Boston Tech Watch: Leerink, E14 Fund, Jobcase, Freight Farms & More

This week in Boston tech, we’re tracking a new $313 million growth equity fund for digital health companies, more money for an MIT Media Lab fund, layoffs at Freight Farms, and the arrival of another autonomous vehicle software startup, among other news. Read on for details.

—Leerink Transformation Partners announced it raised $313 million for its inaugural growth equity fund that invests in healthcare IT and services companies. It has already backed Outcome Health, Scientist.com, Vera Whole Health, PatientPing, Health Catalyst, and Kyruus, according to a press release. The Boston-based firm is affiliated with Leerink Partners, an investment bank focused on healthcare.

Leerink Transformation Partners also manages the Massachusetts Innovation Catalyst Fund, a $28 million fund that backs Bay State healthtech startups.

The firm’s managing partners are Todd Cozzens, previously an investor with Sequoia Capital, and Jared Kesselheim, a trained physician who previously led the healthcare investing team at Bain Capital Ventures.

—The E14 Fund, an early-stage venture fund that invests in startups born at the MIT Media Lab, has raised $9.5 million, according to an SEC filing. E14’s investments include Formlabs, Affectiva, Tulip, Soofa, and Ori.

—Freight Farms laid off seven of its 38 employees as it shifts its focus toward selling more to colleges and universities, where it has seen growing demand, BostInno reported. The Boston-based startup sells shipping containers filled with hydroponic farming systems that can grow lettuces, herbs, and other greens. It landed a $7.3 million Series B round of funding in June.

—Jobcase said it raised $7 million in a Series A funding round led by Savano Capital Partners. The Cambridge, MA-based startup operates a social media platform for the American workforce, aimed primarily at blue-collar workers. Jobcase said it has more than 75 million registered members. The company employs 115 people and plans to hire up to 40 more by next summer.

Alyce, a Watertown, MA-based startup, pulled in $5.3 million in the form of equity funding and other securities, according to an SEC filing. Alyce uses artificial intelligence-related software to make corporate gift-giving recommendations. The goal is to help businesses build stronger relationships with customers, prospective customers, employees, and so on.

—Analytical Space, one of the first startups to receive an investment from MIT’s The Engine, announced it raised $3.5 million in seed funding from a group of backers that also includes Flybridge Capital Partners, Space Angels, and Shasta Ventures. A recent SEC filing indicated the satellite communication startup raised nearly $4.5 million, which includes the conversion of convertible debt notes.

—Another autonomous vehicle technology startup has rolled into town—Seattle-based Mighty AI opened an office in Boston this week. The software company also has a location in Detroit, which it opened in June. Mighty AI says it delivers data to automakers, their suppliers, startups, and other companies in the automotive industry, to help them develop computer vision systems for driverless vehicles.

Boston’s autonomous vehicle cluster also includes NuTonomy, Optimus Ride, and the Toyota Research Institute.

—Rekener announced it received a $1.75 million investment from previous backers Pillar, Accomplice, Founder Collective, and unnamed individuals. The company launched last year with $3.2 million in initial funding. It sells software aimed at helping businesses boost their recurring revenue.

—Lastly, BrainSpec raised $1.7 million from investors, according to an SEC filing. The two-year-old Boston-based startup developed Web-based software for processing the results of magnetic resonance spectroscopy tests, a medical imaging technology that measures concentrations of chemicals in the brain.

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

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