Boston, MA

Placester Adds $15M

Per Xconomy, Placester hass added $15M.

One of the Boston area’s fast-growing software startups is making progress in real estate marketing. Placester says today it has raised a $15 million Series B round, which brings its total funding to about $23 million.

The round was led by New Enterprise Associates (a new investor), and previous investor Romulus Capital also participated. Placester CEO and co-founder Matt Barba says the company will grow from 50 to 100 employees in the next year. READ MORE

Pavlok Receives Investment from IncWell Venture Capital

This week IncWell, a Birmingham, Michigan based venture capital firm, signed a check for the maximum investment amount their fund allows, to invest in Pavlok, the wearable that electrically shocks users to break bad habits and increase performance.  

Last fall, Pavlok caused quite a shock when it launched a crowd funding campaign that raised over $250,000 (>5X their funding goal) and received mention on every major news outlet including Good Morning America, The Colbert Report, Reuters, and Entertainment Tonight. 

Pavlok already has a number of top-tier investors from the health and fitness space, including Dave Asprey, J.J. Virgin, John Romaniello, Ramit Sethi, Michael Fishman, and Steve Kamb, as well as the Boston-based hardware incubator Bolt. 

IncWell, which was founded in 2013 by Tom LaSorda former CEO of Chrysler Corp., invests in seed and early-stage companies across all sectors, including: healthcare, manufacturing, and consumer products.  Simon Boag, Managing Partner of IncWell said, “Pavlok has everything we’re looking for in a start-up; a great team led by Maneesh, a disruptive technology with the capability for significant, positive impact to society and a market with-out bounds.  We’re very excited to be partnered with Pavlok”. 

Pavlok, already experiencing rapid growth, decided to take on the investment as a strategic partnership based on the experience and networks of the IncWell team. Maneesh Sethi, the founder of Pavlok, had this to say, 

"I couldn't be more thrilled to work with the brilliant team at IncWell. Not only is this going to allow us to amplify our current efforts, but it also gives us the bandwidth to expand into new markets that we've been looking to tap into". 

The 'new markets' Sethi is referring to includes the medical space. Although Pavlok's primary focus has been on the consumer market, Sethi and IncWell are excited to explore the use of Pavlok's technology in hospitals and other healthcare facilities around the country. 

Pavlok has quietly been collaborating with some Boston hospitals that are using Pavlok to help people quit smoking. The initial results have been impressive. "We've already seen a lot of users quit smoking in as few as 5 days. The fact that we are transforming lives and successfully breaking habits---so fast, and so massively---is incredibly rewarding," said Sethi. 

Together, with IncWell's support, Pavlok plans to ramp-up production and experiments on various bad habits and show the world just how powerful a little negative stimulus can be. 

 

About IncWell

IncWell is a private venture capital fund located in Birmingham, MI, founded by Tom LaSorda, the former CEO of Chrysler. IncWell offers seed funding, strategic partnerships and mentorship for U.S. and Canadian startup companies that present breakthrough or disruptive technologies backed by great leaders. The Managing Partner of the fund is Simon Boag. Other Limited Partners include Roger Penske, Chairman and CEO of Penske Corporation, Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of Daimler AG, John Melstrom, Partner at Fenner Melstrom & Dooling PLC, Stephen Polk, former CEO of R.L. Polk & Co. and Wayne Sales, the former CEO of Canadian Tire and SuperValu and Magna International, a global automotive supplier. There are 14 other additional key Limited Partners. Learn more or pitch us online at www.incwell.net

 

About Pavlok…

Pavlok is a wearable device that helps users break bad habits with electric shock. By administering a shock while doing an undesired action, Pavlok utilizes proven psychological techniques and can break bad habits in as few as five days. Pavlok has already helped users quit bad habits such as: smoking, nail-biting, unhealthy eating, procrastinating, hitting the snooze button, and many more.

