Boston Tech Roundup: BookBub, Kronos, Techstars, & More

5/2/14Follow @curtwoodward

It’s been a pretty busy week for startups and larger companies alike around the Boston-area innovation sector, with financing news, revenue growth, an acquisition, an accelerator demo day, and a college pitch competition:

BookBub, a Cambridge, MA-based startup that markets discounts on books to an e-mail list of nearly 3 million, has attracted a $3.8 million Series A investment. The money comes from venture capitalists at NextView Ventures, Founder Collective, Avalon Ventures, and Bloomberg Beta. The company says its members buy more than 1 million e-books per month “as a result of the service,” which points buyers to discount offers from outside retailers.

Kronos, a Chelmsford, MA-based seller of personnel management software and devices, says it reached $1 billion in annual revenue for the 12 months ending in March. Kronos was publicly traded for more than a decade, but is now owned by private equity investors, including Hellman & Friedman, Blackstone, and GIC. The company also says a recent $750 million investment valued Kronos at $4.5 billion.

TripAdvisor is once again snapping up a small travel-related startup. This time, the online travel company is buying VacationHomeRentals.com, a Newburyport, MA-based independent listing service. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. TripAdvisor already operates a few vacation-rental websites, including FlipKey, Holiday Lettings, and Niumba.

CampusTVs, a Weston, MA-based startup that rents flat-screen TVs to college students, plans to expand its national footprint after raising about $2.2 million in investment cash. Co-founder and CEO Scott Pirrello tells the Boston Business Journal that CampusTVs hopes to be available on 300 campuses this year, after getting established in 50 locations last year. The company’s investors are led by Boston-based Nauta Capital.

Techstars Boston held its latest demo day, giving a dozen startups the chance to pitch their vision to a crowd of fellow entrepreneurs, possible employees, a few reporters, and—most importantly—investors. This was the last group to be shepherded by directors Katie Rae and Reed Sturtevant, who will be replaced by Semyon Dukach. Check out Scott Kirsner’s rundown of the companies that presented, and Dan Rowinski’s behind-the-scenes look at how this batch of startups reflects several important, emerging trends in the tech sector.

Harvard’s New Venture Competition also gave a boost to some young companies, awarding $150,000 in total prize money to four startups with ties to the university. Here’s a list of the winners, which range from a subscription-based household services company to one that makes sanitary pads for women in rural India from banana tree fibers.

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

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