Last Week in Tech Deals

Welcome to Clubhouse Gate

Nick Stuart

The Tech vs Media Saga Continues

Was your Twitter feed full of journalists and venture capitalists viciously attacking each other this week, or are you normal?

Here’s a Quibi-sized summary of the drama:

Tensions were already boiling between prominent Silicon Valley technologists and the New York Times after a Times journalist threatened to doxx the pseudonymous author of the philosophy blog SlateStarCodex, forcing him to delete it.

Far before that, members of the tech and VC community like Jason Calacanis and Balaji Srinivasan had been voicing concern over what they saw as the unfair vilification of tech by media companies.

Their stance is that the business model of large media firms is inherently flawed because of its click-driven nature, which forces journalists to cover topics unfairly to drive traffic. They specifically think that Silicon Valley has been an incredible net positive for society, but journalists still choose to cover stories that paint the tech world in a bad light.

Because of this feud, if a tech journalist does something wrong, you can expect these guys to make sure everyone knows it. For example, remember when Recode wrote a piece making fun of a16z for banning handshakes out of fear of COVID—19 back in mid-February? Tech twitter was understandably outraged. So when late last week, Times reporter Taylor Lorenz fired shots at Away’s CEO (See Verge “hit piece”), Balaji was quick to bite back:

What ensued next was a 24-hour shit-slinging contest between Taylor and Balaji that everyone got to follow on Twitter. Ex-colleagues from both sides got tugged into the fight and things overall got pretty spicy. The two collectively have close to 400k twitter followers.

It got even more explosive when the conversation moved over to Clubhouse, the $100M audio-first social app that’s still invite-only. When Taylor and Balaji both entered the same chat room, it immediately attracted dozens of listeners. Apparently Taylor left soon after, claiming that she felt unsafe. The next morning, an hour-long recording of that Clubhouse conversation leaked to Vice. Balaji then put out a $1000 crypto bounty for whoever could make the best meme or legal analysis of the situation. Here’s the winner:

If all of this is news to you and sounds completely insane, congrats on having better things to do with your time. Also, after I wrote all this, I noticed someone on Quora did a way better job summarizing it all. Check it out for a more detailed synopsis.

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VC Financing Deals:

InsurTech Spotlight: iink Endorsements 📝

I recently had the pleasure of meeting several members of the iink Endorsements team, a Boston-area startup out of the DCU FinTech Innovation Center helping insurance and restoration professionals get paid faster after insured property losses.

The company was co-founded in 2017 by Ryan Holliday. He’s been working in the insurance restoration industry for years and was sick of spending a third of his week jumping through hoops to chase claim money to complete a restoration job.

Chasing Endorsements Means Losing Money

When a disaster hits, insurance companies issue claim payments using multi-party checks that can’t be deposited until a required mortgage endorsement is made. This is mostly to protect lenders from being left with irreparable assets. They need to verify the property is brought back to its original condition. Overall, this process can take between 3 weeks and six months. The iink team’s solution brings the process down to just 24 hours with their newest platform feature, iink Now. They speed up the process by connecting contractors, public adjusters, homeowners, and banks so claims can get paid out faster.

Getting paid faster means starting builds sooner, maximizing cash flows to scale operations, and getting early payment discounts from suppliers.

How it Works

The iink Endorsements platform:

  • Allows contractors to endorse and deposit multi-party checks for a fee

  • Handles the back and forth between mortgage companies for 1% of the check

  • Expedites funding for contractors for about the same as a credit card processing fee.

So far, they’ve already been able to process over $10M in claims.

Funding & Traction

They’ve recently received private and VC-backed funding to build out their channel sales relationships, engineering team, and expand product offerings. They’ve also become a member of NEACH and have partnered with Avidia Bank. If you’re interested in learning more about iink Endorsements and connecting with the team, you can reach out to rholliday@iinktech.com.


