ClimaCell raises $23M Series C for its weather intelligence platform

ClimaCell, the weather forecasting and intelligence service that is using a number of interesting new techniques to gather weather data, today announced that it has raised a $23 million Series C round co-led by new investor Pitango Growth and existing investor Square Peg Captial. With this new round, the Boston- and TelAviv-based company’s total funding now exceeds $100 million.

As ClimaCell co-founder and CEO Shimon Elkabetz told me, the round came together well after the worldwide COVID-19 lockdowns had started and the team never met with its new investors in person. Because the pandemic affected many of ClimaCell’s customers in the travel industry, in recent months, the company did take some steps to reduce cost and expand its overall runway, but Elkabetz stressed that the company didn’t need to raise this new round and that the investors approached the company.

“We took some aggressive but respectful actions around reducing our expenses and created a significant runway,” Elkabetz explained. “We didn’t really need to raise money now, but this opportunity came to us and we decided to take it, because it gives us a significant opportunity to invest in strategic things.”

Image Credits: ClimaCell

Given the changing business climate, the company did double down on its efforts to brand its service as an intelligence platform that helps businesses make smart decisions about the operations, even if they are not meteorologists. In practice, this means a stronger focus on its Insights service, which helps operators in various industries to make smart decisions based on the company’s forecasts. With this, ClimaCell can help a construction company ensure that a worksite is safe when a storm is coming and when it should shut down its crane operations because of wind, for example, or when a logistics company should expect slowdowns because of heavy rains. Instead of just giving its users a weather forecast, the company’s tools provide actionable suggestions instead.

“65% of the world’s GDP is being impacted by weather events. ClimaCell is the only SaaS company that enables actionable items ahead of weather events rather than reacting to them and their implications and ramifications,” said Aaron Mankovski, Managing General Partner at Pitango Growth, in today’s announcement. “The opportunities coming to ClimaCell across industries including supply chain and logistics, railroads, trucking, shipping, on-demand, energy, insurance, and more represent a complete upending of the existing competitive landscape and is a testament to being laser-focused on customer value.”

Image Credits: ClimaCell

Elkabetz noted that the company plans to use the new funding to expand both its go-to-market efforts and to focus on the fundamental R&D that makes its platform work. He wasn’t quite ready to share what those R&D efforts will look like, but he expects to be able to announce these new capabilities “soon.”

The company also expects to launch some updates to its consumer mobile app soon. While the consumer app may not be ClimaCell’s main focus, it uses the same technology in the backend, including a version of Insights for leisure activities, for example. For Elkabetz, the consumer app helps spread the ClimaCell brand but he also expects that it can become a real business in its own right.

ClimaCell raises $23M Series C for its weather intelligence platform

ClimaCell, the weather forecasting and intelligence service that is using a number of interesting new techniques to gather weather data, today announced that it has raised a $23 million Series C round co-led by new investor Pitango Growth and existing investor Square Peg Captial. With this new round, the Boston- and TelAviv-based company’s total funding now exceeds $100 million.

As ClimaCell co-founder and CEO Shimon Elkabetz told me, the round came together well after the worldwide COVID-19 lockdowns had started and the team never met with its new investors in person. Because the pandemic affected many of ClimaCell’s customers in the travel industry, in recent months, the company did take some steps to reduce cost and expand its overall runway, but Elkabetz stressed that the company didn’t need to raise this new round and that the investors approached the company.

“We took some aggressive but respectful actions around reducing our expenses and created a significant runway,” Elkabetz explained. “We didn’t really need to raise money now, but this opportunity came to us and we decided to take it, because it gives us a significant opportunity to invest in strategic things.”

Image Credits: ClimaCell

Given the changing business climate, the company did double down on its efforts to brand its service as an intelligence platform that helps businesses make smart decisions about the operations, even if they are not meteorologists. In practice, this means a stronger focus on its Insights service, which helps operators in various industries to make smart decisions based on the company’s forecasts. With this, ClimaCell can help a construction company ensure that a worksite is safe when a storm is coming and when it should shut down its crane operations because of wind, for example, or when a logistics company should expect slowdowns because of heavy rains. Instead of just giving its users a weather forecast, the company’s tools provide actionable suggestions instead.

