You’re about to take a few days off for Thanksgiving break (maybe), so before you leave, we wanted to refresh you on BostInno’s 50 on Fire finalists in the technology category. These finalists represent a broad swath of tech companies and leaders in the Massachusetts innovation ecosystem, ranging in category from hardware to software, from cybersecurity software to travel apps.
Some of the finalists have raised tens of millions of dollars in capital from venture capitalists. A few have gone public. One of them got acquired after going public. Regardless of the stage they’re in, we feel many of these companies are already making a major impact in the Massachusetts innovation ecosystem, with many of them set to make a bigger mark in the future.
Here is an introduction to all 21 of them.
This Maynard-based network technology company may not be a household name in the Boston tech scene, but it’s currently one of the three only Massachusetts technology companies to go public this year. Unlike many fast-growing companies, Acacia has been profitable and the company had only raised a relatively small amount of capital from investors, which includes before its initial public offering. The company’s CEO is Raj Shanmugaraj.
Founded in 2011, this Cambridge cybersecurity company invented the”security ratings” category through a service that helps companies vet the security capabilities of their vendors. It has since grown into a big business, having quadrupled its number of enterprise customers to more than 450 in the past year, with sales doubling and headcount growing 58 percent to 184 employees. The company has amassed $95 million in venture funding from Flybridge Capital Partners, Comcast Ventures and other investors, and it recently boasted that it has “$60 million in the bank” to expand and make acquisitions. The company is led by Shaun McConnon.
This Waltham endpoint security software company is one of the next Massachusetts tech companies expected to go public after confidentially filing for an initial public offering earlier this year. As of early October, the company had more than 500 employees and over 2,100 customers, which includes Coca-Cola, Major League Baseball and The New York Times. The company has raised a total of $174.5 million in funding from investors, including Silicon Valley heavyweights Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins — with a $600 million valuation as of the most recent funding round, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company’s CEO is Patrick Morley.
Circle is one of the most prominent startups in Boston using Bitcoin to power its underlying technology. But despite its use of Bitcoin, the startup is more apt to promote its mobile payments app to let people exchange between dollars, British pounds and euros without paying any fees. Earlier this year, the startup raised a $60 million round of financing led by Beijing venture capital giant IDG Capital Partners — bringing total funding to and announced its plans for a multi-million dollar expansion in China. Circle is also available in Europe. It’s led by Brightcove founder Jeremy Allaire and Sevenchord founder Sean Nelville.
Dan Lyons: ‘Disrupted’ book
It’s undeniable that Dan Lyons, a Winchester-based tech journalist and former aggrieved employee of HubSpot, made a splash in the Boston tech community beginning last year when it was revealed he was writing a book based on his unsavory experience at HubSpot. After the abrupt departures of two HubSpot executives last summer over their alleged attempts to procure a manuscript, attention seemed to wane until the book came out earlier this year. While the book, “Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble” suffered from some flaws, Lyons highlighted some important issues in the tech industry: ageism, exploiting young workers, stock option structures that disproportionately favor investors and executives, and a focus on hyper-growth over profitability.
Dharmesh Shah: HubSpot
Despite the criticism lobbed at HubSpot from Dan Lyons and his “Disrupted” book, the Cambridge marketing tech company has been able to stand its ground, with its stock price right around where it was at the beginning of the year. Outside of “Disrupted,” co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah also helped put HubSpot in the spotlight — albeit in a much more positive way — through the release of GrowthBot, his new chatbot for marketing and sales professionals that lets you make queries on what software a specific company uses or how much a company might be spending on Google AdWords. Through the development of GrowthBot, he also demonstrated the virtue of technical founders still playing a big role in the development of new products.
Doron Reuveni: Applause
Applause is another Massachusetts technology company that has been floating its ambitions of eventually going public for quite some time. Its most recent milestone came in the form of a $35 million Series F round led by Credit Suisse. Doron Reuveni is the company’s CEO, and he has helped grow the Framingham-based app quality and testing company by expanding the company’s capabilities beyond mobile apps and into omnichannel experiences where mobile apps converge with brick-and-mortar locations. Reuveni served five years in the Israeli military and opened the U.S. office for Israeli startup Enigma before going on to co-founder Applause with Roy Solomon. He also happens to be a serial Boston Marathoner and an Ironman competitor.
This Burlington-based emergency communications platform provider is one of the other Massachusetts technology companies to go public this year, and it actually wasn’t always based on the East Coast. The company’s headquarters was previously in California until it acquired CloudFloor, a Waltham-based company that Everbridge’s CEO, Jaime Ellertson, founded and led. The company has found a growing need for its mass notification software from local and state governments, as well as college campuses and corporations, because of its ability to send notifications to people during times of emergency based on location and other custom values. Also of note: the company went public having raised less than $15 million from investors.
This Cambridge-based auto insurance marketplace is another Massachusetts technology company that has hinted at its ambitions to go public. EverQuote has been running a fast-growing and profitable business, having reached over $100 million in annual revenue — all of which had been achieved with very little outside funding. The company recently brought in its most capital to date with a $23 million Series B to expand its insurance marketplace and give liquidity to its founders and early employees. Outside of its marketplace, the company has developed a safe driving app that will eventually be used to give insurance shoppers discounts on premiums.
Formerly known as ThinkingPhones, this Cambridge-based unified communications software company rebranded to Fuze after acquisition a San Francisco company of the same name in 2015. After raising a $112 million round from investors earlier this year — which brings total funding to $200 million — the company expands to grow from 750 employees to over 1,000 next year, as its CEO Steve Kokinos told Boston Business Journal in October. The company is also apparently a potential initial public offering “over the next year or two,” as a spokesperson told us in February. According to Pitchbook data, Fuze’s valuation with its last funding round was $722 million —making it one of the Boston-area startups with the highest valuations this year.
