Boston Tech Watch: CoinMetrics, Bedrock Data, Modulate & Jobcase
[Updated 10:30 am. See below.] A handful of Boston-area startups landed seed funding rounds this week, while another tech firm raked in $100 million in growth equity. Two acquisitions also rounded out the week’s tech news.
—CoinMetrics, a cryptocurrency market data startup, has raised $1.9 million in seed funding from Castle Island Ventures, Fidelity Investments, Highland Capital Partners, and Dragonfly Capital. The Boston-based business, created in 2017 and incorporated in 2018, develops financial data for cryptoassets and benchmark data like fair value and closing prices.
—Modulate, a Cambridge, MA-based machine learning company developing voice alteration technology, raised $2 million in seed funding from 2Enable Partners and Hyperplane Venture Capital, according to a press release. The startup’s “voice skins” allow players in video games to mask their voice using deep A.I. neural networks, “effectively customizing their vocal cords while retaining full control over their emotion and inflection.”
—[Added, Eds.] Lightmatter, a Boston-based developer of A.I. chips that run operations using light rather than solely electrical signals, has tagged $22 million onto the $11 million it already raised for its Series A funding round. Alphabet’s venture arm GV led the round. Matrix Partners and Spark Capital also contributed. The startup, founded in 2017 by Nicholas Harris, Darius Bunandar, and Thomas Graham at MIT, developed its hardware to make A.I. computations faster and more energy efficient.
—Bedrock Data, a Boston-based online data integration platform, was acquired by Indiana-based software data company Formstack this week for an undisclosed sum, the companies said. The deal gives Formstack customers access to 14 integrations, including Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) Dynamics, Oracle’s (NYSE: ORCL) NetSuite, HubSpot (NYSE: HUBS) and Marketo.
—Machine-learning-for-business startup DataRobot has acquired San Francisco-based data collaboration startup Cursor. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Cursor’s technology helps enterprises find and use their data more efficiently. With the acquisition, Boston-based DataRobot will establish an office in San Francisco, an area where it says it has many existing customers. DataRobot’s technology will be integrated into Cursor’s machine-learning product.
In other DataRobot news, the startup’s luck predicting Song of the Year at the Grammy’s (“This is America” by Childish Gambino) did not continue when it took on Best Picture at the Oscars last weekend. The startup had Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” as winning the top prize, but it was Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book” that walked off with the award. (To be fair, the decision surprised far more than DataRobot.)
—Providence-based sales and marketing technology startup Datarista raised $835,000 in a new round of funding led by Slater Technology Fund, bringing the company’s total funding to $1.1 million. Marker Hill Capital and other new investors, including Beacon Angels, joined in the round.
—Jobcase, a social-media jobs platform, raked in $100 million in growth funding to expand its blue-collar-oriented workforce site into a place where employees not only can host their qualifications but can also organize and advocate for better treatment from employers. The round, led by Providence Strategic Growth, will help the company accelerate product growth by building out machine learning architecture to serve more relevant content to users.
—The pace of tech hiring in Boston and other major tech hubs remained “pleasantly, surprisingly strong” last year, according to the latest quarterly analysis by executive recruiting firm ON Partners. Boston saw 5,540 net new jobs, the analysis said.
—Polis, a door-to-door-sales technology startup based in Cambridge, MA, raised $2.5 million in a seed funding round led by Haystack VC. Other investors were Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s and former Y Combinator partner Garry Tan’s firm Initialized Capital, former NFL hall of famer Joe Montana’s firm Liquid2 Ventures, Fathom Capital and Background Capital.
—Cambridge lithium-ion battery startup 24M claims to have punched through a “state-of-the-art industry benchmark” for electric vehicle power storage by using its design and manufacturing techniques to pack more kilowatts into each kilogram of battery.
—Affirmed Networks, a mobile systems software company based in Acton, MA, has raised $38 million in a strategic funding round led by Palo Alto-based Centerview Capital Technology to help it expand into more regions around the globe and invest in new products.