Boston Tech Watch: Notarize, Optimus Ride, LogRocket & More
The self-driving cars are coming (to a gated development near you). Board additions at a novel tech startup. Another big funding round for an industrial 3D printing startup. The Endeavor v. QinetiQ robot competition’s final chapter. Read on for more.
—Online notary startup Notarize is adding senior LogMeIn and State Street executives to its board. The Boston-based tech company says Larry D’Angelo, LogMeIn (NASDAQ: LOGM) chief sales officer, and Jack Klinck, former head of global strategy at State Street, are joining its board of directors. D’Angelo also advises Boston-based startup InsightSquared and investment firm M33 Growth. Notarize says the number of transactions through its online notarization platform grew more than 130 percent in 2018, and it is eyeing a 400 percent increase in revenue in 2019. Last month, the startup added former Hubspot (NYSE HUBS) and Wayfair (NYSE: W) executive Elizabeth Graham as its chief operating officer. In May 2018, Notarize raised a $20 million funding round led by Polaris Partners.
—Self-driving car startup Optimus Ride has plans to launch its autonomous vehicles in geo-fenced developments in New York and Fairfield, CA, the Boston company says. In the second quarter of 2019, Optimus Ride will deploy vehicles on private roads at the 300-acre Brooklyn Navy Yard industrial park development, providing looped shuttle service between ferry service and Flushing Avenue outside of the development. At the 80-acre Paradise Valley Estates in California, Optimus Ride vehicles will give prospective tenants tours of the community and provide residents with on-demand travel throughout the center. Last month, Optimus Ride announced it would roll out vehicles at a development in Reston, VA.
—Boston-based software application debugging startup LogRocket has raised an $11 million Series A funding round on top of a previously undisclosed $4 million seed round to expand its app performance platform. Investment firm Battery Ventures led the round, with participation from seed investor Matrix Partners. The cash will help the startup nearly triple its 25-employee headcount. LogRocket’s platform is used by companies like Reddit, Ikea, Brex, Kaplan, CarGurus, FDNY, and Waste Management to give developers user insight into application issues. The company was founded in 2016 by childhood friends and former Google engineers Matthew Arbesfeld and Ben Edelstein.
—Autonomous vessel control system startup Sea Machines Robotics has opened a technology center in Boston to accelerate product development and accommodate a larger team. The facility is next to its headquarters and testing site in East Boston’s shipyard. Founded in 2015, Sea Machines is working on machine perception and navigation assistance technologies, and some of its technologies are being tested aboard an A.P. Moller-Maersk container ship. In December, Sea Machines raised a $10 million Series A funding round led by Accomplice and Eniac Ventures.
—BAE Systems landed a $3.1 million DARPA contract to continue developing autonomous software to “improve the resiliency of air mission planning for the military” by generating real-time alerts for commanders to evaluate concerns as they plan and carry out missions. BAE says the system in development also adjusts when bandwidth is scarce or unreliable. Work on the project is being done at BAE’s Burlington, MA, and Arlington, VA, locations. BAE’s partner in the program is Toronto-based visual analysis tech company Uncharted Software.
—Robotics firm QinetiQ North America won a $164 million military contract to provide the U.S. Army with small robots that can be carried in a backpack. The Waltham-based robotics company beat out Endeavor Robotics—based in Chelmsford, MA and bought out last month by FLIR Systems (NASDAQ: FLIR) in a $385 million-deal—for the seven-year contract. The competition for the nine-figure job boiled over into federal court in Delaware, where Endeavor claimed QinetiQ had violated a number of its patents related to devices stair-climbing technologies. That lawsuit has not been resolved, and QinetiQ has said it will “vigorously defend” itself against the claims.
—Flipside Crypto, a Boston startup developing analytics for cryptocurrencies, has landed its main metric onto CoinMarketCap and other financial websites including MarketWatch, TheStreet and Stocktwits, the company says. Founded in 2017, Flipside says its Fundamental Crypto Asset Score rates the health of blockchain-enabled currencies on a 1,000-point scale based on transaction data and the activity of developers working on open source projects associated with the coin. Scores on the scale rank the cryptocurrencies from Superb to Attractive, Basic, Caution, and finally Fragile.
—Watertown, MA-based 3D-printing startup Markforged has raised an $82 million Series D funding round. Boston-based Summit Partners led the investment in Markforged, which makes printers that churn out products made of metal and composites reinforced with carbon fiber, fiberglass, and other materials. The round boosts Markforged’s total venture haul to $137 million since its founding in 2013. The company last raised capital in November 2017 with a $30 million financing round led by Siemens.
— Boston-based venture firm FlyBridge Capital Partners has raised a $4 million fund to invest in startups from Harvard University grads, BostInno reports. It’s the second installment of its dedicated Graduate Syndicate fund that invests in pre-seed and seed rounds from the Cambridge university.