Boston Tech Watch: Carbonite, iRobot, Circle, Toast, & Flare Capital

CEO hopping in Boston, trade-war fallout, acquisitions, IPOs, and autonomous ships. This week in Boston tech news had it all. Read on for all the details.

—Mohamad Ali is stepping down as CEO of data protection and backup company Carbonite after having led the growing public company since 2014. He is hopping industries a bit to take on a new job next month as CEO of the International Data Group, a technology media, events, and research company. Carbonite board chairman Steve Munford is stepping in as interim CEO, a post he most recently took at Absolute Software Corp., a computer and network security company.

—Boston-based cryptocurrency startup Circle has opened operations in Bermuda to serve non-US customers and offer more digital asset services, the company says. While the regulatory environment in the US has been uncertain for cryptocurrencies, if not outright hostile, the laws in Bermuda are much more accommodating to the digital assets, the company says in a blog post announcing the expansion. Circle last year raised $110 million and planned to launch a dollar-backed cryptocurrency.

—IRobot says US tariffs on Chinese-made products are becoming a drag on profits and caused the company to downgrade its earnings expectations for 2019. “Although we achieved our U.S. revenue target in the second quarter, we believe that the direct and indirect impacts of the ongoing U.S.-China trade war and the recently implemented 25 percent tariffs are likely to constrain U.S. market segment growth in the second half of the year below our expectations at the start of 2019,” iRobot Chairman and CEO Colin Angle writes in a press release announcing the company’s second quarter earnings. In February, the company said the tariffs fueled its decision to move some production out of China.

—Restaurant-tech company Toast has acquired StratEx, a company making HR and payroll software for the restaurant industry that automates applicant tracking, scheduling, payroll, benefits, and labor law compliance. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Boston-based Toast says the software will be folded into its HR solution for restaurants. In April, Toast raised $250 million in a funding round and pledged to spend $1 billion on software and hardware research over the next five years.

—Sea Machines Robotics is working with the US Department of Transportation on applying its autonomous technology to marine oil-spill response operations, the Boston-based company says. Plans are for Sea Machines to install its command system aboard a skimming vessel and train spill response teams to operate it. A demo of the technology will be shown with a simulated oil-spill response drill in Portland, ME, next month.

—Software intelligence firm Dynatrace set terms for its IPO, planning to raise $427.2 million by selling 35.6 million shares. The sum is calculated at the midpoint of the expected $11 to $13 per share price. Dynatrace plans to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “DT,” and at that middle of the price range, the company market cap would be $3.5 billion. IPO research firm Renaissance Capital expects the offering to hit markets next week.

—Flare Capital Partners, a Boston-based venture capital firm investing in healthcare technology, has raised $255 million for its second fund. Flare set a $200 million mark as the initial goal for the second fund. The firm boosted the hard cap to $250 million, then went higher still to accommodate a few strategic investors, Flare says. Flare Capital closed its inaugural fund in April 2015 with $200 million and has made investments into 17 companies from that fund, including Aetion, Bright Health, Circulation Health, HealthVerity, Iora Health, Somatus, and VisitPay.

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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