Seattle Roundup: Simply Measured, Keiretsu + ZINO, Fledge, & More

Catching up this week on another acquisition by Simply Measured, a tie-up of two Northwest angel investing groups, a milestone for “conscious company incubator” Fledge, funding for mobile app developer AppSheet, a new technology licensing program from NASA, and news from Spaceflight, Allrecipes, and Impinj. Details:

Simply Measured, a Seattle-based social media analytics company, made its second acquisition in recent weeks, scooping up Fayetteville, AR-based DataRank, which helps companies gather data and act on social media activity. The DataRank buy—terms undisclosed—follows its acquisition in September of Inside Social, which helps calculate the return on investments in social media marketing. “Basing campaign decisions on passive listening and vanity metrics is no longer enough to show social ROI or justify the investment to CMOs,” said Simply Measured CEO Adam Schoenfeld in a news release. “Marketers need real social intelligence and research to discover new opportunities, understand online conversation, and take action. By adding DataRank to the Simply Measured family, we’re providing marketers with a solution for every step of the process, from researching new opportunities, to attributing ROI, to measuring campaign success.” Simply Measured raised $20 million in 2014.

—Two Seattle-area angel investing groups are combining. Keiretsu Forum Northwest has acquired assets of the ZINO Society, which closed its doors after 10 years. ZINO’s founder and CEO Cathi Hatch has become president of the Keiretsu Forum’s Seattle chapter. ZINO Society members will “have access to the extensive Keiretsu Forum network of high quality deal flow and due diligence collaboration,” Hatch said in a news release.

Fledge, a Seattle-based accelerator for startups addressing social problems while pursuing profits, is marking $1 million invested in 39 companies since opening in 2012. The companies—which participated in six classes over the last three years consisting of 10 weeks of training and mentorship culminating in a demo day—have raised a combined $10 million in additional funding and created more than 300 jobs, Fledge said. A single company, BURN Manufacturing, raised $4 million in 2013.

“Fledge is proving that it is possible for startups to do good, by doing business, and not just Seattle or just American startups, but startups from North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa,” Fledge founder Michael “Luni” Libes said in a news release. Indeed, its most recent class consisted entirely of companies based in Africa and South America. Many Fledge startup companies are focused on the basic needs of people in the developing world: BURN’s clean-burning cook stoves, for example, or cold storage for small farmers. “A few of the fledglings are already profitable, which shouldn’t be surprising, as profits come from solving problems,” Libes said.

—The University of Washington’s 33rd president is Ana Mari Cauce, a psychology professor and administrator who is also the consummate insider, having worked for the UW for nearly 30 years. Cauce, who was interirm president for the last seven months, gave her annual address this week, saying she has no intention of “fundamentally changing the course of our university.” She added, “My aim isn’t to start a bunch of new things and do them in small ways. Instead, let’s use our culture, our way of working together, to make real progress on the big things that truly make a difference.” Her full speech is here.

AppSheet, a Seattle startup, announced a $1.5 million seed investment, led by New Enterprise Associates, to bankroll a platform for making mobile apps using data. The twist, the company says, is that anyone who can build a spreadsheet can make an app with its tools, which ingest structured data to automatically generate apps capable of a range of functions, such as managing a media budget, collecting field survey data, or taking inventory. The company says it has had some 30,000 people create apps using its tools since launching last November.

—NASA has technologies and wants startup companies to make use of them. NASA’s Technology Transfer Program is making some 1,200 patented technologies available to young businesses for no up-front licensing payments, and no minimum fees for three years. The licenses are not exclusive, but exclusive agreements can be negotiated. The patented technologies are grouped into 15 categories including: sensors, propulsion, power generation and storage, materials and coatings, aeronautics, IT and software, and optics.

Spaceflight unit Spaceflight Networks, which is building a communications system for small satellites, has switched on a new ground station in New Zealand. It’s the third such station in what Spaceflight intends to be a global network for communicating with and controlling satellites. “The small-satellite revolution requires massive improvements in latency, data throughput and operating costs compared to what is available today,” said Spaceflight CEO Jason Andrews in a news release. “Bringing the ground station online in New Zealand is another step in executing on our vision to add more capacity across more continents to satisfy the tremendous customer demand.” [Andrews will speak about Seattle’s role as a hub for entrepreneurship in a new era of commercial space business at Seattle 2035 on Oct. 30—Eds.]

—Seattle-based Allrecipes is teaming with Instacart, which delivers groceries to shoppers’ homes, to allow on-demand delivery of ingredients for select recipes. “This partnership will allow people to search and pull up their favorite recipes on their devices and have everything needed to make that meal delivered to their doorstep on-demand,” said Vishwa Chandra, vice president of retail accounts at Instacart, in a news release.

—Impinj, which marked the sale of its 10 billionth radio frequency identification (RFID) chip earlier this year and is celebrating 15 years in business, announced a new brand and logo, and opened its new South Lake Union headquarters.

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

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