Cleantech Open Names Semifinalists, Opscode Pulls in $11M, Greg’s Five Trends to Watch, & More Seattle-Area Deals News

This past week has been a slow one on the deals front, partly because of our own transition here at Xconomy Seattle. Greg has been over in Boston this past week setting up for his new post, and yesterday was my first day on the job as the new assistant editor here in Seattle. Still, the news doesn’t wait for us to catch up. In the past week we’ve seen some big money in cloud-computing, exciting opportunities in the Pacific Northwest’s clean technology scene, and theories on what’s next in innovation in and outside of Seattle. Check out the highlights here:

—This may not fall under the category of deals, but it’s always interesting to keep tabs on which local startups may be in line for some big financing dollars: Over the last week the national business plan competition for energy and clean technology startups, the Cleantech Open, announced its semifinalists countrywide, including 16 from the Pacific Northwest, who will be competing for a national grand prize worth $250,000 and three regional prizes worth as much as $30,000 each.

—Seattle-based automation software developer Opscode raised $11 million in Series B round funding led by Battery Ventures, which the company said will be put to good use hiring more engineers, fueling new areas of R&D, and bolstering marketing and sales efforts.

—In a guest editorial Monday, WRF Capital’s Thong Le makes a case for why VCs and entrepreneurs “should foster a more stable and sustainable environment for innovation.” The key, he says, is three-fold: investing in innovators and not “me-too” products, involving big companies earlier in the startup process, and diversifying risk.

—As part of his sign off as editor of Xconomy Seattle before jetting off to Boston, Greg reflected on Seattle startups this week and whether or not we as a region are poised for a resurgence in technology and business innovation. Encore or not, Greg says there are five themes on the Seattle tech scene to watch closely: alternative financing schemes, web “gamification,” new frontiers in e-commerce, old-standby enterprise software, and what he calls wildcard technologies.

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