Boston Tech Watch: MassChallenge Awards, Startup Funding, & Layoffs

Hard to believe it’s already November. As we get ready to turn the clocks back an hour on Sunday, let’s take a look back at some recent tech news in the Boston area:

—At a swanky gala event on Wednesday night, MassChallenge and its partners awarded $1.5 million in grants and prizes to 16 of the 128 startups that went through its summer accelerator in Boston. The three biggest winners each took home $100,000: TellusLabs, a local firm that turns satellite images and other data about the Earth into useful insights for customers; Adhesys Medical, a Texas-based company developing polyurethane-based surgical glues for sealing wounds; and EYL, a Korean company that provides cybersecurity for connected devices.

A full list of winners can be found here.

—CollegeVine said it closed a $3.1 million Series A funding round led by Morningside Technology Ventures; University Ventures also contributed. Cambridge, MA-based CollegeVine connects high school students with college student mentors who help them with the college application process. CollegeVine, formerly known as Admissions Hero, was incubated at the Harvard Innovation Lab.

—Wakefield, MA-based industrial robotics firm Persimmon Technologies raised $3 million from investors, according to an SEC filing.

—MedMinder raised $1.35 million from investors, an SEC filing shows. The Needham, MA-based company sells pill dispensers that provide audio and visual alerts when it’s time for users to take their medications, and allow the user to press a button to call for emergency medical help, among other features.

—Finally, a pair of local tech companies disclosed a round of layoffs. Watertown, MA-based Athenahealth (NASDAQ: ATHN) cut 102 jobs in San Francisco and about 40 people in Atlanta as part of a restructuring of its research and development operations, the Boston Business Journal reported. That represents less than 3 percent of its workforce. At the same time, the healthtech firm plans to hire more people at its headquarters and at offices in Austin, TX, and India.

Meanwhile, NutraClick, a seller of nutritional supplements and beauty products, let go 25 percent of its Boston staff, or about 30 people, BostInno reported. NutraClick CEO and co-founder Daniel Wallace told BostInno the cuts weren’t related to a recent settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over alleged deceptive marketing tactics.

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

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