Hiya raises $18M to build business search and spam blocking into native smartphone dialer app

Credit: Geekwire, Taylor Soper

Nearly every major smartphone app built over the last several years has gone through countless improvements and iterations. But the native phone dialer is an exception — and now a Seattle startup is looking to change that.

Hiya today announced its first outside investment with an $18 million round led by top European firm Balderton Capital; Nautilus Venture Partners and Lumia Capital also participated. Balderton partner Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen, an early executive at Uber and Dropbox, will join Hiya’s board.


Portland, OR startup, Torch 3D, raises $3.5M

Credit: Geekwire, Taylor Soper

Designing 3D concepts for virtual and augmented reality apps and programs can be a time-consuming process. Now two former Magic Leap engineers have come up with a way to help.

Paul Reynolds. Photo via Torch 3D.

Portland-based Torch 3D today announced a $3.5 million seed round led by The Venture Reality Fund and Silicon Valley Data Capital. Additional investors include Seven Peaks Ventures, GVR Fund, Presence Capital, Antipodean Ventures, Jerome Capital, and TWB Investment Partnership.

Torch 3D builds software that helps users design 3D prototypes in virtual and augmented reality. It also provides a way to manage assets and facilitate feedback amongst team members. Files can be accessed on any platform or device in real time.

The idea is to make 3D prototyping fast and simple, even for those who aren’t technically advanced with VR and AR software development.


Alaska Professor Gets $75,000 Investment for Startup

Credit: Alaska Journal of Commerce, Naomi Klouda

An incontrovertible fact of Alaska life means black ice can spin cars out of control and winter snow dumps take up precious asphalt space meant for cars.


At least, that’s the accepted normal.


A new invention market-tested by University of Alaska Anchorage professor Joey Yang shows promise for help. Called Tundra Tape, it’s a technology buried in concrete that melts ice before it has a chance to form on sidewalks, parking lot pads and highway corners known as the most egregious culprits of black ice.


Tundra Tape, now with a $75,000 private investment infusion from the Alaska Accelerator Fund, is being marketed under the newly formed Arctic Heat Technologies Inc., formerly called CFT (Carbon Fiber Tape) Solutions.

Yang formed CFT in 2013 as a startup, but found as a full-time engineering professor he couldn’t also serve as a full-time CEO. His invention had turned into a business idea and in order to have a go at market success, it would need a new corporate structure.

The new investment allows just that: a business infrastructure to respond to market demands. Now construction contractors and others will be able to order Tundra Tape kits for specific projects.


“People were calling me left and right,” Yang said.

Even with a graduate student’s assistance, he wasn’t able to respond to the market inquiries that flooded in over the past two years.


Under the new corporate structure, Tim Allen will be president of Arctic Heat Technologies. He brings worldwide industrial product and marketing experience.

The initial board of directors will include Yang and University of Alaska Anchorage Vice Provost Helena Wisniewski along with Forrest Nabors, University of Alaska Anchorage assistant professor and Alaska Accelerator Fund member, and Carl Swanson, accelerator fund investor, who recently retired from Davis Constructors.



In this Aug. 28, 2017 photo, University of Alaska Anchorage professor Joey Yang, holds a sample of his Tundra Tape invention, which just received a $75,000 boost from the Alaska Accelerator Fund at the engineering building on the UAA campus in Anchorage. Tundra Tape is a woven carbon fiber that conducts heat to keep surfaces clear of ice and snow. The woven carbon fiber of Tundra Tape has a longer life that traditional water or glycol pumping systems to keep walkways clear in winter months. (Naomi Klouda/Alaska Journal of Commerce) The Associated Press


Microsoft Ventures launches global AI startup competition with top VC firms

Credit: Geekwire, Taylor Soper

In the latest sign of Microsoft’s continued investment in artificial intelligence, Microsoft Ventures announced today that it is teaming up with three venture capital firms from Seattle, London, and Israel to host a global competition for startups building AI-related technology.

Called Innovate.AI, the new competition invites companies to compete for $1 million in venture funding and $500,000 in Microsoft Azure credits that will go to each regional winner from North America, Europe, and Israel. A fourth “AI for Good” prize that includes $500,000 in funding and $500,000 in Azure credits will go to another startup.



OSU Advantage Accelerator finalizes date for Startup Showcase

Credit: OSU Advantage Accelerator

The Startup Showcase is a celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship brought to you by the OSU Advantage Accelerator. This year, the Startup Showcase provides an opportunity to learn about emerging technologies from Oregon State University, hear stories from local entrepreneurs, and network with professionals in our community.


