Boston Tech Watch: Thermo Fisher in China, 1upHealth, Anaqua & More

[Updated 2/25/19, 10:55 am. See updated item.] Plenty of Boston technology news this week, from acquisitions to fundings, machine-learning-powered awards predictions and more:

The New York Times says police-affiliated scientists in China were using equipment from Waltham, MA-based Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE: TMO) to collect DNA data and build “an enormous system of surveillance and control” over members of a  predominantly Muslim ethnic group to make them more subservient to the Communist Party. Thermo Fisher told the newspaper it would stop selling equipment in the part of China where the collection was taking place, and it’s working with American officials to get to the bottom of how its equipment was being used there.

—First, DataRobot took a swing at predicting the Grammy’s Song of the Year with its machine learning platform. (It did, with its prediction that Childish Gambino would walk away with the award for “This Is America.”) Now, the Boston-based startup trained its tool on the Oscars‘ Best Picture award. DataRobot analyzed reams of data about past nominees and winners from IMDb to determine which attributes are most predictive of winners. Then, it looked at this year’s nominees. The startup says “Roma” has the best chance of winning (17.8 percent), according to its data-crunching. Roma is followed by “A Star Is Born” (16.2 percent), “The Favourite” (15.5), and “Black Panther” (15.2).

—Zoba, a startup trying to help companies deploy shared vehicles like bikes and scooters more efficiently in urban areas, has raised a $3 million seed round led by early stage technology investor CRV, whose general partner Izhar Armony will join the company’s board. Founder Collective, Kaggle founder and CEO Anthony Goldbloom, Xobni and Sincerely founder Matt Brezina, and investor and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban also participated in the round. The startups says its working with “industry-leading bike, scooter and car share companies in the U.S. and abroad” to predict demand for shared mobility services based on city layout and weather so companies can optimize availability in real time. [Added.]

—Boston-based electronic medical records technology company 1upHealth has raised a $2.4 million seed round led by Eniac Ventures, Social Leverage, and Meridian Street Capital, according to a press release. The startup’s software platform helps healthcare providers make their patients electronic health records compatible with API (application programming interface) data standards in order for developers to create healthcare applications. 1upHealth says its platform is being used by more than 280 healthcare organizations, and it has hundreds of developers working on its API data.

—Intellectual property management software company Anaqua has received an investment from Astorg that gives the European private equity firm a controlling stake in the Boston-based company. Anaqua is not disclosing the size of the deal, but it confirms Astorg’s investment bought out equity positions from previous Anaqua backers Bessemer Venture Partners and Insight Partners. In 2017, Anaqua merged with Fremont, CA-based Lecorpio.

—Corporate payment protection software startup nsKnox raised a $15 million Series A funding round led by Israel-based Viola Ventures and M12, the corporate venture arm of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT). Discount Capital, the investment arm of Israel’s Discount Bank, and previous seed investors joined the funding round. The Boston-based startup—founded in 2015 by Alon Cohen, the founder and former CEO of cybersecurity firm CyberArk (NASDAQ: CYBR)—says the cash will help it further develop its platform and expand its customer base.

—[Updated 2/25/19 to indicate new MassChallenge for-profit venture plans to “support,” not necessarily invest in program alumni companies. We regret the error. Eds.] Boston-based startup accelerator network MassChallenge named a new CEO this week. Siobhan Dullea is MassChallenge’s new chief executive, effective immediately. Her prior role was chief operating officer of the organization. She succeeds the network’s founder, John Harthorne, who will remain on the not-for-profit’s board and is currently exploring launching a for-profit venture that would support MassChallenge companies.

—MIT self-driving car spinout NuTonomy—a division of Aptiv (NYSE: [[ticker:APTV])—says that “low evening sun and solar glare” have occasionally kept its autonomous vehicles from being able to read the color on traffic signals. It’s currently developing solutions to the problem and is enhancing its algorithms by collecting low-light data that can pick up signal from the backlit traffic lights.

—Qlik Technologies, a Pennsylvania-based data analytics company, is acquiring Burlington, MA-based Attunity (NASDAQ: ATTU) in a $560 million deal to boost its offerings that help businesses manage and analyze data across on-site data centers and cloud storage services. Qlik’s offer, at $23.50 per share of Attunity, values the company at an 18 percent premium to its Feb. 20 closing share price of $19.93.

—Cloud tech firm Nasuni has received a $25 million investment led by Telstra Ventures, the investing arm of Australian telecom Telstra. Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Sigma Prime Ventures, North Bridge Venture Partners, and Flybridge Capital Partners joined in the cash infusion that the company says will help it accelerate its go-to-market strategy. The cash puts Nasuni’s total venture funding raised at $145 million since its founding in 2008.

—Digital Guardian, a cybersecurity business focused on data loss prevention, has tapped a CA Technologies executive to lead the Waltham, MA-based company, several months after the departure of CEO Ken Levine. Mordecai “Mo” Rosen, who most recently managed CA Technologies’ cybersecurity business, is taking over at Digital Guardian from interim CEO, investor, and board member Paul Ciriello.

Brian Dowling is a Senior Editor at Xconomy, based in Boston. You can reach him at bdowling [at] xconomy.com. Follow @be_d

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