Pavlok’s stimuli include vibration, beep, and shock, and can be activated by software (Bluetooth + open API) or manually. The stimuli are useful for numerous purposes, including waking up on time, improving memory, and being more productive. See more at http://pavlok.com

 

About Behavioral Technology Group, Inc 

Behavioral Technology Group (BTG) is a Boston-based startup, founded in 2013 by Maneesh Sethi. Initially started at the Bolt hardware incubator, BTG focuses on upgrading human behavior through the marriage of technology and psychology. BTG was voted Boston’s Best Tech Startup 2015 and has been featured in hundreds of media outlets including: TechCrunch, Reuters, Good Morning America, The Colbert Report, and more.

 

Valore Acquires Boundless

Valore announced today the acquisition of Boundless, a digital publisher and platform that offers millions of students and teachers customizable textbooks, teaching resources, and learning tools. Together, Valore and Boundless are uniquely positioned to eliminate the inefficiencies that exist throughout the textbook ecosystem and to be an agent of change in how college textbooks are created, acquired and consumed. 

“Textbooks and course materials are the biggest expense that students face after tuition and room and board, and inefficiencies in the textbook market continue to drive that expense higher and higher,” said Kevin Walker, CEO, Valore. “We are excited about the product, platform and content Boundless has built. And we are looking forward to working with their strong team to continue empowering students and professors with choices for creating and consuming content that will result in higher quality education resources at a lower cost.” READ MORE

 

Disney to Invest $250 Million in DraftKings

Per The Wall Street Journal, Walt Disney Co. is investing $250 million in online fantasy sports business DraftKings Inc., valuing the company at roughly $900 million, people familiar with the matter say.

The Boston startup lets fans play fantasy sports with real money at stake. They can do so on a per-game basis rather than committing to manage teams for an entire season. READ MORE

ZappRx Raises $5.6 million

Today, ZappRx announced it has received $5.6 million in new funding from GlaxoSmithKline’s new venture arm SR One, and Atlas Venture (the life sciences VC firm, not the tech startup one that split from the firm and is seeking a new name). Additionally, the company revealed a long undisclosed partnership with biopharma company Zafgen, as well as another major partnership that it cannot reveal yet.

While ZappRx hasn’t raised anything approaching the gaudy investment numbers you will often see attached to biotech companies, the company has raised a total of $8.8 million for what is currently a niche space but has the potential to be lucrative in the long term. READ MORE from Dennis Keohane at Pando Daily

 

Convergent Dental Secures $9 Million in Growth Capital

Convergent Dental Inc., a privately held dental device company, today announced that it had secured $9 million in a funding round led by existing investors Long River Ventures and the Gund Foundation as well as new individual investors and family offices. Solea, the first FDA approved, CO2 9.3 micron dental laser for hard and soft tissue, is gaining significant traction within the dental community due to its ability to deliver virtually anesthesia-free and blood-free procedures.

When a dentist does not have to administer anesthesia or control bleeding, it significantly improves efficiency. Many Solea dentists report performing six or more additional procedures per day which represents revenue gains of 25 – 40 percent. This latest round of funding enables continued investments in product innovation, sales and implementation so Convergent Dental can scale with growing market demand.


“We are pleased to see Solea accomplish so much in just its first year on the market,” said Will Cowen, general partner, Long River Ventures. “Solea delivers a much improved patient experience and at the same time a compelling ROI for the dentist.  It’s a clear win-win.  We are happy to offer continued support to such a game-changing company.”  


Solea sales nearly doubled in Q4 2014 as practitioners around the country adopted this unique CO2 dental laser technology. Solea is establishing itself as the go-to tool for many dentists, replacing the noise, vibration and needle typically associated with dental visits with a quiet, virtually painless patient experience.


“This latest round of funding will fuel Solea’s already impressive growth,” said Convergent Dental CEO Michael Cataldo. “As more dentists implement this unique technology, it is becoming obvious that we are literally changing what it means to go to the dentist. The dental laser’s impact on patients’ experiences and dental practices’ bottom line is all positive and positions Convergent Dental for even greater growth in 2015.”  READ MORE

 

Mobiquity Acquires Morgan Clark & Company

Mobiquity, a mobile engagement provider, today announced it has acquired Amsterdam-based Morgan Clark & Company a company focused on technology-enabled business consulting. This acquisition will allow Mobiquity to deepen its European-based mobile consulting and transformative services offerings. 