LuminDx 🤳

According to a tweet and a Linkedin post from cofounder Susan Conover, Cambridge-based LuminDx just closed on an oversubscribed $2M seed round led by Argon VC, and with participation from Flare Capital, Good Growth Capital, TBD Angels, and several individual angels. The company helps PCP’s diagnose skin conditions by combining photos with computer vision and AI. It was founded in late 2017 and last raised pre-seed capital from Techstars in 2019.


Hi Marley 📱

Boston’s Hi Marley, a conversational AI service for the insurance industry, just raised an $8M Series A-1 led by True Ventures and Underscore VC. It’s a text-based communication service that helps insurers quickly and efficiently communicate with customers for issues surrounding underwriting, claims, and more. Hi Marley’s capital raised is now over $18M. More from BostInno and VentureBeat.


KGS Buildings 🏢

KGS Buildings, a twelve-year-old software company helping buildings easily manage operations, has raised $6.9M in an $8M round. According to Crunchbase, the Somerville-based company last raised a $2M round in 2016 from Scheider Electric and Aster.


BioDirection 🧠

Medical device company BioDirection just raised an $18M Series C from Shepard Kaplan Krochuck. The company is building a device to better detect Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), a leading cause of death in children and young adults in the US. Right now, the standard test is a neurological exam that evaluates various cognitive and motor functions. The problem is this is time-consuming and often inaccurate. A device that could standardize and speed up testing could save more lives. The parent company, NanoDx Systems, is also working on a COVID—19 rapid test.


Thanks for reading!

That’s all from me until next week — If you’d like to connect with me, you can find me on Linkedin and Twitter or check out my website at nickstu.art.

Missing something? Spot an inaccuracy?
Email me and tell me about it! I’ll be sure to share it in my next update.

Last Week in Boston Tech Deals

Seven Companies Raised Over $100M

Accessibility Tech is Awesome 👀

A few weeks ago, I downloaded a brilliant mobile application called Be My Eyes. It’s a platform for helping the visually impaired interact with the world around them. Whenever a blind person needs help seeing something, they open the app and it connects them via video chat with one of the 3.8M volunteers on standby (there are 220K+ blind users on the app).

I finally got a call last week and it was a fascinating experience. I helped someone read the cooking instructions for a microwavable Marie Callender’s meal. The learning curve for explaining how to flip and turn the box without touching it was harder than I anticipated and helped me empathize with the daily struggles of a blind person.

Technology is cool.

Get the App Now


Stuff I’m Reading


VC Financing Deals:

Enko 🌿

Surfaced by BostInno, VentureBeat, and Forbes, AgTech company Enko has raised a $45M Series B led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with participation from Anterra Capital, Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund, Finistere Ventures, Novalis LifeSciences, Germin8 Ventures, and TO Ventures Food. Gates has been a longtime proponent of genetically engineering crops to serve our planet’s growing population, previously backing companies like Cropin and AgBiome.

Founded in 2017, the company is building a platform to help drive the development of novel alternatives to current pesticides that are safer for ingestion and more efficient for crop growth. The platform works by using AI-driven drug development techniques commonly used in the pharmaceutical world.

By modeling potential new molecules from large datasets, they hope to help accurately predict which pesticides are worth developing further before putting excessive funding into R&D. It’s similar to Indigo Ag, which uses AI to predict which microbiomes will positively contribute to the growth of crop yields and recently secured another $400M in financing.


Armored Things 🔭

Armored Things is a four-year-old crowd intelligence platform that just raised $7M to help businesses safely and effectively reopen. The deal was led by Will Ventures and had participation from Splunk, Glasswing Venture Capital, iNovia Capital, and MassVentures. More from AmericanInno, AiThority, and VenuesNow.

The company has developed a suite of analytics products to help businesses understand the flow of people throughout a venue. This intelligence could be used to determine inefficiencies in space design, improve building security, maintain COVID-level building capacity, plan cleaning schedules, etc.

