Dylan: As Amazon considers which city to build a second headquarters, several senior executives are putting forward Boston as their preference, according to a new Bloomberg report. After Bloomberg published the story, Amazon denied the report, saying that “there are no front-runners at this point.” My take: It’s probably true that Boston is seen as a top option for several Amazon executives, but the company doesn’t want to lose out on the chance to receive a compelling offer from somewhere else. Read more: Several Amazon Execs Favor Boston for Second HQ [Report]
Lucy: We’re still taking a look at Portland, Maine, for our Inno on the Road series, where we cover other innovation hubs in New England. After Dylan’s profile of Chimani, this time it’s my turn to explore a big, well-established $1B company based in South Portland, Maine. Can you guess what is it? Clue one: It offers two paid days off so all employees could take time for volunteering, and a 20-day long sabbatical program so people who’ve been at the company at least six years can “go experience the world.” Clue Two: It currently has offices in the U.S., Brazil, Europe and Australia. Read more: This $1B Maine Company Offers Employees Two Paid Days Off for Volunteering
Dylan: Mobee, a Boston-based retail intelligence startup, has merged with a West Coast company working in the same space called Quad Analytix. Combined, they will go under the name Wiser Solutions. A little trivia: Mobee CEO Hal Charnley was originally planning to raise a new round of funding, but a meeting in Las Vegas earlier this year with Quad’s CEO changed the company’s course. Read more: Mobee Merges with West Coast Startup, Plans Acquisitions in Retail Tech Space
Lucy: MassChallenge is expanding. The Boston-based network of startup accelerators will launch its newest program in the Austin/San Antonio region. The program aims to accelerate up to 100 startups, which will compete for up to $500K in equity-free cash awards. Our very own Brent Wistrom has the story for Austin Inno. Read more: MassChallenge Launches Accelerator Network in Texas
Dylan: Ahead of Roomba’s 15th birthday next week, iRobot’s stock price is getting pummeled over a report that Needham-based SharkNinja’s new, competitively priced robotic vacuums could pose a threat to the company. IRobot’s stock is down by a little under 12%. This seems to be prompted by Spruce Point Capital questioning whether iRobot can fight off the new competition from SharkNinja, which is now advertising robotic vacuums on its website. In a statement provided to me, iRobot said it has sold more than 20 million robots worldwide, and that it has seen “incredible movement” within iRobot and the robotics industry at-large.
“Other companies are realizing what iRobot has known all along – that some jobs, like vacuuming and mopping, are best suited for a robot. We welcome good competition as it will help to expand the overall market,” iRobot added.