“Mobile is in our DNA – we are strongly committed to developing innovative solutions that combine rich user experience, business strategy and integrated technology,” said Mobiquity founder and CEO, Bill Seibel. “As mobile continues to drive change and innovation within enterprises we are committed to our multi-disciplined approach and to help drive innovation for our expanding roster of European customers.”  READ MORE

 

Security Innovation Raises $4M

Security Innovation, a cyber security firm specializing in software security, announced today that it has secured an additional $4 million investment to address the needs of their expanding market, led by existing investor Brook Venture Partners (BVP) together with existing investor Gordon M. Burns, Director at Compass Diversified Holdings LLC. The funds will be targeted to further extend Security Innovation’s current portfolio of products and services as the pre-eminent security provider for securing the critical systems on which the world depends.

The Internet of Things (IoT) explosion is powered by software. Since 2002, Security Innovation has specialized in securing software, no matter where it runs – on a mobile phone, in an automobile, on a retail point-of-sale system, or as part of an online enterprise application. With rapidly expanding expertise in crypto and secure communications, Security Innovation is now even better positioned to help organizations ensure that they are not vulnerable at their weakest link – software. READ MORE

 

Nanigans Raises $24M Series B

Nanigans, Inc., the leading worldwide provider of social and mobile advertising software and pioneer in advertising automation software, announced today that it has closed a $24 million Series B financing. The financing is led by Cheetah Mobile (NYSE:CMCM), the world’s leading mobile utility application developer. Also participating in this financing is current investor Avalon Ventures and new investor Wellington Management Company LLP.

The funding follows Nanigans successful transition to a true Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business model. Said Nanigans co-founder and CEO, Ric Calvillo, “We’ve spent five years developing our advertising automation software, and for good reason. Automating digital advertising allows marketing teams to bring this critical function in-house, resulting in both significant performance gains and cost savings. Nanigans software enables customers to manage, measure, and optimize their online advertising across multiple channels. Our customers run over $500 million in annualized ad spend using our software, confirming our leadership position.” READ MORE

 

Cortex Raises $500k

CORTEX IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE FOR SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

 

Company Exits Two-Year Stealth with $500K Round, Customers, and Aim to Eliminate Complexity

Boston, MA - March 25, 2015 - Cortex exits a two-year stealth period today with $500K in early-stage funding, disruptive technology, and multiple satisfied customers. Cortex is artificial intelligence for social media marketing that helps brands increase their return on investment in social via consolidation of tools, automation of redundant work, and adding data to a currently unscientific practice.

“We’re helping companies get more return from their time and investment in social. As a powerful efficiency software, Cortex helps social media managers and agencies be more productive while enjoying work more. Our average customer has seen a 400% increase in engagement and seven hours per user, per week of time saved,” said Brennan White, CEO of Cortex. “By creating more effective and creative social media content, we are making marketing less intrusive and more enjoyable for consumers. The outcome is targeted, timely, and welcomed.”

Coming from eight years in the agency world, White and Chief Revenue Officer Matt Peters were users and clients of all major SaaS social tools. Cortex was created after they realized that existing tools focused entirely on analytics and process management, selling patchwork solutions to small social problems, rather than solving the fundamental underlying issue in social: complexity.

“Cortex coming out of stealth is a dark day for analytics and publishing platforms. These companies make money as long as social is an involved, time-consuming, multi-step process. They have no incentive to simplify social media marketing,” said Peters. “Using Cortex, social teams worry about fewer pieces of the puzzle, get better results, and have more time to focus on the most important piece: creating compelling content. Due to Cortex’s AI, our customers know that competitors will be monitored, content will be promoted, and posts will be executed optimally across their social platforms - all automatically.”

Cortex has more than a dozen active paying customers, and this early-stage round is led by four main funding sources including: Josh Adler, founder & CEO, Sourcewater; and Jere Doyle, general partner, Oyster Angel Fund.

