• Mon, Oct 20th 2014 11:40 PM

    Popeyes looks to triple its Boston-area locations over the next five years

    Popeyes looks to triple its Boston-area locations over the next five years

    Fried chicken fans, listen up. The Colonel is about to get some serious competition around here. Greg Vojnovic, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen's chief development officer, tells me that Popeyes is looking to triple the number of locations it has in the Boston area. The fast-food chain best known for its chicken first entered Massachusetts in 2005, and now has eight locations in the Boston metro area. Vojnovic says he wants to add another 15 to 20 here over the next five years. To that end, Popeyes executives…

  • Mon, Oct 20th 2014 2:20 PM

    Investors offer advice to cybersecurity companies looking for influx of investment

    Investors offer advice to cybersecurity companies looking for influx of investment

    Combating cyber attacks and cyber threats is becoming more of a priority for businesses, which means cybersecurity firms are in high demand, and investors are willing to fork up cash to help them scale. Boston is home to several cybersecurity firms who have attracted significant investment from venture capitalists and angel investors in recent years. For example, IPO-bound cloud-based security firm Veracode recently landed $40 million in funding, bringing total funding to date to $134 million. Israeli…

  • Mon, Oct 20th 2014 10:40 AM

    Big data startup Cazena raises $8M from Andreessen Horowitz, North Bridge Venture Partners

    Big data startup Cazena raises $8M from Andreessen Horowitz, North Bridge Venture Partners

    Former executives at data warehouse appliance firm Netezza have raised $8 million in Series A funding led by California-based venture firm Andreessen Horowitz and Waltham's North Bridge Venture Partners to fund Cazena, a new company focused on big data. The company was announced Monday at the Andreessen Horowitz CIO Big Data Roundtable held in New York City. Although it's not clear about a specific product that Cazena will release, the company, based in Waltham and founded by former Netezza senior…

  • Fri, Oct 17th 2014 3:10 PM

    Cynthia Breazeal: 'We're just completely blown away' by $2.3M fundraising campaign for Jibo

    Cynthia Breazeal: 'We're just completely blown away' by $2.3M fundraising campaign for Jibo

    In July, Weston-based social robot maker Jibo Inc. set out to raise $100,000 on crowdfunding website Indiegogo to augment its venture funding and boost publicity for "the world's first family robot." That didn't happen. Instead, the startup raised $2.3 million from more than 5,500 backers. "It's incredible," said Jibo's founder and CEO Cynthia Breazeal, formerly the founder and director of the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab. "We're just completely blown away." At 6 pounds in weight…

  • Fri, Oct 17th 2014 1:50 PM

    Here's what would happen if I had to survive on bitcoin right now

    Here's what would happen if I had to survive on bitcoin right now

    While writing my cover story about bitcoin this week, I was trying to compile a list of places that actually accept the virtual currency in Massachusetts. But here's the question: What if I survived on only bitcoin right now? Here's what that would look like. First, I could deposit some cash in a Liberty Teller bitcoin ATM in South Station or the RoboCoin ATM in Harvard Square to load up on bitcoin (current exchange rate: $377 per bitcoin). Or I could link my bank account to an account using Boston-based…

  • Fri, Oct 17th 2014 11:40 AM

    Maia Heymann on unveiling CommonAngels Ventures, a hybrid approach to investing

    Maia Heymann on unveiling CommonAngels Ventures, a hybrid approach to investing

    The startup investing group formerly known as CommonAngels closed on a new $26.5 million fund this week and unveiled its new name: CommonAngels Ventures, a nod to its new hybrid investment model. The investment group is comprised of about 60 active Boston-area investors who collectively invest in early-stage startups in the Boston area and also provide mentorship, expertise and connections for startup founders. The new CommonAngels Ventures IV fund succeeds the group's third $13 million fund. "We've…

  • Fri, Oct 17th 2014 10:00 AM

    BBJ Live: Paying respect to tech visionary Ada Lovelace (Video)

    BBJ Live: Paying respect to tech visionary Ada Lovelace (Video)

    Who is Ada Lovelace, and why does Boston's local tech scene owe her gratitude? The BBJ's Sara Castellanos talks about the story on NECN.