“65% of the world’s GDP is being impacted by weather events. ClimaCell is the only SaaS company that enables actionable items ahead of weather events rather than reacting to them and their implications and ramifications,” said Aaron Mankovski, Managing General Partner at Pitango Growth, in today’s announcement. “The opportunities coming to ClimaCell across industries including supply chain and logistics, railroads, trucking, shipping, on-demand, energy, insurance, and more represent a complete upending of the existing competitive landscape and is a testament to being laser-focused on customer value.”

Image Credits: ClimaCell

Elkabetz noted that the company plans to use the new funding to expand both its go-to-market efforts and to focus on the fundamental R&D that makes its platform work. He wasn’t quite ready to share what those R&D efforts will look like, but he expects to be able to announce these new capabilities “soon.”

The company also expects to launch some updates to its consumer mobile app soon. While the consumer app may not be ClimaCell’s main focus, it uses the same technology in the backend, including a version of Insights for leisure activities, for example. For Elkabetz, the consumer app helps spread the ClimaCell brand but he also expects that it can become a real business in its own right.

Boston’s Q2 shows that the startup rebound isn’t ahead of us, it’s upon us

The coronavirus caused some disagreement amongst Boston’s venture capital community. Looking back at our mid-2020 survey of its VCs, some saw the city’s strength in biotech and healthcare as a competitive advantage, while others saw Boston’s diverse startup ecosystem as key to its survival.

And some were worried that activity was about to clamp down. Jeff Bussgang, Flybridge Ventures, put it most frankly: “Q2 financing for Boston is going to fall off a cliff. The biotech industry may see some bright spots […] but the financing market has frozen up as solid as the Charles River in February.”

With fresh data in hand, it appears that the more bullish were more right than the bears and that, in a good turn of affairs for Boston startups, Bussgang was wrong.

The city, much like the country, did not see the sharply negative quarter that many anticipated. Boston posted record venture capital investment in the period, its highest total since at least Q3 2018 according to CB Insights data.

The same dataset also says that Boston-area companies raised $3.7 billion across 126 deals. Indeed, the good news from Boston’s Q1 bested better-than-anticipated-results from both the global venture capital community, and the domestic VC world in Q2.

Bussgang sent an updated metaphor to the TechCrunch team in response to this data: “It was a tundra in March and April but, as happens in Boston, April showers and May flowers kicked in and the financing markets started to gush again in the late spring/early summer, just in time to save Q2 .”

While the data isn’t historically definitive due to reporting lags, it can be used as a directional sign that Boston’s rebound isn’t ahead of us, it’s upon us.

The solid numbers are a sign that COVID-19 and economic turmoil have put many startups in greater demand than before, which means that they need to amass money to meet growth needs.

Boston’s Q2 shows that the startup rebound isn’t ahead of us, it’s upon us

The coronavirus caused some disagreement amongst Boston’s venture capital community. Looking back at our mid-2020 survey of its VCs, some saw the city’s strength in biotech and healthcare as a competitive advantage, while others saw Boston’s diverse startup ecosystem as key to its survival.

And some were worried that activity was about to clamp down. Jeff Bussgang, Flybridge Ventures, put it most frankly: “Q2 financing for Boston is going to fall off a cliff. The biotech industry may see some bright spots […] but the financing market has frozen up as solid as the Charles River in February.”

With fresh data in hand, it appears that the more bullish were more right than the bears and that, in a good turn of affairs for Boston startups, Bussgang was wrong.

The city, much like the country, did not see the sharply negative quarter that many anticipated. Boston posted record venture capital investment in the period, its highest total since at least Q3 2018 according to CB Insights data.

The same dataset also says that Boston-area companies raised $3.7 billion across 126 deals. Indeed, the good news from Boston’s Q1 bested better-than-anticipated-results from both the global venture capital community, and the domestic VC world in Q2.

Bussgang sent an updated metaphor to the TechCrunch team in response to this data: “It was a tundra in March and April but, as happens in Boston, April showers and May flowers kicked in and the financing markets started to gush again in the late spring/early summer, just in time to save Q2 .”

While the data isn’t historically definitive due to reporting lags, it can be used as a directional sign that Boston’s rebound isn’t ahead of us, it’s upon us.

The solid numbers are a sign that COVID-19 and economic turmoil have put many startups in greater demand than before, which means that they need to amass money to meet growth needs.

Activ Surgical raises $15 million to advance autonomous and collaborative robotic surgery

Boston-based startup Activ Surgical has raised a $15 million round of venture funding led by ARTIS ventures, and including LRVHealth, DNS Capital, GreatPoint Ventures, