Symform, Tred, LikeBright, UIEvolution, and More Seattle Tech Deals

1/17/13Follow @bromano

Washington attracted 4 percent of VC investment in the fourth quarter of 2012—up from 2 percent a year earlier—and new deals are continuing to roll out for Northwest tech companies this year.

Seattle TechStars grads Tred and LikeBright landed funding, along with Symform, UIEvolution, and Portland’s Janrain, which collected a whopping $33 million. Read on for details, plus updates on Maptia, Avalara, and Something Ventured, a venture capital documentary airing on KCTS later this month.

Symform, the Seattle cloud backup service provider, attracted $3 million from the National Association of Realtors’ venture capital arm, filling out its $11 million Series B funding round first announced last April.

As part of the investment from Second Century Ventures, Symform services will be offered to Realtors, who form the nation’s largest trade group, and managing director Constance Freedman will join Symform’s board.

Earlier investors in the round include Longworth Venture Partners, OVP Venture Partners, and WestRiver Capital. Funding from Second Century will help Symform develop and market its offering.

UIEvolution, the Kirkland, WA, company that helps big brands create and manage apps across multiple platforms—particularly in vehicles—has raised $2 million, out of a nearly $5.3 million offering, according to an SEC filing. A spokeswoman says the company is in the midst of a fundraising to take place over the next six to eight weeks, after which UIEvolution will share details of its 2013 strategy.

—2012 Seattle TechStars graduate Tred, a vehicle test-drive concierge service, raised $1.7 million in seed funding from investors including Maveron, Founder’s Co-op, TechStars’ David Cohen, automotive industry specialist Fraser McCombs Capital, former General Motors boss Rick Wagoner, Lowercase Capital, and Great Oaks Venture Capital. The funding will help the company build its and test marketing channels, says co-founder Grant Feek. “We’re planning to launch Tred to Seattle families this spring,” he adds. The company had raised $100,000 prior to joining TechStars.

—Maptia, another Seattle TechStars grad—which, like Tred, wowed the Demo Day audience with its pitch—has been recovering from “the aptly named ‘TechStars hangover’,” according to a recent post on the company’s blog. Maptia—building “a discovery engine for places” in the form of an interactive, social map of the world—is relocating to “a little town by the coast in Morocco, where we will be able to live frugally but happily as we work hard to finish building the first version of Maptia.” The founders acknowledge going through “the lows of bitter failure when we felt we had let everyone down by being too slow.” They also confirm they’ve parted ways with CTO Jianshi Huang.

—Seattle online dating site LikeBright has landed an undisclosed investment from the Microsoft Bing Fund, marking the incubator program’s first local investment. LikeBright, a 2011 Seattle TechStars grad, makes love matches by mining social networks to pair up friends of friends.

Avalara, a Bainbridge Island, WA, sales tax compliance service, acquired UPC Matrix Master. Avalara gains what it describes as “the world’s largest database of Universal Product Codes with specialized sales taxability data,” with more than 10 million products catalogued.

This will bolster Avalara’s position in sales tax content to complement its cloud-based services offering. “We are establishing a new standard for breadth and depth of sales tax content domestically and internationally,” CEO Scott McFarlane says in a statement.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Janrain, a Portland company that makes a platform for Websites to register users with existing log-ins from sites including Facebook and Twitter, attracted $33 million from Millennium Technology Value Partners, Split Rock Partners, Epic Ventures and salesforce.com, with participation from existing investors Emergence Capital, RPM Ventures, DFJ Frontier and Anthem Venture Partners.

The Oregonian’s Mike Rogoway describes it as “among the biggest venture capital rounds ever for an Oregon Internet business.”

The deal brings investment in Janrain, founded in 2005, to $52 million. The company makes money by helping companies and Web sites hone their marketing with richer user profiles gathered from social media sites.

Something Ventured, a documentary on the history of the history of the venture capital business, will air in Seattle on PBS affiliate KCTS on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 11:00 p.m. and Friday, Feb. 1 at 12:30 a.m. The well-reviewed documentary–which covers investments by the likes of Don Valentine, Tom Perkins, and Dick Kramlich—in companies including Apple, Intel, Genentech, Atari, and Cisco, premiered at SXSW last year.

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

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  • catherinekylie

    A recovery of General Motors is evident, though, since revenues from GM Europe declined just 2.8% during FY13 after a reported decline of 17.75% in Fiscal Year 2012 http://bit.ly/1qwiEfg