Boston Roundup: EMC, TripAdvisor, PatientsLikeMe, Skillz, Bricklin

6/20/13Follow @curtwoodward

A mini-flurry of tech industry news happening this week:

—It looks like EMC may be acquiring an Israel-based startup as it continues to grow in cloud computing. The report comes from the Israeli tech site Geektime, which says the price for Scale IO could be $200-$300 million. TechCrunch confirmed the report, saying that the deal is in the final stages. Scale IO, which has an office in Palo Alto, CA, offers a software-based digital storage service that claims big cost savings against larger brand names (like EMC). Its investors are Greylock Partners and Norwest Venture Partners.

TripAdvisor says it has acquired GateGuru, maker of a mobile app that updates travelers on airport security wait times, flight information, airport layouts, and more. Newton, MA-based TripAdvisor has been snapping up smaller companies at a pretty regular pace in recent months, part of the Web company’s strategy for dealing with the shift from desktop to smartphone- and tablet-based computing. TripAdvisor declined to reveal the price it paid for GateGuru, which will remain based in New York.

PatientsLikeMe, which runs a social network for people with medical conditions, has added $7 million in equity financing, according to an SEC filing. The Cambridge, MA-based company was founded in 2004 by three MIT engineers. In May, PatientsLikeMe named Martin Coulter CEO—the company’s first official chief executive, after being overseen by co-founders (and brothers) Jamie and Ben Heywood.

Skillz, a software startup that allows mobile developers to include cash-based prizes into certain types of games, has raised a $5.5 million Series A round led by Atlas Venture. Skillz just revealed itself publicly in April. It’s led by Andrew Paradise, the Boston-bred entrepreneur and angel investor who sold his last company, AisleBuyer, to Intuit. The crucial distinction for Skillz is that it runs cash-prize tournaments in games of skill, rather than chance—think of chess as opposed to roulette. That difference is key to having real-money betting that is legal in 37 states. Skillz has now raised $6.8 million from Atlas and NextView Ventures. It has offices in Boston and San Francisco.

Dan Bricklin has a new gig. The longtime software entrepreneur—he co-created VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet program—is now CTO of Burlington, MA-based Alpha Software. Alpha offers a service that lets software developers build applications for business across mobile and desktop devices. “After three and a half years of doing iOS programming on my own, and after tracking the reception of mobile and touch-enabled devices in the enterprise, I feel the time is right to take on an exciting new challenge,” Bricklin says.

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

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