Roundup: StratoScientific, Pro.com, Seattle Steam, Bitcoin Miners, & More

5/16/14Follow @bromano

It was a very good week for a new father-and-son medical devices company, StratoScientific. Another home improvement startup, Pro.com, is revving up in Seattle. Seattle Steam is being acquired by Brookfield Asset Management. Bitcoin miners are opening up shop in Eastern Washington because of the low cost of electricity. And Code Fellows has a new CEO. Read on for details:

StratoScientific, a medical devices startup run by a Shoreline, WA, cardiologist and his teenage son, took first place in the Washington Technology Industry Association’s Spring First Look Forum this week. The company’s products, including Steth IO, separated it from the 14 other new startup companies. Steth IO was invented by 15-year-old CEO Suman Mulumudi and turns an iPhone into a stethoscope capable of hearing, visualizing, storing, and transmitting heart sounds. Mulumudi won national exposure for the device when he did a segment on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Other WTIA finalists were FastBar, MathChat, Joblie, and PolyDrop.

—Seattle is now home to another competitor with the likes of Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor in the business of helping homeowners find service providers for remodels and repairs. Pro.com is the effort of Matt Williams, who spent 12 years at Amazon before becoming CEO of Digg. His new company joins Porch and Zillow’s Digs service in bringing new approaches to connecting homeowners to remodeling ideas and professionals. Pro.com distinguishes itself with a “self-service price estimator” and option to book a contractor online. Here’s coverage of the new company from The Seattle Times.

Seattle Steam, the 115-year-old utility that provides steam heat to downtown Seattle buildings, has been acquired by Brookfield Asset Management, which owns district energy systems in other major cities as part of a $180 billion global portfolio including renewable energy, property, and private equity assets. Terms were not disclosed. Seattle Steam CEO Stan Gent says in a statement that the acquisition gives the company “access to an array of district energy experts whose values match our own. Not only will we be able to better service our existing customers, but we will also have the resources and capital to offer our clean, renewable thermal energy to customers who are beyond our current reach.” Here’s more on Seattle Steam and its new water well from Crosscut.

—Like the aluminum smelters, Microsoft data centers, and solar silicon plants before them, bitcoin miners are turning to the Inland Northwest for cheap hydropower to run their energy-intensive businesses. The Spokane Spokesman-Review last month profiled HashPlex, “one of several bitcoin mining companies operating or preparing to launch in Grant, Chelan, and Douglas counties.” Bitcoin mining is an increasingly computing-heavy—and, therefore, power-intensive—endeavor, making destinations with cheap power attractive for these businesses.

Code Fellows, the Seattle software engineering trade school begun last year, has named Kristin Smith its CEO, replacing co-founder Will Little in that job. Little is taking the chief technology officer title. Smith was previously vice president of supply chain at Zulily. She also spent eight years at Amazon in a variety of roles.

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

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