Boston Tech Watch: Drizly, Skyworks, Polaris, Akili, Kebotix & More
[Updated 8/10/18, 1:33 pm. See below.] Time to catch up on some of the latest deals and developments in the Boston-area tech sector:
—Skyworks Solutions (NASDAQ: SWKS), the Woburn, MA-based chipmaker, said it inked a deal to acquire Avnera, a Beaverton, OR-based maker of semiconductors designed to minimize power consumption and enable voice-controlled devices and software. Skyworks will pay $405 million in cash, plus up to $20 million more if certain performance milestones are exceeded during the 12 months following the deal’s closure. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the month, according to a press release.
—Polaris Partners, a Boston-based investment firm that backs technology and healthcare companies spanning various stages, announced it raised $175 million for its debut growth-stage fund. The fund will invest in profitable software, Internet, and tech-enabled services companies. Polaris has made such later-stage deals in the past, but it hadn’t raised a fund dedicated to them, according to a press release. The growth fund is being led by Polaris managing partner Bryce Youngren and partner Dan Lombard.
—Drizly, the Boston-based online alcohol shopping and delivery service, named a new CEO: Cory Rellas, who was chief operating officer, succeeds his cousin, Nick Rellas, the Boston Globe reported. A company spokesperson confirmed the leadership transition in an e-mail to Xconomy. Nick Rellas co-founded Drizly in 2012 and had served as chief executive since the company’s inception. He remains on the company’s board and will now serve in an advisory role, the spokesperson said.
Drizly, which has raised $32.8 million in venture capital and serves more than 100 cities in North America, has been shaking up its management team this year. In January, it hired a new chief marketing officer, chief financial officer, and its first head of people operations.
—Akili Interactive Labs said it tacked $13 million onto its Series C funding round announced in May, bringing the investment to $68 million total. The new money came from CLSA, Omidyar Technology Ventures, Digital Garage Group (DG Incubation and DG Daiwa Ventures), and Fearless Ventures, according to a press release. The earlier investment was led by Temasek, which was joined by Baillie Gifford, Amgen Ventures, Merck’s M Ventures, and other investors.
Boston-based Akili is developing video games designed to help assess and treat several cognitive disorders. Its flagship experimental product, AKL-T01, is currently under FDA review. If cleared by federal regulators, it would be used to help treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
—Appcues said it pulled in $10 million in a Series A funding round led by Sierra Ventures, with contributions from Accomplice and individual investors. The Boston-based startup develops digital tools to help companies enhance users’ experience of their software products.
—Kebotix, a young Harvard University spinout, said it raised more than $5 million in a seed investment led by One Way Ventures, the Boston firm started by former Techstars Boston directors Semyon Dukach and Eveline Buchatskiy. Kebotix isn’t sharing specifics about its approach, but it sounds like it will use machine learning software to develop new materials, according to a press release e-mailed to Xconomy.
Kebotix’s founders include Alán Aspuru-Guzik, the chemistry and materials science researcher who recently left Harvard for the University of Toronto. Aspuru-Guzik is also a founder of quantum computing startup Zapata Computing. Kebotix’s CEO is Jill Becker, who previously founded Cambridge NanoTech.
—Newton, MA-based Newman Cloud raised $4 million from investors, according to a filing with the SEC. The company developed OpenBOM, cloud-based software to help manufacturers and engineers manage their bills of materials and inventories.
—Root AI grabbed $2.3 million in an investment led by First Round, with contributions from Accomplice, Schematic Ventures, Liquid2 Ventures, and Half Court Ventures, according to a blog post by Root AI co-founder and CEO Josh Lessing. Root AI is developing robotic systems for indoor farms. Lessing was previously director of research and development at Soft Robotics. [This paragraph added.—Eds]
—Western Digital, the San Jose, CA-based maker of data storage devices, is shuttering its Marlborough, MA, facility in a restructuring move, the Worcester Business Journal reported. Western Digital employs 114 people at that location, according to the report. [This paragraph added.—Eds]