Seattle Venture Capital Watch: Alpine Immune, Wyze, Aduro, Gaia & More

Welcome to February! Whether your weekend plans involve watching the Super Bowl, tracking this year’s prediction by famed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, or other activities, take a few minutes to catch up on some of the notable funding rounds raised by Seattle-area tech and life sciences companies in January.

—Alpine Immune Sciences (NASDAQ: ALPN), a Seattle-based cancer and autoimmune drug developer, announced it expected to raise $25.3 million from investors in a private stock offering.

The company said the average aggregate purchase price of the units it’s selling as part of the offering was $5.37. These units are a combination of Alpine stock and warrants to purchase shares in the future, the company said. The company announced the offering on Jan. 16; its stock price closed at $5.93 the previous day, meaning Alpine was offering participating investors a discount of 9.4 percent on the shares they bought, based on Alpine’s calculation of average aggregate unit price.

In April 2017, Alpine struck a deal to go public via a merger with Colorado-based Nivalis Therapeutics. The company’s stock price has mostly ticked lower over the past year. Shares in Alpine closed at $11.33 apiece on Feb. 1, 2018; the company’s stock price was $6.41 when the closing bell rang on Friday. Private investment in public equity—or PIPE—deals like the one Alpine made last month one often involve companies running low on cash, according to reporting by The Wall Street Journal.

—Wyze Labs, which sells cameras for the home that allow family members to stay in touch via video chat when someone is traveling, for example, raised $20 million in equity funding from a single investor, according to a securities filing. A group of former Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) employees co-founded Kirkland, WA-based Wyze Labs in 2017, according to the company’s website.

The company’s flagship product, Wyze Cam, costs $19.99 and users can configure it to work with Amazon’s Alexa voice recognition software. It also sells a model called Wyze Cam Pan, which retails for $29.99. It can rotate 360 degrees, allowing viewers to see the entire room around the camera, in under three seconds, Wyze Lab says.

—Another company (Pro.com) led by an ex-Amazon employee (Matt Williams) announced it raised $33 million as part of a Series B funding round. Seattle-based Pro.com offers a Web-based service that helps users find information on home remodeling projects. WestRiver Group, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), and Redfin led the investment, Williams said in a blog post. Pro.com plans to use some of the proceeds from the round to expand to more cities, including Portland, OR, he said.

The company’s digital tools allow users to book contractors online, and also estimates costs for those who opt to go the DIY route. Pro.com’s competitors include Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, and Porch, which is also headquartered in Seattle.

—Aduro, a Redmond, WA-based developer of software that employers and their workers can use to set self-improvement goals and track progress toward meeting them, raised more than $22 million in equity funding from 17 investors, per an SEC filing. Abry, a private equity firm based in Boston, led the round, Aduro said in a news release. The new money will allow the company to “fuel growth and expand globally,” Aduro said.

According to its website, Aduro’s digital tools allow users to set objectives related to professional development, health and wellness, and other areas. The company’s software helps users find articles and other media related to their goals, Aduro says.

—Gaia Platform, a Medina, WA-based software startup, raised $3 million in debt financing from a single investor, according to a regulatory document. The two-year-old company is developing a software platform whose design “allows computers all over the world to securely find and work with each other,” according to a blog post by Mehtap Ozkan, one of three executives at Gaia Platform listed on the filing. The other two executives listed are David Vaskevitch, the former chief technology officer at Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), and Hal Berenson, who also previously worked at Microsoft, as well as at Amazon.

Jeff Buchanan is the editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email: jbuchanan@xconomy.com Follow @_jeffbuchanan

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