Boston Tech Watch: CIC, Zylotech, Freebird, Mavrck, Sheprd

Venture funding rounds, a co-working center opening, and a shuttered ride-sharing service marked the Boston-area technology news this week. Read on for more.

—Freebird, a Cambridge, MA-based flight re-booking service, brought in $8 million in new funds to accelerate growth in its main corporate travel market. The Series A investment was led by American Express Ventures, with Citi Ventures, PAR Capital Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, Accomplice, and other investors also contributing, the company said.

“Flight disruptions are a multi-billion-dollar pain point for road warriors and leisure travelers alike,” Ethan Bernstein, co-founder and CEO of Freebird, said in a prepared statement. “Freebird’s platform supplements existing technology and offers solutions that meet the expectations of everyday travelers.”

—Marketing software startup Mavrck said it raised $5.8 million to expand e-commerce partnerships and battle to be the major platform for companies to connect with, verify, and collaborate with valuable social media “influencers.” Previous investors Kepha Partners and GrandBanks Capital provided the funding. In 2015, the two venture firms loaded up Mavrck with $5 million. The company this year said it added detection capabilities to its platform to try and catch fraud in its influencer ranks.

—Zylotech, a Cambridge-based marketing technology company, closed a $5.5 million funding round led by Glasswing Ventures, along with Geekdom, Revel Partners, and Rubicon Venture Capital. Spun out of MIT and launched in 2017, Zylotech uses artificial intelligence software to generate marketing analytics for businesses. Glasswing co-founder and managing partner Rudina Seseri is joining Zylotech’s board as part of the funding round.

—The Cambridge Innovation Center opened a new co-working and innovation space within its Kendall Square offices, which will focus on companies tackling ideas to improve the “lives of the aging population.” The co-working space, called Agency, is seeded by a $100,000 state grant from the Massachusetts eHealth Institute to pay for staffing, design, and programming, according to a press release. In exchange for its seed funds, the state will grab a seat on Agency’s board and a co-working desk for state officials to connect with entrepreneurs.

—Sheprd, a student ride-sharing service in the Boston area, shut down after having part of its operations halted by state regulators. The two-year-old company, backed in January with $1 million from the U.K.’s Jaguar Land Rover, said it was growing in recent months but still running low on capital. Sheprd said it lined up investors to pony up $1.2 million. But hours later, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities called and asked the company to shut down some of its fleet. With no certainty of when it would be back up and running, some of the company’s contracted drivers left and the investors walked away, according to a post on the company’s website.

“I know that families are going to have a hard time replacing the service we provided,” Sheprd CEO Nick Jasset said in a prepared statement, “and I am very sorry we couldn’t make this work.”

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