Boston Tech Watch: iRobot, MIT, Xura, Locus Robotics

Before everyone gets out of town for Memorial Day weekend, let’s catch up on a few recent announcements in Boston-area tech:

—Xura (NASDAQ: MESG), a Wakefield, MA-based provider of digital communications products and services for businesses, is being acquired for $643 million by affiliates of Siris Capital Group, a New York private equity firm.

—Locus Robotics announced it raised $8 million in a Series A funding round and hired Rick Faulk as its CEO. Faulk previously led Intronis and Intranets.com, among other companies. Locus co-founders Michael Johnson and Bruce Welty will remain with the organization—Johnson as president and chief operating officer, and Welty as chairman, handling corporate and business development, according to a press release.

Based in Wilmington, MA, Locus has developed robots for fulfilling e-commerce orders in warehouses.

—iRobot (NASDAQ: IRBT) scored a win over activist investor Red Mountain Capital Partners. Based on preliminary results, iRobot said its shareholders voted to elect the company’s two board nominees—Carbonite CEO Mohamad Ali and Silver Spring Networks CEO Michael Bell—instead of Red Mountain’s two nominees, former Clorox chief operating officer Larry Peiros and Red Mountain managing partner Willem Mesdag.

However, iRobot’s proposals to declassify the board of directors and eliminate supermajority voting requirements failed to pass, the company said.

—The Lemelson-MIT Program said it hired Stephanie Couch as its executive director, succeeding Joshua Schuler, who left in January, according to his LinkedIn profile. Couch comes from California State University at East Bay, where she wore several hats, including leading its Institute for STEM Education.

The Lemelson-MIT Program awards prizes to professional and collegiate inventors, and also provides grants to teams of teenage students (and their teachers and mentors) working on new technologies. The program is part of an immense set of initiatives and organizations on MIT’s campus that support innovation and entrepreneurship.

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

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