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.

https://www.geekwire.com/2017/hiya-raises-18m-build-business-search-spam-blocking-native-smartphone-dialer-app/

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.

 

https://www.geekwire.com/2017/microsoft-ventures-launches-global-ai-startup-competition-top-vc-firms/

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.

https://community.arm.com/company/b/blog/posts/arm-accelerates-investments-in-ai-iot-and-cloud-with-new-seattle-office?utm_source=Social&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=PR

Microsoft backs Seattle-Vancouver high-speed rail study as Cascadia conference aims to deepen ties between regions

Credit: Geekwire, Nat Levy

Pacific Northwest business and political leaders on both sides of the Canadian border announced today a series of agreements to strengthen relationships between Seattle, Portland, Vancouver B.C. and the surrounding areas.

The new partnerships, made ahead of the second Cascadia Innovation Corridor conference in Seattle this week, focus on technology, economic development, education and transportation. Government officials, universities, companies and research institutions are participating in the effort, which is meant to bring together the regions that have a lot in common but are separated by an international border.

Here is a look at some of the new agreements announced ahead of the conference this week:

  • One of the most intriguing ideas that came out of last year’s conference was a vision to build high-speed trains that would travel between Seattle and Vancouver in less than an hour. That idea is still alive and well. Microsoft kicked in $50,000 to supplement the state of Washington’s $300,000 budget to study the plan.
  • The Global Innovation Exchange, a partnership between the University of Washington Tsinghua University in China, has added a third university to its program: University of British Columbia. The graduate technology school is housed in Bellevue, Wash. and will welcome its first class this fall. Microsoft chipped in $40 million for the school, which will be taught by teachers from UW, Tsinghua and now UBC. Students have the opportunity to spend time at each campus.
  • One of the most complicated parts of building a multi-national innovation partnership is financing. The Seattle-Vancouver Financial Innovation Network, with support from Microsoft and Madrona Venture Group, was formed to overcome those issues. The aim is to bring together investors, tech companies and regulators to establish an “international financial center” that makes it easier for investors on both sides of the border to pour money into tech companies.
  • Lake Washington Institute of Technology, British Columbia Institute of Technology and Oregon Institute of Technology will come together to build common curriculums and expand professional opportunities for students in the STEM fields throughout the corridor.
  • A new startup accelerator program covering Washington, Oregon and British Columbia will include business incubators, accelerators and universities initially with the possibility of adding venture capital firms and other innovation partners.

The inaugural Cascadia conference last year in Vancouver looked at how Seattle and Vancouver could work together to become an innovation hub through sessions on government leadership, education, transportation and investment. This year the scope is broader, including Oregon and representatives of other Northwest institutions. Microsoft has been a driving force in the cooperation between the regions, as well as the Cascadia conference, after opening a big development officein Vancouver last year.

https://www.geekwire.com/2017/microsoft-chips-50k-seattle-vancouver-high-speed-rail-study-cascadia-conference-aims-deepen-ties-regions/

Seattle startup, Allumia, selected as top twenty growth stage company part of 2017 Bend Venture Conference

Credit: Cascade Business News

Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) announced the Top Twenty companies to advance to the next round of the Growth Stage Competition for the 14th Annual Bend Venture Conference (BVC) to be held Thursday, October 19- Friday, October 20. This group of companies is one step closer to presenting on the historic Tower Theatre stage in Downtown Bend. Last year, companies in the Growth Stage category won prizes ranging from $15,000 to $1,750,000.

“As a group, the quality of this year’s applicants was extremely strong,” said Brian Vierra, EDCO’s Venture Catalyst. “We have representation from across the country: from Bend to Bozeman, California all the way East to Michigan. And companies span a variety of industries: cleantech, software, travel, UAS and much more. This strength of this group might make for one of the most competitive processes we’ve had in a while. In these coming weeks, we’ll have a tight race.”

The twenty Growth Stage semi-finalists were selected Wednesday evening after review by a panel of ten different funds and individual investor experts. These companies will advance to the next round of cuts, which will be announced next week.

In alphabetical order, the 20 Growth Stagesemi-finalists that will compete to make it through the next round of cuts are:

Allumia Seattle, WA
DealPoint Portland, OR
DesignMedix Portland, OR
Drone Complier Portland, OR
Falcon Pursuit Portland, OR
Gathrly Portland, OR
Halo Automotive Portland, OR
Handful Wilsonville, OR
Heritage Laboratories Eugene, OR
HobbyDB Boulder, CO
InvestiPro Bend, OR
Lead Method Bend, OR
LEVRUM Corvallis, OR
Mogol Inc. Portland, OR
Tali Portland, OR
Tellagence Portland, OR
Trailermade Los Angeles,CA
Tripgrid Portland, OR
UbiquiOS Technology Dublin, CA
VR Motion Corp Hillsboro, OR

Hosted by Economic Development for Central Oregon(EDCO), this year’s BVC will once again feature three competition categories: Growth Stage, Early Stage and Social Impact. Last year, nearly $4 million in funding was awarded to ten companies, with investments ranging from $15,000 to $2.5 million. The semi-finalists for all three categories will be announced in the weeks leading up to Bend Venture Conference, October 19-20, 2017.

Ticket Sales
Tickets to the 14th Annual Bend Venture Conference are on sale now and are available here.

About Bend Venture Conference (BVC)
BVC, hosted by EDCO, is one of the largest angel conferences in the country. More than 600 attendees, six funds, 32 prominent investors, and 89 companies participated in 2016’s conference, where nearly $4 million was invested in 10 companies.

About Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO)
EDCO is a non-profit corporation supported by private and public members and stakeholders, whose mission is to create middle-class jobs in Central Oregon by: recruiting new employers to move to the region; helping entrepreneurs start new, scalable businesses; and working with businesses that are already here to grow their operations. For more information, visit http://www.edcoinfo.com.

Amplero Raises $17.5 Million in Series B Funding to Reinvent the Marketing Technology Landscape with AI at the Core

Credit: Amplero Blog

Amplero, a recognized leader in core artificial intelligence marketing technology, today announced that it closed a $17.5 million Series B funding round co-led by Greycroft and Ignition Partners. Existing investors Wildcat Venture Partners, Seven Peaks Ventures, and Trilogy Equity Partners also participated in the round.

Raising more than $25 million to date, the Amplero Artificial Intelligence Marketing Platform (AIM) is already used by a string of major brands, including Sprint, Virgin Mobile, Xbox, BECU, and DoubleDown Interactive. Amplero puts AI at the core of the marketing technology stack for business-to-consumer (B2C) enterprises, enabling them to optimize customer lifetime value at a scale that is not humanly possible.

https://www.amplero.com/blog/posts/amplero-raises-17.5-million-in-series-b-funding-to-reinvent-the-marketing-technology-landscape-with-ai-at-the-core/

Paul Allen’s AI unit doubles down on startup support

Credit: Seattle Times, Matt Day.

In addition to $250,000 in seed funding for startups, the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence is offering office workspace at its Wallingford headquarters, and counsel from its experts in machine learning, computer vision and hardware engineering.

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Paul Allen’s artificial-intelligence research outfit is opening its doors to a handful of startups, dangling $250,000 in funding and the promise of opportunities to draw on the human brain power of its in-house Ph.D.s.

The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence has already lent a hand to a couple of Seattle startups that have gone on to success. Kitt.ai was recently acquired by Chinese search giant Baidu, and Xnor.ai has raised a round of venture capital funding. As of Tuesday, AI2, as the research unit calls itself, is seeking applications for startups to follow in those companies’ footsteps.

“We’ve decided to formalize and double down” on that work, said Oren Etzioni, the institute’s chief executive.

The future is serverless: IOpipe raises $2.5M from Madrona, NEA, and Underscore to build monitoring tools for serverless computing

Credit: Geekwire, Tom Krazit

One common thread among emerging enterprise technologies is that early adopters can quickly find themselves flying blind, stuck with monitoring tools that weren’t built with that tech in mind. Serverless development looks like it might turn into one of those technologies, and Seattle’s IOpipe has raised $2.5 million to build out a monitoring tool for developers using serverless techniques.

The seed round was funded by Madrona Venture Group, NEA, Underscore VC, and others. IOpipe, founded by CEO Adam Johnson and CTO Erica Windisich, is a graduate of the New York TechStars incubator and while its eight employees are currently spread throughout the U.S., it plans to grow in Seattle, Johnson said.

Serverless is an exciting concept: yes, servers are still involved, but the technique gets its name from the fact that software developers don’t have to worry about provisioning infrastructure as demand for their app changes. Instead, they write functions, or triggers, that can execute responses to changes based on pre-determined criteria much faster than developers can respond manually.

https://www.geekwire.com/2017/iopipe-raises-2-5m-madrona-nea-underscore-build-monitoring-tools-serverless-computing/

Workshop: Pacific Northwest Startup Ecosystems

Pacific Northwest Startup Ecosystems

Learn about Pacific Northwest startup ecosystems – ecosystems we will cover include Eugene, Bend, Portland, Vancouver, Victoria and Anchorage. Topics include:

• Startup and technology initiatives as economic development strategies.

• Regional funding sources for startups raising capital.

• Ecosystem resources including co-working spaces, incubators/accelerators and startup conferences.

This workshop is designed for individuals that are interested in learning about Pacific Northwest startup ecosystems – including entrepreneurs, startup teams, consultants, business coaches, enterprise executives.

Workshop & Networking Objectives:

• Empower you with the tools and resources to expand your network into Pacific

Northwest startup ecosystems.

• Cover regional startup and technology initiatives as economic development strategies.

• Identify regional funding sources for startups raising capital.

• Identify Pacific Northwest ecosystem resources

*Food and drinks provided

Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pacific-northwest-startup-ecosystems-tickets-36560144376

Introducing the 2017 UW Jones + Foster Accelerator Cohort

Credit: UW, Charles Trillingham

The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship accepted nine student-created teams into the 2017 cohort of the Jones + Foster Accelerator (J+FA). These new entrepreneurs will work under the mentorship of top Seattle entrepreneurs and investors for the next six months to become early-stage startups. Those who meet their milestones and complete the accelerator can earn up to $25,000 in follow-on funding. Most importantly, they will learn a framework for defining measurable goals, as well as the skills to navigate obstacles both seen and unforeseen along their entrepreneurial journey

Fifty-six companies have completed the Jones + Foster Accelerator program since its inception in 2010. Forty-one of those have been awarded seed funding through the Accelerator totaling $870,000. Thirty-six are still in business today—raising millions in fundingbecoming household namesbringing families together in Haitipurifying drinking water in Somaliland, and powering cell phones in Kenyan villages.

http://depts.washington.edu/foster/2017-jones-foster-accelerator