2016’s Last Boston Tech Watch: Akamai, Neurable, Facebook, GM & More
[Updated 12/30/16, 2:30 pm. See below.] As we wave goodbye to 2016, let’s take a look at some of the year’s final moves in the Boston-area tech scene:
—Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ: AKAM) acquired Cyberfend in a small cash deal. The price wasn’t disclosed, but Akamai said it’s not material to its financials. Based in Santa Clara, CA, Cyberfend makes bot and automation detection technologies that help fight the theft of online credentials, such as usernames, passwords, and e-mail addresses.
—A new Boston-area grocery technology startup, Takeoff Technologies, recently raised $3 million in seed funds and is close to securing $6.5 million more in series A money, BostInno reported. The company hasn’t disclosed its investors. Takeoff’s plan is to partner with established grocery companies to create small warehouses where robots and other automated technologies fulfill orders placed online by customers, who then pick up the goods at the warehouse at their convenience.
—Shyft Analytics tacked $7.5 million onto a previously announced funding round, bringing the total to $20 million, according to an SEC filing. The Waltham, MA-based company provides cloud data management and analytics services for life sciences customers. [This paragraph added.]
—Neurable—a startup that has created a brain-computer interface that enables control of physical objects through software—said it raised $2 million in seed funding. The round was led by Brian Shin through Accomplice’s Boston Syndicates on AngelList, with contributions from PJC, Loup Ventures, the Kraft Group, NXT Ventures, and individual investors. Neurable spun out of the University of Michigan and is now located in Cambridge, MA. Read more about the startup in this Xconomy profile from February.
—We’ve got several executive moves to report:
First, Jordan Fliegel recently became co-CEO of Draft, a New York-based fantasy sports startup. Yahoo Finance first reported the news. Fliegel previously co-founded Boston-based startup CoachUp and the seed fund Bridge Boys, and he’s the chairman of Athletes of Valor. Draft’s other CEO is its founder, Jeremy Levine, Fliegel’s long-time friend and Bridge Boys co-founder.
Meanwhile, cloud communications firm Fuze named Brian Day its chief financial officer. He was previously the chief executive of Apperian, a role he took over in December 2014 after serving more than three years as Apperian’s CFO. Cambridge, MA-based Fuze, which raised a $112 million growth equity round last year, also named Mary Good its chief people officer. She was previously the head of human resources at hCentive.
Lastly, ArtLifting recently hired Michael Tupanjanin as its CEO, according to BostInno. Tupanjanin is the former chief revenue officer of Sitecore and former CEO of Metavana. ArtLifting’s website sells works made by artists who are homeless or have disabilities.
—General Motors (NYSE: GM) has formed a partnership with Watertown, MA-based WiTricity to test a prototype of the startup’s wireless charging system for electric vehicles. The technology would allow people to charge their cars while they’re parked above the system, which could be deployed as a floor pad in garages or installed under pavement in parking lots.
—Facebook’s hardware products group, Building 8, announced that 17 universities have signed its Sponsored Academic Research Agreement to make it easier for the tech giant’s hardware division to collaborate with university researchers. The initial group of partners includes MIT, Harvard University, and Northeastern University.