Do the Robot
Rethink Robotics adds $13.4m as it pushes 'little brother' bot Sawyer
Photo via Rethink Robotics - Credit: Cassandra Zampini,
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Making robots sure isn't cheap. Consider Rethink Robotics, a Boston-based maker of bots meant to work alongside humans in manufacturing and similar industrial jobs: Since its founding in 2008, Rethink has raised a whopping $113.5 million in venture investment.  Read More
Smell Ya Later
Smell-o-phone creator expands scent ambitions to books, clothes, wearables
Goldilocks 2
David Edwards made a lot of money selling an inhalable-medicine startup to global pharmaceutical company Alkermes. Since then, the Harvard professor has turned his attention to fantastical experiments which fuse art and science, including a hard-to-define experimental workspace and gallery in Paris and a tabletop device that emits the scents of food and coffee when someone sends it a digital message. Read More
Immigration end-run
Venture capitalists open-source new visa approach for foreign-born founders
Don't expect this kind of zippy action from your Congress... After having breakfast on Wednesday at the Mandarin Oriental in Boston, venture capitalists Brad Feld and Jeff Bussgang decided to "open-source" a novel strategy for creating more H1-B visas for entrepreneurs that was developed here in Massachusetts. By the end of the day, Bussgang had created the Global EIR Coaltion website, which urges other states to adopt the approach as a way of making it easier for founders to stay in the United States as they build their companies — something the current visa system can make complex and challenging. Read More
Elementary, My Dear Watson
Say hello to Watson: IBM to base health data business in Boston area
IBM's artificial intelligence technology Watson has become a symbol for the company's attempted reinvention of itself. (Photo courtesy of IBM)

IBM has announced plans to bring its Watson Health team to Boston, Rob Weisman reported in the Globe today. Named after the IBM artificial intelligence platform that bested human contestants in the television quiz show “Jeopardy,” Watson Health will seek to store and analyze massive volumes of information on everything from patients’ health to clinical trials.

Big Blue is deploying its Watson computer system to crunch big health care data. Technology giant IBM Corp. said it will base its new Watson Health business in the Boston area, a worldwide center for health care, drug research, and biotechnology, though exactly where it will be located and how many people it will hire have yet to be determined.

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hit the books
TagNotate is the Rap Genius for researchers
A psychology professor from Connecticut is offering students writing term papers, lawyers prepping for a case, and anyone challenged with thumbing through a stack of electronic documents a way to streamline their research. His solution: an app that can help them mark up electronic documents and arrange those sections by theme. Read More
Come On!
Segway acquired by Chinese competitor, months after alleging patent infringement
The Segway, that futuristic-looking scooter that was billed as a revolutionary way to get around but quickly became a pop-culture punchline, has found another new owner. Bedford, N.H.-based Segway has been purchased by Ninebot, a China-based competitor that makes similar-looking personal transportation devices, the two companies said Wednesday. Read More
every step counts
Biogen, Patients Like Me study suggests fitness trackers can help people with multiple sclerosis
Difficulty walking is one symptom facing the 2.3 million people with multiple sclerosis. But a wrist-worn fitness tracker paired with a smartphone app could help monitor their condition and fitness routine, according to a study conducted by researchers from Cambridge pharmaceutical company Biogen and the patient community portal Patients Like Me. Read More
The Butler Did It
Hello Alfred raises $10.5 million in Series A round for on-demand assistants
Hello Alfred co-founders Marcela Sapone and Jessica Beck (Via Hello Alfred).
Over the past five months, the on-demand butlers working for Hello Alfred have worked over 40,000 hours, dry cleaned 57,600 shirts, delivered 3,326 pounds of dog food and carefully arranged 1,280 bouquets in homes. Now, the startup has another number it can point to to show its success: the $10.5 million it's just raised in a Series A round lead by NEA and Spark Capital. Read More
Localytics acquires Splitforce, adds machine learning to app marketing software
Localytics chief executive and cofounder Raj Aggarwal.
Localytics, the Boston-based app analytics and marketing company, turned heads last month when it raised $35 million in a Series D round. The influx of cash — it's raised $58 million in total — made Localytics the most well-funded startup to come out of the competitive Techstars accelerator program. Today, it's become clearer what that money could be going toward: the company announced the acquisition of Splitforce, a three-year-old startup that helps companies test their apps, for an undisclosed sum. Read More