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Ignition Partners, the Bellevue venture capital firm, continues to plow cash into Bay Area startup companies. The latest to benefit is Topsy, a San Francisco real time search engine that today announced a $15 million investment. Ignition’s return backing of Topsy follows investments in San Fran consumer Web services, including SocialEyes and Hipmunk.

Other investors in the deal include BlueRun Ventures and Founders Fund. The company is led by former execs from Cloudmark, also an Ignition-backed company.

Ignition has plenty of cash to toss around, but it has been interesting to me to see them spend more time on deals in the Bay Area. But they are still on the prowl around these parts too, having joined with Madrona to back Seattle’s Tier 3 this week.

VentureBeat’s Anthony Ha reports that Topsy just built a widget that allows publishers to add real time search results (from Twitter and Facebook and the like) to their Web pages.

Interestingly, just this week, Topsy ran a case study on its blog about how Seattle-based Wetpaint is utilizing the service.

Here’s a short excerpt:

Wetpaint needed a way to understand what stories, articles and keywords were hot on the social web so they can use these insights to guide editorial efforts. Wetpaint turned to Topsy for these insights, specifically because Topsy is able to quantify the extent each article and keyword is trending within Twitter, providing Wetpaint with trending metrics they can use to prioritize keywords within specific categories. Topsy’s API provides an ideal way for Wetpaint to query and access trending metrics throughout the day so these figures can be ingested and processed by Wetpaint’s internal systems.

John Cook is co-founder of GeekWire, a technology news site based in Seattle. Follow on Twitter: @geekwirenews.

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