Boston Tech Watch: Google, Visible Measures, Smack, PlacePass & More

[Updated 3/28/17, 9:02 a.m. See below.] This week in Boston tech, we’re tracking new venture funds, the latest startup investments, the end of the road for some local companies, and more. Read on for details.

—Southern New Hampshire University and Rethink Education—a White Plains, NY-based firm that invests in education technology companies—have launched a $15 million fund that will make seed investments in more than two dozen edtech startups.

—Cambridge, MA-based software company Pegasystems (NASDAQ: PEGA) has created a corporate venture arm dubbed Pega Service Ventures. The initiative will invest in professional services startups that can help Pegasystems’ clients with customer engagement and digital initiatives. The size of the fund is still being determined, a spokesman told Xconomy.

—Gadfly Legal Technologies raised nearly $2.6 million in equity funding, according to an SEC filing. Its investors include Rose Park Advisors, co-founded by Clayton Christensen, the Boston Business Journal reportedFounded by two real estate lawyers, Boston-based Gadfly has created Web-based software called LeasePilot that aims to make it easier to draft and edit commercial leases. [This paragraph updated with the investor.]

—Boston-based Smack, maker of social apps like Fam, has raised $1.8 million in funding from Flybridge Capital Partners, Boston Seed Capital, New Enterprise Associates, DraftKings co-founder Jason Robins, Crashlytics co-founder Wayne Chang, and other investors, according to a TechCrunch report. The investment appears to be in the form of debt financing, per a recent SEC filing. Read more about Smack in this Xconomy profile.

—Bedford, MA-based Valora Technologies, which provides software and services for managing and analyzing documents, snagged $1.75 million in equity funding, according to an SEC filing.

—Marriott (NASDAQ: MAR) invested an undisclosed amount in PlacePass. The Cambridge-based company runs an online marketplace where travelers can shop for tours and activities at their destinations.

—A report by Fortune analyzed what led to the sale of Visible Measures for $10 million—a fraction of the $70 million-plus that investors had bet on the Boston firm—and what the deal signals for the broader advertising technology sector.

—Meanwhile, Date My Wardrobe has shut down, as first reported by BostInno. The fashion rental startup said on its website that it was unable to make the business model “financially viable.”

—On a related note, BostInno published a story exploring the demise of Next Step Living, a once promising energy efficiency company that ceased operations a year ago.

—Lastly, Northeastern University announced that it hired John Manferdelli, a Google engineering director, to lead its new institute for cybersecurity and privacy research and education.

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

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