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We are proud of the innovations and commercial successes of our portfolio companies. Following are a few of the firms in which WRF Capital has played an active role.
Redmond, Washington–based Pacific Bioscience Laboratories (PBL) produces the Clarisonic Skin Cleansing System, a range of devices that use sonic waves to enable users to achieve healthier, younger-looking skin. Launched in 2004, the products had exceeded $100M in annual sales within six years. Endorsements from celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake provided excellent publicity for the Clarisonic product line.
Pacific Bioscience was acquired by L’Oréal USA in 2011. PBL remains in Redmond and its management team has stayed intact. David Giuliani, PBL’s co-founder and CEO, was also the inventor and primary developer of the Sonicare toothbrush. Royal Philips Electronics purchased Sonicare’s manufacturer, Optiva, in 2000.
Farecast spawned from a 2003 research project led by University of Washington professor Oren Etzioni and financed by WRF. With several of his students, Etzioni studied airfare price movements and applied data-mining and machine-learning techniques to assess their predictability. The resulting technology platform was the basis for Farecast, which empowered consumers to buy airline tickets at the cheapest time.
Farecast received seed funding from WRF Capital, among others, and recruited Hugh Crean as its CEO. The company expanded its range of products to include hotel rate predictors and trip-planning tools, winning several awards in the process. Farecast was acquired by Microsoft in 2008.
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