Seattle Roundup: Nuance+Varolii, Amazon+TenMarks, Funding for Comr.se

10/11/13Follow @bromano

It was a busy week in tech M&A locally. Nuance Communications is buying Seattle-based Varolii; Amazon.com steps up its education game with the acquisition of TenMarks; and Add3 has acquired Amplify Interactive to strengthen its search marketing business. Also, 9Mile Labs graduate Comr.se has raised $781,000. The details:

Nuance Communications is bolstering its outbound customer service technologies with the acquisition of Seattle-based Varolii. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close next week, were not disclosed. Varolii, founded in 1999, has about 200 employees, 140 of whom are in Seattle and the rest in Burlington, MA, where Nuance is based. It also has a growing development center in Seattle, now with more than 200 employees. A Nuance spokesperson says “our plan is to retain Varolii as the development and product center for Nuance Outbound, leveraging the Varolii team, especially in development, hosting, sales and marketing. As we are very early in the integration process, we can’t comment further” on the disposition of Varolii employees as a result of the acquisition.

Amazon.com is buying TenMarks, a maker of web-based math instruction programs, in a bid to strengthen its educational offerings as tablet makers vie for position in the classroom. In a statement, Amazon Kindle vice president Dave Limp says, “Together, Amazon and TenMarks intend to develop rich educational content and applications, across multiple platforms, that we think teachers, parents and students will love.” TenMarks has offices in Burlingame, CA, and Chestnut Hill, MA. Terms of the acquisition, set to close in the fourth quarter, were not disclosed.

—Search marketing company Add3 has acquired Amplify Interactive, a Portland, OR company in the same business. Five Amplify employees in Portland are joining Add3 as a result, including founder and president Ben Lloyd, who will head the Portland office of Add3. The combined company has about 30 employees. Self-funded Add3, headed by CEO Paul Uhlir, says it is profitable and expects 2013 revenue of $10 million.

Comr.se, a Seattle startup that was part of the first 9Mile Labs class, has raised $781,000 out of a $1.13 million round, according to an SEC filing. The company allows people to make online purchases without leaving social media sites. It’s another attempt to reduce friction in online shopping and seems like a competitor to Portland-based Chirpify. Comr.se CEO Kyle Schei gave one of the most engaging presentations at the 9Mile Labs demo day last month.

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

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