Roundup: Mirabilis Medica, Exo Labs, Yabbly, Ninu Attract Investment
Investors are betting on Seattle-area companies working on everything from uterine fibroids (Mirabilis Medica) to video storage and licensing (Ninu). Those companies, along with microscope camera maker Exo Labs and social decision-making platform Yabbly, raised capital recently. Meanwhile, car-sharing services are getting closer scrutiny from the city. The details:
—Mirabilis Medica has raised $4 million from GSR Ventures and existing investor Charter Life Sciences to continue research of an ultrasound technology for treating uterine fibroids. Along with the new investment, the Bothell, WA, company converted $3 million in debt to equity. Jens Quistgaard was also named CEO of Mirabilis Medica, which is conducting clinical trials outside of the U.S. and hopes to commercialize high-intensity focused ultrasound technology as a non-invasive treatment for fibroids.
—Exo Labs, a Seattle startup making a microscope camera that links to an iPad, has raised $836,000 from investors affiliated with Seattle Angel Conference, Seraph Capital Forum, and Alliance of Angels, among other individual investors. It also closed a successful Kickstarter co-development campaign over the weekend, raising $36,362 to put the Focus Microscope Camera in 40 schools for free. The startup, which we profiled in January, is working at the intersection of hardware and STEM education, and has now raised nearly $1.5 million in venture capital.
—Yabbly, which is building a platform for people to solicit and provide advice on everything from TVs to pre-schools, has raised $535,000 from angel investors including Rudy Gadre. The Seattle startup has attracted $1.3 million of investment since being founded early last year by Tom Leung. Yabbly describes itself as “a community for asking thoughtful questions where members help each other find the best product.” It represents a social approach to purchase decisions, in contrast to the data-driven one of another Seattle startup, Decide.com.
—Ninu Inc., a Seattle startup, has raised $500,000 to roll out a system for video and creative professionals to store, manage, and license their work. The Nimia platform—still in beta and running on Amazon Web Services—allows video producers to share and commercialize their content, either directly or through stock archives. It also offers a broader marketplace for buying and selling video content, that would compete with divisions of image-licensing giants Getty Images and Corbis.
—Seattle, like other cities, is grappling with how to square new “sharing economy” transportation companies—Lyft, Sidecar, and UBER—with legacy for-hire cab businesses, licensed and regulated by the city. The Seattle Times takes a closer look at the issue, reporting that the new services—which have contract drivers using their own vehicles to pick up passengers who flag them down via mobile devices—run afoul of city laws. But the city hasn’t tried to stop the ride-sharing services yet. Indeed, as Alexa Vaughn reports: “the City Council is open-minded about letting the companies stick around permanently.” The council aims to set a broad new policy on the issue covering both the new ride-sharing businesses and the legacy cab operators by the end of the summer. It is gathering information from the public on taxi use now through an online survey.