Five Companies Making Noise: ByteLight, HeyWire, Rapid7, Tap Lab, & Vivox

Heading into the holiday weekend, I thought I’d pull out a few highlights from recent discussions I’ve had with some Boston-area tech companies that are generating buzz. None of them will be taking the holiday off, I’m guessing.

So here’s a snapshot of five companies in different fields, and at different stages (with some common themes of communication, security, and location tech):

This is a new Cambridge, MA-based startup that’s heading to New York this weekend for the big annual National Retail Federation expo. ByteLight, led by founders Aaron Ganick and Dan Ryan (both Boston University grads), is developing technology for indoor positioning based on the circuitry in LED bulbs, together with smartphone cameras, for applications in sales automation, targeted deals, museum tours, and so on. “We view this as the next frontier in location based services,” Ryan says.

This Cambridge-based mobile startup makes an app for free texting and social messaging. But HeyWire has much bigger ambitions around creating a unified platform for social communications. Don’t want to give too much away here, but as engineering and marketing VPs Bill Gianoukos and Glenn Kiladis told me recently, an upcoming release from the company was inspired by the question, “How do we get Bieber to text us?”

This security assessment software company, based in Boston, recently raised a big $50 million venture round and is growing fast—and looking to make acquisitions. Rapid7 has well over 200 employees, and CEO Mike Tuchen says he is looking to add 100 more this year. One security tidbit he passed along: Many companies’ video conferences are surprisingly easy to hack into, because they put them directly on the Internet without security.

The Tap Lab
This Cambridge-based mobile gaming startup is working on its much-anticipated next release, which is still under wraps (but looks like it’s trying to reinvent the concept of location-based gaming—no pressure). In the meantime, CEO Dave Bisceglia is also working on a project to “increase the frequency and quality of hackathons” in Boston, he says. Stay tuned for more on this.

This voice and communication software firm, based in Natick, MA, has been making strides through partnerships with T-Mobile and Facebook. Vivox, best known for its voice chat software that lets gamers and virtual world inhabitants talk to each other, is now applying its technology to the broader markets of social networking and messaging (see T-Mobile’s recent Bobsled voice chat app). CEO Rob Seaver told me that his company’s platform is “very scalable and stable for large-scale social interactions.” What’s more, he says, the fields of gaming and communication are “not that separate.”

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