Tech Tidbits: Apptopia, Bluefin Labs, iRobot, PayPal, TripAdvisor, & More

7/27/12Follow @gthuang

Catching up on a smattering of technology news updates this week…

—Cambridge, MA-based Bluefin Labs, which does social media analytics around TV, has appointed JP Maheu as its new CEO. Maheu is the former CEO of Razorfish and global CEO of Publicis Modem (the digital marketing unit of Publicis Worldwide). Deb Roy, Bluefin’s co-founder and former chief executive, is staying on as chairman and will return to the MIT Media Lab, where he is a professor on leave, in January.

—Bedford MA-based iRobot (NASDAQ: IRBT) unveiled a new healthcare robot, called RP-VITA (Remote Presence Virtual + Independent Telemedicine Assistant), developed in partnership with InTouch Health, at a clinical innovation forum in California. The robot combines telemedicine capabilities from InTouch with navigation and mobility features from iRobot’s Ava platform.

—Newton, MA-based TripAdvisor (NASDAQ: TRIP) reports it has passed 75 million travel reviews and opinions on its sites, and is up to 32 million registered members worldwide (up from 20 million a year ago). If it’s possible for Boston’s biggest consumer-Web company to keep growing quietly, TripAdvisor has done that.

—This isn’t exactly news, but Dave McLaughlin, the founder and CEO of Boston video startup Vsnap, has quite the interesting background, according to the Boston Business Journal. McLaughlin was a screenwriter in Hollywood for a decade (and did some directing too) before joining the tech world as CEO of Fig Card, the mobile payments startup bought by eBay last year.

—Cambridge, MA-based Apptopia has raised $1 million in a new financing round that includes $500K from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Apptopia, led by founder Jonathan Kay, is building a marketplace for mobile app acquisitions.

—PayPal, the online payments unit of eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY), is going through a major expansion in Boston. Reports in the BBJ and Boston Globe detail the company’s new lease and impending move to office space in Boston’s Financial District. PayPal gained a foothold in the area through its $135 million acquisition of Where (based in the North End) last year.

—Boston-based Brightcove (NASDAQ: BCOV) is acquiring Zencoder, a cloud-based video encoding company in San Francisco, for about $30 million. Brightcove, which went public in February, has been positioning itself as a content distributor in the cloud (beyond just video).

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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