Xconomy

Xconomy Report: Big Bets on the Future of Boston Tech

By Gregory T. Huang, Editor, Xconomy Boston   |   Friday, July 13, 2012
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July 13, 2012

 
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Who are the companies that will make or break the Boston tech scene? Well, if you look at private companies that have raised more than $50 million in venture capital, a few stand out. There’s HubSpot in online marketing, Jumptap in mobile advertising, Veracode in software security and Wayfair in e-retail. They’re all pretty far along, and all are trying to transform their sectors or create new markets. Together, they’ll help define the future of the tech industry in Massachusetts — whether or not they succeed.
 
Meanwhile, in life sciences news, Waltham-based ImmunoGen has started human trials of a new treatment for ovarian cancer. The company has plenty of big pharmaceutical partners like Genentech, but it owns the new drug all by itself.
 
Our deal of the week is a $12 million venture round for Paydiant, a mobile software startup in Wellesley, Mass., that helps banks and retailers handle transactions by cell phone.
 
And lastly, one more make-or-break company from the local tech scene. Kayak, the online travel firm based in Connecticut and Concord, Mass., is getting ready to raise more than $80 million in an IPO that could hit as early as next week. Let’s hope there are no more sharks in the water by then.
 



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The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at Xconomy.com airs every Friday on 89.7 Boston Public Radio.

 

Xconomy Report: Don't You Want (to Buy) Me, Baby?

By Gregory T. Huang, Editor, Xconomy Boston   |   Thursday, July 5, 2012
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July 6, 2012

mobile shopping
Ads, ads, everywhere. (Jumptap)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — There’s a lot of activity in mobile advertising again. Jumptap, a Boston-area mobile tech company, has raised a new venture round that brings its total funding to over $120 million. The rumor around town is that the company will either go public or get acquired by someone like Amazon.com. In the past 5 years, Boston has seen a number of big mobile-ad acquisitions, such as AOL buying Third Screen Media, Apple buying Quattro Wireless and PayPal buying Where.
 
Speaking of mobile ads, we’re keeping an eye on a new crop of local startups in the sector, including Session M, Adelphic Mobile, Celtra and CraveLabs, which helps businesses create mobile ads through Facebook status updates.
 
Our two deals of the week have to do with building the data center of the future. Burlington-based DynamicOps, an IT spinout from Credit Suisse, is being acquired by virtualization giant VMware. And on the networking side, Nashua, N.H.– and Cambridge-based startup Plexxi has raised a total of almost $50 million in VC funding as it goes after big players like Cisco and HP.
 
Finally, Avid, the Burlington audio and video tech firm, is selling off its consumer product lines to companies in R.I. and Canada. Counting a round of layoffs, Avid will lose 20 percent of its staff, or about 350 employees.



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The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at Xconomy.com airs every Friday on 89.7 Boston Public Radio.

Xconomy Report: Shopping in Public

By Gregory T. Huang, Editor, Xconomy Boston   |   Friday, June 29, 2012
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June 29, 2012

 
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Companies are going public in Massachusetts. In fact, the first IPOs to list on the Nasdaq since Facebook are Bay State companies Tesaro, a cancer drug developer, and Exa, a maker of design software for vehicles. Both had modest debuts this week. But meanwhile, another recently minted public company is trying to create the future of retail. Burlington-based Demandware makes software designed to help brands and retailers reach more shoppers online. The company, which is valued at over $700 million, is going after fashion and luxury brands — avoiding low-end commodities, where Amazon is dominant.
 
In other innovation news …
 
A new report shows that in the first quarter of 2012, venture investing by corporations hit its lowest dollar sum in over a year. Massachusetts saw the majority of corporate VC money go to its health care startups.
 
Our deal of the week goes to Cambridge-based Seaside Therapeutics. The company has a new partnership with Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche to develop drugs for autism spectrum disorders.
 
And fellow Cambridge startup Nara Logics has launched a website that’s designed to work like the human brain. It adapts to consumers’ preferences to help them discover new restaurants. Sounds like it could ­help us all branch out a bit this weekend.
 


 


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The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at Xconomy.com airs every Friday on 89.7 Boston Public Radio.

