Pocket Communications Pockets $100M From Battery Ventures And Others, Nuance Makes New Bid for Zi, Xconomy Closes Second Round, & More Boston-Area Deals News

12/1/08

Dealmaking ebbed last week as the gravy flowed, but Boston-area tech and life sciences companies still managed to serve up a few morsels of news.

—Waltham, MA- and Menlo Park, CA-based Battery Ventures led a $100 million venture round for San Antonio, TX-based Pocket Communications Northeast. Pocket is putting together a new cellular network that will offer flat-rate, unlimited-use calling plans to subscribers in parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. Battery Ventures was joined in the round by Charles River Ventures, which also has offices in Waltham and Menlo Park, and Pocket CEO Paul Posner.

—Ambient (OTC:ABTG), which helps electrical utilities use existing power lines to deliver IP-based services, raised $8 million from Vicis Capital Master Fund, bringing Vicis’ total investment in the Newton, MA-based firm to $23.5 million.

—Yankee Equity Solution launched the $50 million YES Medical Technology Fund to invest in Boston-are medtech companies with annual revenues of at least $10 million, earnings of $2 million, and the potential to be first or second in their market segment.

—Watertown, MA-based HIV drug maker Panacos Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:PANC) agreed to repay $17.9 million in outstanding principal, interest, and fees on a $20 million loan from Hercules Technology Growth Capital (NASDAQ:HTGC), which claimed that Panacos had defaulted on the loan.
http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2008/11/24/panacos-to-repay-20m-loan/

—New York-based social networking platform provider KickApps reportedly raised $14 million in a Series C venture round led by North Atlantic Capital of Portland, ME, and joined by existing investors Spark Capital of Boston, Prism VentureWorks of Needham, MA, and Softbank Capital of Newton Center, MA.

—Burlington, MA-based speech recognition firm Nuance Communications (NASDAQ:NUAN) made a $20 million offer to buy Canadian software maker Zi Corporation (NASDAQ:ZICA). Zi rejected a previous offer from Nuance, for twice as much, back in August.

—And finally, a young Cambridge, MA-based online media and events company called Xconomy closed the first tranche of its second financing round. Return investor CommonAngels led the deal, which was joined by new investor LaunchCapital, as well as a number of individual investors, many of whom had also contributed to the company’s first round in August 2007. To all of them, and to all of you, our heartfelt thanks.