Boston Tech Watch: Akili, Smartsheet, Tamr, Takeoff, Nanoramic & More
[Updated 9/19/18, 2:08 pm. See below.] It’s time to catch up on some recent Boston-area tech happenings:
—Takeoff Technologies, a Waltham, MA-based developer of robotic systems for grocery order fulfillment, recently raised $24 million from investors, the company said in an e-mail to Xconomy. The Series B funding round was led by Forrestal Capital and brings the startup’s total venture capital haul to $46 million, Takeoff’s Edgar Arciniegas said. The news was first reported by the Boston Globe.
—Tamr said it tacked $10 million onto its recently announced funding round, bringing the round’s total to $28 million. The new investors include Pear Tree Partners and Granite Hill Capital Partners, according to a press release. Previous investors in the round include Samsung Ventures, GV, New Enterprise Associates, and Alumni Ventures Group. Cambridge, MA-based Tamr uses machine-learning algorithms, statistical analysis, and human experts to integrate businesses’ scattered data streams and clean up the information so the client can perform better analytics.
—Nanoramic Laboratories, which recently changed its name from FastCAP Systems, said it closed a $5 million investment from two Japan-based firms—NGK Spark Plug Co. and Marubun Corporation—and earlier Nanoramic backers. The MIT spinout develops products using advanced materials, including energy-storage devices designed to withstand extremely hot temperatures and strong vibrations.
—Quantiphi, a Marlborough, MA-based provider of machine learning software and services, raised $3.4 million from investors, per an SEC filing. [This paragraph added.—Eds.]
—Palo Alto, CA-based Orbital Insight announced it purchased FeatureX, an artificial intelligence startup focused on computer vision for satellite imagery. FeatureX’s founder and CEO is serial entrepreneur Gil Syswerda.
Orbital Insight performs analytics on data from satellites, drones, balloons, and other unmanned aerial vehicles. The deal marks Orbital Insight’s first acquisition. The company raised a $50 million Series C funding round last year.
—Akili Interactive Labs, a Boston-based startup that develops mobile video games intended to assess and treat a range of cognitive disorders, said it licensed technology that aims to improve brain function through a combination of cognitive tasks and physical movement. The approach, delivered through a new motion-capture video game interface, comes from the University of California, San Francisco research lab of Akili co-founder Adam Gazzaley. The integration of a physical activity component would mark a new direction for Akili’s experimental video game therapies.
Akili, which has raised $97 million from investors, is currently waiting to see if the FDA will clear its first product, aimed at treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
—Waltham-based Connance is being acquired by Louisville, KY-based Waystar for an undisclosed price. Both companies make software to help hospitals and clinics manage payments and other business operations. A spokesperson said that all 85 Connance employees are expected to join Waystar, which currently employs more than 700 people.
—Smartsheet (NYSE: SMAR), the Bellevue, WA-based collaborative software maker that went public earlier this year, said it’s expanding its downtown Boston office, adding room for up to 450 employees. The company currently houses 170 employees there, a spokesperson said.
—Lastly, Freight Farms introduced a new service aimed at making it easier for businesses, universities, hospitals, and other clients to adopt the startup’s indoor micro-farms—shipping containers filled with hydroponic farming systems that can grow a variety of lettuces, herbs, and other greens. With “Grown by Freight Farms,” the company will install its indoor farming systems at client sites, but what’s new is Freight Farms will also provide a staff member who will operate and maintain the farm for the customer. That eliminates the need for clients to train their own employees to operate the farm.