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.

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

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