Amazon Buys Zappos, General Fusion and Finsphere Get $9M Each, Big Fish Partners with People.com, & More Seattle-Area Deals News

From Amazon to Zappos, it was an exciting week for deals in the Northwest. A lot of the news was dominated by Amazon’s biggest acquisition to date ($920 million), but there was plenty of other action in energy, biotech, software, and gaming.

—Xconomy broke the news that General Fusion, a Burnaby, BC-based clean energy company, raised $9 million out of a $12.5 million equity offering. The investors were undisclosed but include a syndicate from the U.S., U.K., and Canada, as Luke reported. The company’s board of directors includes members of GrowthWorks Capital and Chrysalix Energy in Vancouver, BC, Braemar Energy Ventures in New York, and Entrepreneurs Fund in London. General Fusion is developing a novel method of energy production called magnetized target fusion, and is currently working on a four-year, $50 million demonstration project.

—Bellevue, WA-based Limeade, a health-IT company, raised $2.4 million out of a $3 million equity offering, as Eric reported. The investors were not announced. Limeade makes software to help companies encourage their employees to reach wellness goals like losing weight or quitting smoking.

—Seattle-based Calypso Medical Technologies formed a partnership with Varian Medical Systems of Palo Alto, CA, to develop products that incorporate Calypso’s radiation-pinpointing technology into Varian’s software and devices for cancer treatment. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) made its biggest acquisition to date, buying Henderson, NV-based online shoe retailer Zappos for some $920 million, as Eric reported. The blockbuster deal is expected to close this fall, and most of the money will come from about 10 million shares of Amazon stock. Meanwhile, Wade contributed an interesting (and surprising) take on how the deal affects a Boston-area robotics company, Kiva, that works with Zappos. Finally, Xconomy provided some more context for the deal by pointing out a few trends in Amazon’s acquisitions over the past decade.

—M2E Power, an energy startup backed by OVP Venture Partners and based in Boise, ID, was bought by fellow Idaho firm Motionetics for an undisclosed price. In 2007, OVP led an $8 million Series A investment in M2E, which was developing technology for generating and storing energy from motion, so as to recharge electronic devices for military and consumer applications.

—Seattle-based Cell Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CTI) hit up investors for about $40 million to help it gain FDA approval for its latest cancer drug, pixantrone for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as Luke reported. Last week, the company started selling shares of common stock and warrants to its underwriter, Rodman & Renshaw, and the sale netted $40.3 million when it was all said and done. Cell Therapeutics will use the money to pay down some of its $66 million in debt.

—Eric took a closer look at this month’s energy deal between Ballard Power Systems in Vancouver, BC, and IdaTech in Bend, OR, as they formed a partnership to manufacture hydrogen fuel cell-based backup generators for wireless telecom firm ACME Tele Power in India. It’s a prime example of a Northwest deal with global impact, particularly in the fuel cell sector.

—Bellevue, WA-based Finsphere closed $9 million in equity funding from undisclosed investors. The company’s board of directors includes representatives from Frazier Technology Ventures, Mohr Davidow Ventures, and Shasta Ventures. Finsphere is a startup focused on security and authentication technologies to help banks and their customers fight identity fraud.

—Seattle-based Big Fish Games formed a partnership with People.com to put its casual games on the popular website, as Eric reported from the Casual Connect gaming conference. Financial terms of the deal weren’t given, but it provides major visibility for Big Fish. People.com gets 32.6 million unique visitors a month, and 88 percent are female, which traditionally has been the core demographic of casual gamers.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Editor in chief. E-mail him at gthuang [at] xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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