Boston Tech Watch: Polaris, NuTonomy, Techstars, The Engine & More

It’s time to catch up on the latest headlines from the Boston-area tech community:

—Polaris Partners said it closed a $435 million fund, the firm’s eighth. Polaris invests in technology and healthcare ventures.

—Delphi, Optimus Ride, and Navya have contacted Massachusetts officials about potentially testing autonomous vehicles on state roads, according to a report from the Boston Globe. France-based Navya is interested in using its driverless shuttle buses to transport people around Union Point, the site of the former Naval Air Station in South Weymouth, MA, that is being redeveloped.

If the proposals are approved, the three companies would join NuTonomy, which began testing autonomous vehicle technology in Boston a few months ago.

—Speaking of NuTonomy, it’s expanding its fleet of test vehicles in Singapore through a new partnership with Groupe PSA, the maker of Peugeot vehicles. Peugeot cars will be outfitted with sensors and self-driving vehicle software from NuTonomy.

—SimpliVity laid off dozens of employees after its recent $650 million acquisition by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the Boston Business Journal reported.

—Framingham, MA-based Punchbowl raised $4 million from investors, according to an SEC filing. The company offers tools that help people create digital greeting cards and send out online invitations to events.

—In a story about the new managing director of Techstars Boston, Xconomy’s Greg Huang reported that five startups in the accelerator program’s latest session have raised money from outside investors. BostInno has more details on the deals for RateGravity, Tive, CareAcademy, Sea Machines, and Solstice. The investments were announced at Techstars Boston’s demo day.

—Reed Sturtevant has joined The Engine as a general partner. The move was first reported by Axios. Sturtevant previously was a managing director at Project 11 Ventures and Techstars Boston. He worked with Katie Rae at both organizations, and now he’s working with her again at The Engine, where Rae is president and CEO, and a managing partner of its venture fund.

The Engine is a startup-support initiative launched by MIT that combines a fund, an accelerator program, and access to workspace and business services.

—In other venture capital personnel news, Andy Palmer has joined Founder Collective, a Cambridge, MA-based venture firm, as a “founder partner.” The gig is part-time; Palmer will remain CEO of Cambridge-based Tamr.

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

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