AI in Boston and March was great for fundraising

April 17, 2024

AI in Boston and March was great for fundraising
Hi all!

Yesterday was Patriots Day, which in Boston is synonymous with Marathon Day. Every year, it's a fantastic party and a tremendous show of grit, endurance, and team spirit. I found that many items related to training for and running such distances have remarkable similarities in business.

Now, off to some more business updates.

Despite fierce competition nationwide, the Boston tech scene is likely to solidify its lead in the AI industry, a new report by Value Creation Labs says. Boston-area companies are at the forefront of developing new AI and managing data for AI to use.

Since 2019, the Boston area has ranked third in AI-related funding behind only the Bay Area and New York.

  • Venture capital activity in AI and machine learning in New England peaked in 2021 with nearly $5.9 billion invested across 257 deals, per the report, which cites Pitchbook data.

  • In 2023, the region reported $2.3 billion in investments across 213 deals.
This Operations Update is provided with support from:
Here's a great update from our newsletter sponsor, EPE Components, about the global semiconductor market.

The impact of the recent Taiwanese earthquake is still being evaluated, as some firms have halted manufacturing while others have evacuated their facilities.

TSMC and United Microelectronics Corp are two global chip-making firms that were possibly negatively affected, which could disrupt the global tech supply chain of high-end chips.

On a different note, global semiconductor sales increased over 16% year over year in February, supporting continued strength in the AI, auto, and industrial markets. Speaking of TSMC, their recent announcement of a new and advanced manufacturing facility in Arizona is welcome news to the industry, the US labor market, and the recently passed CHIPS and Science Act.
The State of Manufacturing

The Manufacturing PMI Index rallied big in March and registered 50.3%, up 2.5 percentage points compared to February’s reading of 47.8

The New Orders and Production Index moved back into expansion territory.

The Backlog of Orders registered the same reading as in February.
Baltimore bridge collapse and US braces for supply chain disruption.

The US transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, has warned of a “major and protracted impact to supply chains” following the closure of the Port of Baltimore.

Baltimore is the ninth busiest port in the US, and has long been the biggest port for car imports and exports in the US; almost 850,000 vehicles passed through its waters last year. Some car companies said they’ll use alternate ports, but delayed parts deliveries could threaten the auto industry’s, particularly time-sensitive supply chains.
This Startup Update is provided with support from:
Boston-area companies raised $788.9 million in March. Nearly twice as many venture capital dollars flowed into Massachusetts companies when compared to February. Engineering companies raised around $6.5 million combined.

Fluent Metal, based in Cambridge, has launched out of stealth after raising $5.5 million in venture capital funding. The company’s CEO and CFO, Peter Schmitt and Elizabeth Lindaros, were previously execs at Desktop Metal.

Allium raises $3.25 million for longer-lasting steel. The Somerville, Mass.-based startup will use the funds to get a new facility operating in Boston by this July.

Female founders increased their share of US VC capital raised in 2023, according to the latest report by PitchBook. As the overall venture dealmaking saw its second consecutive annual decline ($34.4 billion in 2023 compared to 2022’s $44.2 billion), female founders and co-founders secured 27.8% of deal value last year.
Amazon debuts $400 million robotic warehouse in North Andover, the biggest in the state. A facility on the site of an old telephone factory will employ 1,500 workers and cost about $400 million to build.

It costs an average of $0.52 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) to charge an electric car at a public charging station in Massachusetts, that's 14.4% higher compared to the national average of $0.45 per kWh, according to the Axios Pro: Climate Deals' Alan Neuhauser reports.
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) announced $2.5 million in funding for 18 clean energy and climate-tech companies and researchers.

See the full list of here.
For all you Formula 1 fans, Nico Rosberg / Rosberg Ventures added a $75M VC Fund of Funds. This is mainly interesting to our European/German subscribers, specifically VCs in Europe and Germany.

They plan to indirectly invest in AI, Health Tech, Blockchain, Climate Tech, Robotics, Fintech, & Consumer Industries.
We found this fantastic Contact and Industry list of VCs and Corporates spanning all industries and geographies.

This is a very comprehensive list and a good place to start for startups considering raising funds via VCs.

Ruben D. did a great job!
Our monthly survey
In our March survey, we asked which measures your company is taking to prevent cyberattacks.

The majority of our respondents said that access to sensitive information is restricted based on job roles (17.4%) and implementing emerging technologies (e.g., AI, blockchain) for cybersecurity. (15.9%) are their biggest challenges for the year.
After the Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea and the collapse of the Baltimore Bridge, some disruptions in the supply chain are inevitable.

And as companies prepare to minimize those impacts and future issues, we'd like to know:
What proactive measures do you currently have in place to prevent supply chain disruptions?
Diversifying suppliers.
Establishing long-term contracts with suppliers.
Implementing inventory management software.
Investing in supply chain visibility tools.
Building buffer inventory.
Developing alternative sourcing strategies.
Regularly assessing supplier risks.
Other (let us know!).
Supersonic travel is so back (kinda): Aviation startup Boom Supersonic said its XB-1 prototype jet completed a successful test mission over the Mojave Desert. The prototype will soon make its way to a full-sized plane. WhoIsInGoingSuperSonic
(Source: The Verge)

The hardest worker in academia today is ChatGPT. Over the last year, high school and college students turned in over 22 million papers that used some form of generative AI. YoProfCoolAIUsage
(Source: Wired)

Japan’s aging population is shifting even its diaper business. Japanese diaper company Oji Holdings recently announced that it’ll stop producing for babies domestically and will make adult versions instead. LotsOfPoo
(Source: BBC)
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