Seattle Roundup: Kickstarter, Kineta, Ride-Share Regs, Lively

3/14/14Follow @bromano

In addition to funding news this week for Seattle-area outfits Seattle BioMed, Rover.com, Tipbit, Illumagear, and ComputeNext, we got word of a Kickstarter milestone, more funding for drug developer Kineta, and a potentially big week for Lively. Next week, we’re expecting a final decision on new city regulations on the likes of Uber, Sidecar, and Lyft. More details:

—Since late 2009, when the producers of the award-winning documentary Sonicsgate: Requiem for a Team raised $5,012 from 66 supporters online, Seattle-based projects of every description have collectively attracted pledges of more than $28 million from supporters via Kickstarter. Earlier this month, the leading crowd-funding platform touted its milestone of more than $1 billion pledged since its April 2009 inception. Some 2,987 projects based in Seattle have been funded, including Planetary Resources, which sought support for a private space telescope to be used by individuals, and Robot Turtles, the board game from Dan Shapiro for teaching youngsters to think like programmers. Sonicsgate appears to be the first successful Seattle-based project. A version of the documentary will air nine times on ESPN Classic, beginning tonight.

—Seattle drug developer Kineta is taking an undisclosed investment from a new “physician-led” private equity firm called angelMD. Kineta, which aims to turn profits faster by focusing on early-stage trials that can be licensed to bigger players for further development, is the first investment for the fund, which is based in Seattle and San Francisco. The company has taken funding from some unique sources, including an undisclosed investment last May from a group of oil traders. Kineta had accumulated $46 million in total research and development support to that point. It says its development pipeline now includes five drugs, headlined by ShK-186, a compound in an early-stage trial for psoriatic arthritis.

—The Seattle City Council is set to vote Monday on driver caps for Lyft, Sidecar, and UberX, the so-called transportation network companies. I haven’t delved into this issue, but luckily several other media outlets are doing a great job covering it. GeekWire, in particular, has offered comprehensive coverage of this complex issue, right down to the glue on Uber’s promotional posters. Goldy, the erstwhile Stranger writer, also has a lengthy piece up at HorsesAss this week arguing why TNCs, as they’re currently operated, violate the city’s municipal code.

Lively, the Seattle-based company taking concert bootlegs to a whole new level, got some solid local and national ink going into South By Southwest this week, including a write-up in The New York Times. SXSW, the big tech-music event in Austin, TX—see a slideshow from our Xconomy Texas readers, curated by editor Angela Shah—looked to be a potentially break-out moment for Lively, and according to this great profile by The Seattle Times’ Paul de Barros, the company was going all-in. It was courting the Mr. Bigs of the major music labels and planning to record 120 concerts. Lively backer Rich Barton tells de Barros, “This could be a defining event.”

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

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