Their customer base is likely similar to that of Boston-based Evolv Technology’s, which focuses on touchless weapon screening for workplaces and large venues. Both are crowd intelligence companies, they’re just tracking different things. If Evolv can detect guns and explosives, would it be a stretch for them to detect higher-than-average temperatures with a new model?

I think all large companies will likely continue to invest in tech that helps them analyze and understand the physical space they work in, but do they have an appetite to purchase an analytics tool for space utilization, weapon security, thermal temperature monitoring, and more? Or will one company do it all? Interesting space to follow as we (hopefully) re-open in the coming months.


Neurala 🧠

According to a Form D filing, Neurala is raising $12M, with about $4.9M raised so far. The deep learning company last raised a $14M Series A in 2017 from Pelion Venture Partners. Other previous backers include Tim Draper, Techstars, Sherpa Capital, and Right Side Capital Management.

Neurala uses computer vision to improve the accuracy and speed of visual inspections for manufacturing, drones, and robotics. This could include detecting defects in a manufacturing process or scanning a piece of land with a drone to find key characteristics. Neurala’s product is centered around its Lifelong-Deep Neural Network technology, which can re-train itself as it receives new data right on the device and was developed out of NASA.


NODAR 🚗

Per a Form D filed this week, NODAR is raising $2.7M, of which $1.8M has been closed. The company creates 3D vision technology for self-driving vehicles using computer stereo vision, as opposed to the popular LIDAR system. The concept of using two cameras at different vantage points to create a 3D image has been around since the 1830s, but hasn’t been used for autonomous vehicles until recently.

The biggest hurdle has been the accurate placement of the cameras on the car. If the camera’s positions are off by 1/100th of a degree from each other, they can’t accurately generate spatial information and keep the car safe. NODAR’s innovation is its ability to keep these cameras positioned reliably without manual calibration using its LONGBOW technology.

stereoscopic | Tumblr

Envel 💰

Envel, a FinTech app founded out of Harvard, is raising $3M in debt according to a Form D. Founded by Steve Le Roux and Diederik Meeuwis, the company uses AI to automatically allocate your money into “envelopes” used for specific spending purposes. It also includes features like bill splitting, a gamified Money Management Score system, and physical debit cards. The product is currently in beta, but it looks like you can sign up at envel.ai to become a user when they launch this summer.


Immuta 💽

Intel Capital just led a $40M Series C into privacy and data governance startup Immuta. Other investors included Greycroft, 1011 VC, DFJ Growth, Dell Technologies Capital, Drive Capital, and Citi Ventures. The six-year-old company helps businesses catalog and share data without violating various privacy regulations or over-sharing data. Their last raise was a $20M Series B led by DFJ growth back in 2018. More from Forbes.


Workhuman 🙌

Framingham, MA and Ireland-based HRTech company Workhuman just achieved unicorn status after a minority investment from Intermediate Capital Group. In fact, it’s Ireland’s first unicorn. It’s a performance management and social recognition platform helping HR leaders commemorate and reward employee achievements.


Thanks for reading!

That’s all from me until next week — If you’d like to connect with me, you can find me on Linkedin and Twitter or check out my website at nickstu.art.

Missing something? Spot an inaccuracy?
Email me and tell me about it! I’ll be sure to share it in my next update.

Last Week in Tech Deals

Twelve Boston Companies Raised Over $230M

Greetings

Some people ask me if I know any good resources for learning about the fundamentals of venture capital, either to raise money or for breaking into the space. I’m by no means an expert, but I’ve been putting together a resources page that I hope to build over time. I left a form at the bottom where you can send suggestions for more content, please do so if you have any!


Stuff I’m Reading:


VC Financing Deals:

FinTech Spotlight: Elphi 🏠

I recently had the chance to connect with Eilon Shalev, co-founder & CEO of Elphi, a Boston-based fintech startup on a mission to streamline the mortgage loan origination process. Founded in 2018, Elphi is a SaaS product using cutting-edge, cloud-native technology to gather and settle loan information from disparate sources to save both lenders and borrowers time.

