Roundup: Funding for Apex, Seeq, Highline, and More Seattle News
A pair of Seattle startups aren’t saying much publicly, but SEC filings show that Seeq and Highline have the ears and wallets of some investors. Apex Learning also raised new capital. In other news, WhitePages acquires Mr. Number, Seattle’s presentation software makers forge ahead, and the White House is coming down on patent trolls.
—Seeq Corp, a quiet Seattle-based big data company, previously named Nebula12 LLC, raised $2 million in an apparent convertible debt offering, out of a $6 million financing that commenced May 17. Five investors have participated thus far, according to an SEC filing. Founder and chief executive Steve Sliwa was previously chief executive of Insitu, the Bingen, WA-based maker of unmanned aerial vehicles, which was purchased by Boeing in 2008 for nearly $400 million. He declined to say more about Seeq for now. The company, incorporated last year, remains in “stealth mode as we are preparing to launch,” according to its LinkedIn profile. Clues there and on its Web site suggest products and services to help with data-driven decision making. Another site listing job openings says the company is “organized ‘virtually’ with the support of state-of-the-art collaboration tools to attract the best talent from across the U.S. and even globally.”
—Highspot, a Seattle startup working on products “at the intersection of business, social, and search,” has raised $2.25 million in an apparent convertible debt sale to 14 investors, according to an SEC filing. The company “is in stealth mode,” it says on its Web site. Highspot was co-founded by Robert Wahbe, a former Microsoft vice president in the server and tools business. Wahbe is the CEO and the company is staffed by several other Microsoft veterans. We’ve asked for more detail of what they’re up to, and will update as appropriate.
—Apex Learning, a Seattle-based digital curriculum company headed by current Technology Alliance chair Cheryl Vedoe, raised $3 million from two investors in an apparent convertible debt offering that commenced May 22, according to an SEC filing. We’re seeking more details from the company and will update this post as appropriate. (Vedoe had some very interesting observations at last week’s Technology Alliance luncheon on the thriving tech sector in Washington state, despite chronic underinvestment in education.)
—The two Seattle-area companies trying to reinvent presentations have each made recent progress. Today, Haiku Deck announced a partnership with Getty Images to sell more than one million images from Seattle-based Getty’s Thinkstock stock photo catalog within the Haiku Deck iPad app. The move strengthens one of Haiku Deck’s best features: The ability to find and use photos for more visually appealing presentations. The latest version of Haiku Deck adds other features to make finding and saving images for use in slide decks. Meanwhile, 9Slides, based in Redmond, WA, said last month it had added investors Dave McClure of 500 Startups, Karl Ulrich, a serial entrepreneur and vice dean of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School, and Tom Miner, principal at Garrison Point Capital. 9Slides, which synchronizes video and slides to make presentations on any platform, even if the presenter isn’t there, has raised $500,000, a representative says.
—Over the weekend, This American Life updated its revelatory report on the U.S. patent system. Now the Obama Administration is going after patent trolling with a series of legislative recommendations and executive actions, including efforts to tighten functional claims in patents—a specific concern to the software industry—and help educating end-users who are increasingly targeted by patent trolls. The White House also released a study on the economic impact of patent trolling. “It’s clear that the abuse of the patent system is stifling innovation and putting a drag on our economy,” writes Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council. “The trolling has gotten out of control, and it’s time to act.”
—WhitePages, the Seattle online directory company, has purchased the Mr. Number call-blocking and caller ID Android app to build out its mobile offerings. The team behind Mr. Number will remain independent to work on a social discovery app called Skydeck, reports Ina Fried at AllThingsD.