Boston Tech Watch: Uber, Zipcar, MassChallenge, Adelphic, Lola & More

Here are some of the latest headlines in the Boston tech scene:

Pink slips

—We start this week’s roundup with some bad news: layoffs. Bedford, MA-based Progress Software (NASDAQ: PRGS) recently announced it would let 450 employees go, which is more than 20 percent of the company’s workforce. The move is part of a restructuring that comes three months after Progress hired a new CEO, Yogesh Gupta.

—Meanwhile, an unspecified number of jobs were cut at Zipcar, the Boston-based car-sharing service, as part of a consolidation by owner Avis Budget Group (NASDAQ: CAR), the Boston Globe reported.

—Finally, Acton, MA-based SeaChange International (NASDAQ: SEAC) is also eliminating an undisclosed number of jobs, according to a regulatory filing spotted by the Boston Business Journal.

New money

—Now for some more positive developments, as we recap the latest investments in local startups. First up is Boston travel technology startup Lola, which said it tacked an additional $10 million onto a previously announced Series B round. The round now totals $25 million. The new money comes from GV and Tenaya Capital, according to a Medium post by Lola CEO and co-founder Paul English.

—Israel-based cybersecurity startup Empow announced that it raised $9 million and will open a small Boston-area office this year. The local outpost will focus on sales and customer support.

—Boston-based Help Scout raised nearly $6.2 million from investors, according to an SEC filing. The Techstars Boston alum makes software tools that help businesses with their customer support operations.

—Cambridge, MA-based CareDash, which runs a website for finding and reviewing doctors, said it raised about $2 million in funding led by Link Ventures. The capital includes about $1 million in venture debt financing and a $1 million line of credit.

CareDash said it previously raised $500,000 in seed funding. It reported $6.7 million in revenue last year.

Auto Tech

—The Seaport neighborhood is turning into Boston’s hub for startups developing and testing self-driving vehicle technology. Last month, NuTonomy said it opened an office in the area. And this month it was announced that Optimus Ride has set up shop there as well, the Boston Business Journal reported.

—Uber and Avis Budget Group announced a partnership that will enable Boston-area Uber drivers who don’t own a car to rent Zipcar vehicles on an hourly basis. But, as the Boston Globe pointed out, some observers question whether passenger fares will be enough for drivers to justify paying Zipcar rental fees.

People on the Move

—Adelphic co-founder Jennifer Lum is leaving the mobile advertising startup, which was recently acquired by Viant, a subsidiary of Time (NYSE: TIME). In a Medium post, Lum said she plans to stay involved in the media and advertising industry as an investor, board director, and advisor, but she offered no further details.

—MassChallenge named Kiki Mills Johnston the managing director of its Boston startup accelerator program. She succeeds Scott Bailey, who will remain with MassChallenge and focus on initiatives to support startups across North America, according to a press release.

Mills Johnston will also help with Pulse@MassChallenge, a Boston lab for digital health startups; Made@MassChallenge, a research and development lab; and the Newton Innovation Center, a co-working space in nearby Newton.

The new job marks a return to Boston for Mills Johnston. She previously spent over 10 years in various leadership positions at the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange (MITX), before moving to the San Francisco area to run Full Circle Fund and then to Austin, TX, to be the chief innovation officer of Mission Capital.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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