Roundup: Version One Ventures, Scope 5, Gigabit Squared, and Fledge
In the news this week: Canadian fundraising with an eye on U.S. startups, funding for sustainability software company Scope 5, Seattle’s high-speed broadband project expanding, and a new flock of Fledglings.
—Vancouver, B.C., angel investor Boris Wertz has raised $19 million for Version One Ventures, a seed fund planning to back early stage tech startups in Canada and the U.S. Wertz launched the fund last July and exceeded his initial target as a result of participation by long-tenured Canadian firm BDC Venture Capital. The fund will divided its investments roughly equally between the two countries, and plans to invest $250,000 to $500,000 in about 25 companies over the next four or five years in consumer Internet, e-commerce, SaaS, and mobile. It has backed 11 companies so far including GroupTalent and Julep (both in Seattle), Frank & Oak, Instacanvas, Jobber, Top Hat Monocle, tindie, and Clarity.
—Seattle-based Scope 5, which aims to help companies manage sustainability with a SaaS offering, closed a nearly $500,000 Series A round, backed by the Northwest Energy Angels. The company claims Expeditors, the Seattle logistics company, as an early customer. It plans to use the funding to market the service and meet customer demand. Norm Bontje, a lead NWEA investor in the round, says Scope 5’s offering is easier to use and less expensive than existing sustainability software competitors.
—The Gigabit Squared high-speed broadband project announced by the city of Seattle in December is now set to include 14 neighborhoods, Mayor Mike McGinn announced in his state of the city address. Central Ballard and the West Seattle junction join the previous 12 neighborhoods including tech-heavy South Lake Union, various parts of the UW, much of downtown, Capitol Hill and First Hill, and parts of south Seattle. McGinn says Gigabit is planning an updated business plan in April including costs to lay fiber to the initial neighborhoods, as well as pricing, and timelines.
—Seattle “conscious company” incubator Fledge launched its second class earlier this week. The seven participating companies, chosen from more than 60 applicants, will work for 10 weeks on a range of business ideas that have in common a goal of social impact. The participants and their focus areas: Brown Box, human waste issues in India; Serve Smart, volunteer service; Localista, local business customer loyalty; Snohomish Soap, organic and homemade soap; MyVoice, local knowledge crowdsourcing; UbrLocal, local food consumers and producers; and Shift Labs, medical devices for global markets.