“I invested in Cortex because it will have huge impact for companies that are using social tools and thinking about ROI, consolidation, and time investment in social. Clearly, every company needs to think this way,” said Doyle. “Cortex has already been the driving force behind multiple companies becoming the clear best-in-class. I invite all forward-thinking brands to meet Cortex.”

About Cortex

Cortex is artificial intelligence for social media marketing. Our SaaS platform removes the need for point solutions, social analytics, and social media management tools via machine learning and predictive analytics. Brands and agencies are able to save an average of seven hours per user per week, while increasing social KPIs by up to 400%. Learn more about how artificial intelligence will consolidate your marketing toolset at www.meetcortex.com or info@meetcortex.com.

 

M.Gemi Raises $14M

Ben Fischman, founder of flash sale fashion site Ruelala, has raised a $14 million seed and series A round for a new startup, M.Gemi.

M.Gemi launched Tuesday to make beautiful Italian shoes more affordable for international markets — like American shoppers. Fishman says hand-crafted shoes made in Italian factories often cost $500 to $2,000. M.Gemi's cost between $98 and $300. 

Investors include General Catalyst, which also invested in Ruelala, Forerunner Ventures and Breakaway Ventures. READ MORE

 

Publicis Groupe Acquires Expicient

Publicis Groupe [Euronext Paris: FR0000130577, CAC40] has acquired Expicient Inc. (Expicient), a leading global omni-channel services firm with significant expertise in inventory and order management systems (OMS), a capability that clients increasingly need to manage inventory, pricing and offers across channels for today's connected consumer who moves fluidly across digital and physical stores. Expicient will be integrated into the Publicis.Sapient platform under the Rosetta brand.

"Today's always-on consumer makes no distinction between devices and channels," said Publicis.Sapient CEO Alan Herrick "as a result our retail clients are increasingly looking for us to build systems -- inventory, supply chain, omni-channel commerce that enable the experience a 2015 consumer demands. Expicient joining Publicis.Sapient allows us to significantly strengthen our clients ability to integrate offer information, order information, inventory information and pricing information across channels, which is a significant change from a world where the on-line stores and physical stores operated separately." READ MORE

Localytics Raises $35M

Localytics, the only complete platform for app marketing and analytics, today announced it has raised $35 million in Series D funding, bringing its total investment to-date to $60 million. New investor Sapphire Ventures led the round with participation from existing investors Foundation Capital and Polaris Partners. The new funds will be used to strengthen Localytics’ predictive intelligence capabilities, which enable customers to truly personalize the user experience and improve engagement and retention in their mobile and web apps.

“Companies are struggling to keep up with the growth of apps. Most are unable to leverage user intelligence to improve how they acquire and engage users. Localytics’ investments in predictive app marketing will enable us to deliver the amazing, personalized app experiences that consumers have come to expect,” said Raj Aggarwal, CEO of Localytics. “And, with its deep history in scaling successful marketing technology companies, such as ExactTarget and Criteo, Sapphire Ventures’ expertise will help us continue building the leading solution for apps.”  READ MORE

* Learn more about Locatyics on their VentureFizz BIZZpage!

 

Chitika Invests $4 million in Spin-Off, Cidewalk

Westborough-based Chitika Inc., an Internet advertising company, on Wednesday announced it will spin off its mobile advertising business unit, Cidewalk.

Chitika is investing $4 million to fund the spinoff, according to a statement, and Cidewalk has purchased office space in Southborough to accommodate staffing growth. Its new office is at 154 Turnpike Road, Southborough, in space formerly occupied by Bodyscapes Fitness.

Chitika expects Cidewalk, launched in 2014, to generate $10 million in gross revenue over the next year, the statement said. READ MORE


Ginkgo Bioworks Raises $9 Million

Ginkgo Bioworks, an organism design company, today announced that it has raised $9 million in a Series A round from Felicis Ventures, OS Fund, Data Collective, iGlobe Partners and Vast Ventures. The company was part of Y Combinator’s Summer 2014 class and was the first biotech startup to participate in Y Combinator’s accelerator program. 

