Snapshot of Boston Tech Deals: Heartland Rethink, Sand 9, & Sonus Networks

A trio of decent-size technology deals around Boston today…and not a frivolous social/mobile app company among them. In fact, there is something quintessentially “Boston tech” about these companies—think networking, robotics, and hardware.

—Heartland Robotics, the stealthy Boston company working on a new kind of robot for manufacturing, has changed its name to Rethink Robotics and has raised a $30 million Series C round. The new money comes from Sigma Partners and other previous investors (including Charles River Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, and Bezos Expeditions), plus new investor Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Rethink, which is led by founder Rodney Brooks and CEO Scott Eckert, has now raised a total of $62 million in venture funding. [Corrected: an earlier version said $57 million, but didn’t include an unannounced round from 2008—Eds.] When the company shows its hand, it could be a huge breakthrough for the industry…or one of the biggest busts in recent history.

Sand 9, a Cambridge, MA-based startup working on micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology, has raised a $23 million Series C round from Intel Capital, Vulcan Capital, Commonwealth Capital Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners, General Catalyst Partners, Khosla Ventures, and CSR. MEMS has been around for a long time, but Sand 9 sounds like it has a precision timing device that could help smartphones, tablets, and telecom networks run more smoothly.

—In public company-land, Sonus Networks (NASDAQ: SONS), a communications and cloud-networking tech firm in Westford, MA, is acquiring Network Equipment Technologies (NASDAQ: NWK) of Fremont, CA, for $42 million in cash. The merger might make Sonus more competitive with Bedford, MA-based Acme Packet (NASDAQ: APKT) in real-time, Internet-protocol communications.

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