Boston Tech Watch: Nike, Cybereason, Care.com, LaunchByte & More
Nike goes shopping in Boston. Cybereason tracks down another big investment. Care.com makes a change at the top. A purported venture capitalist gets arrested for alleged fraud. Read on for these stories and more of the biggest developments in Boston tech this week.
—Nike (NYSE: NKE) acquired Boston-based retail technology firm Celect for an undisclosed price. The startup’s software uses machine learning-enabled analytics to help retailers try to predict future buying patterns and more efficiently make inventory and fulfillment decisions. The athletic shoe and apparel giant said it will use Celect’s technology to better anticipate consumer “needs.”
Formed in 2012 by MIT professors Vivek Farias and Devavrat Shah, Celect had raised at least $30.2 million from NGP Capital, Fung Capital, Activant Capital, and others. Celect’s employees will join Nike’s global operations team, and Farias and Shah will consult for Nike but will continue as tenured MIT professors, according to a Nike press release.
—Cybereason is the cybersecurity industry’s newest “unicorn.” With a fresh investment of up to $200 million from Japanese tech giant SoftBank, Boston-based Cybereason is now worth more than $1 billion, company officials told Xconomy. The startup previously raised $189 million from investors. Xconomy interviewed CEO and co-founder Lior Div to find out what’s next.
—Care.com (NYSE: CRCM) is searching for a new chief executive. Founder and CEO Sheila Lirio Marcelo will shift into the executive chairwoman role and will serve as CEO until a replacement is named, according to a press release. The leadership shakeup comes amid increased scrutiny of the online caregiver marketplace’s screening practices, prompted in part by reports from The Wall Street Journal. At least one class action lawsuit has been filed by an investor in Waltham, MA-based Care.com, accusing the company of making false and misleading claims about the screening of care providers against databases and criminal records.
—Tanmaya Kabra, the 25-year-old owner of a purported venture firm in the Boston area called LaunchByte, was arrested this month at Boston’s Logan Airport on charges of “operating a Ponzi-like fraud scheme,” according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts. Instead of putting his investors’ money toward nurturing startup companies, Kabra allegedly used the funds to pay off debts to “prior investors in his scheme and to fund his lavish personal expenses,” according to the release. BostInno explored Kabra’s story further through interviews with his associates, former employees, and entrepreneurs who claim to be his alleged victims.