Ginkgo Bioworks also announced the opening of its new 18,000 square-foot, automated organism engineering foundry, Bioworks1. Bioworks1 uses robotics and advanced software to make the process of engineering organisms scalable. The company used their new investment round to complete the construction of Bioworks1 and will use the funding to operate the foundry to deliver organisms to customers. They have already begun the design of their next-generation foundry, Bioworks2, slated for construction in early 2017. READ MORE

 

Help Scout Raises $6M

My favorite thing about being an entrepreneur is being stretched beyond my comfort zone on a daily basis. Today is hardly any different, as I’m very proud to announce that Help Scout has raised $6m in funding as part of a Series A round.

People who know me will be very surprised by this announcement. I’m a bootstrapper at heart and always have been. Our business raised a small amount of money ($800k) following Techstars four years ago and has been profitable for the last 18 months. READ MORE

Motorola Solutions Invests in Drone Maker CyPhy Works

Motorola Solutions has made a strategic investment in CyPhy Works, a leading developer of advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones. Founded by Helen Greiner, co-founder of iRobot, CyPhy Works has developed a drone technology and business roadmap that pioneers use of “microfilament tether” technology that enables long-duration or persistent flight with secure streaming of high-speed data and high-definition video.

“Real-time information is a powerful tool for our public safety and commercial customers,” said Paul Steinberg, chief technology officer at Motorola Solutions. “A tethered drone collecting situational awareness in large or hard-to-reach locations quickly puts eyes and ears on the scene, enabling our customers to read the moment, know what’s relevant and help them make fast decisions about how to deploy resources. This can help not only resolve incidents faster but also provide information to help prevent critical situations from happening in the first place.” READ MORE


KleerMail Raises $1.3M in Funding

As noted on CrunchBase, KleerMail in Boston, Massachusetts has raised $1.3M in funding.  KleerMail develops innovative SaaS and business intelligence tools that improve the cost, speed-to-market, and distribution of complex marketing messages for large-scale clients.  READ MORE

SimpliVity Raises $175M in Series D Funding

SimpliVity, a leader in hyperconverged infrastructure for IT, announced today it has raised $175 million in series D funding at a valuation of more than $1 billion – a record achievement just 23 months after general availability of OmniCube, its flagship product.  Waypoint Capital, the business enterprise for the Bertarelli family’s investments and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, led the round. Prior investors Accel Partners, Charles River Ventures, DFJ Growth, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) and Meritech Capital Partners also contributed to the round. SimpliVity’s total venture funding is now $276 million. 

Waypoint was inspired to make the investment after transforming its own IT environments across five global sites with SimpliVity’s hyperconverged infrastructure solution.  READ MORE

G20 Ventures Closes $63M Fund

As reported by Xconomy, G20 Ventures has closed its first fund at $63.45 million. READ MORE from Xconomy.

WiGo Raises $1.5M In New Funding

Wigo Extends Seed Round With $1.5M In New Funding Led By Great Oaks Venture Capital

Wigo, the "who's going out" app for college students, today announced that it has closed a $1.5M extension of its seed round of funding led by Great Oaks Venture Capital. Other investors in the round include Greylock Partners, GGV Capital, Blade, KEC Ventures, as well as angel investors including Jean Pigozzi and Brian Guttman. This extension follows an initial seed round of $550k that the startup raised in the summer of 2014 with investors including Tinder co-founders Sean Rad and Justin Mateen, Kayak.com founder Paul English, Facebook's first sales guy Kevin Colleran, and Super Bowl champion Vince Wilfork. 

"The entire Wigo team is excited to have such great partners supporting our mission to change the way students plan their social lives. We want to build an app that college kids physically can't function without," said Ben Kaplan, Wigo's founder and CEO. "We've seen some awesome initial traction across college campuses thus far, but we think this is just the tip of the iceberg." READ Full Release

* Read More about WiGo in VentureFizz's coverage from their launch.

