Boston Tech Watch: DraftKings, Plexxi, Flywire, MassCEC, & More
This week in Boston, we’re tracking new funds for tech companies and incubator programs, a pair of acquisitions, the latest challenger to the daily fantasy sports industry, and this year’s participants in a local accelerator for startups trying to improve society.
—Nashua, NH-based Plexxi announced it raised an undisclosed amount of funding from GV, formerly known as Google Ventures. The IT network infrastructure company raised a $35 million round in September from an undisclosed new investor, with participation by previous backers Lightspeed Venture Partners, Matrix Partners, and North Bridge Venture Partners.
—Flywire, a Boston-based company that processes international tuition, room, and board payments online—made its second small acquisition in the past three months. It purchased Toronto-based ScholarFX, a five-person company that handles student payment processing for 12 colleges and universities in Canada, for an undisclosed price. ScholarFX founder Darren Chadwick is the only employee who will join Flywire post-acquisition, Flywire chief customer officer Rob Rosenblatt said in an e-mail message.
The deal follows Flywire’s acquisition in October of Uni-Pay, a six-person competitor based in the U.K.
—Concord, MA-based device company Isabella Products has acquired education software firm StarWalk Kids Media for an undisclosed price. Isabella has developed a tablet aimed at children ages 3 to 10. StarWalk publishes children’s e-books.
—The legal roadblocks for Boston-based DraftKings and New York-based FanDuel are piling up. The Texas attorney general issued an opinion that daily fantasy sports are prohibited gambling under state law if companies take a cut of players’ bets. The opinion doesn’t ban DraftKings and its competitors, but it does indicate the attorney general thinks Texas courts should do so. The daily fantasy sports industry has also faced legal challenges in Nevada, New York, Illinois, and Vermont.
—The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s IncubateMass will dole out $530,000 in grants to four startup incubators located around the state. Greentown Labs, located in Somerville, will receive $300,000 over three years; Beverly-based North Shore InnoVentures will get $165,000 over three years; Amesbury’s Chestnut Innovation Center will get $40,000 over a one-year period; and TechSandBox, in Hopkinton, will get $25,000 for one year.
—The Social Innovation Forum announced the six companies that will participate in its three-month accelerator in Boston this year, which supports companies whose businesses aim to have a positive impact on society. The participating companies are working on problems in clean energy, healthcare, education, and government. The Social Innovation Forum launched the accelerator program in 2013.
—LearnLaunch graduated its fourth class of education-related startups on Wednesday. The Boston-based edtech accelerator held a demo day showcasing seven startups in gaming, children’s books, online payments, college admissions, and other sectors.