Roundup: News from Optimum, Tagboard, BoldIQ, Twitter, IV, and Donuts
It turns out Seattle’s Optimum Energy gained some significant strategic investors in its latest financing round. Read on for details on that, plus funding for Tagboard and BoldIQ; new Seattle offices for Twitter and a DC presence for Intellectual Ventures; and another dozen (gTLDs for) Donuts.
—Optimum Energy‘s substantial June financing has even more to it than first reported. The Series B round for the Seattle maker of software to optimize building HVAC system operation was joined by Edison Energy, a subsidiary of electricity giant Edison International. Edison’s investment was not disclosed. But the round was first reported as $12.2 million and a Dow Jones report last week puts the total at $14.2 million, a number attributed to CEO Matthew Frey. That report also details the investment by Johnson Controls, the building equipment and energy efficiency services conglomerate, in Optimum through venture capital firm Navitas Capital. In short, Optimum has just gained two very significant strategic investors.
—Tagboard, a Redmond, WA-based startup that unites and displays social media posts from various platforms, says it has raised $2 million and landed several big-name customers. The investment is from unnamed angel investors and the customers include Audi, Boeing, and the Seattle Mariners, who use the technology to aggregate based on common hashtags and display them on the enormous Safeco Field video board. Other applications include unified searching by hashtag across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, App.net, and Vine, and moderating and curating posts for display via Tagboard, which can be integrated into websites and large-scale public displays. The company was founded last year by Josh Decker, Tim Shimotakahara, and Sean Sperte.
—BoldIQ, a Seattle enterprise software company formerly known as DayJet Technologies, has raised $2 million in an equity sale, out of a possible $5 million round, according to an SEC filing. The company raised another $1 million of converted bridge financing last year, says president and COO Roei Ganzarski. The entire $3 million raise was from current investors, lead by GTD Capital, he says. BoldIQ, which has 10 employees, makes software to help customers in resource-heavy industries such as airlines make operations plans and quickly update them in the event of disruptions caused by weather or an influx of new business. Ganzarski says the additional capital will fund expansion into additional industries. In addition to aviation, the sector BoldIQ emerged from, the company targets ground-based and marine transportation, energy, healthcare, supply chain and logistics, and government and military industries.
—Social media giant Twitter is expanding its Seattle footprint. The San Francisco company has leased 16,000 square feet in a downtown office building and will move all of its Seattle employees there early next year, according to a report in the Puget Sound Business Journal. The company has been mum on how many workers it has in Seattle, or plans to have. The Seattle Times notes the company currently leases a small space in Belltown, and the new space on the 20th floor of Century Square at 1501 Fourth Ave. could possibly accommodate 100 people.
—The arrival of another tech company in Seattle’s urban core reinforces the city’s growing reputation as an urban tech hub, a distinct transition from the days when Microsoft’s suburban campus was the biggest spot on the map. And while the Redmond giant still employs tens of thousands on the Eastside, two national publications focused this week on Amazon’s transformation of the Seattle urban core. The New York Times looks at the complete overhaul of South Lake Union for the online giant. And The Atlantic Cities project piles on with data describing the urbanization of technology startup activity, breaking down 2011 Seattle-area VC investment by zip code. The top Zip Code? 98104, Pioneer Square and First Hill, home to companies that received $139 million in 2011 venture dollars. The next-largest was the Central Business District and Pike Place Market, which garnered $67 million. But the suburbs also fared well, with Bellevue and Kirkland combining to land $87 million. There is a similar breakdown for Austin, TX, and Chicago, two other urbanizing tech hubs.
—Intellectual Ventures, the Bellevue, WA-based patent licensing company, has hired its own Washington, DC-based lobbyist to represent the company on the hot topics of “patent reform, intellectual property rights, taxation of patent royalties and corporate tax reform,” reports The Washington Post. The lobbyist, Russell Merbeth, previously worked for Cricket Communications. He has been with IV since March.
—Donuts says it has signed 10-year deals with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for another dozen generic top-level domains (gTLDs), as the Bellevue, WA-based company seeks to stake out prime new Web real estate. Donuts says it will roll out the following gTLDs in the next year: .BIKE,.CAMERA, .CLOTHING, .EQUIPMENT, .ESTATE, .GURU, .HOLDINGS, .LIGHTING, .SINGLES, .VENTURES, .VOYAGE, and .企业 (.ENTERPRISE in Simplified Chinese). The company, backed with more than $100 million from investors including Generation Partners and Columbia Partners Private Capital, last year applied for 307 gTLDs, and now says it has completed initial evaluations and testing with ICANN on its applied-for domains.