Roundup: HootSuite’s $165M, Plus News on Chirpify, Exo Labs, Blucora

8/2/13Follow @bromano

This is the “put a bird on it” edition of the Northwest tech news roundup. HootSuite, the Twitter dashboard maker, hauls in $165 million, the most venture capital in one go for a Canadian software company. Meanwhile, Chirpify, which enables commerce in Twitter and other social media, grabbed a more modest sum. There are some interesting connections between the two companies worth keeping in mind. We’ve got more details on these rounds, as well as news from Exo Labs, Blucora, and Gigabit Squared below.

—Vancouver, B.C.-based social media management software company HootSuite has raised $165 million in one of the year’s largest venture capital rounds. The four-year-old company, best known for its Twitter dashboard, attracted Series B funding led by Insight Venture Partners, with Accel Partners and OMERS Ventures, an existing investor, participating. The funding will allow the company to expand aggressively into Asia and Latin America, and make strategic acquisitions. At least two deals are in the works, HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes tells Bloomberg. Seattle angel investor Geoff Entress is among the earlier investors in HootSuite. Also worth noting: Holmes is an investor in Chirpify—see next item—chipping in alongside Entress on the company’s $1.3 million raise in 2012.

—Portland, OR-based social commerce startup Chirpify has raised an additional $4 million from Saturn Partners, Provenance Ventures, and individual investors including Idan Ravin and David Cohen. Seattle-based venture firm Voyager Capital started the Series A round in May with a $2 million investment. The additional funding will allow Chirpify to expand its in-stream payment technology—allowing people to buy things or make donations by replying to a tweet or leaving a comment—to live events and television. Total investment in the company to date stands at $7.3 million.

Exo Labs, the Seattle hardware startup making a device to connect microscopes to iPads, has topped up its Series A equity financing round with $414,000 from angel investors. That brings total funding, including a 2012 convertible debt note, to about $2 million. Co-founder and CEO Michael Baum says the investment is supporting sales, marketing, and product development.

Blucora, the Bellevue, WA, the Internet holding company with businesses in tax preparation and online search and marketing, is buying consumer electronics and accessories retailer Monoprice in a $180 million all-cash deal. Monoprice, based in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, sources and sells online everything from electric guitars to cables to batteries under its own brand. Blucora (NASDAQ: BCOR) says it expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to earnings.

Gigabit Squared, the company vying to enter the high-speed broadband Internet access market in Seattle, says it has made a multi-million dollar investment in a conduit running the length of the city to “carry the Gigabit fiber backbone for the Gigabit Squared Seattle project.” The company says it purchased the underground pipe, running from the cities northeast to southwest, and other assets from telecomm infrastructure company Zayo Group. These assets would help Gigabit Squared “more effectively utilize excess fiber capacity the company will lease from the City of Seattle,” the company says. Late last year, the company announced plans to deploy a broadband access pilot project in 14 Seattle neighborhoods with speeds up to 1 Gigabit per second. The company said it plans to launch in a handful of neighborhoods next year, with its top-end 1 Gigabit plan costing $80 a month.

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

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