Boston Tech Roundup: Flywire, DraftKings, Blade, & More

There has been a flurry of funding, acquisitions, hiring and firing, and other movement in the Boston­area startup scene over the past week or so. Time for a quick roundup of the latest local tech news:

—PeerTransfer has changed its name to Flywire and moved into new digs overlooking Boston Common, according to a press release. The company, which provides software that helps international students make cross­border tuition payments, raised $22 million from investors in January and this week said its revenue has doubled in the past year.

The new Boston headquarters give it the space to double its U.S. staff. Flywire also said this week that it moved into a larger office in Valencia, Spain. The company announced a Shanghai office in July.

—Blade, the South Boston startup space launched last year by Kayak co­founder and former chief technology officer Paul English, said it has ceased making investments and will focus on building a new “travel company.” Blade isn’t sharing more details about that project right now. The pivot was announced in an e­mail on Monday, although it appears to have been posted on Blade’s website in July.

Blade will continue advising its existing portfolio companies, but its 12­person staff will be mostly working on the travel company—with more hiring on the horizon.

Blade has worked with companies including navigation app Mapkin, which we wrote about this week, and college social app Wigo, a company that BetaBoston reported appears to be dead.

EnglishCentral, an Arlington, MA­based provider of online videos that help people learn English, said it has acquired Langrich, a Japan­based company offering one­on-
one online English tutoring services. Founded in 2009 by former Nuance Communications exec Alan Schwartz, EnglishCentral says it has more than 100,000 paying users in more than 100 countries and 400 universities. The acquisition will nearly triple EnglishCentral’s staff to more than 350 employees worldwide, a spokeswoman said.

—Cambridge­based Ambri, an MIT spinout working on advanced batteries, laid off 14 employees—or about 25 percent of its staff—in response to delays in development, BetaBoston reported.

— Boston­based digital advertising and data analytics company ChoiceStream has raised $14 million in a Series C funding round led by new investor North Atlantic Capital, with participation from previous investors, the company said in a press release. The money is in the form of equity, debt, and securities, according to an SEC filing. ChoiceStream will use the capital for product development, sales, and filing. ChoiceStream will use the capital for product development, sales, and international expansion, it said. [This paragraph was updated with information from the press release, including the name of the investor.]

—Lowell, MA­based healthtech company Persivia acquired IHM Services of Burlington, MA, which provides clinical reporting software for hospitals. Persivia sells data analytics software that helps hospitals and clinics manage the care of large groups of patients, particularly those with chronic conditions. Persivia was acquired by Alere in 2012, then bought back by its founders in May after Alere began downsizing its diagnostics business, the Boston Business Journal reported.

—DraftKings and Fleetmatics were named private and public company of the year, respectively, by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council at MassTLC’s 18th annual leadership awards gala held last night in Boston, according to a press release. The organization also picked Admetsys as the local startup to watch and named PTC’s Jim Heppelmann as CEO of the year, Wayfair’s Steve Conine as top local CTO, and Jebbit chief operating officer Jonathan Lacoste as emerging executive of the year. (Conine actually relinquished the CTO role earlier this year when the company named Jeremy Delinsky to that position.)

The companies recognized for having innovative technology included TripAdvisor, Podium Data, CloudHealth Technologies, Hstry, Empatica, LogMeIn, Scratch Wireless, VGo Communications, Mavrck, and Black Duck Software.

MassTLC had previously announced winners of its Commonwealth Award (serial entrepreneur and MIT computer science professor Michael Stonebraker) and Distinguished Leadership awards (MassChallenge founder and CEO John Harthorne; Charlie LaFauci and Shawn Szturma, Somerville community advocates for computer science education; and Vecna Cares executive director Debbie Theobald).

Author: Jeff Engel


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