  • Fri, Oct 17th 2014 8:50 AM

    How this Boston startup's robotic gripper might revolutionize prosthetics (Video)

    How this Boston startup's robotic gripper might revolutionize prosthetics (Video)

    About two years ago, John Amend and Bull Culley founded Empire Robotics, a Boston company that has its roots at Cornell University. Empire is in its own category of robotics: it's not a maker of robots, but of gripping devices that can be attached to a robot toiling in the assembly line of a factory. Its first product, the VersaBall, looks like a balloon, but can shape shift using a vacuum and can be used to pick up a variety of objects in a manufacturing setting. Inside the balloon is a "granular…

  • Thu, Oct 16th 2014 3:00 PM

    Uber teams with Icelandair to offer free rides in Boston — with a catch

    Uber teams with Icelandair to offer free rides in Boston — with a catch

    Uber, the San Francisco-based on-demand livery service, and Icelandair have teamed to offer Bostonians free rides in an Icelandair-branded SUV. The rides, which will be offered from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. today, will be limited to a 10-mile trip. And while you ride, you'll be treated to an Iceland-related immersive ad experience. From Uber's blog: Once aboard your Icelandair UberSUV, you'll be treated to the sights and sounds of Iceland, and we'll hook you up with some of our favorite Icelandic imports. ...

  • Thu, Oct 16th 2014 10:40 AM

    Digital Guardian enters world of mobile and cloud data security with Armor5 acquisition

    Digital Guardian enters world of mobile and cloud data security with Armor5 acquisition

    Waltham-based security software firm Digital Guardian, which rebranded from Verdasys this past August, said Thursday that it acquired California-based mobile security startup Armor5 as the company moved into securing data on mobile devices. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Armor5's technology secures data on a mobile device and in the cloud, focusing specifically on preventing employees who bring their own device to work from copying and removing company files or data. Digital Guardian's…

  • Thu, Oct 16th 2014 10:40 AM

    BBJ Preview: Why some are betting on bitcoin

    BBJ Preview: Why some are betting on bitcoin

    Bitcoin, the virtual currency that's been getting a lot of attention for its volatility and security issues, is on the minds of a variety of venture capitalists lately. In this week's cover story, I explore the the benefits and challenges that bitcoin has presented to entrepreneurs and venture capitalists alike as they try to find viable business opportunities. As an increasing amount of venture capital goes into bitcoin-related startups around the country, Boston-area bitcoin startups have been…

  • Thu, Oct 16th 2014 9:20 AM

    Harvard-based Xfund raises $73M for second fund

    Harvard-based Xfund raises $73M for second fund

    The Experiment Fund, a seed-stage investment fund that operates out of Harvard University and is backed by Silicon Valley-based venture firm New Enterprise Associates, recently raised $73 million for a second fund, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The new fund, called Xfund2, has 22 backers, according to the filing. When it was founded in 2012, The Experiment Fund, known as Xfund, had one goal: to back several startups with financing up to $250,000 per venture, initially…

  • Thu, Oct 16th 2014 8:10 AM

    Quantopian raises $15M, plans to start own hedge fund based on algorithms

    Quantopian raises $15M, plans to start own hedge fund based on algorithms

    Quantopian, a Boston startup seeking to let anyone with a mind for finance get involved with the highly profitable area of quantitative finance, on Thursday announced a $15 million Series B round from Khosla Ventures, Spark Capital and Wicklow Capital to expand its staff and create its own hedge fund. The startup, which has $23.8 million in total funding, has 25,000 registered users who develop algorithms for stock trading, said CEO and co-founder John Fawcett in an interview. Founded in early…

  • Wed, Oct 15th 2014 3:30 PM

    MIT-developed bracelet Wristify wants to be your personal heating and cooling system

