Kirkland’s RAD Game Tools, a video game software development company, is now part of Epic Games, an interactive entertainment company and provider of 3D engine technology based in North Carolina that operates the game Fortnite.

Epic acquired the technology and business of RAD, whose products and technology appear in about 25,000 games and are leveraged by the world’s leading gaming companies, Epic said in a January news release. Epic and RAD plan to integrate RAD’s technology into Epic’s Unreal Engine to benefit the developer community and gamers. Unreal Engine powers the world’s leading games and is adopted in industries that include film and television, architecture, automotive, manufacturing, and simulation, Epic said.

“We know first-hand how impressive RAD’s compression technology is, having used it to improve the load time and quality of our most popular games — including Fortnite,” Epic Games CTO Kim Libreri said in a statement. “The RAD team includes some of the world’s leading compression, video, and game dev tooling experts, and we are thrilled to welcome them to the Epic family.”

RAD’s five main tools for game developers are Bink Video, a family of compression projects under the Oodle umbrella, the Telemetry Profiling System, Miles Sound System, and Granny 3D, according to RAD’s website.

As graphics in game development and beyond become more photo-realistic and powerful, developers need best-in-class compression software that can manage increased data requirements without compromising quality, Epic said. RAD staff will partner with Epic’s rendering, animation, insights, and audio teams to integrate key tech and improvements across Unreal Engine and beyond. This combination will allow more developers access to tools that make the games load and download faster, and offer players a better, higher-quality video and gaming experience, the release added.

RAD will continue supporting its game industry, film, and television partners, with its sales and business development team maintaining and selling licenses for its products to companies across industries — including those that do not utilize Unreal Engine.

RAD, which launched in 1988 and opened a Japanese office in 2008, also consults on game software and hardware projects, working on major products for Sony, Intel, Microsoft, and others. RAD’s team will remain in Kirkland.

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Illustration by Alex Schloer

Bellevue’s iSpot.tv Adds Ace Metrix to Its Lineup

Bellevue-based iSpot.tv, which measures the business and brand impact of TV advertising, has acquired California-based Ace Metrix, which measures the impact of video advertising, the companies announced.

The deal delivers a single-source solution for tracking the business outcomes and brand impact of TV and video advertising, according to a January news release. Together, they provide a unified, granular understanding of audience reach, consumer attention, brand impact, and return on TV and CTV advertising investments, the release said.

Terms were not announced. With Ace, iSpot now has annual contracts with more than 500 brands — including more than half of the Ad Age 100 and 96 percent of America’s TV networks, the release said.

iSpot was among seven Eastside companies that made Deloitte’s 2020 “North America Technology Fast 500,” ranking No. 393 at 238 percent growth.

iSpot will retain Ace Metrix’s headquarters in Los Angeles, and Ace’s 45 employees will join iSpot, bringing the total organization to 240 people.

Tech Boosts Seattle Regionʼs GDP Ranking to No. 10

The tech sector helped propel the Seattle metro area to No. 10 among the nation’s largest regional economies, according to a January news release from Greater Seattle Partners (GSP). The region — encompassing cities like Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, Redmond, and Everett in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties — posted almost $383 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019, according to figures provided by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That was up 5.1 percent from 2018, moving Seattle ahead of the Atlanta region, GSP said.

2020 Was Good to Washington Tech Stocks, Report Says

GeekWire compared opening and closing stock prices for shares of 28 publicly traded tech companies in Washington in 2020 with at least $100 million in market capitalization and found all but one posted increases. The analysis showed the biggest gainer was Redmond-based MicroVision, developer of ultra-miniature projection display technology. To see the full list, visit geekwire.com.

Courtesy of Kymeta

Korean Tech Conglomerate Investing $30M in Redmond Firmʼs Antenna Venture

Redmond-based Kymeta announced that Hanwha Systems (HSC), a company that provides differentiated smart technologies in defense electronics and information infrastructure, agreed to invest $30 million to back development of the Kymeta u8 and Kymeta Connect technology.

Kymeta is combining broadband satellite connectivity with cellular networks to meet demand for mobile global communications. The Kymeta u8 flat-panel satellite antenna, along with Kymeta Connect services, provides mobile connectivity on satellite and hybrid satellite-cellular networks to customers around the world, it said.

HSC’s investment will further Kymeta’s global market reach, accelerate production of Kymeta products and solutions, and improve the overall growth trajectory of the company, the release said. The funding is anticipated to support increased production, an enhanced customer experience, and continued development of Kymeta’s next-generation capabilities. HSC aims to support Kymeta’s metamaterial-based antenna technology and gain a foothold in the rapidly growing Low Earth Orbit (LEO) antenna market.

Madrona Announces $500M to Fund Technology Startups

Seattle-based venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group announced the closing of more than $500 million in two new funds to deploy on complementary strategies building technology startups from the seed stage, primarily in the Pacific Northwest, and from an acceleration stage throughout North America.

The funds are Madrona Venture Fund 8, $345 million, and Acceleration Fund 2, $160 million. The new funds follow six Madrona portfolio IPOs in the last five years, including Smartsheet, Snowflake, and Accolade. Madrona manages more than $2 billion and was an early investor in companies that include Amazon, Isilon, and Redfin.

T-Mobile Expanding, Advancing 5G Network with New Agreements

Bellevue-based T-Mobile in January announced five-year, multibillion-dollar agreements with Ericsson and Nokia to continue advancing and expanding its 5G network. Part of the network investment following last year’s merger with Sprint, the deals enable T-Mobile to add more 5G coverage, capacity, speed, and advanced technical capabilities across all of its spectrum bands, according to a news release. The relationship with Ericsson and Nokia will help T-Mobile expand its nationwide 5G network for better 5G coverage and future game-changing experiences, and advanced network capabilities like 5G carrier aggregation, the company said.

This Piper M-class six-seat airplane completed the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell-powered flight of a commercial-grade aircraft last September, according to ZeroAvia.

Hydrogen-Fueled Plane Maker Gains Local Backers

California startup company ZeroAvia, which seeks to transition the world to zero-emission, hydrogen-fueled flight, announced $21.4 million in new funding in a Series A round that included investors Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) and Amazon Climate Pledge Fund. Bill Gates is founder of Breakthrough Energy and chairman of BEV’s board. The funds allow ZeroAvia to accelerate development of its hydrogen-electric power train. The Series A funds the next phase of the company’s R&D program, which focuses on developing and testing the certification-ready ZA-600 power train capable of flying 10- to 20-seat aircraft up to 500 miles.