Boston Tech Watch: DraftKings, Demandware, Startup Shutdown & More
This week in Boston tech, we’re tracking DraftKings merger rumors, the aftermath of the Salesforce-Demandware deal, a startup closure, new venture funding, money for cybersecurity education, and an expanding accelerator located outside the Boston area. Read on for details.
—Rumors swirled this week that the two biggest online daily fantasy sports companies—Boston-based DraftKings and New York-based FanDuel—are negotiating a merger. Bloomberg reported the alleged talks, citing unnamed sources. A day later, Fortune reported (citing other unnamed sources) that the companies are not in serious merger discussions, and investment banks might be driving the speculation.
Investors and journalists have argued that uniting the companies, which are facing legal challenges in New York and elsewhere, would make sense on multiple fronts—they offer virtually identical services, they could pool their resources for lobbying and fighting legal challenges, etc. But such a deal would likely face some hurdles, including overcoming anti-trust concerns and agreeing on the leadership structure of the combined company, Fortune has reported.
—Boston-based AVA announced it raised $3 million in seed funding for its tech-enabled nutritional coaching service. DCM Ventures led the round, and was joined by Khosla Ventures, Innovation Endeavors, and others.
—Tablelist, the Boston-based maker of an app for booking tables at nightclubs and other venues, announced it purchased Miami-based NightPro, which offers venue management, ticketing, and sales-tracking software. Tablelist is also out raising a $3 million round, BostInno reported.
—HelloShopper, formerly known as Scratch, is reportedly shutting down. Daniel Blumenthal, vice president of engineering, wrote in a blog post that the on-demand personal shopping app maker struggled to attract users. It had raised $3.6 million from Bessemer Venture Partners, NextView Ventures, Red Swan Ventures, and Blue Apron CEO Matt Salzberg.
—Acquisitions often lead to layoffs, but it looks like Demandware might expand after Salesforce buys it for $2.8 billion. In an SEC filing, Demandware disclosed plans to significantly grow its offices in Burlington, MA, over the next several years.
—University of Massachusetts Amherst was awarded a $15 million, 10-year grant from MassMutual to beef up its software curriculum. The university will direct $12 million toward its data science center, while $3 million will go toward its cybersecurity program—including funding the launch of a new cybersecurity training center in Springfield, MA, the Boston Globe reported.