Boston Tech Watch: Tinkergarten, ezCater, Glasswing Ventures & More
[Updated 10:45 am 3/29/19.] Tech to get your kids out into nature raises some big bucks from some Hollywood tech giants, while restaurant software and automated payments also make big moves. Read on for more Boston tech news:
—Outdoor child-education network Tinkergarten raised $21 million from the consumer technology fund WndrCo run by former Disney (NYSE: DIS) chairman and DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and other media and tech veterans. The Northampton, MA-based company says it aims to help families connect with local teachers who bring “play-based lessons to life in natural learning environments.” The funds will help Tinkergarten launch classes in more cities and further establish the brand. Tinkergarten was founded in 2012 by a couple whose backgrounds touch on education and consumer technology.
—Online retailer Wayfair (NYSE: W) is opening its first full-service brick-and-mortar store this fall, the company says, at a mall in Natick, MA. The store will have customer service and design staff to assist shoppers. Wayfair also says it will open four pop-up stores this summer. In a conference call reporting financial results from the fourth quarter of 2018, CEO Niraj Shah told analysts the physical location would be “meant for the primary goal of customer acquisition and increasing kind of the value of revenue per customer per year.”
—Online catering marketplace ezCater has acquired Vancouver, BC-based Monkey Group, developers of a cloud-based takeout, delivery and catering platform. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Boston-based ezCater says 60,000 restaurants and caterers already use its platform to manage orders, and more than 8,000 use Monkey’s platform. Many restaurants use both products—including Einstein Bros. Bagels, McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Schlotzsky’s. Data on the two platforms will be streamlined and better integrated, the company says. EzCater, founded in 2007, raised $100 million in a Series D funding round led by Willington Management in June. The company’s total venture haul is $170 million.
—Remote conferencing company LogMeIn (NASDAQ: LOGM) opened an artificial intelligence center in Herzliya, Israel, to lead research into AI to infuse its products with natural language processing and speech recognition technologies. LogMeIn will hire dozens of researchers for the center. The company got involved in Herzliya in August 2017 when it purchased chatbot and virtual assistant startup Nanorep in a deal valued at to $50 million if milestones and retention targets are met. The Nanorep technology formed the basis for LogMeIn’s digital customer engagement product Bold360.
—Progress, a business application development technology company based in Burlington, MA, has acquired network management and secure data transfer company Ipswitch for $225 million in cash, the companies say. Progress (NASDAQ: PRGS) says Ipswitch’s technology will help it serve small- and medium-sized businesses. [Added.]
—Natural language analysis startup Luminoso picked up and moved its Cambridge, MA, headquarters across the Charles River to larger offices in Boston as it looks to double its local staff of 41 employees over the next year, the company said. In December, the MIT-spinout raised a $10 million Series C funding round led by DVI Equity Partners. The company says its software lets company’s analyze unstructured text-based data in 14 languages, including Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Arabic.
—Early-stage investor Glasswing Ventures has added former Nuance Communications (NASDAQ: NUAN) technology chief Vlad Sejnoha as a venture partner. The firm says Sejnoha will focus on identifying investments and helping portfolio companies scale their businesses.
—Automated accounts payable technology company MineralTree closed a $50 million growth equity investment from private equity firm Great Hill Partners with the aim of expanding its business and targeting “middle-market” companies. MineralTree says it has come off a good year when it booked 80 percent sales growth and processed more than $5 billion in payments for clients.
—DraftKings opened its new 105,000-square-foot headquarters in Boston that’s more than double the size of its previous office space. The online fantasy sports technology company says the new digs come as the state considers legislation to allow online sports betting that was made legal by a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year. DraftKings says it has more than 700 employees, a headcount that has increased 65 percent over the past year.
—Business travel software startup Lola has raised $37 million in a new funding round led by earlier investors General Catalyst and Accel. Previous investors—CRV, Tenaya Capital, and Alphabet’s GV—joined the round. The cash puts the total invested in Lola at $81.7 million.
—CyberX, an industrial “Internet-of-things” security startup, has raised $18 million in financing led by the venture arm of chip-maker Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) and Inven Capital, a cleantech and new energy fund based in Prague, the Czech Republic.