Seattle Roundup: Rover, Tune, Rhapsody, Rightside, Zillow, Ada
This week’s Seattle tech news roundup features an acquisitions by Rover, Tune, and Rhapsody; the emergence of Rightside Group as a publicly-traded player in Internet domain names; a new mobile mortgage pre-approval feature from Zillow; and a new class of students at the Ada Developers Academy. Details:
—Seattle-based Rover.com, fresh off of a $12 million raise to fund expansion of its pet-sitting marketplace, acquired Sleepover Rover, a Phoenix, AZ, company that provides “high-touch” dog boarding. The acquisition is forming the basis of a new Premier service for Rover, debuting in Denver with plans for additional cities later this year. The service will feature individually interviewed sitters who stay home full-time with the animal in their care. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
—Tune, the Seattle company formerly known as HasOffers, snapped up MobileDevHQ, a company that specializes in inbound marketing for mobile apps. MobileDevHQ, co-founded and led by Ian Sefferman, who is joining Tune, went through Techstars Seattle in 2012 and raised $650,000 late that year from investors including Chris DeVore of Founder’s Co-op. Tune provides software for measuring mobile marketing effectiveness and creating and managing online advertising campaigns.
—Online subscription music source Rhapsody has acquired personnel and technology from a pair of music discovery startups: Schematic Labs, a San Francisco-based company that makes a social music app called SoundTracking, and Exfm, a New York-based music discovery service that ran aground earlier this year. Blog posts from both companies (Schematic, Exfm) indicate their technologies will be folded into Rhapsody offerings.
—Kirkland, WA-based Rightside Group joins the Internet domain name services business as an independent public company this week after spinning out from Demand Media (NYSE: DMD. Rightside, trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol NAME, is headed by CEO Taryn Naidu. The company competes with the likes of Bellevue, WA-based Donuts, as well as new operations of technology giants including Amazon and Google, in the business of acquiring and selling Internet top-level domain names that expand the world of available Web addresses far beyond the old standards of .com, .org, and .edu.
—Add mortgage pre-approval to the list of things you can do on your smartphone. Seattle-based Zillow (NASDAQ: Z) rolled out the capability for its iPhone, iPad, and iPod apps this week in a bid to give home shoppers rapid access to financing, a potential leg up in competitive markets where buyers must act quickly. “With this tool, we are able to streamline the pre-approval process from days to minutes,” says Erin Lantz, the company’s vice president of mortgages, in a news release. “Securing pre-approval shows real estate agents that a buyer is serious, and it provides our users an enormous advantage when searching for a home.”
—The Ada Developers Academy, the Seattle women-only software development program, has picked 24 students for its second cohort, which begins training Sept. 2. The Technology Alliance, the organization under which this tuition-free program operates, received 190 applications. The program expanded from 16 seats in its first year in response to demand from both applicants and technology companies that support the program with sponsorship and six-month internships that form the second half of the training.