Cascade Angels invests in call-center software

Credit: Bend Bulletin, Bulletin Staff Report

Cascade Angels announced Thursday an investment in call-center analytics software Topbox.

The sum of the investment, made by Cascade Angels Fund 2017 LLC, was not disclosed, but the Bend-based fund typically invests $100,000 to $250,000 per company.

Topbox, which has an office in Portland, says its software “reveals the source of friction points” in customer and buyer experiences.

Cascade Angels has invested in three other firms this year and will likely invest in one or two more before the end of 2017, spokeswoman Natalie Dent said. The Bend-based angel fund has invested a total of $2.5 million in 17 companies since 2014.

What would it take for Tacoma to become a hub for high-paying tech jobs?

Credit: Tacoma News Tribune, Kate Martin

Amazon has raised the hopes of just about every city in the country, including Tacoma, when it said it’s looking for a suitable site for a second headquarters.

Don’t break out the champagne and balloons, Tacoma.

Tacoma likely won’t land the $5 billion building, and attracting even small tech firms can be a long shot.

The City of Destiny has things going for it — reasonable home prices and a well-educated workforce.


Growth stage finalists announced for Bend Venture Conference

Credit: Startup Bend, Kelly Kearsley

EDCO just announced the Bend Venture Conference Top Five Growth Stage finalists–aka the founders pitching on stage at the conference–and they include two Bend tech startups.

InvestiPro and LeadMethod made the final cut. The first company was founded by Dana Barbato and automates HR investigations. Dana was also on stage as an early stage finalist last year. The second was founded by Justin Johnson and offers channel revenue optimization software to help companies that sell via external sales teams.


Vancouver, BC startup, UrbanLogiq takes home $10k city innovation prize from BCIC New Ventures competition.

Credit: Vancouver Economic Development Commission and Leah Hanvey, UrbanLogiq

VANCOUVER, BC – New Ventures BC last night awarded Vancouver-based UrbanLogiq with the $10,000 City Innovation Prize sponsored by the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) as part of the BCIC-New Ventures Competition. Our company uses the power of city data, which is usually sitting untapped within bureaucratized silos, to make urban planning faster, cheaper, and more efficient. We do this by aggregating government data from across departments, adding external information sources, and applying machine learning analytics to automate city workflows and provide actionable urban intelligence.

For young companies like UrbanLogiq, which is barely one year old, market, product and vision validation from a highly-reputable third-party is welcome. This is especially true for entrepreneurs who venture into the challenging government technology space. The fact that the VEC has both a reward and a program dedicated to supporting this burgeoning sector is demonstrative to us, as it should to other aspiring entrepreneurs, that government is willing and waiting to adopt innovation. You just need the right support, foresight, and encouragement from your community.

That is why we are so humble and grateful for this award from the VEC. Since we moved our headquarters to our office space in Gastown, after first opening our doors in Surrey, BC, in 2016, and then graduating from 500 Startups in San Francisco earlier this year, we have been surrounded by such a welcoming Vancouver startup community. It has been an experience unlike any other. As we continue to live through the amazing journey of growing a startup firsthand, we know for a fact that Vancouver is a deserving and competitive member of the global upper echelon of startup communities.

The City Innovation Prize recognizes the top-performing venture with a primary market or potential primary market of city departments and/or agencies. UrbanLogiq wants to thank New Ventures BC and the Vancouver Economic Commission for the recognition and award.


Arm accelerates investments in AI, IoT and Cloud with new Seattle office

Credit: ARM Community Blog

Driven by 17+ billion Arm-based processors sold last year and an updated brand, Arm sees Seattle region as key to future of AI.

Arm is pleased to announce the opening of our Seattle office. Recently, we celebrated the one-year mark since Arm officially became part of the Softbank Group. Since then, we’ve delivered new products with an ever-expanding list of partners who, cumulatively, have now shipped more than 100 billion Arm-powered chips. Not to mention, more than 1,000 people have joined Arm and we’re continuing to build the team across the globe.

Just this spring, we announced DynamIQ and the Arm Compute Library which has already opened new doors for the potential of AI applications to be developed on Arm technology. Part of Arm’s great success is due to our focus on side by side collaboration with our customers and partners to drive innovative next generation experiences, which is why we’re pleased to announce the expansion of our presence in the Pacific Northwest with a new office in Bellevue.