Boston Roundup: EMC, MyEnergy, Nuance, Balter, ‘Midas’ VCs

Downsizing, buyouts, deals, and investors galore dot this run-through of recent news around the Boston area innovation sector:

EMC is laying off about 1,000 people. The restructuring had been previously announced, but Hopkinton, MA-based EMC—which sells digital storage services—specified the number of job cuts in its latest quarterly report. The company (NYSE: EMC) says the jobs will affect its Information Storage, RSA Information Security, and Information Intelligence Group units. The Boston Globe notes that EMC has about 60,000 employees.

MyEnergy, a small Boston startup that provides online software for tracking home energy use, has been acquired by smart thermostat maker Nest. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Nest, based in Palo Alto, CA, makes home thermostats that can “learn” how people use energy by tracking when they adjust temperatures. They also use motion sensors to detect when people are home. Nest says that it plans to “meld MyEnergy technology into Nest’s services.”

Nuance Communications, the Burlington, MA, voice-recognition software company behind applications including (open secret alert) Apple’s Siri, is using its technology to help recognize bank customers. In a deal with Barclays, Nuance (NASDAQ: NUAN) will help identify money-management clients when they call customer service by matching their real-time voice with a recording on file. The companies say that means an end to the list of security questions callers might run through when they normally ring for help.

—The ever-busy Dave Balter (speaking at XSITE on June 19) is getting busier. Walter Frick at BostInno reports that Balter is heading up a new seed-stage investment fund for his employer, dunnhumby. Dunnhumby, a consumer-analytics subsidiary of U.K. retail giant Tescobought Balter’s marketing startup BzzAgent in 2011. Balter also helps run peer-to-peer learning project and is an advisor to Boston Seed Capital. Balter tells BostInno that his new dunnhumby Ventures gig won’t clash with the Boston Seed position.

—Forbes has published its annual Midas List, an attempt to rank the nation’s venture capitalists by performance. Of course, that’s not really possible to do because of the venture sector’s secrecy. But Forbes gets close by tallying up known “exits” that individual VCs were part of. Five Boston-area investors made this year’s list of the top 100: Ben Nye of Bain Capital Ventures at No. 24; Neeraj Agrawal of Battery Ventures at No. 27; Joel Cutler of General Catalyst at No. 38; Bijan Sabet of Spark Capital at No. 51; and Michael Krupka of Bain Capital Ventures at No. 83.

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