Boston Tech Watch: Boston Metal, TaxJar, ClimaCell, & WithMe Health
[Updated 11:38 AM. Paragraph added.] A bunch of startups started 2019 off on the right foot taking big checks cut by investors that continue the boom from 2018. Read on for more.
—Weather forecast company ClimaCell says its high-resolution data is now available in 40 countries, including India. In October, the Boston-based startup raised $45 million, pushing its total venture capital haul to $65 million, and since then, it added another $5 million from Intact Ventures; GXP Investments, an arm of Kansas power utility Great Plains Energy; and National Grid Partners, the venture arm of the British gas and electric utility National Grid (NYSE: NGG) that has U.S. operations in Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island.
—WithMe Health, a medication guidance startup in Boston, raised $20 million from growth equity investor Oak HC/FT. The new company is going after the pharmacy benefit manager business that employers use to provide employees prescription medication coverage. Oak HC/FT partner Chris Price founded WithMe after finding no existing healthtech companies working to improve the problems he saw with medication management. The funding will let WithMe expand its team and develop its product for new customers, the company said.
—LineVision, a Somerville, MA, startup that helps utilities increase capacity on electric transmission lines, says it added $1 million to the $1 million it raised in a Series A funding round it closed in June. Boston’s Clean Energy Ventures led the additional funding and was joined by Serial clean energy entrepreneur David Brewster, former president and co-founder of EnerNOC. In June, LineVision raised the $1 million when it spun out of Genscape. The greentech company is currently running out the Somerville, MA, tech incubator Greentown Labs.
—EarlySense, an Israeli health monitoring technology company with an office in Woburn, MA, raised $39 million in a funding round led by medical technology company Hill-Rom and Wells Fargo’s venture capital arm. The company says its contact-free, A.I.-powered monitoring system tracks heart rate, breathing rate, sleep cycles, stress levels, and movement to help clinicians manage patient care.
—The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center issued grants to three early-stage companies. Battery Resources, a business developing a zero-waste recycling system for electric vehicle batteries in Worcester, MA, got $173,855. Heila Technologies in Somerville, MA, got $249,052 to build a way to optimize distributed energy resources in microgrids. Steam IQ in Hingham, MA, got $44,832 to develop a steam-trap monitoring system. VIA Separations received $225,000 to pilot a way to save energy in the paper industry.
—[Added.] A 32-year-old man from Somerville, MA, who identifies as a member of the hacking group Anonymous, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for orchestrating a distributed denial-of-service attack on Boston Children’s Hospital and a Framingham, MA-based residential treatment facility in 2014. Martin Gottesfeld was convicted in August 2018 of damaging protected computers at the facilities by using malicious software he installed on 40,000 network routers that he could control with his home computer, prosecutors said. The attack knocked Boston Children’s Hospital off the internet as well as other hospitals in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area. He attacked the hospital and treatment facility to demand change in a child custody dispute involving a Connecticut teenager.
—Sales tax automation startup TaxJar closed a $60 million Series A growth round from Insight Venture Partners. The company, based in Woburn, automates tax calculation and filing for businesses. It last sought outside funds in 2014, when it raised $2 million. TaxJar says it reached profitability in 2016. The $60 million will help it “aggressively hire” and expand its team, which works 100 percent remotely, the company says.
—Boston Metal, an MIT spinout developing a way to make steel without massive carbon emissions, raised $20 million in a round led by the $1-billion Bill Gates-chaired Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund. The Engine, a venture capital firm focusing on “tough tech” that MIT launched in 2016, also joined the funding round. The cash will help Boston Metal produce its first industrial-scale system to make different iron alloys, with the ultimate goal of producing emissions-free steel. The company has its headquarters and industrial development center outside Boston in Woburn, MA.
—Database-technology startup NuoDB raised $30 million in a new funding round, according to a SEC filing. Prior to NuoDB’s end-of-2018 filing, the Cambridge, MA-based company had raised at least $57 million. The company raised its last round in early 2016, with $17 million invested by a group of firms that included Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Longworth Venture Partners, and Morgenthaler Ventures.
—Affectiva, a Boston startup that’s developed an in-car A.I. system that senses the emotions of drivers and passengers, has raised $20 million of what’s hopes to be a $30 million funding round, according to a SEC filing. The MIT spinout in September partnered with A.I. speech tech company Nuance Communications (NASDAQ: NUAN) to “humanize” automotive assistants. In November, Nuance announced it would be spinning out its auto business into a new company.