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Thursday, November 2, 2017

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Dylan: This is your friendly reminder that BostInno’s 50 on Fire is a week from today. Make sure to buy your ticket now, and we’ll see you at the Revere Hotel next Thursday, Nov. 9.

The Big One

A breakdown on the day’s biggest Inno story.

Dylan: Optimus Ride is getting closer to commercializing its autonomous vehicle technology as the race to launch self-driving cars gets red hot. The MIT spinoff announced today that it raised an $18M Series A funding round led by Greycroft Partners to accelerate the commercialization of its technology, expand its fleet of vehicles and make strategic hires.

Ryan Chin, the company’s CEO and co-founder, told BostInno that the company plans to announce deals with customers in “several weeks” that will provide more details about how its technology will be brought to market. He declined to disclose the names of the company’s customers or how many it’s working with.

Optimus Ride’s funding round comes a little over a week after its main rival in Boston, nuTonomy, announced that it was getting acquired by European auto supply giant Delphi for up to $450M.

When nuTonomy’s deal was announced, its CEO Karl Iagnemma said that getting acquired by an auto supplier with existing relationships in the industry would give it the biggest opportunity in the autonomous vehicle space. “It’s not clear to me a startup or tech company will be able to address those markets because it hasn’t established those relationships or that trust,” he added.

Asked about Iagnemma’s comments, Chin said he believes “very strongly that Optimus can be a standalone company” in the long run.

“Our view is if you have the right approach, if you have the right partnership with vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, the right customers, the right relationships with regulators, you can be a standalone company,” Chin said. As a standalone company, he added, it can allow Optimus to remain “vehicle agnostic,” meaning its software can be used for anything from cars to forklifts. Read more: Optimus Ride Gets $18M to Commercialize Self-Driving Car Tech

In The Know

The Inno stories you need to read today.

Making Moves

Inside the people, companies and organizations making moves in Boston.

Lucy: After CarGurus became the first Boston company to go public in 2017, now there are rumors around when Carbon Black’s IPO could happen. Citing two sources familiar with the company’s plans, BBJ reported that the Waltham-based cybersecurity company is prepping for an initial public offering next year.

Dylan: Speaking of public companies, there were mixed results for this week’s earnings reports from Wayfair, HubSpot and

— Wayfair’s stock is down nearly 20% after reporting that it missed Wall Street’s expectations on revenue by $10M and earnings by 19 cents. BBJ noted that the company also lost significantly more money than expected in Q3. Revenue grew 39.3% y-o-y to $1.2B.

— HubSpot’s stock is slightly up after beating expectations in revenue and earnings for Q3, as well as increasing its Q4 and end-of-year guidance. Revenue grew 38.4% y-o-t to $97.73M.

—’s stock is up around 10% after also beating expectations on revenue and earnings in Q3. Revenue grew 9.2% y-o-y to $44.5M.

Lucy: First Boston M&A deal of the month to report. UpCurve, which sells digital marketing products branded as ThriveHive, is acquiring Denver-based technology company Closely. As a result, the ThriveHive team is expanding to Colorado with a fifth office, together with Boston, Quincy, Manchester, N.H., and Las Vegas, N.V. The main reason why UpCurve was interested in acquiring Closely is Perch, its mobile app for small businesses that will be integrated into the ThriveHive suite. Closely’s office in Denver, which currently has seven employees, will become a ThriveHive product and engineering hub. There will not be any layoffs after the acquisition, Adam Blake, SVP of marketing and GM of SaaS at ThriveHive, told me. “We’ll be looking to add more people to the office in Denver to build out another product and engineering hub,” he added. Read more: ThriveHive Expands in Colorado Following the Acquisition of Denver-Based Startup

Player Personnel

Who’s moving where.

Dylan: Interactions, the Franklin-based provider of virtural assistant software, hired Robert Nagle as its CTO and chief product officer. Nagle was previously a VP at InterSystems.

Lucy: Jake Simpson will join Catalant Technologies as executive VP of worldwide sales. Simpson is the former COO of Onapsis.

In The Community

The events and happenings to know about tonight and this week.

Dylan: Want to know who all the players are in the Boston blockchain scene? Erick Pinos, a researcher at the MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative, wrote a fairly exhaustive list of the startups, entrepreneurs and meetups doing stuff in the blockchain space.

Read This Right Now

Insight and analysis from the community and beyond.

Dylan: In a guest post for BostInno, Bryan House, an entrepreneur-in-residence at Underscore.VC, wrote a recap of a blockchain panel that happened at the VC firm’s recent Core Summit. There are some interesting takeaways, including this one: “In all likelihood, and in the not too distant future, we will stop talking about blockchains as they are a means to an end. Before we know it, blockchain will be another technology built into the application fabric that we use — in business applications, as individuals, when we engage with banks and potentially when we engage with the government. Today, it is new and unfamiliar and, most noticeably, complex. But so was SMTP, and we never talk about that protocol either, yet we use it every time we hit send on an email.”

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Meet The Authors

Dylan Martin

Lucia Maffei

Kyle Gross

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