Boston Tech Watch: iRobot Backs Sense, Lola Grabs Cash, & More

[Updated 1/10/17, 11:28 am. See below.] Now that we’re settling into 2017, it’s time for a recap of some of the year’s early happenings in the Boston tech scene:

—Diffeo said it acquired Meta Search for an undisclosed price. Cambridge, MA-based Diffeo provides software that it says acts as a sort of personal research assistant for research analysts. The technology uses text analytics and machine intelligence algorithms to recommend content in real time to flesh out what the user is writing. The software pulls information from the Internet and the user’s files.

Meta Search’s software helps users more easily search through all their files stored in the cloud. The company has been working out of InTeahouse’s startup space in Cambridge, according to a press release. With the acquisition, Meta Search’s product is now called Diffeo Cloud Search. [These paragraphs added.]

—Arcadia Healthcare Solutions said it raised $30 million in “growth capital” from new backers Merck Global Health Innovation Fund and GE Ventures, as well as previous investors Peloton Equity, Zaffre Investments, and Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners.

Burlington, MA-based Arcadia got started in 2002 as a healthcare IT consultant, but in recent years has shifted to a technology company that provides health data aggregation and analytics products and services. Read more about Arcadia in this Xconomy story from 2015.

—Boston travel technology startup Lola has raised $15 million from investors in a round that could reach $25 million, according to an SEC filing. The round was led by CRV, and included investments by previous backers General Catalyst Partners and Accel, according to a report by TechCrunch.

Lola is led by Kayak co-founder Paul English. The startup is developing a mobile app that provides an on-demand travel-booking service powered by humans and artificial intelligence technologies.

—Boston-based Cogito, a voice-analysis software firm, has raised nearly $4.1 million from investors, a new SEC filing shows. The money comes from undisclosed previous investors, and is an extension of the $15 million Series B round the company raised in November, Cogito vice president of marketing Steve Kraus said in an e-mail to Xconomy.

The MIT spinout’s behavioral analytics software is primarily being used by businesses to boost the performance of their call center employees. Cogito will use the new funds to continue signing up more customers and further develop its technology, Kraus said.

—Sense added $1 million to its Series A round announced in September, bringing the round’s total to $15 million. The additional money includes an investment by new backer iRobot Ventures, the corporate venture arm of iRobot (NASDAQ: IRBT). The Cambridge, MA-based startup has now raised a total of $20 million in venture funding.

Sense makes a system for monitoring the activities and energy use of various devices and machines in the home. In addition to the funding, the company announced wider availability of its product, new product features, and the hire of Scott Taylor as vice president of business development.

—Besomebody—a startup that built an online marketplace where people could buy, sell, or trade skills related to their passions—has shut down its app, according to the Boston Business Journal. The company is trying to retool itself around vocational training programs, the publication reported.

Besomebody was born in Austin, TX, but moved to Boston last year. The company appeared on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” but didn’t receive any money from the show’s investors. Read more about Besomebody in this Xconomy profile from 2014.

—ClearGov, a Wayland, MA-based startup that makes software to help governments share data more clearly, has hired Bryan Burdick as its president. Burdick is considered part of the founding team and will report to ClearGov CEO and founder Chris Bullock.

Burdick spent the past two-and-a-half years at LinkedIn, which acquired his previous startup, Bizo, for $175 million. His career also includes leadership roles at Monster, Lycos, and ZoomInfo, among other firms.

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