    MIT-developed bracelet Wristify wants to be your personal heating and cooling system

    A group of MIT graduates have created a bracelet that acts as a personal heating and cooling system. The bracelet, called Wristify and developed by Cambridge-based Embr Labs, got its start last year at an annual MIT materials-science design contest that had one theme: sustainability. The team brainstormed different ideas and settled on one big problem: buildings use so much energy. "It's really the people that need to be heated or cooled directly," said Embr co-founder Sam Shames, a Newton native.…

  • Wed, Oct 15th 2014 9:30 AM

    General Catalyst leads funding for homework help site Brainly

    General Catalyst leads funding for homework help site Brainly

    Poland-based Brainly, a social network that connects middle- and high-school students to help them answer homework questions, said it raised $9 million in Series A funding, led by Cambridge-based General Catalyst. Previous and new investors, including Point Nine Capital and Runa Capital, also participated in the round. Adam Valkin and Nitesh Banta from General Catalyst Partners will join Brainly's board of directors. With the funding, Brainly said it will expand its U.S. operations and is opening…

  • Wed, Oct 15th 2014 9:30 AM

    Nara Logics adds $6M in funding for data personalization technology

    Nara Logics adds $6M in funding for data personalization technology

    Cambridge-based Nara Logics Inc., which offers data personalization technology that aims to mimic the way the human brain thinks, said Wednesday it received $6 million in funding with participation from Nara's previous investors and new investors such as Boston-based .406 Ventures. This funding brings the total amount raised to $13 million and provides the company with funds to take its neuroscience-based technology to offer its personalization software for businesses. Larry Begley, co-founder…

  • Tue, Oct 14th 2014 6:00 PM

    Taxi-hailing app Hailo shutting down Boston operations

    Taxi-hailing app Hailo shutting down Boston operations

    Hailo, the London-based taxi-hailing smartphone app, will shut down its service in Boston and a few other cities it operated in North America, citing pricing pressure from other similar services like Uber and Lyft. The news was first reported by Techcrunch. The service will discontinue in Washington, Chicago, and Boston, although it will continue to operate in Toronto, according to the report. The statement from Hailo, which was posted on Techcrunch's website: Since launching almost three years…

  • Tue, Oct 14th 2014 8:00 AM

    EcoVent raises $2.2M to expand its smart heating, cooling system

    EcoVent raises $2.2M to expand its smart heating, cooling system

    EcoVent, a Boston-based startup that allows every room in a house or apartment to have its own temperature zone, announced Tuesday it has raised $2.2 million in equity seed funding. That brings total funding for the startup to about $2.8 million to date. Investors in the new round include Florida-based Otter Consulting, which had also previously invested in Boston-based high-tech menswear startup Ministry of Supply, and undisclosed angel investors. Cambridge-based venture capital firm Atlas Venture…

  • Tue, Oct 14th 2014 8:00 AM

    Report: New York VC funding share outpaces Mass. in Q3

    Report: New York VC funding share outpaces Mass. in Q3

    After staying in a near deadlock for venture funding share the past couple quarters, New York venture capital funding share outpaced Massachusetts' share in the third quarter this year, according to a report from research firm CB Insights released Tuesday. New York snagged 14 percent of all deal activity during the quarter, while Massachusetts took 7 percent of all deal activity, CB Insights reported. Massachusetts firms raised $682 million in venture capital during the third quarter this year,…

  • Tue, Oct 14th 2014 8:00 AM

    MassChallenge unveils 26 finalists from 'most competitive class ever'

    MassChallenge unveils 26 finalists from 'most competitive class ever'

    Boston-based startup accelerator program MassChallenge announced Tuesday the top 26 finalists from this year's class, which will vie for $1 million in cash and other prizes at the awards ceremony on Oct. 29. Nine of the finalists, or about 35 percent, are in the health care and life sciences category, followed by the social impact and high-tech, each with six startups. MassChallenge officials say the 2014 program was the "most competitive class ever." "Our entrepreneurs had a rigorous summer…