Boston Tech Watch: Inclusive Tech, Drones, Layoffs, Alcohol, & More
[Updated 10/3/16, 9:53 am. See below.] It’s hard to believe October is upon us. Before fall gets into full swing, let’s take a look at some of the late September happenings in Boston’s tech sector:
—Waltham, MA-based cybersecurity company Carbon Black has filed for an initial public offering, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal, which cited unnamed sources. (A Carbon Black spokesman declined to comment to the publication.) The company reportedly took advantage of a provision in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 that allows smaller companies to confidentially file IPO plans with the SEC. If Carbon Black goes public this year, it would be the third Boston-area tech IPO of 2016. [This paragraph added.]
—In a test demonstration, a drone developed by CyPhy Works for UPS successfully delivered a package from Beverly, MA, to an island a few miles away. UPS invested in Danvers, MA-based CyPhy last year. The drone used in the demonstration is different from CyPhy’s main products, which are tethered to the ground with microfilament tethers that power the machines and transfer data.
—Boston-based EnerNOC (NASDAQ: ENOC), which provides software that helps businesses manage energy usage and costs, announced a restructuring plan that involves laying off 15 percent of its worldwide staff, or about 200 people, according to the Boston Globe.
—During Boston’s HUBweek festival last week, MIT’s Sloan School of Management awarded $1 million to companies and organizations through its inaugural Inclusive Innovation Competition, which supports ventures that enable lower-income people to share in the benefits of new technologies.
The four grand prize winners, who will each receive $125,000, were Massachusetts apparel manufacturing firm 99Degrees Custom, which touts family-supporting wages for its workers; healthtech startup Iora Health, which is helping build new models for primary care practices that involve community health coaches; coding academy Laboratoria, which focuses on young Latin American women from low-income families; and Year Up, a one-year training program that helps urban young adults develop skills, earn college credits, and get internships.
The competition also reportedly awarded $25,000 each to 20 other finalists.
—On-demand alcohol delivery service Drizly added new features to its online marketplace that let shoppers compare inventories and prices from multiple retailers, and order alcohol for in-store pickup or shipping, if the store is too far away for delivery. The Boston-based company also expanded its service to San Francisco.
—Almost four months after Salesforce acquired Burlington, MA-based Demandware for $2.8 billion, its new parent company is phasing out the Demandware name and rebranding the e-commerce company as the Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Fortune has more details here. [This paragraph added.]
—Cambridge, MA-based startup Insurify announced some early business milestones. More than half a million shoppers have used its online car insurance quote service since it launched to the public in late January. The company has also expanded its product options to 102 insurance carriers across 48 states, and the number of insurance agents working with Insurify has grown from 70 to 815, the company says. Learn more about Insurify’s approach in this Xconomy profile.
—Perkins School for the Blind recently launched BlindWays, a new mobile app developed by Boston-based Raizlabs that helps blind people locate bus stops. The app is part of a broader push by Perkins School, based in Watertown, MA, to advance technology for the visually impaired.
—Former HubSpot chief marketing officer Mike Volpe was hired by cybersecurity software firm Cybereason for the same role. In July 2015, Volpe was fired by HubSpot, which sells marketing software, in connection with attempts to get a hold of a draft manuscript of a book about the company, Dan Lyons’s “Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble.” BostInno has more on Volpe’s new gig.