TUGG Gives Back, GE Struggles, Foodler Fades & More Boston Tech News

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Before we dive into this week’s Boston tech news roundup, I want to give a shout-out to TUGG (Technology Underwriting Greater Good), a local nonprofit that mobilizes the tech community to give money and time to support charities and social ventures.

Last Thursday, TUGG held its seventh annual “Tech Gives Back” day of service, during which over 2,200 tech professionals nationwide volunteered for projects that serve the elderly, youth in poverty, homeless families, and young people emerging from the criminal justice system. This was my second year participating in Tech Gives Back, and I had the privilege of spending most of the afternoon at InnerCity Weightlifting (ICW), a Boston organization that trains local young people to become personal fitness trainers.

Most of ICW’s students have been shot, have served jail time, and come from low-income households, the organization says on its website. ICW aims to reduce youth violence by connecting the students with “new networks and opportunities, including meaningful career tracks in and beyond personal fitness,” according to its website.

The gym’s “trainers in training” put us volunteers through a grueling (for me, at least) weightlifting session, and then we tidied up the space. My muscles are still sore, but it was a lot of fun. Many thanks to TUGG for the opportunity to meet a great group of people and support an organization doing important work in Boston.

Now, on to this week’s local tech news:

—Vista Equity Partners agreed to sell Bullhorn, a Boston-based staffing and recruiting software maker, to Insight Venture Partners for an undisclosed price. Vista acquired Bullhorn for over $100 million in 2012.

The sale to Insight is expected to close by the end of the year, and Bullhorn’s management team will remain in place, according to a press release. It’ll be “business as usual” under the new owner, a Bullhorn spokesman said.

—Digi International (NASDAQ: DGII) acquired Boston-based TempAlert for $45 million in cash, plus future earn-out incentives. TempAlert, which has roots at MIT, makes sensors and software used to remotely monitor temperatures and manage tasks for customers in healthcare, food service, and manufacturing. Minnetonka, MN-based Digi helps businesses deploy connected devices and manage wireless communications systems.

—Sue Siegel, the CEO of GE Ventures, was named GE’s chief innovation officer. She will report directly to new GE CEO John Flannery, and she will continue to lead the company’s venture capital arm. Siegel takes on the additional responsibilities during a difficult time for GE. Flannery promised “sweeping change” last week after the company reported disappointing quarterly financial results and its stock price continued its slump.

—Boston-based video game developer Harmonix Music Systems recently laid off 14 employees, according to Gamasutra. The company let at least 17 people go earlier this year in a separate restructuring move.

—Spectrum Equity, a growth equity firm with offices in Boston and San Francisco, said it raised $1.25 billion for its eighth fund. The company has invested in companies like Ancestry, Grubhub, ITA Software, and SurveyMonkey.

—Speaking of Grubhub, the Chicago-based company (NYSE: GRUB) has phased out the Foodler app, after acquiring the Boston-based online food-ordering rival earlier this year.

—TileDB, a Cambridge, MA-based data management software startup, announced it received a $1 million seed investment led by Intel Capital and Nexus Venture Partners. TileDB’s technology was developed at an Intel lab on MIT’s campus.

—Via Science was accepted into Elemental Excelerator’s 2018 program, and the Somerville, MA-based company will receive up to $1 million to help it develop blockchain and machine learning technologies for the energy industry, according to a press release. Via was formed in 2010 as a holding company for affiliated ventures GNS Healthcare and Fina Technologies, and as an incubator for data analytics technologies and startups.

—Boston-based Notarize said it received an investment from Second Century Ventures, the investment arm of the National Association of Realtors. The amount wasn’t disclosed. Notarize offers remote notarization services.

—Lastly, country music star Zac Brown acquired a majority stake in DemerBox, according to Maine Startups Insider. The Portland, ME-based company makes wireless, waterproof speakers.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com

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