This one should be pretty obvious. The $276 billion multinational company changed the way Massachusetts thinks about attracting large businesses when it announced in January that it would relocate its headquarters from Fairfield, Conn., to Boston, where it will employ about 800 people and build a futuristic looking compound in Fort Point. While GE has faced criticism for various reasons, ranging from a big tax break for the move here to its environmental troubles in Pittsfield, the company has worked hard to promote itself as a major net positive for the region with the new GE Brilliant Career Lab for high school students and plans to get involved with Boston’s innovation ecosystems in multiple ways.
After making a big pivot last year to providing alerts for cheap flights on its mobile app, Hopper has reaped the rewards, with Apple calling it the best travel app of 2015 and Google calling it a “startup standout” this year. The app has been downloaded over 4.5 million times, and it has since added other features including a notification feed full of travel recommendations and a way to get alerts for flights to fit your style of flying. The startup raised a $16 million growth round led by BDC Capital IT Venture Fund earlier this year, bringing total funding to $38 million.
The Franklin-based artificial intelligence company provides virtual assistant software to help large enterprises offload work from human employees, and it received major validation earlier this year when it raised a $56 million round led by a group of investors that included Revolution Growth (the venture capital firm led by AOL founder Steve Case) and Comcast Ventures. With over $167 million in total funding, the company plans to expand its workforce from the 320 employees it said it had in August and become a bigger player in the global market. The company also recently hired Jason Bristow, a former vice president of finance at Amazon as its CFO. The company has offices in Indiana, Texas, New Jersey and New York, along with a data center in Germany.
This Cambridge-based autonomous vehicle startup still might be in its early stages, but it has already attracted a lot of attention across the world and for good reason. Earlier this year, it beat Uber and became the first startup in the world to start testing self-driving taxis — albeit in Singapore, where its other office is located — and it announced this week that it would start testing its driverless vehicles right in Boston’s Seaport next month. The MIT spinoff has also already developed self-driving features for automotive manufacturers and suppliers, including British car giant Jaguar Land Rover. It has raised a total of $19.6 million from investors, including Samsung Ventures and the venture capital arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board.
Paul English: Lola Travel
This was the year Kayak co-founder Paul English finally unveiled the new travel agent messaging app he has been working on for his new startup, Lola, which was born out of English’s Blade startup incubator in 2015. But that wasn’t the only reason English made headlines in 2016: English helped launch Summits Education, a new nonprofit that aims to build education systems in rural Haiti, a country with the highest poverty rate and the lowest literacy rate in the Western Hemisphere. He also bared his soul in a new biography written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder titled “A Truck Full of Money.”
Founded by iRobot co-founder Rodney Brooks, Rethink Robots makes manufacturing robots that help companies reduce the need for human laborers in menial tasks. It most recently struck an exclusive distribution deal for selling its Sawyer and Baxter collaboration robots in China, and it has also expanded distribution to Mexico, Europe and Japan. The Boston-based company has raised over $100 million. Investors include GE Ventures, Goldman Sachs and Bezos Expeditions.
This Boston marketing tech startup has been growing so fast, it recently moved into its fourth office in four years. With around 119 employees now, the company has been finding a lot of demand for its product content management system from retailers, brands and distributors. The company has raised $24.6 million. Investors include Venrock, Matrix Partners and North Bridge.
SessionM aims to become the Salesforce of mobile marketing by creating personalized offers for brands based on data gathered on consumer behavior through mobile devices. The mobile CRM company raised a $35 million Series D round earlier this year, bringing total funding to over $70 million, from a group of investors, including Salesforce Ventures and Silicon Valley heavyweight Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The company had more than $25 million in revenue last year and expected to be profitable by mid-2017, according to Bloomberg. It plans to double its workforce of approximately 175 employees within the next 18 months.
Tara Haas: LogMeIn
LogMeIn is another large Boston tech company that has been making waves across the world, most notably with its plan to merge with Citrix’s GoTo business in a deal valued at $1.8 billion. The merger is happening after Bill Wagner became CEO last year and named Vice President Tara Haas as the company’s chief of staff — a new role Wagner created to focus on overall company operations, strategic initiatives and operations of the executive team. Haas has quickly climbed the corporate ladder, becoming a vice president at LogMeIn in less than two years. In August, she was recognized as Woman Executive of the Year for the Golden Bridge Awards.
Tom Ebling: Demandware
Named CEO of Demandware in 2010, Tom Ebling led the company all the way to its $2.8 billion acquisition by Salesforce. Even before the acquisition, Demandware was faring well as a public software-as-a-service company, beating Wall Streets’ expectations on revenue and earnings per share. Demandware has since been rebranded as Salesforce’s eCommerce Cloud product, and it plans to grow its Burlington headquarters by 55 percent beginning in 2017. Ebling has also been involved in the venture capital world, most recently through being a co-owner of Jamie Goldstein’s new firm, Pillar.
The fast-growing company formerly known as VMTurbo recently made headlines when it announced that longtime Microsoft and HP executive Bill Veghte had joined the company as executive chairman. Turbonomic has made Inc. 5000’s list of fastest-growing private companies two years in a row, most recently clocking a 954 percent growth rate over three years to $44.6 million in revenue for 2016. The company has also had 25 consecutive quarters of growth, with roughly 1,600 customers, as reported by Business Insider.
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