Boston Tech Watch: Scooters, Toast, Mimecast, AtScale, Acquia & More
An HQ moves eastward. B2B branches into B2C. Acquisitions abound. And VC funds keep rolling in. Read on for more details on technology news in Boston this week.
—Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has filed an ordinance to license and regulate micro-mobility businesses like scooter-sharing startups Bird and Lime. The proposal, which still needs approval from the City Council, would let the transportation commissioner limit the number and type of “small vehicles” available in the city as well as the number of licenses available to operators. The vehicles will be allowed to travel at a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour. When electric-powered scooters showed up unannounced in nearby Cambridge and Somerville last summer, Walsh voiced opposition to the prospect of them landing in Boston: “If they drop them off here, we’re going to pick them up off the street and they can come pick them up at the tow yard.”
—Restaurant point-of-sale technology startup Toast is moving into the direct-to-consumer world with its release this week of Toast Takeout, a mobile app that diners can use to place pickup orders. The offering is a shift for the company from its current focus on offering checkout apps for restaurants. Toast’s play is to cut in on other services like DoorDash or Postmates, which charge restaurants large margins for restaurants to use their online ordering portals. Toast says the service has already signed up 210 restaurant partners in Boston. Last July, Toast raised a $115 million Series D venture round, just one year after it raised $101 million from investors.
—Vicarious Surgical, a virtual-reality-aided robotic surgery startup based in Charlestown, MA, has raised $10 million, according to an SEC filing. The company, which did not return a request for comment on the investment, raised $17 million in March 2017. Its investors include Khosla Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, and Innovation Endeavors, according to Vicarious Surgical’s website.
—E-mail and data security firm Mimecast (NASDAQ: [ticker:MIME]) has acquired London-based data migration services company Simply Migrate. The Lexington, MA-based company says the deal expands its data migration services, which have emerged as a popular choice for enterprises looking to move legacy data archives to the cloud. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. In July, Mimecast said it acquired Solebit, a San Francisco- and Tel Aviv-based company that focuses on malware and unknown threats in data files, for $88 million.
—Everbridge, a Burlington, MA-based company whose software can send emergency notifications to attendees at large events, is deploying its platform in Atlanta to manage safety alerts during Super Bowl LIII this weekend. Everbridge (NASDAQ: [ticker:EVBG]) says other large gatherings where its tools have been used include the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration in New York and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Tracy Reinhold, Everbridge chief security officer, says the platform “is in place to allow officials to quickly alert locals and visitors to any risk and to communicate an appropriate response” in the event of a security threat or disruption.
—Boston open-source website software company Acquia topped $200 million in revenue for 2018, the business said in a news release this week. Acquia’s announcement goes a bit deeper into the financial details than most private companies do when crowing about annual progress. Acquia said it generated $169.3 million in revenue in 2017. The company, founded in 2007, declined to reveal its net income in 2018, but it said gross profit rose 39 percent from 2017. Acquia, which builds software to work on the open source web publishing platform Drupal, has about 800 employees worldwide and has raised $175 million in venture funding.
—AI aerial mapping software startup AirWorks Solutions raised a $2.3 million seed funding round led by Boston-based artificial intelligence-focused fund Innospark Ventures. The Cambridge-based company’s software helps land developers and civil engineers analyze construction sites in real time using aerial imaging from drones. MetaProp, FM Global, Rough Draft Ventures, and angel investors also joined in the funding round.
—Vivox, the Framingham, MA-based developer of voice and text chat tools for video games including Fortnite and League of Legends, was acquired by Unity Technologies for an undisclosed sum, the companies said. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The entire Vivox team is joining San Francisco-based Unity, the company said, and Vivox will keep its current headquarters. Vivox’s “3D positional audio technology” is used in 125 games and has over 100 million active monthly users, the company said. Unity provides game developers a 3D game creation platform.
—AtScale, a data virtualization startup led by former Accomplice partner Chris Lynch, is moving its headquarters from San Mateo, CA, to Boston to tap into the enterprise talent and “muscle memory” in the region. The company will keep its California office as a main development office, while expanding its other office in Sofia, Bulgaria, Lynch said in a wide-ranging interview that touched on Boston’s technology ecosystem and the state of venture capital.
— Carbon Relay exited stealth mode this week and said it’s focusing on reducing energy use—and carbon emissions—from data centers with its A.I.-powered tools. The Boston company said it has raised $6 million in seed funding, some from Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn Technology Group, thus far.