The Boston Tech Year in Review: Endeca, RSA, and More
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suffered the sort of attack—an “advanced persistent threat”—usually associated with cyber espionage by nation-states. We’ll be watching this security sector closely, as a number of big Boston-area financing deals (Rapid7, Cyber-Ark) and acquisitions (NitroSecurity by Intel’s McAfee, Q1 Labs by IBM) have happened in the past few months.
(Dis)honorable mention: Boston-born BuyWithMe, a local deals startup, was acquired by New York-based Gilt Groupe in what looked like a fire sale, after laying off most of its staff. BuyWithMe started in 2009, raised more than $20 million in venture financing, and acquired six other deals companies last year before apparently running out of money. There has been a lot of grousing and hearsay surrounding the fate of BuyWithMe, but this was a once-promising startup that hit the wall, so some constructive lessons should be pulled out of its story.
The Ugly: Skyhook’s and Vlingo’s Court Battles
The litigation between Boston startups Skyhook Wireless and Vlingo and tech giants Google and Nuance (respectively) put a damper on mobile software innovation for a whole year. Skyhook has been battling Google over alleged patent infringement and the search giant’s business practices, while still maneuvering to get Skyhook’s location-finding software on Android devices. Meanwhile, Vlingo effectively settled its years of bloodletting court cases with Nuance by agreeing to be acquired by the speech technology firm. [Disclosure: My brother-in-law is the co-founder and chief technology officer of Vlingo.]
In an industry where everyone is suing everyone else (see this info-graphic), none of this is surprising. But that doesn’t make it right.