Boston Tech Watch: Wayfair, Monster, Circle, Rocket, Cogito & More

Time to catch up on recent Boston-area tech headlines, including a trio of mergers and acquisitions, venture capital deals in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, a new chief technology officer at Monster, and Wayfair’s first brick-and-mortar locations. Read on for details.

—Bain Capital Private Equity reached an agreement to purchase a majority stake in Rocket Software, a 28-year-old company providing enterprise software and services, in a deal with a total enterprise value of approximately $2 billion. Waltham, MA-based Rocket is currently owned by Court Square Capital Partners. Rocket’s current management team, including CEO Andy Youniss, will remain in place, according to a press release.

—App-testing firm Perfecto Mobile will be acquired by Perforce Software in a deal valued at about $200 million, according to a spokesperson. Burlington, MA-based Perfecto had raised at least $92.8 million from investors, including Technology Crossover Ventures, FTV Capital, Carmel Ventures, Globespan Capital Partners, and Vertex Ventures. Minneapolis-based Perforce is backed by Clearlake Capital Group.

—Boston-based social media analytics firm Crimson Hexagon said it has agreed to merge with U.K.-based rival Brandwatch. The deal terms weren’t disclosed, but the two companies said their union will create a data-driven marketing insights business expected to generate around $100 million in annual recurring revenue. The combined companies will be known as Brandwatch, according to a press release.

Crimson Hexagon was co-founded in 2007 by Harvard political scientist and government professor Gary King, an expert in statistical analysis of public opinion. The company had raised at least $37.5 million from Sageview Capital and other investors. Read more about Crimson Hexagon’s origins in this Xconomy profile from 2008 and another from 2010.

Circle Internet Financial, the Boston-based, blockchain-enabled finance company, said it inked an agreement to acquire New York-based equity crowdfunding company SeedInvest. Assuming Circle gets regulatory approval, it plans to expand SeedInvest’s crowdfunding capabilities to support crypto assets, such as Circle’s cryptocurrency tied to the price of the U.S. dollar, and to enable issuing and offering “tokenized” securities through SeedInvest’s platform. (You can learn more about Circle’s vision for crypto-powered finance at X·CON on November 6 in Boston. Click here to request an invite.)

—Perceptive Automata, a Somerville, MA-based startup developing software to help autonomous vehicles better understand human intent, said it pulled in $16 million in Series A funding. Jazz Venture Partners led the investment and was joined by Toyota AI Ventures, Hyundai, and earlier Perceptive backers First Round Capital and Slow Ventures, among other investors. The deal brings Perceptive’s total venture capital haul to $20 million, according to a press release.

—Chasm, a Canton, MA-based developer and maker of advanced materials for batteries and other electronics, said it scooped up $11 million in a Series A funding round led by Wave Equity Partners and NXT Ventures.

—Boston-based cybersecurity firm Randori announced it grabbed $9.75 million in venture funding led by Accomplice; .406 Ventures and Legion Capital also invested. Randori is developing software intended to emulate the behavior of advanced hackers, to help businesses and other customers test their defenses and prepare for attacks.

The startup is led by former Carbon Black (NASDAQ: CBLK) executive Brian Hazzard. Mike Viscuso, an Accomplice venture partner and Carbon Black chief technology officer, and .406 Ventures partner Greg Dracon have joined Randori’s board.

—Avaya Holdings (NYSE: AVYA) invested an unspecified amount of money in Cogito, a Boston-based startup that sells analytics software aimed at enhancing businesses’ call center operations. Santa Clara, CA-based Avaya sells business communications software, services, and devices. The investment is part of Cogito’s Series C funding round. The companies said they’re integrating Cogito’s artificial intelligence software with Avaya’s call center products.

—Monster, which runs a popular job search website, appointed Steve DeLisle as its CTO. He previously was IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) vice president of engineering for Watson Commerce and Supply Chain. Monster was acquired two years ago by Randstad Holding.

—Wayfair (NYSE: W), the online seller of home furniture and other goods, plans to open two pop-up shops in Massachusetts and New Jersey for the holidays. They mark Boston-based Wayfair’s first physical locations, according to Bloomberg.

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

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