Boston Tech Watch: Akamai, DraftKings, Grapevine, M33, Zemcar & More
This week in Boston tech, we’re tracking another new growth equity fund focused on healthcare and software, acquisitions by Akamai Technologies and Grapevine, layoffs at video game maker Disruptor Beam, DraftKings’ expansion, and more. Read on for details.
—There’s another new venture capital firm in town: M33 Growth announced it raised $180 million for its debut fund, which will invest primarily in North American software, healthcare, and services companies that were bootstrapped and are generating at least $5 million in annual revenue. M33’s founders include Brian Shortsleeve, previously the acting general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.
Other recently announced local investment funds include Leerink Transformation Partners, which raised a $313 million growth equity fund focused on healthcare technologies and services.
—Cambridge-based Akamai (NASDAQ: AKAM) said it signed an agreement to purchase Redwood City, CA-based Nominum. Terms weren’t disclosed in a press release announcing the deal. Nominum provides domain name servers and cybersecurity products for large enterprises and telecommunications carriers.
—Boston marketing technology company Grapevine made its second acquisition in three months, acquiring Tennessee-based ReadyCart—maker of a shopping platform for YouTube video creators—for an undisclosed price. In July, Grapevine bought Cambridge, MA-based SocMetrics’ Influencer Platform for an undisclosed price.
The deal-making follows Grapevine’s move in February to sell a majority stake in the company to Sun Seven Stars, a China-based media and investment group led by Bruno Wu.
—Supplet, a Boston-based company that sells monthly subscriptions to boxes of products for pregnant women and new mothers, said it was acquired by rival Bump Boxes, based in Peoria, IL. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
—Disruptor Beam, a Framingham, MA-based mobile video game maker, recently laid off some of its staff, according to Gamasutra. Disruptor Beam confirmed the layoffs to the publication, although the company didn’t share how many people were let go. Gamasutra reported that over 30 people were laid off, citing an anonymous source. Disruptor Beam has created games based on famous entertainment franchises, such as “Game of Thrones,” “Star Trek,” and “The Walking Dead.”
—Zemcar, a rideshare startup that enables parents to book rides for their children, named Juliette Kayyem as its CEO. Kayyem previously served as Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under former President Barack Obama. She takes over for Zemcar founder Bilal Khan, who will now serve as board chair and will continue leading the company’s product and technology efforts.
Zemcar also appointed serial entrepreneur Shahid Azim as its president and chief operating officer. Azim previously co-founded Quanttus and Lantos Technologies, among other companies.
—DraftKings, the Boston-based daily fantasy sports company, launched its products in Ireland and Austria, continuing its European expansion. DraftKings also operates in the U.K., Germany, and North America.