New England Startups Collect $203M in April; Life Sciences and Internet Sectors Top the List

Xconomy Boston — 

The Boston-area pollen count surged in April, but venture financings experienced a more modest increase. New England’s tech and life sciences startups raised a total of $202.9 million in 21 equity-based deals, compared to March’s $194.5 million raised in 17 deals, according to data provided by our partner, private company intelligence platform, CB Insights. (Note, I’m talking here about equity-based deals worth $1 million or more apiece; we’ll round up April’s smaller “under-the-radar” deals a little later on this month.)

Early-stage deals dominated the April list. Of the 21 deals, 15 were seed, A, or B funding rounds. And those early rounds weren’t necessarily small, either: four of the five top deals were early-stage financings.

The life sciences sector came in first for dollars raised in April, as it did in March. But the $75.5 million raised by life sciences firms in April made up less than 40 percent of the venture investing for the month, compared to $144.2 million that went to the sector in March, accounting for nearly three-quarters of the equity-based venture dollars raised that month. A biotech company still nabbed the top deal spot in April, though, with $39.6 million going to Catabasis Pharmaceuticals, a developer of treatments for inflammation-related diseases such as diabetes. The Cambridge-based startup secured the round from SV Life Sciences, Clarus Ventures, and MedImmune Ventures. (Luke first broke the news when the company filed for the first $7.7 million of the financing, and then caught up with the company’s CEO, a Sirtris Pharmaceuticals veteran, the following week.)

The second-biggest deal went to North Billerica, MA’s Xos Digital, a provider of content management software and digital media services for sports organizations and athletic marketers. The company, which also has headquarters in Orlando, FL, announced in April that it had completed its Series B round of financing, but didn’t disclose the amount. An SEC filing shows that $37.16 million had been raised in equity and options and warrants, but that the round could total as much as $41.92 million.


Energy investing came back on the grid in April, with $30 million in second round funding for Joule Unlimited. The Cambridge-based company, which is developing technology for turning carbon dioxide into ethanol, nabbed the third-biggest venture deal last month. The energy sector was a no-show on March’s deals list.

Venture investing in the Web companies grew by more than 50 percent in April, compared to March. The sector took the second-largest pot of money for the month, $39.4 million, and the highest number of deals, at eight. The biggest deal in the Internet space went to Brightcove, a Cambridge-based online video hosting company that pulled in $12 million in Series D funding.

Companies in the retail arena accounted for a good chunk of the Internet cash raised last month, with Searchandise Commerce, an online media network for manufacturers and retail partners, and online e-commerce storefront provider Demandware taking $7 million apiece. E-commerce jewelry customization site Gemvara raised $5.2 million in Series B funding, and Daily Grommet, a site peddling unusual gift items with online videos, announced the first tranche of its Series A round, at $3.4 million.

Here’s the full list of April’s equity-based deals:
AprilFundingApril also saw several startups raising cash through deals based on debt, options, and/or warrants, rather than equity. Those 6 transactions, worth a combined $21 million, are listed below.AprilDealsNonEquity