Seattle Roundup: Indix, Auth0, Appuri, UW Health Innovation, & More

It’s a momentous day in U.S. history, and a beautiful start to a hot, prideful weekend in Seattle. It’s already been a hot week in terms of startup funding and innovation news. Read on for details on new funding for Indix, Auth0, and Appuri; the acquisition of Radiant Vision Systems; a new Health Innovation Challenge at the University of Washington; and the next Lion’s Den, from restaurateur Tom Douglas.

Indix, the Seattle company building a huge database of product prices and attributes, said it has raised $15 million in a Series B funding round from Nokia Growth Partners, Nexus Venture Partners, and Avalon Ventures. The deal brings total funding for the five-year-old company, led by former Microsoft executive Sanjay Parthasarathy, to about $30 million. Indix says it is seeing strong revenue growth as it collects brands, retailers, and other commerce companies as customers.

Auth0, a Bellevue, WA, startup building a “universal identity platform” to help software developers add multifactor authentication and authorization functions to their systems, said it has raised $9.3 million in seed and Series A funding from Bessemer Venture Partners, K9 Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank, Founders Co-Op, Portland Seed Fund, and NXTP Lab. The funding will support marketing, customer service, and product development. Auth0 says it has more than 20,000 customers.

Appuri, a Seattle startup tackling data-driven customer relationship management and marketing, announced a $2 million seed funding round from Divergent Ventures, Baseline Ventures, and Vulcan Capital. The company, founded by former Microsofties Damon Danieli and Bilal Aslam, says it is uniting data on a company’s customers from multiple sources, both internal and external, applying machine learning and other technologies to understand and predict things like when a business is likely to lose a customer.

Radiant Vision Systems, a Redmond, WA, company that makes technology for testing and measuring flat screen displays such as those in smartphones, is being acquired by Konica Minolta for a reported $241 million. Tokyo, Japan-based Konica says in a statement the deal will strengthen its technology portfolio and West Coast presence.

—The University of Washington is aiming to do for aspiring healthcare entrepreneurs what it has done for environmental innovators with the creation of a Health Innovation Challenge. Modeled on the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge, the effort includes a new health innovation class beginning this fall, creation of interdisciplinary student project teams to develop businesses ideas, and a business plan competition in spring 2016. The teams will be supported by expert mentors and coaches, and some initial funding for prototype development. The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship is working with other UW departments and schools including engineering, medicine, global health, and bioengineering.

—Restaurateur Tom Douglas is reconvening The Lion’s Den, a Shark Tank-style startup pitch competition, for a second run this fall. Co-founded with Jeri Andrews, The Lion’s Den succeeded as entertainment, and in exposing a broader audience of potential investors to the entrepreneurial energy in Seattle. Applications for companies to pitch in the Oct. 22 event are due Aug. 20.

Meanwhile, Sara Johnson, the force behind Grass & Root Juice Company, has accepted an investment from Craig Schafer, one of the “Lions,” and the owner of Hotel Andra. Johnson’s pitch—and the subsequent battle between Schafer and Michael “Luni” Libes of Fledge over whether to accept investment or crowdfund—was a highlight of the initial Lion’s Den in January. In a news release, The Lion’s Den says terms of the investment are not being disclosed (though if you look closely at the promotional photo distributed with the news, you can make out the amount of the check; it’s in the mid-five figures). Johnson will retain full ownership of her budding business, according to The Lion’s Den.

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