Fresh out of the DCU FinTech Innovation Center, Eilon is joined by co-founders William Lopez-Cordero and Daniel Gottesmann. The three met through a combination of pursuing MBAs at MIT and service in the Israeli Air Force. They’re working together to replace the clunky legacy systems in the lending world that lengthen the mortgage origination lifecycle.

Loan Origination is Slow and Tedious

As someone with family in the loan origination business, it seems like much of what they do isn’t just one specific bottleneck, the whole job is just navigating various bottlenecks around information sharing and verification. For lenders, the company notes that gathering pieces of data on borrowers from disparate sources can take over 40 days, with each step having its own format and protocol. For borrowers, it’s often difficult to verify that you’re correctly entering information.

There are a host of steps in a lender’s “verification stack” being serviced by various companies like Hippo, Blend, Compass, and more. They include things like income and asset verification, appraisals, title management, closing, and notarization. Elphi’s founding team believes that the gathering, verifying, and recording these types of records from third parties should be simpler.

Streamlining Information Sharing

Elphi’s software provides a customizable front-facing interface for borrowers to enter information and a back-office workflow system for lenders to navigate the entire origination lifecycle. By standardizing and streamlining information sharing, the company strives to cut down the origination process by 50%.

For borrowers, their Smart Checklist product works as a turbo-tax style questionnaire for loan origination questions. It’s a white label solution that lenders can integrate into their current loan origination services. For lenders, Elphi’s Loan Origination System (LOS) was built to help processors, underwriters, and closers easily transfer information. They’re utilizing a cloud-native, real-time database to rapidly settle borrower information provided by these parties to make it easier to reconcile changes.

Elphi’s Traction

As of now, the software is live and being used by a mortgage lending group. Looking forward, Elphi is now focusing on signing more customers and raising a $2M Seed Round for growth and product expansion. They’ve already received funding from MIT’s Sandbox Innovation Fund and more recently from the UChicago Polsky Founders’ Fund Fellowship. If you’d like to connect with Eilon and the rest of the team, you can reach out at eilon@elphi.io.

See also: QuickenLoans anticipates IPO


Indigo Ag 🌱

Axios reported this morning that Boston’s unicorn AgTech firm Indigo Ag is in the process of raising $500M, with $300M already secured. They have already raised $200M in 2020 alone, and this deal will put their total raised at well over $1B and likely boost their $3.5B valuation.

Indigo provides a variety of digital agricultural services aimed at increasing crop yields on farms. Using AI, they are able to predict which microbiomes will positively contribute to the growth of crop yields and are able to apply these microbiomes to the coating of unplanted seeds.


Uptycs 📊

SQL-driven security analytics platform Uptycs has raised a $30M Series B led by Sapphire Ventures, with participation from Comcast Ventures and Forgepoint Capital. Founded in 2016, the Waltham-based company was inspired to do for business processes what Salesforce has done for CRM. Its software helps IT leaders easily aggregate information across their entire IT infrastructure to discover intrusions and compliance problems. They use Osquery, a SQL-powered operating system, to enable turnkey endpoint security and systems management. Osquery was actually developed by Facebook Engineering in 2014. The company has now raised $43M.


Starburst 💾

Two Boston companies that raised this week are built off open-source projects that originated within Facebook. Starburst is building a distributed SQL query engine product based on Presto. Starburst lets businesses do data warehousing analytics without needing to store data. The company just raised $42 in Series B funding from Coatue’s Caryn Marooney, which is her first VC deal at Coatue since leaving Facebook as their Communications VP, according to Forbes. Index Ventures also participated in the round. The company has now raised $64M since its founding in 2017.


LeverEdge 👩‍🎓

Back in early December, I wrote that LeverEdge was raising capital to help students negotiate loan rates. Last week, they formally raised $2.5M led by NFX, with participation from Global Founders Capital. The company specializes in pooling student loans together to create what they call a Negotiation Group. They have lenders compete against each other to purchase these debt large packages, which helps get individual students better rates.


