It’s raining cash in Rain City: More than $140M invested in Seattle startups in 30 days

It’s shaping up to be a very good holiday season for Seattle area startups.

At a time when many are preparing to carve the turkey, several Seattle area companies have stuffed their bellies with substantial rounds of cash.

Consider this: In the past 30 days, $142 million has flowed into Seattle area companies by GeekWire’s tally.

Here’s the real impressive thing: That’s more than all of the money invested during the entire third quarter. (CB Insights reported that $132 million was invested during the months of July, August and September).

Since the end of October, money has been flowing in large chunks to companies in the gaming, e-commerce, data storage and online health sectors.

The deluge started in late October when Mark Long’s very ambitious gaming startup, Meteor Entertainment, fired up an $18 million round from Rustic Canyon Partners, Benchmark Capital and FirstMark Capital. That was followed by a $5 million round in online health and wellness startup Limeade, and a $10 million round in pharmacy automation company Talyst.

Zulily CEO Darrell Cavens at GeekWire’s Startup Day in September.

But the really big whoppers have happened in the past week. Those deals included the $85 million financing for daily deal site Zulily, giving it a massive $1 billion valuation.  And then just this week a stealthy data storage startup, Qumulo, led by former Isilon engineers and backed by Madrona, Highland Capital and others, reeled in a $24.5 million series A financing round, one of the biggest early-stage deals we’ve seen this year.

The cool thing about this crop of companies is that nearly all of them have a mix of marquee Silicon Valley investors, coupled with Seattle area backers. The other neat thing is that these startups each appear to have very big aspirations.

In other words, they aren’t playing small ball, instead swinging for the fences in an attempt to build what could be very large companies in the Northwest.

I’ve noted before that one of Seattle’s problems is a lack of strong, mid-tier companies — a group of companies that are following in the path of firms like F5 Networks or Isilon or Zillow.

There need to be more of those rising stars, if Seattle is going to hang on to its spot in the startup rankings.

And, as I’ve also noted in the past, there just needs to be more risk capital flowing in Seattle. The fade-out of firms like OVP Venture Partners and Frazier Technology Venture Partners doesn’t bode well for the region.

As one insider told me this week, you can’t have a thriving startup scene when there’s essentially one primary VC firm in town doing deals.

All of that said, the month of November has proved to be an exciting one to watch. I’ve been impressed with the quality of the companies raising cash, and the big businesses that entrepreneurs like Zulily’s Darrell Cavens (previously from Blue Nile) and Qumulo’s Peter Godman (previously of Isilon) are trying to build.

Here’s to the momentum continuing into December … and The New Year.

Previously on GeekWireSeattle ranks 4th as global startup hub, edges out NYC

  • http://twitter.com/alwaysbshipping Tom Leung

    +1 Awesome momentum for Seattle tech!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tymonj Tymon Johns

    It would be interesting to see some data in what months VC cash has been raised historically. Does the end of the tax year play a role, were the investments over the last month simply an anomaly, or is there an actual upward trend in VC investments?

    • johnhcook

      Good question. Historically, the slowest quarter for VCs is typically the third — the summer months when VCs are in the San Juans or at the lakehouse. :)

      You can take a look at this chart which breaks out investments by quarter for more analysis on a national level.

      https://www.pwcmoneytree.com/MTPublic/ns/nav.jsp?page=historical

      Thanks for the comment!

  • http://twitter.com/timreha Tim Reha

    What is the $$ count for seed / early stage deals in Seattle?

  • Anon

    It would be interesting to get a follow up to this specific article in a year’s time, and two years, etc. The valuations seem insane ($1B for Zulilly!) and some of the businesses are tremendous long shots. They’re swinging for the fences, but will any hit it out of the park? Similarly, how about following up on companies like Cheezburger and their crazy $30M. Are they profitable yet?

  • http://twitter.com/chrisamccoy Chris McCoy

    This is awesome!!!