Boston Tech Watch: Workbar, Modo, Locus Robotics, Zagster & More

April 30, 2019

Robots, autonomous vehicles, virtual reality laboratories, and lab product e-commerce all brought in venture cash this week. This and much more in the week’s Boston tech news:

—Self-driving car startup Optimus Ride has raised $20 million of what it hopes to be a $60 million round, according to SEC documents filed this week by the Boston company. In recent months, the startup has announced pilot roll outs of its vehicle systems on private developments in Virginia, New York, and California. In November 2017, Optimus Ride raised $18 million in a round led by Greycroft Partners, with participation from Emerson Collective, Fraser McCombs Capital, and MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito.

—Cambridge, MA-based Modo Labs, which has developed a mobile app development platform currently used by colleges and universities, has bought Ulyngo, another campus tech company that helps schools launch marketplaces for student organizations. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Modo, an MIT spinoff, last raised money in July 2016 when it took in a $10 million Series B funding round.

—Co-working space developer Workbar plans to open two more Boston-area locations: one in the city’s Downtown Crossing district (slated to open in September) and the other 13 miles away in the town of Norwood (expected to open in June). The company says its urban-suburban mix of working spaces are a show of its commitment to a “hub and spokes” model for its footprint. In April 2016, Workbar and Staples announced plans to collaborate on such “spokes” in Brighton, Danvers, and Norwood by building out workspaces at the office supply stores in those towns. But that agreement was canned in February 2019 when Staples said it would go on with the co-working spaces in those locations without Workbar.

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