TowerIQ 🛡️

According to Crunchbase TowerIQ, has raised $4.5M. Investors include General Catalyst, Hyperplane VC, Vestigo Ventures, Recharge Capital, and Laconia. The three-year-old InsurTech company, led by Adam Demos, is currently working out of GSV Labs in Boston. Its SaaS solution focuses on automating workflows involved with intaking insurance information from clients and standardizing the data to make it more valuable for customers. Their last financing was a $2M seed in 2018 led by Hyperplane.


Botkeeper 🤖

Five-year-old bookkeeping automation startup Botkeeper just raised $25M in Series B funding, bringing its total raised to $47.5M. The deal was led by Point72 Ventures, with participation from High Alpha Capital, Republic Labs, Oakridge, Greycroft, Gradient Ventures, and Sorenson Capital. The company is leveraging AI to analyze various financial transactions from customer’s banks, credit cards, payroll providers, etc. and accurately entering them into a general ledger. By automating these mundane tasks, they can help companies lower accounting expenses and potentially decrease instances of human error.


Abacus Insights 🏥

Per a Forbes Exclusive, Boston’s three-year-old Abacus Insights has raised $35M in Series B funding, bringing its total raised to $53M. The deal was led by Blue Venture Fund, with participation from CRV, .406 Ventures, Horizon Healthcare, and Echo Health Ventures. The company’s platform connects siloed systems in healthcare to help insurers and hospitals analyze information while bringing more transparency to patients. Forbes notes that this investment comes months after the Department of Health and Human Services ruled that by next year, insurers, providers, and hospitals must adopt interoperable data systems to give patients more control.


Hydrow 🚣‍♀️

Cambridge-based Hydrow, the “Peloton of Rowing,” just raised $25M in Series B funding from L Catterton and Rx3 Ventures, bringing its total raised to $57M. You no longer have to set out on the Charles to work out like the Winkelvoss twins with this immersive $2,200 rowing machine. Even before COVID, the demand for individual workouts with connected communities has been surging and investors are eager to back another Peloton-scale exit:


Zerto 💽

The 11-year-old IT resilience firm Zerto has raised $33M from investors including 83North, Battery Ventures, and IVP, bringing its total raised to $183M. The company’s platform combines disaster recovery, backup, and cloud mobility features to protect enterprise customers from downtime and data loss. According to Pitchbook, Zerto was valued at $260M after its 2018 financing.


Wise Systems 🚗

Cambridge-based Wise Systems has raised $15M for its AI-driven routing and dispatch technology. The deal was led by Valo Ventures, with participation from Gradient Ventures, Prologis Ventures, and E14 Fund. The company’s web app provides real-time visibility into last-mile delivery fleets to reduce travel time and speed up deliveries. The company has now raised $23M since its founding in 2014. Forbes article on the announcement.


Mabl 🧪

In early June, I wrote that Mabl was raising $8M. According to Strictly VC, they have formally closed $6M in funding from Amplify Partners. Their automated and low-code test development product helps speed up the release pipeline for new software products. The product allows you to record an action using its Chrome extension to create an automated UI test that can be easily replayed to test for QA issues.


Openly 🛡️

Three-year-old InsurTech startup Openly has raised $15M per a Form D filing, bringing its total raised to about $23M. The company focuses on providing premium and exclusive home insurance coverage for wealthier individuals. Claims are 100% backed by the carrier Rock Ridge Insurance.


BabelBark 🐕

Per a Form D filing, pet tech company BabelBark has raised $3.9M in equity and debt. I last wrote about BabelBark in February when they had raised $3.4M in what was listed as a $20M offering. The company helps connect pet owners, pet businesses, and veterinary clinics through a mobile application.


Thanks for reading!

That’s all from me until next week — If you’d like to connect with me, you can find me on Linkedin and Twitter or check out my website at nickstu.art.

