Seattle Roundup: Skytap, Mercent, AnswerDash, FlowVella, Impinj

Seattle deal makers got busy in the last full work-week of the year, with a major funding round announced for Skytap, an acquisition for Mercent, a technology integration for AnswerDash, and more.

That’s on top of $70.9 million raised by Redfin; Juno Therapeutics’ $264 million IPO, less expenses; and a $15 million investment from Bill Gates and others in a new metamaterials startup called Echodyne. Read on for details:

Skytap, which makes software development environments delivered to business customers as a cloud service, says it will use a $35 million investment to grow its sales and marketing, partnerships, and European presence, as well as for new product development. Insight Venture Partners led the round with all previous investors joining, including OpenView Venture Partners, Ignition Partners, Madrona Venture Group, and Washington Research Foundation.

—Seattle-based retail technology provider Mercent has reached a deal to be acquired by CommerceHub. Mercent, backed by Madrona Venture Group, The Hillman Company, and TVC Capital, makes marketing tools for major brands. CommerceHub, a unit of Liberty Ventures Group, is based in Albany, NY. Upon closing of the deal, expected early next year, CommerceHub plans to maintain a West Coast presence, with Mercent founder and CEO Eric Best staying on as the combined company’s marketing chief.

AnswerDash, the startup company spun out of the University of Washington Information School to improve the way websites provide help to users, is integrating its technology with that of Zendesk, the San Francisco customer-service software maker. Help content within Zendesk can now be displayed via AnswerDash’s contextual question-and-answer system, which allows website visitors to click on any object on the screen and ask a question about it, or see other questions and their answers. Companies using Zendesk can also turn commonly asked questions into contextual Q&A items for more efficient resolution of common problems.

Impinj, which makes RFID technology for companies in retail, pharmaceuticals, and other industries, will move its headquarters to two floors of a new South Lake Union building next fall. The company says it’s taking 52,000 square feet in the 400 Fairview building being developed by Skanska USA Commercial Development. Impinj will retain a smaller location in the Fremont neighborhood for a futuristic retail concept store to show off RFID technology.

—The presentation software Flowboard has been renamed FlowVella, after a judge ruled earlier this year that the name could be confused with that of competitor Flipboard. Designed for iPad and Mac, the software—from Seattle-based Treemo Labs—is meant to help people make interactive presentations with a wide range of media types that can be viewed on any device. In addition to the name change, the company unveiled an iPad App Builder, which turns FlowVella presentations into stand-alone apps. Early customers include the EMP Museum.

—In other presentation tools news, Jackson Fish Market has pulled the plug on Slide Bureau, a design-focused entrant in the competition to improve on PowerPoint that debuted in February. The company’s letter to users, surfaced at GeekWire earlier this week, suggests that there might be a future for Slide Bureau, as its creators examine user feedback. But then again maybe not. Users were told to get their presentations off of the service by Dec. 24 or lose them forever.

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

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