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Originally published Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 8:45 PM

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Brier Dudley

Blue Kai purchases startup TrackSimple

Bellevue's BlueKai said Wednesday that it's buying TrackSimple, a Seattle startup that developed tools for analyzing, reporting and managing...

Seattle Times staff columnist

Bellevue's BlueKai said Wednesday that it's buying TrackSimple, a Seattle startup that developed tools for analyzing, reporting and managing online-advertising campaigns.

BlueKai provides data that advertisers use to target online marketing. It's using the TrackSimple tools in a new "data-management platform" that was also announced Wednesday.

BlueKai designed the platform, aimed for online marketers and ad agencies, "to make data utilization as easy as plugging into a socket and getting electricity," Chief Executive Omar Tawakol said in a release.

TrackSimple, which has seven employees, was incorporated in October 2007 and is led by a group of former Amazon.com engineering managers.

Jon Ingalls, chief executive, was director of performance at Amazon and Ajit Banarjee, chief technology officer, was a principal engineer who worked on Amazon's software load-balancing system.

TrackSimple raised $2.5 million from Ignition Partners in 2008. In an Securities and Exchange Commission filing Monday, BlueKai said it issued stock worth $6.8 million "in connection with the merger."

BlueKai has raised more than $30 million from investors, including $21 million a year ago.

Xbox caper

You know times are tough when kidnappers will take a used Xbox.

That's what allegedly happened Sunday in Kingsport, Tenn., according to a police report posted by The Smoking Gun.

The report said a man kidnapped a 21-year-old employee who he believed had stolen rings from a job site, jeopardizing the man's business.

The initial demand was for $245 to cover the rings, but the 21-year-old didn't have the money.

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The captive's mother didn't have the money either, but her fiancé "said he had an Xbox 360 that is worth $400 to $500," the police report states. The kidnapper accepted the deal, and traded the 21-year-old for the console at a Zoomerz convenience store.

There's not much information about the kidnapping victim, but that must be a pretty special Xbox. The top of the line 250-gigabyte model with a Kinect controller retails for $400.

The employer was charged with aggravated kidnapping.

Startup with a goal

Seattle sports-software startup Korrio now has $3.3 million to take its best shot.

The 13-person company has been developing a "sports-automation platform" for youth soccer leagues and other sports organizations. Called Playflow, the system includes league-management tools and social-networking tools.

It received $3.3 million in funding, led by John Connors at Ignition Partners, the company said Wednesday. Also pitching in are Martin Coles, former Starbucks chief operating officer and Reebok and Nike executive, and Sam Schmidt, a former Indy driver and owner of Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

Korrio was started in January 2009 by Steve Goldman, who was chief executive at Isilon Systems until a management shake-up in 2007. Before that he was a sales executive at F5 Networks.

Goldman initially funded Korrio himself, after being involved in youth sports through his children.

"No one had been doing a good job applying modern technology to the family as well as the sports experience," he said.

Washington Youth Soccer is the first customer of the software.

Goldman said the money will fund product development and marketing. It should also help Korrio expand to more than 20 employees, he said.

Brier Dudley's blog excerpts appear Thursdays. Reach him at 206-515-5687 or bdudley@seattletimes.com.

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About Brier Dudley

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.
bdudley@seattletimes.com | 206-515-5687

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