Seattle Roundup: Farmstr, Koru, Indow Windows, & More
ExtraHop’s big $41 million Series C round from Technology Crossover Ventures was the big news of the week. But a handful of other developments caught our attention:
—Today, we reported on SignalSense, the new startup company that former Microsoft Technical Fellow and Splunk engineering leader Brad Lovering is working on.
—Jobaline raised a $7 million Series B only eight months after closing its Series A to take its mobile, bi-lingual marketplace for recruiting hourly workers to 50 more cities.
—Farmstr, a Seattle-based online marketplace connecting farmers, fishers, and other producers directly to local consumers, raised $1.25 million, according to this SEC filing. The array of foods available for direct purchase—promising better margins for “Little Agriculture” producers—is impressive. Grass-fed alpaca hamburger anyone? The founder and CEO is Janell Maiocco, a chef raised in a farming family. The business began last September.
—Koru, the Seattle startup connecting college grads with short-duration placements and education inside of tech companies, has brought on the rapper Nas as an investor and advisor. Nas, through Queensbridge Venture Partners, his investment vehicle, is investing $100,000 in the company, which is backed by Maveron, Battery Ventures, First Round Capital, a16z seed, and other individual investors. In addition, the Nas Scholarship Fund is sponsoring 10 students to participate in Koru programs, which cost $2,499 to $2,749 for the two-to-three week “employer-embedded experiences.”
—Indow Windows, the Portland, OR-based maker of energy-saving inserts for windows and a portfolio company of Element 8 (formerly the Northwest Energy Angels), got a nice boost from a Pacific Northwest National Laboratory study (PDF) that found its inserts led to a 22 percent reduction in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning costs. The study looked at a 1916 Seattle home that had the Indow Window inserts in all of its single-pane windows.
—Seattle versus Silicon Valley. It’s a perennial topic in local startup circles. This week, GeekWire juxtaposed the experiences of one startup that came north (Ivy Softworks headed by Napster co-founder Jordan Ritter) and one that went south (FutureAdvisor from Jon Xu and Bo Lu). Ritter spoke of “a spaciousness here. There is room for growth that I don’t think exists in Silicon Valley right now.” Lu, meanwhile, talked up the density in the San Francisco-area startup ecosystem “that’s very favorable to building a business, and very difficult to replicate elsewhere.”