Xconomy Report: When Health's a Game

By Gregory T. Huang, Editor, Xconomy Boston   |   Friday, June 22, 2012
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June 22, 2012

wii sports


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Can playing video games make you healthier? That’s the idea behind the “gamification” of health care, a big trend we’re seeing in the Boston tech scene and beyond. Companies and apps are using techniques from the gaming world to help people improve their health and fitness. For example, GymPact uses cash to motivate people to exercise. Healthrageous helps companies provide personalized fitness advice. And MeYou Health uses social-gaming rewards to help employers promote healthy behaviors. If all else fails, of course, you can try eating right and working out more.
 
Speaking of health care, the Biotechnology Industry Organization reports that the number of life sciences jobs in Massachusetts rose 3.4 percent from 2007 to 2010, even as national employment in the industry fell by 1.4 percent during the recession.
 
Our deal of the week is a $30 million funding round for Rethink Robotics, formerly known as Heartland Robotics. The Boston startup has raised more than $60 million to develop a new type of robot for manufacturing.
 
And finally, a N.H. company called Juliet Marine Systems claims to have built the world’s fastest underwater vehicle. The ship uses “supercavitation” — a big bubble around its hull — to reduce friction and glide through the waves. Sounds like a pretty good way to beat the heat this week.

 


 


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The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at Xconomy.com airs every Friday on 89.7 Boston Public Radio.

Xconomy Report: Charging Up

By Gregory T. Huang, Editor, Xconomy Boston   |   Friday, June 15, 2012
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June 15, 2012

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Can anyone make a battery that’s durable and lasts longer than the status quo? A123 Systems thinks it can — and just in time. The Boston-area cleantech company has been struggling with layoffs and lost revenues, but says it has a new lithium-ion battery that is better and cheaper for electric vehicles. The technology could also be used to store energy for the electric grid. A123 plans to hire 400 new workers in Michigan, as it ramps up production in a tough climate for energy companies.
 
In other innovation news…
 
Waltham-based Constant Contact is expanding in Web marketing with its acquisition of New York startup SinglePlatform, which helps restaurants and businesses list their menus and products online. The acquisition could be worth up to $100 million including earn-outs.
 
Our deal of the week goes to Boston-based Rhythm Pharmaceuticals, a developer of drugs for diabetes and obesity. The two-year-old company has raised $25 million in new venture funding.
 
And Ministry of Supply, a startup out of MIT, has launched a campaign on the Kickstarter website to support production of its high-tech, thermal-regulating dress shirts. It joins Blank Label as another local apparel company using crowd-sourced funding to roll out new products. 
 

 


 


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The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at Xconomy.com airs every Friday on 89.7 Boston Public Radio.

Xconomy Report: Mobile Cashes In

By Gregory T. Huang, Editor, Xconomy Boston   |   Thursday, June 7, 2012
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June 8, 2012
 
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Mobile technology is in the air this week, as a trio of Boston-area startups have announced significant deals. Local companies SCVNGR and Cartera Commerce have raised $12 million each to expand their mobile payment and local rewards programs. Their bigger idea is to work with banks and merchants to help create the digital future of money. Meanwhile, Cambridge-based Crashlytics is acquiring FireTower App, another Boston firm, in an effort to own a big slice of software development for smartphones and tablets — in other words, to go after the whole software industry in the post-PC era.
 
In other innovation news…
 
Despite the recent doom and gloom in the U.S. solar industry, a Salem, N.H., startup called AmberWave has spun out of an old semiconductor maker to focus on developing more efficient solar cells.
 
PerkinElmer has announced the creation of a Personalized Health Innovation Center, which will add about 100 new jobs to the life sciences company’s Hopkinton facility.
 
And finally, our quote of the week comes from investor Fred Destin of Atlas Venture. He says the Boston tech ecosystem “suffers from not being open enough and not selling itself well.” Destin will be speaking at Xconomy’s fourth annual XSITEconference at Babson College on June 14, which is our own effort to open some doors in the innovation community.
 


 


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The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at Xconomy.com airs every Friday on 89.7 Boston Public Radio.

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