which makes energy demand management technology for industrial customers, plans to use a $5.5 million Series C investment to pursue partnerships, expand sales to Europe, and launch a cloud-based version of its Spara EMS technology in 2013.

Private equity fund Black Coral Capital led the financing, which included a $3 million initial raise in April and $2.5 million that closed late last month. Three other institutional investors, which had previously funded the Seattle-based company, participated.

Powerit counts some 571 megawatts of electrical load managed by its automated demand response technology in North America. The company’s software and controls, integrated with automation equipment, can help industrial facilities monitor and shift energy-intensive activities to times of lower prices.

Utilities are deploying more sophisticated pricing and market signaling technology to help reduce peak demand and integrate renewable energy generation—some of the promises of the smart grid. Lots of work has to happen behind the scenes to make this happen. See, for example, the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project.

—Seattle search engine marketing services provider SEOmoz hopes to tap the small business market with the acquisition of Portland-based local listings service GetListed.org for “around $3 million” in cash and stock. The GetListed.org local online search optimization and listings service will be integrated with SEOmoz offerings in the second quarter of next year.

“Our long-term goal is to provide software on the Web and possibly in a mobile app that helps owners and marketers get a simple, but detailed overview of how they’re performing in the local search ecosystem, what actions they should take to help their marketing, and how they compare against their competition,” SEOmoz chief executive Rand Fishkin wrote in a post about the acquisition.

As part of the deal—which the companies have discussed since 2011—GetListed founder and chief executive David Mihm is joining SEOmoz, while co-founder and chief technology officer Chris Tanger will work on the transition on a contract basis.

GetListed.org is SEOmoz’s second major acquisition.

In August, after it raised $18 million from the Boulder, CO-based Foundry Group in a Series B round, SEOmoz snapped up Portland-based Followerwonk, which provides sophisticated search and analysis of Twitter users and followers.

Having purchased two Portland companies this year, Fishkin says his company is contemplating a Portland office—working title, “Mozlandia”—in 2013.

Jobaline, targeting the difficulties employers face in hiring hourly workers, collected $1.5 million in funding from Madrona Venture Group as well as angel investors in Seattle and New York.

Chief executive Luis Salazar says the financing will allow him to hire engineers and user experience people in support of the Jobaline platform, which incorporates modern social, mobile, and analytical technologies to match hourly job seekers with employers.

He points to a video on the company’s website with a bit more detail: “Since 2011, we have been testing platform functionality, matching, ranking, and balancing algorithms, and audience monetization models. After processing over 10,000 real-time interactions, we are ready for the next phase.”

Jobaline plans to be on the market in the first half of next year “powering some key players as we are a platform play,” Salazar says in an e-mail.

Salazar also says that Jobaline selected Seattle over the Bay Area, where a co-founder and engineering lead lives, for its home base. (The company will be based on the Eastside and also has a foot in Orange County, CA.) Why was that? While the Bay Area is the capital of the consumer Web, Salazar says, “Seattle is the place for the smarter cloud.”

—Energy storage research in Washington is getting a boost through the formation of a U.S. Department of Energy team that unites battery research in several locations. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA, is in line for $15 million over five years as part of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, one of four Energy Innovation Hubs established by the Energy Department.

The effort will be based at the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago. The Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at PNNL will contribute research on electrochemical reactions within working batteries and battery failure. They join researchers from industry, five universities in Illinois and Michigan, and four other national labs.

Photo by listentoreason via Flickr.

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email him at bromano [at] xconomy.com. Follow @bromano

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