Boston Tech Watch: Casa IPO Plan, Rapid7 HQ, Optimus Deal & More

[Updated 11/29/17, 1:33 pm. See below.] Now that everyone has sufficiently recovered from their turkey comas, it’s time to catch up on some recent headlines from the Boston-area tech scene:

—Casa Systems could be the area’s second tech IPO of 2017, if it follows through on plans disclosed in a recent SEC filing. The Andover, MA-based company’s preliminary target fundraising amount in the proposed public offering is $150 million. Founded in 2003, Casa sells software and equipment meant to help cable providers and other network operators boost network speeds.

So far, the only local tech company to go public this year is CarGurus.

—Optum, UnitedHealth Group’s health services business, said it launched a $250 million venture capital fund to invest in digital health companies. Optum Ventures has offices in Boston and Menlo Park, CA, according to its website. The fund said it has already backed four companies, including Boston-area companies Buoy Health and Shyft Analytics. [This paragraph added—Eds.]

—Qvidian was acquired by Austin, TX-based Upland Software (NASDAQ: UPLD) for $50 million in cash. Chelmsford, MA-based Qvidian’s automation software helps manage sales proposals and requests for proposals, while Upland’s software helps enterprises manage IT investments and automate document-heavy processes, among other uses.

—Goji, a Boston-based company that sells home and auto insurance policies online, said it raised $15 million in an investment led by Hudson Structured Capital Management. Goji got started a decade ago and changed its name from Consumers United in 2014.

—Boston-based startup RadioPublic, which makes an app that helps people discover podcasts, reportedly raised $1.2 million from investors. The investment was led by WGBH, the Boston-based public radio and TV broadcaster, with contributions from Groupon co-founder Andrew Mason and Cambridge, MA-based Companyon Capital, BostInno reported. RadioPublic has raised a total of $2.8 million from its backers, which also include The New York Times, American Public Media, McClatchy, and Graham Holdings Co., the Boston Globe reported. [This paragraph added.]

—Boston-based staffing and recruiting software maker Bullhorn announced it acquired Peoplenet for an undisclosed price. Atlanta-based Peoplenet sells workforce management software to staffing firms, healthcare organizations, and hospitality businesses. The deal follows October’s sale of Bullhorn by Vista Equity Partners to Insight Venture Partners, and Bullhorn’s September acquisition of Netherlands-based Connexys. [This paragraph added.]

—Optimus Ride, a Boston-based autonomous vehicle software startup, formed a partnership with LStar Ventures, the developer of the Union Point real estate development project in South Weymouth, MA, through which Optimus intends to transport passengers around the 1,400-acre site, the Boston Globe reported. A pilot transportation program is expected to begin next year, the Globe said.

—Boston-based cybersecurity firm Rapid7 (NASDAQ: RPD) revealed plans to consolidate its local offices into a new headquarters at The Hub on Causeway, a real estate project being developed adjacent to TD Garden, where the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins play. In announcing the relocation, Rapid7 CEO Corey Thomas cited the “escalating costs” of nearby Cambridge and Boston’s Seaport neighborhood as one of the reasons for the move, which is expected to take place in the second half of 2019.

—In other headquarters news, Virgin Pulse relocated its head office from Framingham, MA, to Providence, RI. The state of Rhode Island offered the company $5.7 million in tax incentives, according to a Rhode Island Public Radio report.

The company, which sells employee wellness and productivity software, merged last year with rivals ShapeUp (based in Providence) and Global Corporate Challenge (based in Melbourne, Australia). Virgin Pulse said it currently employs around 100 people at the new headquarters, but it plans to grow to 300 there by 2021.

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