Boston Tech Watch: Bose, LearnLaunch, Fuze, Boston Dynamics, & More
It’s time to catch up on some recent happenings in the Boston tech scene. This week, we’re tracking a lawsuit against headphone giant Bose, a new robot from Boston Dynamics, local edtech startup funding, and more. Read on for details.
—Six portfolio companies of the LearnLaunch edtech startup accelerator recently raised funding rounds totaling almost $14 million, according to a press release. Three of the six are located in Boston: Authess, which raised a $2.2 million round led by EduLab; Chalk Talk, which closed a $2 million round led by Ibrahim Haddad; and Kaymbu, which snagged $1.5 million in a round led by Reach Capital.
The others that raised money were Bethesda, MD-based Knowledge to Practice ($6.5 million), Vancouver, Canada-based Riipen ($1 million), and Pittsburgh-based Zulama ($650,000).
—Framingham, MA-based Bose is being sued for trademark infringement by Doppler Labs, a San Francisco-based startup that has developed wireless earbuds that it says can selectively tune out surrounding noises. According to a Boston Business Journal report, Doppler alleges that Bose pretended to be interested in a partnership with the startup in order to gain information about what it was developing. The lawsuit claims that Bose used this improperly gained info to modify its own wireless earbuds, among other allegations.
As of this writing, Bose hasn’t filed a response with the court.
—Cambridge, MA-based Transatomic Power has significantly scaled back some of its key assertions about its nuclear energy technology after a review by MIT professors found errors in the startup’s calculations, according to a report by MIT Technology Review. Notably, the company now says its molten salt reactor design doesn’t “reduce existing stockpiles of spent nuclear fuel.” The potential for turning nuclear waste into nuclear fuel was one of the main reasons Transatomic had grabbed headlines and investor dollars.
Still, tests by Transatomic and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have found the startup’s technology could reduce waste compared with standard nuclear reactors.
—Boston cybersecurity startup Cybereason hired Andy Byron as its chief revenue officer. Byron was previously the president and chief operating officer at Fuze, a Cambridge, MA-based business communications software firm.
Byron’s move continues the leadership shakeup at Fuze, which last month raised a $104 million funding round. Eight days after the round was announced, Fuze appointed a new CEO, Colin Doherty, and shifted founding CEO Steve Kokinos to the role of executive chairman. Fuze also hired a new chief financial officer, chief people officer, general counsel, and head of services and support in recent months.
—Lastly, Boston Dynamics unveiled its latest robot, named Handle. The robot runs on motorized wheels, can jump 4 feet high, can reach speeds of 9 miles per hour, and has a range of 15 miles on a single battery charge. (See YouTube video below.)
Boston Dynamics says Handle is a research robot. The company hasn’t detailed potential commercial applications for it, but perhaps it could be used in warehouses and other industrial settings, as Recode pointed out.
If you’re curious to see some of the company’s tech in person, grab tickets for Xconomy’s Robo Madness event on March 28 at Google’s Cambridge office. Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert will do a live robot demo.