Voxel8 Announces Strategic Investment with In-Q-Tel

Voxel8 is excited to announce that it has closed a strategic investment and technology development agreement with In-Q-Tel (IQT), the investment firm that identifies innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

“We are pleased to be partnering with Voxel8 to further develop its multi-material 3D printing technology,” said Megan Anderson, Vice President of Field Deployable Technologies at IQT. “The customization enabled by Voxel8’s technology allows users to quickly create new devices without the inconvenience of tooling, inventory, and supply chains associated with traditional manufacturing methods.” 
READ MORE

Paydiant Acquired by PayPal

Paydiant is excited to announce that we have entered into an agreement to be acquired by PayPal. This is obviously a very important announcement for Paydiant, PayPal, our customers and partners, our employees, and we believe, the industry at large.

When Paydiant was founded in 2010, we had a simple idea that retailers and banks would want to be able to build mobile payments, offers and loyalty into their own apps. We knew that hundreds of startups and some of the biggest companies in the world would launch mobile wallets, but we also knew that retailers and banks would want a choice - a choice that would let them control the user experience, protect their customer’s data and preserve their own brand. We couldn’t be more grateful to the customers and partners that have shared this vision with us. READ MORE


 

Linkable Networks Raises $11.7 Million in Funding

Linkable Networks today announced $11.7 million in funding along with three key executive team hires as the company positions itself for accelerated growth in 2015. In addition to driving enhancements to its core platform, the additional working capital enables Linkable to scale its direct to consumer loyalty platform that allows retailers and CPG brands to engage the next generation of shoppers.

To support acceleration and product enhancement, Linkable is planning to double its staff over the next six months with a focus on expanding development, client support and sales. The company welcomes three senior executives to its leadership team... READ MORE

ERT to Acquire PHT Corporation

ERT, a leading global solution provider for high-quality patient safety and efficacy endpoint data collection, and PHT Corporation (PHT), the eClinical innovator leading the adoption of patient-driven mobile apps for improved clinical research, announced today that they have signed a definitive agreement under which ERT will acquire PHT.  Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
 
The transaction combines the flexible eCOA platform and world-class customer service of PHT with the leading clinical trial technology and service offerings of ERT, creating the most innovative and comprehensive solution for patient end point collection and data analytics for global clinical trials. READ MORE

Workable Raises $5M

Workable, the software of choice for SMBs looking to take their hiring online, has secured $5m of additional funding from its existing investors. Workable enables smaller companies to post to multiple jobs boards, review candidates and schedule interviews.

Workable is persuading people to switch from spreadsheets and email to affordable hiring software. It saw a ten­fold growth in revenues last year by putting tools that used to be the preserve of large organizations within realistic reach of SMBs.  READ MORE



Ed Trips Raises $1.9M

As reported by Boston Business Journal, Boston-based field trip software startup EdTrips has raised $1.9 million in equity funding, according to a Wednesday regulatory filing. READ MORE from BBJ.

 

InMoji Raises $1M

 Today, Boston-based InMoji announced it has scored $1 million so it can connect consumers to brands through messaging.

Founded last year, the startup offers clickable icons — called InMoji — that live in a message and can connect you to, say, an offer from Nike.

Investors include David Chang with participation from Paypal’s Start Tank, Atlas Venture, and others. READ MORE from VentureBeat.

Read More about InMoji on VentureFizz from January.


Next Step Living Raises $18.2M in Series C Funding

Next Step Living, Inc., a leader in residential energy efficiency and renewable energy, has raised $18.2 million in a Series C financing. New investor VantagePoint Capital Partners led the round. Existing investors, including Black Coral Capital and Mass Green Energy Fund, also participated in the round, which remains open.

The financing allows Next Step Living to expand its geographic base and thus serve homeowners in Connecticut, Maryland, and other states on the Atlantic Coast. To date, Next Step Living has primarily conducted its operations in Massachusetts...READ MORE

FamilyID Raises $850,000

FamilyID, Inc., a Waltham, MA-based online registration and payment platform for all types of programs such as schools, camps, teams and clubs, raised $850k in its first institutional round.

The round was led by Boston Seed Capital with participation from CommonAngels Ventures. In conjunction with the funding, Peter Blacklow, a senior Partner at Boston Seed Capital and formerly the president of WorldWinner, a subsidiary of GSN (Game Show Network), is joining the FamilyID board. READ MORE