Boston Tech Watch: DataRobot, IBM-MIT, Firefly, Aliro, Embr & More

More money is flowing into AI research at MIT, thanks to an expansion of the Institute’s partnership with computing giant IBM; DataRobot announces its $200 million-plus funding round; a tech startup aims to democratize access to quantum computers: these items and more in the week’s Boston tech news roundup.

—Concierge medicine service Firefly Health has raised $10.2 million in a Series A funding round led by venture firms F-Prime Capital and Oak HC/FT. The company raised $4.1 million earlier this year and $400,000 in 2017, according to SEC filings. The Boston-based company also named former Athenahealth co-founder and CEO Jonathan Bush as Firefly Health’s executive chairman.

—Burlington, MA-based 128 Technology raised $30 million in a Series D financing round that saw participation from existing investors, the networking startup said. To date, the company has raised $94.7 million. The new funds will help 128 Technology expand partnerships and further develop its routing technology.

—Enterprise data science company DataRobot has closed a $206 million Series E funding round led by Sapphire Ventures. The funding pushes DataRobot’s paper valuation across the $1 billion “unicorn” threshold, Xconomy reported in late July when details of the financing first leaked out. The funds push the total raised by DataRobot to $431 million.

—Quantum computing software startup Aliro Technologies has emerged from stealth mode with $2.7 million in funding and announced it is developing tools to help developers access high-performance quantum computers. Star quantum researcher Prineha Narang co-founded the company, which was spun out of her Harvard University lab.

—A virtual reality startup founded by a Babson College undergrad landed a $1 million contract with the US Air Force for training technologies. The company, Vinci VR, was founded by 22-year-old Eagle Wu. It is working with the Air Force’s tech accelerator on solutions for aircraft maintenance training.

—Takeoff Technologies has closed a $25 million Series C funding round led by Forrestal Capital meant to fuel expansion across North America, Europe, and Australia. The Boston-based company makes order fulfillment systems to help grocery stores manage ecommerce operations. Takeoff says the investment sets the company’s paper value at $500 million. It has raised $86 million to date.

—The director of the joint IBM-MIT research lab in Cambridge, MA, says the addition of outside corporate members to the venture could lead to a doubling of the $240 million it expected for funding over 10 years. David Cox told Xconomy about the lab’s growth in active research projects and staff on hand. He said the lab is also moving a few blocks south to Main Street in the heart of Kendall Square.

—MIT spinout Embr Labs has raised a $6 million Series B funding round led by DigiTx Partners, along with Safar Partners, Joyance Partners, Bose Ventures, and PBJ Capital. The wellness company, which makes a bracelet to help manage a person’s body temperature, says the funding will help it grow its footprint and accelerate the development of its core technology, while testing new use cases.

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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