EquaShip, Isilon, Tippr, Zaarly: Wrapping up a Week-Plus of Seattle Headlines

A pretty busy week in Seattle business means this weekly wrap of Seattle tech headlines is a little longer than normal:

—EquaShip, the upstart shipping competitor hoping to outfox UPS and FedEx by consolidating parcels from small and medium-sized businesses, finally took the covers off its service last week. The company is led by CEO Ron Wiener, previously of Earth Class Mail, and includes some notable board members with deep experience in shipping and e-commerce. From what we hear, the big guys may be watching this one pretty closely.

Isilon, now a unit of big-data giant EMC, brought CEO Joe Tucci to talk about the company’s plans to add 200 jobs in Seattle. Tucci and Isilon head Sujal Patel were joined by Mayor Mike McGinn, who said the EMC additions at a spacious—but soon to be crowded—new office shows off the city’s efforts to remake the old Pioneer Square neighborhood.

We added another big name to our Mobile Madness Northwest event on Dec. 6: Cameron Myhrvold, a founding partner at Ignition Partners. Myhrvold is a Microsoft vet, an active investor in software and infrastructure, and also a board member at Wild Tangent—which should make him an interesting fit to moderate our panel on how mobile is transforming gaming. Get your tickets now before the best prices expire.

—I checked in with Martin Tobias, CEO of Tippr, to see how the much-maligned daily deals sector is doing these days. Tobias’ answer? His piece of the action (white-label supplier) is looking good, while Groupon‘s well-publicized IPO problems are pointing to the enormous task of building a standalone consumer brand from scratch. Connecting the dots, I deduced that Tippr may be pulling in $44 million-$88 million in revenue, at least according to Tobias’ own stats about his market share.

—Speaking of deals, peer-to-peer e-commerce startup Zaarly announced a $14.1 million venture round and added HP CEO Meg Whitman to its board. The startup, while technically based in San Francisco, has major operations in Seattle, D.C., and Kansas City, MO.

Facebook, which already is barreling toward an Internet standard in identity, began making bigger moves in the virtual currency world with the first steps of extending Facebook Credits outside its walled garden. The first public test partner is the GameHouse division of RealNetworks, which is going all-in to remake itself as a social games player.

—The third-quarter recaps of venture financing kept on coming, with the MoneyTree Report from the NVCA and PreiceWaterhouseCoopers showing some slowdown in U.S. venture activity. Here in the Seattle area, Inrix and Zulily were neck-and-neck for the quarter’s top fundraising haul.

—We got a look at what MacArthur genius, former Google innovation lead and University of Washington professor Yoky Matsuoka is doing on her leave in the Bay Area: Working at Nest, a smart-thermostat startup co-founded by a couple of guys who worked on those iPods and iPhones at Apple.

—Seattle startup Playmark announced a deal to be the online broker for merchandising rights for a big name in sports: the NFL Players Association. Playmark’s technology matches up the likenesses, signatures, and other assets associated with famous athletes to entrepreneurs and merchandisers who want to make branded or endorsed products. Early customers include ESPN.

Clearwire stock took another ride—upward, this time—on reports of comments from Sprint‘s Dan Hesse about a tentative deal that could pave the way for Sprint to use Clearwire spectrum in the future. Clearwire still has to build the fourth-generation network in question, mind you—and Sprint still doesn’t sound like it’s interested in ponying up the cash.

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