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Friday, December 1, 2017

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Dylan: Happy Friday! We’re celebrating our 2017 winners from all of this year’s award programs, including 50 on Fire and Tech Madness, at A Toast to the Winner’s Circle presented by Gentleman Jack. CarGurus COO Sam Zales will give a toast highlighting the many milestones coming from the Boston innovation community this year. Join us next Tuesday, Dec. 5, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 at The UMass Club. We have just a few spots left, so RSVP here.

The Big One

A breakdown on the day’s biggest Inno story.

Dylan: NuTonomy, the local self-driving car startup that was acquired by Delphi for $450M in October, has hit another major milestone: the company completed its first passenger test in the United States.

The autonomous passenger pilot, which was done in collaboration with the city of Boston and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, started three weeks ago. That’s when friends and family of the company used nuTonomy’s booking app for a round-trip autonomous ride from the company’s office to South Station and back.

In a blog post, nuTonomy said the passenger pilot is important because it’s the only way it can gain objective feedback on what it’s like to hail and ride a self-driving car. Here’s more from nuTonomy on the significance of the first passenger test:

“We’re proud of this accomplishment for two reasons. First, we’re pleased to be the only company to autonomously carry members of the public on two continents, in two dynamic, world-class cities – Singapore and Boston. This highlights our ability to adapt our software to distinct driving conditions, including driving on both the left (Singapore) and right (US) sides of the road and driving in cities with widely varied signage, road markings, weather, and traffic conditions. Such adaptability is a critical enabler for scaling autonomous driving globally. Second, we’re proud to highlight Boston as an innovation hub. Like Singapore, Boston has been a tremendously collaborative partner that has proven its willingness to work hand-in-hand with industry to enable testing and development of new technology.”

In The Know

The Inno stories you need to read today.

Making Moves

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

Lucy: Buckle up, folks. The list of Boston M&A announcements marks a peak in November with 13 deals we’ve been able to track, beating the nine acquisitions listed in October and the 12 acquisitions announced last August. Overall, the list includes significant names such as Bullhorn, ThriveHive and Raizlabs. Furthermore, in the past month, the price tags for two local M&A deals from earlier this year were revealed, thanks to new SEC filings. We now know that HubSpot had paid $9M for Motion AI and GrubHub paid $51M in cash for its Boston-based competitor Foodler. Read more: BostInno Departed: Boston Startups That Were Acquired or Shut Down in November 

Dylan: Boston-based Earplay, which recently helped create an Alexa skill for the Mr. Robot TV show, said that its interactive audio platform is powering The History Channel’s new “Ultimate HISTORY Quiz” skill, which was announced at this week’s AWS re:Invent conference. This is one of the first Echo skills to have in-skill purchases.

Lucy: New developments from DraftKings‘s failed merger with FanDuelBBJ reported that DraftKings is accusing Boston consulting firm Charles River Associates of “systematic overbilling” in the ongoing legal dispute between the two companies. The latest move is a counterclaim to the consulting firm’s original lawsuit, which claimed that DraftKings and FanDuel refused to pay the firm a total of $5.2M in bills related to the failed merger.

Dylan: Drafted, which raised money from Slack earlier this year, has launched its own database of company diversity reports at The site currently lets you sort companies that have disclosed diversity reports by gender and ethnicity. There will soon be an option to sort by sexual orientation. Out of the reports Drafted collected, Apple and GoDaddy are the most ethnically diverse while Etsy and Kickstarter each have 53% women. Two local tech companies that have previously disclosed diversity reports are HubSpot and ezCater, which you can read about here and here.

New Money

Your daily funding roundup.

Dylan: Astral Capital, the VC firm led by former Accomplice partner Jon Karlen, has raised a $48.9M fund, according to a new Form D filing. Two of Astral’s portfolio companies are PillPack and Klaviyo, a MailChimp competitor I wrote about back in August.

Player Personnel

Who’s moving where.

Dylan: A lot of personnel moves happened in the Boston startup world in November. For instance, Acquia, Goji, Pwnie Express and Rize all announced new CEOs. And athenahealth, for the third time in two years, hired a new CFO. Read more: The Top Boston Tech Hires, Promotions (and Departures) in November

In The Community

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

Lucy: Right on the first day of December, we got you covered with a list of tech events for the rest of the month – including on the weekends. Tomorrow, for example, the 2017 Boston Science and Technology Summit will take place at the Harvard Medical School Armenise Amphitheater starting 11:30 a.m. For the full list, check the new BostInno Approved that our intern Fran Albanese meticulously put together. Read more: BostInno Approved: December’s Top Tech & Startup Events in Boston 

Featured Jobs

Featured startup and tech jobs on BostInno’s new Careers Directory.

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Meet The Authors

Dylan Martin

Lucia Maffei

Kyle Gross

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