Roundup: Dwellable Partnership, Front Desk Launch, Concur Buy & More

3/15/13Follow @bromano

There was deal news for the leisure and business traveler this week as Dwellable partnered with FlipKey to expand the reach of its vacation rental app, and Concur bought conTgo to enhance business travel communications and marketing. Meanwhile, Front Desk landed cash from some big names ahead of its planned launch; Chris DeVore—a member of the new Seattle Economic Development Commission—wants your ideas for improving the innovation climate; and Microsoft bought a product of its own accelerator. Read on for details:

Dwellable, a bootstrapped Seattle vacation rental search site with a recently upgraded iPhone/iPad app, is partnering with FlipKey, a longer-tenured Web site—majority owned by TripAdvisor—in the same market, to expand its coverage. Dwellable chief executive Brenda Spoonemore tells Xconomy in an e-mail that the company covered about 20 vacation hotspots, “but travelers were clamoring for areas that we did not yet cover.” FlipKey is providing Dwellable with national coverage via an “affiliate feed of listings in all the areas we weren’t covering yet.” There’s more about Dwellable, co-founded by Adam Doppelt of Urbanspoon fame, in this story from last year.

Front Desk—a quiet Seattle startup promising to make small business operations easier via smartphones and tablets, and to begin doing so on Monday—has raked in an additional $1 million from Nick Hanauer and Rich Barton, who invested in the company last summer, and Boris Wertz. Here’s Front Desk’s latest SEC filing on the equity raise; GeekWire has more details on the big names betting on a company staffed with talent from previous Barton enterprises. The company’s software platform looks particularly well-suited to gyms—that’s where CEO Jon Zimmerman got the idea—as well as other small services providers. Front Desk promises tools to manage schedules, registration, attendance, client relationships, notifications, billing, waivers and documents, with pricing as low as “1 percent of revenue.”

—Travel expense management software maker Concur gains several new location-based services capabilities with the acquisition of conTgo. The company, based in Australia and the U.K., makes a mobile communications platform that Concur says allows companies to stay in better touch with their traveling employees, and merchants to offer deals to travelers that visit them frequently, or who are delayed in an airport where they have a location. Other new capabilities include improved joint booking with fellow travelers from the same company and ground transportation sharing. Terms were not disclosed, but will not have a material impact on Redmond-based Concur (NASDAQ: CNQR) in 2013.

—The Seattle technology startup and biotech industries will be well-represented on a new city Economic Development Commission that has a goal of improving the innovation climate here. Chris DeVore, co-founder and general partner at Founder’s Co-op, and a TechStars Seattle mentor, is one of 15 members appointed to a one-year term on the commission. Other members include UW President Michael Young, Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani, and Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association President Chris Rivera. The commission, scheduled to meet four times this year, beginning next month, is tasked with helping the city “develop and advance a vision for Seattle’s economic development that nurtures a policy and regulatory environment that encourages innovation and supports business formation and growth, retention, and expansion.” DeVore is soliciting ideas for what the city could do “to make life better for entrepreneurs.”

—MetricsHub, a Bellevue startup honed in the Microsoft Windows Azure Accelerator in partnership with TechStars, was acquired by Microsoft. As a result, the company’s cloud performance management technology—in pre-release—was offered free to Windows Azure customers.

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

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