By the end of this year, NuTonomy plans to test autonomous cars in the streets of Boston to stay ahead of competitors such as BMW, Ford and Google. NuTonomy CEO Karl Iagnemma noted that while computers can program a car to follow the rules of the road, other human drivers might intervene, so the cars need to be intelligent enough to adapt to the way humans drive. The company plans to announce additional partnerships around the world in the coming months, and will reveal its self-driving Renault Zoe electric vehicle in Singapore in 2018.
Here’s what else happened in the Boston startup community this week.
Lovepop, a Boston-based maker of 3D pop-up cards, raised a $6 million Series A round backed by Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary. The round was led by Ryan Moore, founder and partner at Cambridge venture capital firm Accomplice. Other investors included Wayfair CEO and co-founder Niraj Shah, Crashlytics founder and Twitter exec Wayne Chang and Bain Capital's Bob White. The new round of cash will be used to support the opening of two NYC retail locations as well as the launch of the startup's new custom wedding invitation platform.
According to a recent Federal Reserve report, unemployment in Massachusetts fell to 3.3 percent in October, the lowest level in more than 15 years, and the shrinking labor pool is causing headaches for some companies. Due to the pinch of the tight labor market, retailers, manufacturers and staffing firms are struggling to fill open positions and keep workers. Staffing firms reported that legal, marketing and medical assistant positions were particularly challenging to fill.
Apptopia, a Boston-based app intelligence startup with a number of big-name clients like Google and Facebook, raised a $2.7 million seed round of funding from Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures VC firm, existing investor Mark Cuban, 500 Startups, and a handful of other VC firms. Mark Cuban noted, “I believed in Apptopia and its founders when I initially invested in 2014, and my belief has only strengthened as the company has tripled its revenue just this year. Having experience with my own app, Dust, I know how important app marketplace intelligence is to big and small developers alike and what that insight can translate into.”
Rick Grinnell, co-founder and managing partner at Boston venture capital firm Glasswing Ventures, outlines his cybersecurity predictions for 2017 and how the Boston market fits into the picture. Grinnell comments that while the new threats and attack vectors are largely unknown, global enterprises need to continue to quickly evolve in their approaches toward cybersecurity. He also expects Wall Street to pressure the market, amplifying expectations for high growth and justifying high multiples. His advice: cybersecurity companies may need to spend a little bit of their balance cash to ensure growth, meet their numbers, and continue an up-and-to-the-right trajectory.
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