Boston Tech Watch: Dill the Pickle Robot, Via Separations & More

There’s robotics news, clinical research companies raising cash, and plenty of early-stage venture capital money moving in the Boston technology world this week. Read on for more:

—Via Separations, a startup developing energy-efficient filtration technology, has raised $4.8 million in a Series A funding round. Safar led the round, which saw participation from PRIME Impact Fund, The Engine, Embark Ventures, and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. The Somerville, MA-based startup says its filtration technology reduces energy use by 90 percent and has applications in the food and beverage industry as well as in pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, and paper and chemical production.

—Clinical informatics startup Ovation.io has raised a $5 million Series A funding round led by Madrona Venture Group. The Cambridge, MA-based company says its software is an “out-of-the box solution for molecular diagnostics,” and handles sample tracking, client relations, electronic health record integrations, revenue cycle management, reporting, operational intelligence and results analytics. Also participating in the Series A were Borealis Ventures, Nat Turner, Zach Weinberg, StagedotO, and David Shaw. Ovation.io last raised capital in May 2017 when it took in $1.5 million from StageDotO and other investors.

—ProdPerfect, a developer of an application build-and-testing platform, has raised $2.6 million in seed funding in a round co-led by New York-based Eniac Ventures and Los Angeles-based Fika Ventures, according to a press release. The funding will help Boston-based ProdPerfect scale operations and make new hires. Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator joined in the funding round.

—Packing and handling robotics startup Pickle Robot has raised $3.5 million, according to an SEC filing. The Cambridge, MA-based company recently spun out of research-and-development firm Leaf Labs. The startup’s robot, named Dill, is designed to work alongside humans, loading and unloading trucks, and moving boxes onto and off pallets, according to Pickle Robot.

—Startup accelerator program MassChallenge has named a new managing director for sBoston operations: Caitlin Reimers Brumme, formerly the director of Harvard Business School’s Impact Collaboratory. Prior to Harvard Business, Reimers Brumme was director at Social Finance US.

—Fintech startup Knox Financial has raised $1.4 million in seed funding and launched a platform to help homeowners convert their homes into investment property, according to a press release. The company says its product helps homeowners with insurance, paperwork, property management and landlord responsibilities as well as advertising and payments.

—Nebulous, a company developing a blockchain cloud storage platform based on the Sia coin, has raised $1.8 million and is seeking another $1.2 million in a new funding round, according to an SEC filing. Nebulous has promoted its cloud storage system as more secure and having better performance and lower prices than systems from big players like Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Microsoft (NASDAQ: [[MSFT]]), and Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL).

—Clinical analytics platform developer TriNetX has raised $40 million in a Series D funding led by Merck’s corporate venture arm, the company announced. The company says its platform helps pharma companies detail the many aspects of a clinical trial—from choosing hospital locations with adequate patient populations to managing what age ranges and other demographic variables to include in the studies—to cut down on delayed studies due to a trial redesign or amendment.

—Months after social robot startup Jibo laid off most of its employees, developers gathered over a long weekend to write their beloved robot’s last goodbye, which was delivered to owners of the 11-inch-tall bot when its server support ended. It seemed to be the end. But there is still hope, however dim, for Jibo.

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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