Boston Roundup: Mark43, Privy, Akiban, Aquto, OLPC
Some seed funding, product debuts, and acquisition news to catch you up on a sweltering week around New England’s innovation scene:
—There’s a name change and some new money for a Harvard-bred startup developing law enforcement software. Mark43, formerly called Nucleik, says it has raised $1.95 million in seed funding from several investors, including Spark Capital, General Catalyst, Lowercase Capital, and SV Angel. Mark43’s goal is to help police collect and analyze data about criminal behavior and networks, applying some concepts from the worlds of business intelligence and social-media analytics. The startup’s software has been tested for about eight months by the Massachusetts State Police Special Projects Team.
—Privy, a Boston startup developing online marketing software for local businesses, has raised another $1.7 million in private investment to help expand its engineering, sales, and marketing efforts. Investors in the round include 500 Startups (an accelerator program that Privy attended in late 2012), Atlas Venture, and several angels. Privy was founded in 2010 and is led by founder and CEO Ben Jabbawy.
—Some consolidation in the developing market for next-generation database companies: Cambridge’s Akiban Technologies has been purchased by Vienna, VA-based FoundationDB. The two privately held companies didn’t disclose the terms of the deal. Akiban had previously raised about $9.7 million.
—Boston-based startup Aquto (pronounced uh-cute-oh) is debuting its new marketing service with an overseas partnership. The company, which raised an $8 million Series A round last fall, says it is working with European mobile carrier Vodafone and plans to announce partnerships with U.S. carriers later this summer. Aquto’s service lets consumers earn more data allowances on their mobile devices by interacting with marketing campaigns—watching a video or trying out an app on their smartphone, for instance. It’s led by Susie Kim Riley, whose previous company, Camiant, was acquired for about $130 million in 2010.
—One Laptop Per Child has a new tablet, and it’s selling the device at Walmart. The nonprofit children’s tech project, whose foundation is based in Cambridge, MA, is selling the Android-based XO Tablet for $150. It’s on Walmart.com now, will be available in stores next month, and will be offered at additional U.S. retailers in the future, the organization says. As Fast Company notes, selling computers in the U.S. has been a strategy that helps One Laptop Per Child offer its computers to poorer countries around the world.