Seattle Roundup: PayScale, LSDF, Blucora, Glider, Utrip, VirtualQube
PayScale is getting up to $100 million from Warburg Pincus; Blucora bought HowStuffWorks; the Washington Life Sciences Discovery Fund is making more grants; Glider is acquired by FPX; and Utrip and VirtualQube raised capital. More details:
—PayScale, the Seattle compensation data company, will cash out existing investors and fund continued growth with an investment of up to $100 million from Warburg Pincus, the New York private equity firm where former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is president. The firm, with $37 billion under management, will take a majority stake in 14-year-old PayScale. The company last raised $7 million in 2011. Earlier investors include Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group, SAP Ventures, Fluke Venture Partners, Trinity Ventures, and Montlake Capital.
—Blucora, the Bellevue, WA-based Internet business group, is acquiring HowStuffWorks, a popular online site, from Discovery Communications for $45 million. The all-cash deal is expected to close by the end of the first quarter. Back in 2007, Discovery paid $250 million for the site, according to Bloomberg. HowStuffWorks offers explanations of thousands of topics, attracting some 38 million unique visitors a month.
—Washington’s Life Sciences Discovery Fund, fresh off a brush with de-funding, is rolling out its next round of proof-of-concept grants, meant to help researchers move technologies from the lab into practice. The five grants total $1.25 million and will fund for- and non-profit researchers working on age-related macular degeneration, smoking cessation, leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, and a research productivity tool. The Fund, which distributes grants from state tobacco settlement money, is also providing $300,000 to the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association for a new entrepreneur mentoring program called the Washington Innovation Network.
—Glider, a Portland, OR-based company making cloud-based software for managing contracts, has been acquired by FPX, a Dallas company that makes sales software. Glider, which went through Seattle Techstars in 2012, raised $1 million in a seed round last spring from CrunchFund, Techstars, and Portland Seed Fund.
—Utrip, a Seattle-based travel planning tool, has raised $750,000 from investors including Virtuoso CEO Matthew Upchurch and CB Alliance. The startup says it combs a database of activities, events, restaurants, and other attractions—which are also vetted by local experts—to create a custom itinerary based on a traveler’s interests and budget. At present, Utrip, founded in 2011 by Gilad Berenstein, features mainly European destinations. The funding will be used for hiring and expansion.
—VirtualQube, which describes itself as a cloud services provider for businesses, has raised $250,000 in debt funding from Lighter Capital. The Woodinville, WA-based company, previously called Moose Logic, will use the funding for business development, particularly of its custom cloud services such as desktop, hardware, and network virtualization. Lighter Capital is a revenue-based financing provider based in Seattle that positions its financing as more flexible than bank debt and less dilutive than venture capital.