Missing something? Spot an inaccuracy?
Email me and tell me about it! I’ll be sure to share it in my next update.

Last Week in Boston Tech Deals

Twelve Companies Raised Over $450M

How do you Read Newsletters?

It's an honest question, even though it might sound obvious. It's hard to keep up with them, and they're a pain in the ass if you haven't figured out the perfect way to organize your inbox. Lots of people think the “everyone having a Substack” fad will die. I think it's more of a proper consumption problem.

It took me a while to figure out a good system, but I’ve converted to Stoop. It's a slick mobile and web app that creates an inbox-style feed for your newsletters where you can view, save, and forward them. I try to check it every morning. I'm in no way affiliated with the company, it just helped me crack my newsletter reading workflow and helped me consistently follow a lot of good writers. Some of my favorite lesser-known newsletters:

Snow Thoughts

An unfiltered view of macroeconomics, crypto, and tech investing from Boston’s Matt Snow. Frequently covers why the money printer goes brrrr and WTF happened in 1971.

Everything

A brand new merger of premium Substack publications that I reference frequently. It focuses on productivity and business strategy. I shared Nathan Baschez’s Inside the Clubhouse article not long ago.

Witty Wealth

A new MorningBrew-esque newsletter that covers finance topics using simple words and pop culture references. It seems like a joke at first, but Anuj Abrol puts in an absurd amount of research into each issue. See his Game of Thrones-themed Who is Chamath Palihapitiya for a taste.

Not Boring

Business strategy takes, but not boring. Here’s why author Packy McCormick thinks Business is the New Sports.

The Venture Desktop

Brett Bivens writes some excellent deep dives on the innovation economy. For a taste, check out The Merits of Bottoms Up Investing.

Please feel free to send me anything you’re regularly reading…I’d love to check it out!


Other Stuff I'm Reading:


VC Financing Deals:

Whatifi 📺

As Quibi closes a lackluster end to its $1.75B free trial period, another short-form video service has emerged. Whatifi is a new choose-your-adventure social app based out of Wellesley and Los Angeles. The app makes it easy for friends to vote on the plotline of short movies while watching together. They just raised $10M from Andreesen Horowitz, Matrix Partners, the ex-CFO of Netflix, PayPal co-founder, Zynga founder, ex-Lyft COO Jon McNeill, and others. It’s founded by Hardi Meybaum (ex-GP at Matrix Partners), Jaanus Juss (Estonian technologist), and Michael Offill. The team is building a social-oriented version of interactive media that we got a taste from with Bandersnatch on Netflix and those Goosebumps books from the 90’s.

Whatifi mobile video

Vendr 💰

Last October, Boston’s Vendr made headlines by raising a seed round while already profitable. The YC alumnus is building software that identifies potential cost savings on software purchases for enterprises. Kind of like an enterprise version of Honey. After getting backing from F-Prime Capital, Sound Ventures, Liquid 2 Ventures, and Garage VC, their new $4M round has been led by Craft Ventures. TechCrunch outlines how Vendr made the typically difficult switch from a consultancy firm to a high-margin software business.


Trade Hounds 👷

In mid-May, I wrote about Cambridge-based Hardworkers raising $150K for its trade work social media platform. Last week, a similar product out of Boston called Trade Hounds raised its third round of venture financing with $3.2M from Brick & Mortar Ventures and Corigin Ventures. They’re previously backed by Hyperplane VC, according to Crunchbase. Trade Hounds is a free mobile app aimed at connecting the tradespeople of America through an Instagram-style feed where users can share projects. The company is founded by David Broomhead and Peter Maglathlin (co-founder & ex-CFO of Catalant Technologies). They’re currently hiring for several roles.


