Last week, Boston hosted the Forbes Under 30 Summit, a four-day event filled with panel discussions from leading celebrities and entrepreneurs, music, food festivals and a startup pitch contest with more than 1,000 participants. Somerville-based Pillar Technologies, an IoT and data analytics company born out of Wentworth Institute of Technology, won the for-profit track of the event’s Change the World Competition, taking home $425,000 in funding and grants. The judges included actor Ashton Kutcher and Hollywood producer Guy Oseary – co-founders of investment firm Sound Ventures – and Peter Boyce II, an investor with Cambridge’s General Catalyst Partners.
Here’s the rest of the top recent news from the Boston startup community:
ProShot, a Boston-based startup, is taking on GoPro Inc. with a case that turns an iPhone into a waterproof, mountable action camera. The ProShot case works like a clamshell with three clamps to keep the iPhone waterproof and secure. It retails for $99, includes a deep-dive lid waterproof down to 100 feet, a touchscreen lid waterproof down to six feet and a wide-angle lens. ProShot raised $90,000 on Kickstarter and has sold 3,000 cases using the platform, its own website and more than 50 surf and ski shops since May.
Optimus Ride, a startup founded at MIT, raised $5.25 million in seed funding led by NextView Ventures and FirstMark Capital. Powered by a team with more than 30 years of collective experience in robotics, on-demand transportation and electrics vehicles, the company aims to provide a unique perspective to the self-driving technology marketing. Co-founder Sertac Karaman told TechCrunch, “We have been working on new transportation systems that are based on new self-driving vehicle technologies, and we’ve been working on this for a few months already. We have people on the team who have been working on autonomous vehicles for almost a decade.”
Cambridge-based EverQuote closed a $23 million Series B round to expand its online insurance marketplace and give its founders and early employees liquidity as part of a pre-IPO strategy. Seth Birnbaum, EverQuote's CEO and co-founder, told BostInno the funding round will be used to expand product development and sales. The company plans to add 120 people — evenly split between sales and data scientists and engineers — to its current headcount of 185. The company is also planning to open a sales office in Woburn, Massachusetts in the near future.
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