Boston Tech Watch: DraftKings Drives, The Engine Revs, NuTonomy Swaps

September 3, 2019

Welcome to August’s automotive-themed tech news round-up. This week’s batch of news features a dose of updates that range from self-driving cars to funds or new ventures that sound close enough to being automotive-related (but aren’t) that I just couldn’t pass up making a point about it. Read on for the details.

—DraftKings says it has launched a sports tech matchmaking venture and athlete-entrepreneur network both under the brand DRIVE. While DraftKings says the venture itself doesn’t plan on investing in the sports tech startups, it plans to match early stage companies with its network of current and former athletes and other investors. The venture is “partially owned” by DraftKings and has funding from General Catalyst, Accomplice, and Boston Seed. Janet Holian, a sports tech veteran and DraftKing’s former marketing head, is co-founding DRIVE with venture investor Rashaun Williams. Holian will be CEO and Williams will be president of DRIVE. [Sentence added to clarify DRIVE itself won’t be investing in companies.]

—MIT’s “tough tech” investor The Engine is adding 200,000 square feet to its footprint of shared office, fabrication, and lab space in Cambridge, MA. So far The Engine has worked from a 28,000-square-foot location in Central Square. The new space, at 750 Main St. in Cambridge, will be large enough to accommodate 100 companies and 800 entrepreneurs, according to The Engine, which was founded in 2016 and has a portfolio of 19 companies it has invested in. Renovation of the new space is scheduled to begin later this year.

—NuTonomy, the autonomous vehicle startup spun out of MIT that’s putting its systems through their paces on the streets of South Boston, says it has “decommissioned” its fleet of five-door electric cars manufactured by French automaker Renault under the brand name Zoe. The company, owned by Aptiv (NYSE: APTV) is replacing the vehicles with Pacifica minivans by Fiat Chrysler (NYSE: FCAU).

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