Quaise ⛏️

Quaise just launched out of The Engine with $6M in funding with participation from Collaborative Fund. The startup, which spun out of the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center, is building drilling technology that will allow them to dig 10-20 kilometers below the earth’s surface to harness geothermal energy. Apparently it’s pretty hard to dig much farther than 40,000 feet below the earth’s surface. It took the Russians 20 years to get there. The founders learned that the bottleneck lied in building an effective drillbit. They’re opting to use electromagnetic waves to blast through the earth’s crust more effectively.


Duck Creek Technologies 🛡️

Four-year-old InsurTech firm Duck Creek Technologies has raised $230M ahead of an anticipated IPO. The new investors include Kayne Anderson Rudnick and Whale Rock Capital. Back in December, I wrote that the company had raised $120M from Dragoneer, Neuberger Berman, Insight Partners, and Temasek. The company provides a suite of software tools for the property and casualty insurance industry for assistance with policy administration, billing, claims, and more. More from BostInno.


Kyruus 🏥

Kyruus, a healthcare software company founded in 2010, just raised $30M from Francisco Partners. They provide search, scheduling, and data management solutions for patients and providers. The company’s software improves patient access to data with a suite of products for access centers and website & app development. More from BostInno.


PatientPing 👩‍⚕️

PatientPing, the seven-year-old healthcare coordination company out of Boston, just raised a $60M Series C. The round was joined by Andreessen Horowitz, F-Prime Capital, GV, SV Angel, and Transformation Capital. The company has a suite of products aimed at improving all healthcare encounters between patients and providers. Their software can be integrated into existing hospital infrastructure to help providers better track and engage patients with advanced notifications, dashboards, and gain helpful context around patients.


Appfire 💻

In its first round of outside capital, Boston’s Appfire just raised $49M from Silversmith Capital Partners. The 15-year-old company manages a portfolio of applications that enhance the customer experience of popular Atlassian tools. They have purchased developer brands like Feed Three, Bob Swift, and Wittified and sell their products under the Appfire brand through the Atlassian marketplace.


CareAcademy 🧓🏼

Senior care company CareAcademy just raised $9.5M to train more nurses. The company is building a platform for online training for caregivers so senior care providers can quickly onboard new workers and keep them in compliance in all 50 states. According to Crunchbase and Axios, the round was led by Impact America Fund with participation from ReThink Education, Revolution Rise of the Rest, Wanziang America Healthcare, Techstars, Strada, and ECMC. The company is founded and run by Helen Adeosun.


Infinidat 💽

Data storage unicorn Infinidat has raised a new growth equity round from TPG Growth, Goldman Sachs, Claridge, and Ion Investors. The nine-year-old company focuses on providing massive-scale data storage solutions to large enterprise customers in telecom, banking, and cloud services. Their platform has already shipped over 6 exabytes to customers around the world and has raised $325M+ in capital.

What is an Exabyte? How Big Is It Really?

Wonderment 📈

According to a tweet from co-founder Brian Whalley, pre-launch Wonderment has closed a new round of funding. The Boston-based eCommerce customer retention platform is still in private beta and but is seeking to grow its three-person team.


JSonar 🔍

Database security platform jSonar just raised $50M from Goldman Sachs after previously raising $10M across two rounds from Cedar Fund since launching in 2013. The company uses AI to analyze massive amounts of database activity to detect threats and recommend proper security protocols.


Thanks for reading!

That’s all from me until next week — If you’d like to connect with me, you can find me on Linkedin and Twitter or check out my website at nickstu.art.

Missing something? Spot an inaccuracy?
Email me and tell me about it! I’ll be sure to share it in my next update.

Last Week in Tech Deals

Boston's Recession Readiness

Boston’s Recession Readiness

Over a month ago, Venture Lane, Techstars, Underscore VC, BostInno, and First Republic Bank teamed up to collect data for a Recession Readiness Report on the Boston startup ecosystem. They ended up collecting data on 106 Massachusetts-based software companies and the results are now published. It’s full of valuable information on how startup leaders are thinking about execution for the next six months and beyond.

A few key points I found interesting:
  • 75% of respondents have less than 12 months of runway.

