Boston Tech Watch: Driverless Cars, Stealthy Startups, Deals & More

Fall’s arrival has brought with it a ton of tech news. Here are the latest headlines from the Boston area, spanning self-driving cars, a flurry of startup funding deals, a lawsuit over 3D printer patents, and more. Read on for details.

—Self-driving cars will soon be tested on Boston streets as part of a year-long initiative the city announced in partnership with the World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group. The city and its partners will also study potential autonomous vehicle policies. The news came the same week that Uber began testing self-driving cars—overseen by a human at the wheel—in Pittsburgh. Cambridge, MA-based NuTonomy is also already testing autonomous taxis in Singapore.

Details about the Boston initiative, including when tests will begin and which companies will be involved, are still to be determined.

—Boston-based marketing software startup Promoboxx announced an $8.2 million Series A funding round led by Ascent Venture Partners and Grotech Ventures, with contributions from earlier backers LaunchCapital, Converge Venture Partners, Boston Seed Capital, StageOne Ventures, and several local individuals.

Founded in 2010, Promoboxx went through the Techstars Boston accelerator program in 2011. It previously raised $2.2 million from investors.

New Boston venture fund Pillar is being quiet about most of its early investments, but an SEC filing appears to have revealed one of them: Rekener, a stealthy Boston startup formed last year. The company raised almost $3.2 million, according to the filing.

Pillar founder Jamie Goldstein is listed on the regulatory filing as a director of Rekener. Alex Laats, former BBN Technologies president, is listed as Rekener’s president.

Pillar’s first publicly announced investment was in LBRY, a New Hampshire startup that recently raised $500,000.

—And here’s another stealthy local startup that just raised $3 million: Data Plus Math. BostInno pieced together a few more details.

—Connected2Fiber raised $1.1 million in seed funding led by Nauta Capital. The Hopkinton, MA-based startup says it applies data science, predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence-related technologies to help companies in the telecom network industry find good customer prospects and potential suppliers.

—Attend, a Boston-based event management and marketing software firm, was acquired by rival Event Farm, based in Washington, DC. The terms weren’t disclosed.

Attend was backed by .406 Ventures. The company recently reduced the size of its staff to six people, BostInno reported. Attend CEO Matt Engel (no relation to this writer, as far as I know) will become an advisory board member.

—3D printing startup Formlabs was once again sued for patent infringement, this time by Dearborn, MI-based EnvisionTEC. As of Friday afternoon, Somerville, MA-based Formlabs had yet to file a response in court.

Formlabs previously settled a different patent lawsuit with larger competitor 3D Systems. Under the terms of that 2014 agreement, Formlabs agreed to pay 8 percent of its net sales in exchange for licensing eight 3D Systems patents.

—All Set, an online marketplace for finding and hiring home cleaning and lawn service professionals, launched in Boston. The startup is the first to come out of Solaria Labs, Liberty Mutual’s in-house incubator in downtown Boston, a spokeswoman says. All Set is also backed by BCG Digital Ventures. An SEC filing shows All Set recently raised $14.4 million from investors.

—Boston-based Ministry of Supply, which makes high-tech work clothing primarily for men, has added women’s apparel to its line of products. It also shortened its name to Ministry.

Jeff Engel is Deputy Editor, Tech at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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