Boston Tech Watch: Actifio, DraftKings, WaveSense, BabelBark & More
[Updated 8/23/18, 9:05 am. See below.] Time to catch up on recent news from the Boston-area tech sector:
—We’ve got more details on Actifio’s recently announced $100 million funding round: nearly $59 million of that total was equity funding, according to an SEC filing. A company spokesman told Xconomy the remainder of the investment was debt financing.
—DraftKings is going on a hiring spree as it ramps up its online sports betting products following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May that opened the door to legalized sports betting nationwide. The Boston-based startup, one of the leading daily fantasy sports companies, recently opened an office in San Francisco and plans to open one in Las Vegas, according to a press release e-mailed to Xconomy. DraftKings also intends to open a new headquarters in early 2019 in Boston, where it currently has more than 500 employees. It aims to hire approximately 375 people in Boston over the next 18 months, a spokeswoman said.
DraftKings’ recent hires include a new chief marketing officer, chief product officer, head of commercial growth, and two leaders of the company’s new sports betting business.
—Facebook reinstated Crimson Hexagon’s access to data from its platform and Instagram (which Facebook owns), according to a Crimson Hexagon blog post. Facebook was reviewing how the Boston-based social media analytics firm gathers and shares user data. The issue was related to Crimson Hexagon’s government customers, which make up less than 5 percent of its business, according to the blog post.
“To our knowledge, no government customer has used the Crimson Hexagon platform for surveillance of any individual or group,” CFO Dan Shore wrote in the post.
—ClearCompany, a Boston-based maker of recruiting and human resources software, said it raised a $60 million “growth equity” investment led by Primus Capital.
—Two former executives of Endurance International Group (NASDAQ: EIGI) settled charges brought by the SEC for allegedly overstating the Burlington, MA-based software company’s subscriber numbers, according to an SEC press release. Without admitting or denying wrongdoing, former Endurance CEO Hari Ravichandran agreed to pay $1.38 million and former CFO Waruna Ellawala agreed to pay $34,000 in penalties. Endurance agreed to pay $8 million in June to settle related charges brought by the SEC against the company and Waltham, MA-based Constant Contact, which Endurance acquired in 2016 for $1.1 billion.
Ravichandran left Endurance last year in an “accelerated” succession plan that the company attributed to the business’s expansion and the SEC investigation into the company’s financial reporting. He’s now CEO of two ventures, iSubscribed and Jump Ventures, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Meanwhile, the SEC on Tuesday filed a complaint against former Constant Contact CFO Harpreet Grewal alleging he hid the company’s “slowing customer growth from investors and inflated its publicly reported subscriber numbers.” In a statement provided by his attorney, Grewal denied any wrongdoing.
A spokesperson for Ravichandran declined to comment, and an Endurance spokesperson said the company will cooperate with the SEC, but she declined to comment further. Xconomy has also sent a message to Ellawala seeking comment. [This news item added and later updated with responses.—Eds.]
—Talla, a developer of business software powered by chatbots and other artificial intelligence technologies, has hired Paula Long as senior vice president of engineering, the Boston Business Journal reported. Long was previously CEO of DataGravity, an enterprise tech company acquired last year by HyTrust after several twists and turns that involved layoffs. Before that, she was vice president of engineering at Heartland Robotics and a co-founder of EqualLogic, acquired in 2007 by Dell for $1.4 billion. [This news item added.—Eds.]
—MeQuilibrium said it reeled in a $7 million Series C funding round led by HLM Venture Partners; earlier backers Chrysalis Ventures and Safeguard Scientifics also invested this time around. The Boston-based software startup says it uses elements of behavioral psychology to help employers develop programs to reduce employees’ stress and increase their engagement with their work, among other goals.
—BabelBark, a Newton, MA-based maker of software for pet owners and businesses, said it wolfed down $4.5 million in Series A funding. The investors weren’t disclosed in a press release announcing the deal.
—Somerville, MA-based WaveSense said it’s wrapping up a $3 million seed funding round led by Rhapsody Venture Partners. The startup is developing autonomous vehicle navigation tools that rely on ground-penetrating radar, which it says could prove useful in poor weather conditions or other situations when lane markings are unclear. The technology was developed at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, according to a press release.