Verizon Fios, New Digs, Pink Slips & More in Boston Tech Watchlist
[Updated 4/14/16, 1:06 p.m. See below.] There’s a lot of news to recap this week in Boston’s tech scene. We’ve got C-suite shakeups, staff expansions and contractions, and companies making moves in telehealth, robotics, and high-speed Internet service (spoiler alert: there will be more options for Bostonians, but you might be waiting a while). Read on for details.
Executives on the Move
—Former Harvest Automation CEO John Kawola was named the president of Ultimaker’s North America business. Ultimaker, a Netherlands-based 3D printer manufacturer, has also opened a Boston office, according to a press release. Kawola left robotics firm Harvest Automation in January.
—CoachUp founder Jordan Fliegel is working on a new venture (no details yet) and writing a book. In early 2015, he shifted from the CEO role at CoachUp to president and board chair. As of December, he was no longer involved in day-to-day operations, but he remains on the board, the Boston Business Journal reported.
—The board of SeaChange International (NASDAQ: SEAC), an Acton, MA-based video software company, fired CEO Jay Samit “without cause” and promoted chief operating officer Ed Terino. The shakeup was announced the day SeaChange reported a $47.7 million net loss in its previous fiscal year. The move raised concerns among some financial analysts, who noted that it’s the company’s second CEO change in two years, the Boston Business Journal reported.
Hiring and Firing
—Yottaa, the Waltham, MA-based provider of website and mobile app optimization software, laid off an unspecified number of employees, founder and board chair Coach Wei told BostInno. The company’s revenues are on the rise, but it had reportedly “overinvested” in staff and decided to trim some areas, mainly sales.
—Cengage Learning laid off about 100 people, mainly in its publishing business. At the same time, it intends to hire 150 people in tech-related positions, CEO Michael Hansen told BostInno. The moves are part of the Boston-based company’s transition from textbook publishing to digital education products, which we recently explored.
—Cybersecurity firm Confer is growing its Boston team and has opened a second local office in Southborough, MA, which serves as its new corporate headquarters. The moves follow a recent expansion of its European operations. Confer, which currently employs 50 people worldwide, raised $17 million in a Series B funding round in November, and the company says it’s seeing an uptick in demand.
—Flywire has been on a global expansion kick in recent months, and that continued with the opening of a Tokyo operation. The Boston-based online processor of international payments opened a Shanghai office last year as part of a push into the Asia-Pacific region.
—Cybereason has formed a joint venture in Japan with SoftBank, one of the Boston-based cybersecurity company’s customers and investors. The venture will be the vehicle for providing Cybereason’s cyber attack detection and response products and services in Japan.
Products and Partnerships
—Athenahealth (NASDAQ: ATHN) has acquired Arsenal Health for an undisclosed sum. The startup previously received an investment from Athenahealth in 2014. Arsenal’s machine learning software helps doctors better handle their daily appointment volume by predicting cancellations and no-shows. Watertown, MA-based Athenahealth said it will integrate Arsenal’s products with its own healthcare scheduling and care coordination software. [This announcement added.]
—In a reversal, Verizon said it will bring Fios—its high-speed fiber optic Internet, TV, and phone service—to the city of Boston. The move will mean more options for locals, who currently can choose mainly from cable providers Comcast and RCN, along with upstart wireless Internet service providers like Webpass, NetBlazr, and (soon) Starry. But Verizon needs to build out its infrastructure neighborhood by neighborhood, so the Fios rollout will take six years, starting in southern parts of the city and moving into downtown.
—Boston-based Jibo has delayed shipment of its “social” home robot to Indiegogo backers and will offer a full refund to those who request it, according to a Facebook post. The company raised over $3.7 million in its Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.
—American Well’s software will enable CVS MinuteClinic customers in Ohio to conduct on-demand online and mobile doctor visits with Cleveland Clinic physicians. The new project augments the Boston-based telehealth company’s existing partnerships with both CVS and Cleveland Clinic.