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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

October 3, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Ballard startup Buuteeq raises $10 million to go global

Buuteeq, a Ballard startup building online marketing tools for hotels, is getting a major boost from local investors who are providing $10 million to fuel the company’s global expansion.

The funding is led by Redmond travel expense management software company Concur and Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group. Concur Chief Executive Steve Singh and Madrona partner, Tim Porter, are joining the board as part of the deal.

Buuteeq was started by former Microsoft employees Forest Key, Adam Brownstein and Brian Saab, who sealed their partnership with a handshake over burgers at the Dick’s in Wallingford.

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They launched the company formally in January 2011 and initially raised $7 million from angel investors, including a number of Microsoft veterans.

Buuteeq now has nearly 4,000 hotels, resorts and inns using their cloud-based digital marketing system.

“We think we can get into the tens of thousands,” said Key, the chief executive, and a former senior director of marketing for Microsoft’s .NET platform.

The additional funding will be used largely to expand overseas, particularly in Europe and Asia.

The company now has 45 employees, including 30 in Seattle where it’s looking to hire up to 20 more people over the next year. If it gets tens of thousands of clients as planned, employment could grow to 100 to 150.

Over the last year more than 30 million customer impresions generated more than 2 million reservation inquiries on the web, mobile devices and social networks, the company said in its release.

Buuteeq’s headquarters are just north of the Ballard Bridge. It also has offices in Palo Alto, Calif., and Santiago, Chile, where Key lived while developing the business plan.

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