Boston Roundup: Zipcar, HubSpot, Hack/Reduce, QPID, Billaway

3/20/13Follow @curtwoodward

People getting new jobs leads this roundup of news bits from around the Boston-area innovation sector, with a few small fundraising deals thrown in for good measure:

Scott Griffith quit as CEO of Zipcar, coinciding with Avis Budget Group formally completing its acquisition of the rent-by-the-hour car company headquartered in Cambridge. There wasn’t any mention of Griffith leaving in the companies’ press release about the acquisition on March 14, but news leaked out the next day after Griffith sent a farewell letter to employees.

It shouldn’t be too surprising that Avis found little need for Griffith’s services—the Zipcar acquisition, announced in January, followed a long slide in Zipcar’s stock price.

—Journalist and tech pundit Dan Lyons is joining marketing software startup HubSpot, leaving his role as editor in chief of online technology news site ReadWrite. Lyons, perhaps best known for penning the Fake Steve Jobs blog, had previously been at Newsweek and Forbes. He lives in the Boston area, and joined ReadWrite (owned by SAY Media) last fall.

SAY Media told TechCrunch, which broke the news, that Lyons “made this decision based on the challenges of telecommuting and the daily distance from his editorial team.” HubSpot, which has raised a huge amount of money and is likely headed for a buyout or IPO, said the move also had to do with the fact that “the advertising revenue stream that used to support traditional journalism is trending sharply downward.”

Hack/reduce has a new director: Adrienne Cochrane, who formerly worked in marketing for HP Vertica. The nonprofit big-data workspace in Cambridge, which opened in November, provides developers and entrepreneurs working on big data-crunching projects access to big computing power and guidance.

Hack/reduce co-founder Chris Lynch—also former CEO of Vertica—told the Boston Business Journal that Cochrane had the “right combination of youth, ambition, work ethic and market knowledge” for the job. Hack/reduce had previously enlisted former Microsoftie Abby Fichtner as director, but she quit before the space opened.

QPID, a Boston-based startup that helps healthcare workers extract information from electronic health records, has raised $4 million in a round that it says topped the company’s original target of $3 million. The money was supplied by a group of investors including Matrix Partners, Partners Innovation Fund, Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, and Cardinal Partners. QPID, which has been in R&D mode for about four years, says the money will pay for hiring, sales and marketing, and commercial expansion.

Billaway, a startup that operates shopping loyalty programs tied to utility bills, has raised $1.1 million in seed investment from The Funding Farm and several angels from the Boston area. Billaway says its “rewards” campaigns track when consumers shop at many different stores or websites, giving them credits that can be used to reduce their utility bills.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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