Seattle Roundup: Z2Live, Lighthouse, Element 8, Ada, Placed, ecoATM

This week, we’re catching up on a big acquisition in mobile games, as King Digital, the Candy Crush maker, is buying Z2Live and establishing its first U.S. studio in Seattle. Meanwhile, Lighthouse eDiscovery took on a new investor; Element 8 set a record for cleantech investments last year; Ada Developers Academy is going out on its own; Placed landed key ad agency partnerships; and ecoATM hit a milestone. Read on for details:

King Digital Entertainment, maker of popular mobile games including Candy Crush, announced a deal to buy Seattle-based game developer Z2Live for $45 million in guaranteed cash and up to $105 million more over three years if Z2 hits revenue targets related to future game releases. King says Z2 will be the company’s first U.S. game studio.

—Seattle-based Lighthouse eDiscovery, said it has taken an investment from private equity firm Spire Capital, which will have a minority equity stake in the 20-year-old company that helps law firms and businesses handle legal documents. GeekWire reports that the investment is $30 million. Spire co-founder Andy Armstrong joins the Lighthouse board as chairman; another Spire partner, Sean White, is also joining the board.

Element 8, a cleantech-focused angel investing group, says its members invested in excess of $5.7 million in 14 companies last year. That was a record for the angel group, which says it also set a new record for the number of individual angel investors making investments. Element 8, which last year changed its name from Northwest Energy Angels, has now backed more than 50 companies to the tune of nearly $20 million since it was founded in 2006. Its 2014 investments include: Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies, Greenbacker Group, Ibis Networks, Marine Construction, Perpetua Power, Promus Energy, SparkFund, and TBF Environmental Technology. Follow-on investments were made in Empower Micro Systems, Flux Drive, Green Canopy Homes, WISErg, and One Energy Renewables.

Ada Developers Academy, a Seattle-based professional coding school for women, is accepting applications for its third class through Feb. 23. Also, the program is spinning out from the Technology Alliance, where it was started in 2013, to become a stand-alone nonprofit organization. The tuition-free program has quickly established a solid track record, with all 15 graduates of its initial class getting job offers with average salaries of $75,000 a year. The second class is set to graduate at the end of August.

Placed, a Seattle company that measures traffic to physical locations using mobile devices, has announced partnerships with six ad agencies, which can use its Placed Attributions to understand how digital ads influence commerce in the physical world. The agencies are Horizon Media, Essence, DigitasLBi, Southwest Media Group, Crossmedia, and Interpublic Group. These partnerships with media buyers add to the company’s 30-plus partners on the sell side of the equation. “As the single currency for connecting store visits to advertising, Placed Attribution gives agencies and advertisers the tools to easily and confidently measure attribution and location,” says Placed founder and CEO David Shim in a release.

—ecoATM, the device-recycling kiosks acquired in 2013 by Outerwall of Bellevue, WA, says it has now collected more than 4 million devices. It added more than 1,000 kiosks last year, bringing the total number of the ATM-like machines to more than 1,800. I tried out an ecoATM kiosk early last year and found it easy and convenient.

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