Last Week in Boston Tech Deals
Welcome to 2021
Welcome to the New Year 😎
It’s crazy how quiet the builders in Boston are.
Out of the eight Boston area companies that raised ~$190M in the tail end of 2020, only one even had a Crunchbase profile and only one got any notable media coverage.
Excited to see what 2021 brings for this lowkey (but heavy hitting) ecosystem.
Stuff I’m Reading:
In Georgia, a Center for People with Disabilities Doubles as a Google User-Testing Hub — WSJ
Moderna’s Vaccine is a Startup Triumph, Too — Joanna Glasner
Boston VC Financing Deals:
Starburst Data 💾
According to The Information, three-year-old analytics company Starburst Data is raising a ~$118M Series C at a $1.6B post-money valuation from a16z — on ARR of $12M. Back in June, I wrote that the company had raised a $42M Series B from Coatue’s Caryn Marooney (her first deal at Coatue since leaving FB as their Communications VP). Starburst is building a distributed SQL query engine product based on Presto, an open source project spun out of Facebook. Starburst lets businesses easily do data warehousing analytics.
From The Information:
Founded after it was spun off from database analytics company Teradata, Starburst opted not to raise venture capital in its first two years. CEO Justin Borgman told The Information recently that the business, which counts Verizon, Comcast, Walmart and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority as customers, has been profitable on a free cash flow basis for most of its existence.
Year-old social sports betting company Wagr just raised $4M according to a Form D. They’re making a simple sports betting app that removes the complexity and danger of placing bets while encouraging participation between friends. They went through Pear VC’s accelerator program, which had its demo day back in October and gives $150K for 5% in equity. According to a recruiting blog, they also raised from the MBA Fund.
It seems like -> Robinhood : Public :: DraftKings : Wagr
It’s led by CEO Mario Malave, who previously worked as a VC at Playground Global, along with Eliana Eskinazi and Adam Zimmer.
[You can sign up for their beta here]
Zoë Barry recently launched Boston-based Zingeroo with backing from investors including TBD Angels. It’s still in stealth, but is a fantasy sports style betting app for the stock market.
Re:Build Manufacturing 🏗️
According to a Form D, year-old Re:Build Manufacturing just raised $27.6M to “combine cutting-edge enabling technologies, operational superiority and strategic M&A to build America’s next generation industrial company.” They’re an acquisition group specializing in industrial manufacturing to help revitalize the US’s manufacturing capabilities.
It sounds like they’re doing a hybrid of investing in and incubating small to medium-sized manufacturing companies to modernize their processes. “Unlike private-equity backed or publicly traded enterprises, our vision spans decades rather than years or the next quarter.” It’s run by ex-PE investors Miles Arnone, Michael Foley, and Gordon O’Brien. The backing comes in part from Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO of Worldwide Consumer.
Back in March, I wrote about stealth-mode energy storage company Everon24 raising $3.7M. According to a new filing, they just raised an additional $14.8M. The original investment came from husband and wife Mukesh Chatter and Priti Chatter. The two lead Burlington-based NeoNet Capital. In 1996, Mukesh sold his company Nextabit Networks to Lucent Technologies for $900M.
Also listed on the filing is CTO Rahul Mukherjee, an engineering PhD who previously led R&D for a company building graphene-based energy storage systems. According to Linkedin, Everon24 is “Leading research, development and commercialization activities for a novel and inexpensive energy storage technology.” The Company has a patent from 2016 for a “Rechargeable battery using a solution of an aluminum salt as an electrolyte, as well as methods of making the battery and methods of using the battery.”
Upstart Power ⚡
Upstart Power, a Southborough-based company developing fuel cell technology to enable enable resilient microgrids, raised $15.5M on 12/16 from Enphase Energy, Sunnova Energy International, and Rodgers Capital. They want to replace residential and commercial gas-powered generators with lower cost, lower emission, solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) generators.
They spun out of Protonex, a MA-based developer of power management solutions for the defense industry, that was bought by Ballard in 2015.
Burlington-based edge computing company Avesha just raised $5.5M. Led by Raj Nair, the two-year-old company helps businesses disaggregate applications across cloud, multi-cloud, and edge locations using their Smart Network Application Platform.
The platform overlays applications to help them traverse cloud edge networks to optimize performance. They’re initially targeting companies working on multiplayer gaming, competitive eSports, and medical AI — all industries that need extremely low latency to successfully operate. It kind of reminds me of Fly.io, a YC company that runs application code closer to users and scales compute power in cities where an app is using the most bandwidth.
A company listed as DxLab just raised $4M according to a Form D. However, the filing lists MitoLab CEO Fahim Farzadfard as a director. Investors on the filing include Calvin Chin from the MIT-focused investment group E14 Fund and Adam Mullinax from Ambrosia Investments and Neotney. The filing also lists MIT Postdoctoral Researcher Ho-Jun Suk, who works in biomedical engineering and is a co-founder of Recon Therapeutics.
BBJ notes that the address listed on the filing matches that of Greentown Labs, but I’m having trouble linking it to any climate tech company. If it’s connected to MitoLab, it would be the Company’s second round of outside capital after raising $2.7M in April.
“Spun out of Harvard and MIT in 2020, MitoLab is leveraging the founding team's broad domain expertise in DNA writing & genome engineering, synthetic gene circuit design & engineering, and bacterial & viral engineering to build a scalable platform for mitochondrial genome engineering.”
Cobbles, a social network aimed at bolstering local communities, just raised $1.6M. The two-year-old company is building a social app that helps users share what’s happening in a story-style format with other local users. It’s sort of like a mixture of Instagram, Yelp, and Foursquare — led by Mark Slater and John Ludes.
It also reminds me of a few other Boston companies building hyper-local social networks on the thesis that community members are less connected than ever. Check out Cobu and Trova.
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.
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