Roundup: Zulily, BlueKai, Koru, and Washington MWC Delegation
Recent notable developments in Seattle tech include: Zulily’s initial earnings report wows Wall Street; BlueKai is acquired by Oracle; Koru names its initial college and university partners; and 16 Washington state companies ply their wares at GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. More details:
—Zulily, the latest Seattle-area IPO success, saw its shares soar 36 percent to close at $58.26 each on the Nasdaq today after its first earnings report, delivered Monday afternoon, exceeded expectations and painted a rosy growth picture. Zulily (NASDAQ: ZU), which operates a daily deals site for moms, had fourth quarter net sales of $257 million, double its performance in the year-earlier period. Profit in the quarter was $12.8 million, up 293 percent. The company expects first quarter sales of $225 million to $235 million, and $1.1 billion to $1.15 billion for all of 2014. At the close of trading today, Zulily’s market capitalization was $7.11 billion. The company went public at $22 a share in mid November.
—BlueKai, the online marketing data company started in Bellevue, WA, in 2007 by Omar Tawakol, is being acquired by Oracle for an undisclosed sum. The company moved its headquarters to Cupertino, CA, but maintains a Seattle office, along with offices in San Francisco, New York, and London. Unnamed sources quoted by Fortune’s Dan Primack, Business Insider, and AdExchanger put the value of the purchase price at somewhere between $350 million and more than $400 million. If correct—and the deal passes regulatory and shareholder muster—it would make for a nice exit for BlueKai and its investors. The company has raised about $40 million from investors including Redpoint Ventures and Battery Ventures, and GGV Capital.
—Koru, the Seattle startup focused on education and high-tech recruiting, is off to a good start, partnering with 13 U.S. higher education institutions. The company, which has raised $4.35 million, says these partner schools will help it “launch an immersive learning program that bridges the gap between today’s college graduates and the needs of high-growth employers.” Participating schools are: Bates College, Brown University, Colorado College, Connecticut College, Denison University, Georgetown University, Mount Holyoke College, Occidental College, Pomona College, University of Southern California, Vassar College, Whitman College, and Williams College. We profiled Koru in December.
—The Washington state delegation to the GSMA Mobile World Congress, going on now in Barcelona, Spain, includes 16 companies involved in everything from mobile gaming to e-commerce to security to data analysis. This is the third year the state Commerce Department has organized a delegation to the mobile industry’s biggest event. The group attending from Washington this year is more diverse than in years past, says Wistar Kay, business development manager in the Commerce Department’s International Trade group. While federal export promotion grants subsidized companies that attended in the prior two years, this year the state delegation is self-supported, Kay says. Companies are paying to be part of the state’s delegation, recognizing that they can be successful as a group, leveraging Washington’s brand recognition in the industry, she says. Exhibiting companies include Inrix, Kymeta, Orca Wave, UIEvolution, Apptentive, Buddy Platform, Etelu, Flowroute, General UI, Guppy Media, HipCricket, MobileAppTracking, nFluence, RootMetrics, SecurityInnovation, and Touchbase.