Boston Tech Watch: Desktop Metal, Nuance, Zagster, Elephant & More

Boston Tech Watch: Desktop Metal, Nuance, Zagster, Elephant & More

[Updated 3/24/18, 1:38 pm. See below.] This week in Boston tech, we’re tracking a 3D printing rivalry now headed to court, layoffs at a local bike-sharing startup, a leadership transition, more money for two venture capital firms, and an investment in a stealthy startup that appears to have MIT ties. Read on for details.

—Burlington, MA-based Desktop Metal has filed a patent infringement and trade secrets misappropriation lawsuit against its 3D printing rival Markforged, alleging that a former intern stole proprietary documents and shared them with his brother, a senior engineer at Watertown, MA-based Markforged, according to court documents. Read more about the case in the Boston Business Journal.

In a blog post, Markforged founder and CEO Greg Mark denied all of Desktop Metal’s allegations, calling them “far-fetched.” The company plans to formally respond in a court filing, Mark wrote. [This paragraph added.—Eds.]

Desktop Metal co-founder and CEO Ric Fulop invested in Markforged and sat on its board when he was a partner at North Bridge Venture Partners. Fulop is no longer on Markforged’s board.

—Elephant Partners, a Boston-based venture capital firm, pulled in $250 million for its second fund, according to an SEC filing. Elephant, which also has an office in New York, is led by Warby Parker co-founder Andrew Hunt and investor Jeremiah Daly. Both used to work at Highland Capital Partners.

Elephant raised about $156 million for its debut fund, and it has backed companies such as financial services startup Ratehub and digital marketer Maropost.

—Anterra Capital, a venture capital firm with offices in Amsterdam and Boston, said it raised an additional $75 million from backers, bringing the size of its current fund to $200 million. Anterra invests in high-tech food and agricultural companies.

—Kuvée, a Boston-based startup that developed a smart wine bottle, is shutting down, according to a Business Insider report. The news comes a couple months after the Boston Globe reported that Kuvée had laid off about 15 of its 20 employees. The company had raised at least $6 million from investors, including General Catalyst Partners, Founder Collective, and Bolt. [This paragraph added.—Eds.]

—Nuance Communications (NASDAQ: NUAN) named Mark Benjamin as its next CEO, effective April 23. Benjamin has been serving as the president and chief operating officer of NCR (NYSE: NCR), an Atlanta-based seller of business software, devices, and services. Benjamin will succeed Paul Ricci, who is retiring as Nuance CEO this month. The Burlington-based company sells speech and interface technologies.

—Zagster has laid off an unspecified number of employees as part of a restructuring of the business, according to a BostInno report. The Cambridge, MA-based bike-sharing startup shared additional details with TechCrunch. The layoffs were made about a month after Zagster closed a $15 million venture funding round.

—A Cambridge-based company called Neuralmagic has raised $5 million in equity funding, according to an SEC filing. Neuralmagic doesn’t appear to have a website. The executives listed on the SEC document are Nir Shavit and Alexander Matveev. They appear to be researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), according to MIT’s website. Also listed on the document is Jamie Goldstein, a partner at Boston venture capital firm Pillar Companies. Goldstein declined to comment.

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