The Download: LiveSafe partners with Blackboard to sell campus safety software

Sales efforts at Arlington-based LiveSafe, a maker of public safety software for college campuses, got a boost last week when the upstart announced Blackboard will begin touting its technology to hundreds of universities.

Chief executive Jenny Abramson said the arrangement with the District-based education technology company will have Blackboard peddling the LiveSafe software alongside its own security products to 500 schools across North America.

Blackboard Transact provides students with identification cards that can be used to make purchases and securely access buildings and events on campus, according to its Web site. Administrators also use the software for video surveillance and mass alerts.

LiveSafe, meanwhile, has developed a smartphone app that allows students to report suspicious or criminal activity. Authorities can then monitor those tips on a computer dashboard, giving them broader insight into what’s happening on school grounds.

Abramson said LiveSafe will also continue to sell its software directly to schools.

“Campus safety is in a state of great urgency, so there simply couldn’t be a better way to quickly scale our safety solution than by partnering with one of the most widespread and respected names in education,” Abramson, a former Washington Post employee, said via e-mail.

Last month, LiveSafe added $6.5 million to its coffers in an investment round lead by IAC, an Internet company that owns such Web sites as Ask.com, Urbanspoon and OkCupid. Barry Diller, the company’s chairman, joined LiveSafe’s board of directors.

ON THE MOVE

Biotechnology company Qiagen plans to begin moving 250 employees and manufacturing operations from an office in Gaithersburg to the company’s headquarters in Germantown as part of a years-long plan to consolidate its business operations in Maryland.

The move comes nearly four years after the company broke ground on a 47,000 square-foot manufacturing facility at its headquarters in upper Montgomery County. The firm also expanded its cafeteria and made other improvements to accommodate more employees.

That facility was approved by the FDA earlier last week to become the manufacturing site for Qiagen’s widely used diagnostic assay that tests patients for several forms of the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can lead to cervical cancer in certain instances.

Sean Augerson, the global vice president of supply chain management, said the company’s headcount will not be reduced as it consolidates into the headquarters. The company counts 550 employees in Maryland, according to a news release.

About 110 of those workers are based at a site in Frederick, which the company will not fold into the Germantown headquarters at this time, Augerson said. That location focuses on research, development and manufacturing of molecular testing products.

Qiagen, which has its corporate headquarters in Germany, also pledged Wednesday to funnel another $10 million into expansion efforts in Germantown and Frederick, bringing its total investment in Maryland to $50 million, according to a news release.

The move is expected to be complete by early 2015. Qiagen’s lease on the Gaithersburg office ends in 2016, Augerson said.

BITS AND BYTES

Instacart, a smartphone app and service that delivers groceries in as little as an hour, will become the official delivery partner of Yes! Organic Market. Instacart’s users around the Washington region can already have produce, pantry goods, toiletries and other items delivered from Harris Teeter, Costco, Whole Foods and Safeway.

CIT Gap Funds, the Herndon-based investment fund created by the state of Virginia, invested an undisclosed sum in Urgent.ly. The start-up has created an app to connect drivers in need with on-demand roadside assistance. CIT Gap Funds recently invested in its 100th portfolio company.

Bethesda-based WealthEngine acquired Arlington-based BrightContext last week. WealthEngine allows marketers to assess information about the wealth, lifestyle and spending habits of prospective customers. BrightContext will allow that data to be processed and presented more quickly. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Dulles-based Speek, a company that provides Web-based conference calling, has integrated its technology into a calendar app for smartphones created by Tempo AI. The app’s users can now dial into a conference call with a single tap, the firms said last week.

Steven Overly covers the business of technology, biotechnology and venture capital in the Washington region for The Washington Post and its weekly Capital Business publication. In that capacity, he has written about start-up struggles, investment trends and major drug discoveries.
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