Boston Tech Roundup: Spark, Swipely, Harmonix, Grove

5/30/14Follow @curtwoodward

Venture firms and startups are raising money, while an established name in the rough-and-tumble video game world stumbles again in this collection of innovation headlines:

Spark Capital, the Boston-based venture capital firm known for its investments in Twitter and Oculus VR, has raised a new “growth” fund to invest in later-stage companies. The $375 million fund was first spotted in an SEC filing, which Spark confirmed in an interview with The New York Times. Spark’s Bijan Sabet also notes that the new fund will be overseen by new general partner Jeremy Philips, a New York-based former News Corp. executive.

Swipely, a Providence, RI-based retail software startup, has raised a $20 million Series C investment. The company says it now has 100 employees, and notes that it is managing about $2 billion in yearly sales for its customers. Swipely’s software works with payment-processing systems to give merchants marketing and operations data that can help grow their business.

Harmonix, the video game developer behind previous console hits like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, is laying off more people and getting a new CEO. The Cambridge, MA-based company confirms 37 jobs being lost, telling VentureBeat that it is “restructuring.” The report also says co-founder Alex Rigopulos will move into the job of chief creative officer, with publishing and business operations leader Steve Janiak replacing him as CEO.

Grove Labs, an indoor agriculture startup with MIT roots, has raised $2 million in seed investment. The company is still developing its product, which is intended to let consumers grow vegetables in their homes by using aquaculture, a method that doesn’t require soil. The round was led by Upfront Ventures. Grove is based at the Greentown Labs incubator in Somerville.

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

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