Xconomy Seattle Year in Review: Top Stories of 2016
Ready for a new year? We are, too. But first, we’re taking a look back at some of the stories we covered at Xconomy Seattle in 2016.
IPO Drought Ends
Seattle is an epicenter of innovation in a range of machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies that are bringing sweeping changes to many aspects of technology and society. This is an ongoing area of coverage for Xconomy locally and nationally. We launched a new Robotics and A.I. channel earlier this year. Meanwhile, locally based tech giants and startups alike made strides in 2016:
Energy Storage Deals
Washington state has emerged as a center of innovation in energy storage, and three locally based companies saw significant strategic investment or acquisitions this year from Asian and European giants.
UniEnergy Technologies collected a $25 million investment from Japanese financial services firm Orix Corporation (this was actually a late 2015 deal). Korean conglomerate Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction acquired 1Energy Systems, which makes software for managing energy storage systems. German materials giant BASF acquired EnerG2, which makes materials that improve the performance of batteries and other energy storage technologies.
Seattle’s emerging commercial space cluster had its moment in the industry spotlight when the city played host to the NewSpace conference. We’ll look forward to more in 2017.
Two locally based companies that spun out of Intellectual Ventures are commercializing metamaterials technology in some very interesting areas: Echodyne is building advanced, light-weight, low-cost radar for drones, and Kymeta is using the technology to upend the market for satellite antennae on cars, boats, and other vehicles.
We focus coverage on the combination of elements that create a thriving place for new ideas and inventions to form. Here are some of the most-read stories we did on changing dynamics in the Seattle innovation ecosystem in 2016:
The tech industry continues to struggle to attract more women and underrepresented minorities to its ranks, but several ongoing efforts in Washington are making progress. This is another priority coverage area for Xconomy locally and nationally.
Healthcare IT innovators in our region cheered the arrival of Accolade, which uses technology to support its concierge service helping people navigate their health insurance benefits. Another significant development was a new effort at the University of Washington to help innovators meet the needs of primary care providers.
Notable Funding Rounds
Venture capital investment through the first three quarters of 2016 was down locally and nationally. One bright spot, however, is that Seattle-based PitchBook (acquired this year by Morningstar) is now the data provider to the National Venture Capital Association.
Meanwhile, several significant funding rounds—in addition to those reviewed above—were closed by Seattle-area tech companies. Some highlights:
Last, but not least, here are a few more stories from 2016 that were particularly fun to report and write:
Happy 2017, and thanks for reading!