Boston Roundup: Software Taxes, Actifio, edX, Twitter, & More

8/7/13Follow @curtwoodward

Tech companies are getting fired up about politics, making big hires, moving to new offices, and generally making some news around the region:

—Massachusetts business and tech-industry leaders are mounting a campaign to repeal a new tax on some software and IT services. The folks behind the campaign, which would seek a public vote on the new tax this fall, include the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and the Massachusetts High Technology Council, the Boston Business Journal reported. The tax appears to have surprised the technology industry, which hasn’t been paying much attention to the state Legislature, The Boston Globe reported.

—Data-management startup Actifio is making more moves toward an eventual IPO. The latest news is the company’s hiring of an experienced public-company chief financial officer. That would be Peter Minihane, the former CFO of Acme Packet, which was sold to Oracle for $2 billion earlier this year.

—Some notable names are playing office-space musical chairs in Cambridge’s Kendall Square. The Boston Globe reports that ITA Software, the travel-software company that was bought by Google for $700 million, is moving into Google’s larger Cambridge offices from its old digs down the road. Moving into ITA’s old building will be edX, the education tech nonprofit backed by Harvard and MIT, and possibly Twitter’s Boston-area office.

—Online retail startup The Grommet, which specializes in product-launch sales for small suppliers, is testing the market for a wholesale version to help customers get more units in the hands of other retailers. CEO Jules Pieri tells AllThingsD that The Grommet would likely target smaller, independent retailers with any wholesale offering.

—Clothing startup Ministry of Supply, which takes a high-tech engineering approach to making men’s dress clothes, has landed an undisclosed seed investment from Zappos founder Tony Hsieh’s Vegas Tech Fund. The investment was disclosed on Twitter, and there aren’t many other details I can find about the deal. Ministry of Supply president Brian Kalma, a former Zappos employee, said the startup is not moving to Las Vegas, where Hsieh is attempting to build a more vibrant technology scene.

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

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