Biker clubhouse
With grant money, Fortified Bike plans a hangout for Boston's bike community
Cofounder Slava Menn (right, with cofounder Tivan Amour) says they want the community space to unite disparate biking efforts in Boston.
Boston startup Fortified Bicycle just nabbed a $150,000 grant through the Mission Main Street Grants program run by JP Morgan Chase & Co., and it plans to use the money to build out a new office on the edge of Chinatown that it hopes will become a gathering place for Boston's bike community. Read More
Robotics startup Jibo raises $25 million, brings on Nuance exec as CEO
Jibo is a $599 countertop robot designed to handle tasks like scheduling and videoconferencing. (Company-supplied photo.)
Steve Chambers says he first heard about the "social robotics" startup Jibo in late 2013, when two friends mentioned the startup to him within two hours on the same day. At the time, Chambers was running worldwide sales, marketing, and business development for Nuance, the publicly held speech recognition company in Burlington. Chambers says he couldn't leave that post immediately, but he joined Jibo's board last September as executive chairman, and helped founder Cynthia Breazeal raise $25 million in new funding. Today, the Weston company is announcing that Chambers, a veteran of both the speech recognition and videoconferencing industries, is joining Jibo as its new CEO. Read More
Head in the Clouds
CloudHealth Technologies raises $12 million to support the growth of cloud computing
(NOAA NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE; FREEBIGPICTURES.COM)
CloudHealth Technologies, a Boston-based developer of management software for the cloud, announced today that it has raised $12 million in new funding. The Series B investment round was led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Scale Venture Partners, and was joined by existing investors .406 Ventures and Sigma Prime Ventures. Read More
rocket science
SpaceX raises $1 billion backed by Google, Fidelity
First spaceships, now satellites.: Elon Musk at a press conference in May 2014. (Photo: AP file/Jae C. Hong)
An early private investor in Facebook and other hot tech stocks, Fidelity Investments has a history of backing moonshots, but this time, it has put its money on a bona-fide rocket. The Boston financial giant joined with Google Inc. and other investors in a $1 billion funding of Space Exploration Technologies, the California company started by billionaire Elon Musk. Known as SpaceX, the company builds reusable rockets and spacecrafts to ferry cargo to the International Space Station and might one day attempt to transport humans to Mars. Read More
Mobile tech for museum-goers
Spotzer, deploying tech to enhance museum visits, raises first funding
A gallery at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. (MFA photo.)
Think about the wall plaques or audio guides that shape your visit to a museum: They're no different for visitors more interested in history than art, or those who want to dive deeply into a particular artifact and skim past others. A Boston startup called Spotzer wants to change that, by letting you use a smartphone as your guide, and deploying Bluetooth "beacon" technology throughout museums so that you can chart your own course. The company just got its start last year, but it has already done pilot tests with institutions like the Boston Athenaeum, MIT's List Visual Arts Center, and New York's Neue Galerie — and Spotzer founder Brendan Ciecko is in the midst of wrapping the company's first funding round. Read More