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Gaming startup PlayFab raises $7.4M from Benchmark, Madrona and others

Geekwire 2/27/15 – PlayFab, a Seattle-based company that provides game developers with back-end services for their online games, announced today that it raised $7.4 million in a Series A investment round.

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POSTED IN: Madrona News, Portfolio Company News

Candy Crush maker King buys Seattle gaming startup Z2 for up to $150M, creating first U.S. studio

Geekwire 2/12/15 – Battle Nations meet Candy Crush.

Z2, the Seattle mobile gaming company known for titles such as Battle Nations and Metalstorm, is being acquired for up to $150 million in cash by King Digital Entertainment. The deal includes $45 million in upfront cash, and as much as $105 million more if certain milestones are met.

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POSTED IN: Madrona News, Portfolio Company News

Placed Selected as Preferred Attribution and Location Analytics Solution by Leading Media Agencies

2/11/15 – Placed, Inc., the leader in location-driven insights and ad intelligence, today announced that its Placed Attribution product has been chosen as the preferred digital to in-store measurement solution by the leading media agencies in the US, including DigitasLBi, Horizon, Essence, Southwest Media Group, Crossmedia, and IPG Mediabrands.  

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POSTED IN: Press Release

Next Gen IT – Who is Creating it Today?

2/4/15 – How Startups are Changing the IT Landscape

At Madrona we invest across a broad mix of information technology areas from cloud computing to virtual reality. Categories closer to consumers tend to get the press coverage. This is natural as more people can relate to products they use directly like smartphones, productivity apps and games. But, let’s not overlook next-generation infrastructure technologies and the rise of greater Seattle in building software and hardware for enterprises.

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POSTED IN: Madrona News

Kerry Van Voris Joins Madrona Venture Group as Director of Talent

Seattle, WA – January 29, 2015 – Madrona Venture Group announced today the appointment of Kerry Van Voris to the position of Director of Talent.  In this role, Kerry will work with Madrona’s portfolio companies to recruit talent and strategically plan and manage resources to ensure growth and success.  Kerry comes to Madrona from Amazon.com, where she most recently led executive recruiting for Amazon Web Services.  

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POSTED IN: Madrona News

Beyond Big Data and Benioff’s “AI Spring” to the Dawn of Dataware

1/15/15 – Dataware :   A New Way to Think about Big Data, AI, Machine Learning and Where It is All Taking Us

Big Data, AI, Machine Learning, Hadoop, Predictive Analytics — we hear these terms every day from companies such as Cloudera, Trifacta and Dato (formerly GraphLab) that are securing many millions in financing.

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POSTED IN: Madrona News

Here are the six startups that pitched at Seattle’s own ‘Shark Tank’ hosted by Tom Douglas

Geekwire 1/16/15 – Entrepreneurs weren’t turning down $30 million investments, and ABC wasn’t on hand broadcasting the action to millions around the world. But on Thursday evening at the Palace Ballroom, Seattleites had a chance to experience their own version of the popular show “Shark Tank.”

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POSTED IN: Madrona News

Women in Business Q&A: Monisha Perkash, CEO & Co-founder, Lumo BodyTech

Huffington Post 1/13/15 – Monisha Perkash is CEO & Co-founder at Lumo BodyTech, makers of the Lumo Lift and Lumo Back posture and activity trackers. She and her team are shaking up the wearable tech space with fashion-forward designs to help people look and feel great.

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POSTED IN: Portfolio Company News

GraphLab, Now Dato, Raises $18.5M for Machine-Learning Applications

Wall Street Journal 1/8/15 – More businesses are trying to use data to try to predict the future, and Dato, formerly called GraphLab Inc., has raised another $18.5 million to work on that problem.

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POSTED IN: Portfolio Company News

Getting paid to ‘Spare5’

MSNBC 1/9/15 – A new app has found a way to link the needs of big companies to everyday smartphone users by paying them to help categorize images in their spare time. Co-founder and CEO Matt Bencke discusses how he came up ‘Spare5’ plus its future applications.

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POSTED IN: Portfolio Company News

Brent Frei of Smartsheet.com: A Good Excuse Doesn’t Fix a Problem

New York Times 12/27/14 – Interview with founder Brent Frei, founder of Smartsheet.com

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POSTED IN: Portfolio Company News

Investor Rush to Artificial Intellignce is Real

Financial Times 1/4/15 – “This is the hot place to be at the moment,” says Stephen Purpura, whose own AI company, Context Relevant, has raised more than $44m since it was founded in 2012. By his reckoning, more than 170 start-ups have jumped on the AI bandwagon.

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POSTED IN: Portfolio Company News

Bill Gates and Madrona lead $15M investment in secretive high-tech radar company Echodyne

Geekwire 12/18/14 – Bill Gates and Madrona Venture Group are leading a $15 million investment in a new company called Echodyne, which is developing secretive new radar technology based on artificial materials that can manipulate and control electromagnetic radiation.

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POSTED IN: Portfolio Company News

In Context: Algorithms in Business – Boomerang Commerce

Marketplace Weekend 12/19/14 – Guru Hariharan, who used to work at Amazon, now runs a company that makes algorithms accessible to lots of businesses. It’s called Boomerang Commerce, and he spoke with Lizzie O’Leary to explain how it helps his clients sell products, increase their profits and compete.

LISTEN to the INTERVIEW HERE

POSTED IN: Portfolio Company News

CommerceHub To Acquire Mercent To Deliver Enterprise-Scale Omni-Channel Commerce Solutions

Companies unite to enable an end-to-end offering from demand to doorstep Press Release 12/18/14 – Leading ecommerce provider CommerceHub today announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Seattle-based Mercent, a retail technology company.

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POSTED IN: Portfolio Company News, Press Release

Skytap Raises $35M For Its Cloud-Based Enterprise Development And Testing Service

Techcrunch 12/18/14 – Skytap is a service that aims to help dev and test teams in the enterprise work more efficiently (and test their code more often). The company today announced that it has raised a $35 million funding round led by Insight Venture Partners, with participation from all of the company’s previous investors, including OpenView Venture Partners, Ignition Partners, Madrona Venture Group, and Washington Research Foundation.

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POSTED IN: Portfolio Company News

Redfin Raises $71 Million in Funding Led by Wellington, Glynn

Bloomberg 12/18/14 – Redfin Corp., an online real-estate brokerage, raised $70.9 million in a financing round led by institutional investors Wellington Management Co. and Glynn Capital Management.

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POSTED IN: Portfolio Company News

Madrona Venture Group Launches Studio to Build New Startups

Wall Street Journal 12/10/14 — Madrona Venture Group has launched an in-house startup studio, Madrona Venture Labs, as a way to formalize the firm’s investments in tech startups that are in the very early stage.

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POSTED IN: Madrona News

How I Made — Instead of Spent — 26 Cents With a Mobile App

New York Times 12/7/14 – Last week, I had a few minutes to kill so rather than blow it on Facebook or Twitter, I made a little cash.

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POSTED IN: Madrona News, Portfolio Company News

AI Won’t Exterminate Us, It Will Empower Us

Backchannel 12/9/14 — It’s time to intelligently discuss Artificial Intelligence. I am an AI researcher and I’m not scared. Here’s why. By Oren Etzioni

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POSTED IN: Opinions