  • 53% of respondents will start raising in the next 6 months.

  • 63% applied for PPP or a similar program.

  • 28% laid off or furloughed employees.

  • 69% reported flat or negative revenue in the last 60 days.

The report goes a lot deeper into the breakdown of each of these stats. There’s also a collection of founder strategies outlining how startup executives are thinking about new revenue streams, retention, and remote leadership. Definitely worth a read!

Read the Report Now


Stuff I’m Reading:


VC Financing Deals:

ClearGov 🏫

In early March, I wrote that ClearGov was raising $1.5M. According to a new Form D, they’ve gone on to raise $3M in equity. The Maynard-based company offers a suite of budgeting and insight products for local government and school districts that help provide transparency to constituents. The last week, and more specifically the last three days, has shown that the public is eager to get a better understanding of city budgets.

Their products help schools and cities budget, benchmark, and communicate important spending information while allowing anyone to sift through the data. The company has previously raised from a mixture of grants, accelerators, and investors, including Hub Angels, Launch Capital, MassVentures, and the Bantam Group.


Common Sense Machines 🧠

A new AI-related company out of Cambridge called Common Sense Machines is currently raising $5M. According to a Form D, Common Sense Machines is a newly incorporated company being built by Tejas Kulkarni and Max Kleiman-Weiner. Tejas is an AI researcher who spent 3+ years at DeepMind and Max co-founded Diffeo, an autonomous research assistant software that Salesforce bought in 2019.


Superpedestrian 🛴

After raising $20M in November of last year, electric scooter and bicycle startup Superpedestrian has now raised $15M from growth equity firm Edison Partners. The deal also included the acquisition of Zagster, which will become part of the company’s Link program. Superpedestrian has differentiated itself from the scooter funding frenzy by focusing on durability and vehicle intelligence. They’re backed by General Catalyst, Spark Capital, Breyer Capital, and a handful of other individual angels and VCs.

It’s an interesting time for scooter economics:


Zilla Security 🛡️

Wellesley-based SaaS security management company Zilla Security has raised a $1M tranche in a $4.13M seed round. The stealth company’s known investors are Pillar VC and FirstMark Capital. Zilla’s founder and CEO is Deepak Teneja, a founding CEO at Pillar VC and past early executive at Netegrity, Aveksa, and RSA. He’s also notably a board member at Boston cybersecurity firm ObserveIT.


LabMinds 🔬

Somerville-based robotic lab automation company LabMinds has raised an undisclosed amount of capital, according to Pitchbook. This comes a year after it’s $4.2M Series A3. The eleven-year-old company uses AI and robotics to optimize lab productivity, improve safety, and minimize waste to bring medical solutions to market more quickly. LabMinds is backed by Bessemer Venture Partners, AngelCoFund, and Longwall Ventures.


Z Imaging 🥽

Boston-based Z Imaging, which is building augmented reality (AR) guidance solutions for surgery, just raised $530K. The four-year-old YC, MassChallenge, and Harvard i-Lab graduate helps surgeons overlay patients with CT scan and MRI imagery, track medical instruments inside the body, and plan procedures using AR. It’s run by Jose Maria Amich, who previously co-founded a non-profit aimed at tackling blindness in developing countries. Helping people see better seems to be his thing.


MetaLenz 🔍

Cambridge-based optical lens company MetaLenzhas raised $7.36M from so far undisclosed investors. According to Pitchbook, previous investors include the Department of Defense, Applied Ventures, Prelude Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures, and Tsingyuan Ventures. The four-year-old company is using flat-lens technology to make optical lenses on devices far smaller.


OpenExchange 📹

OpenExchange, an eleven-year-old communications company for the financial services industry, just raised VC for the first time since a Series B in 2013. It raised $4.35M, bringing total investment to $16M+. The Lincoln-based company helps finance firms spin up reliable and secure video conference connections and live streams. Previous backers include Citigroup, Ipreo, and Barclays.


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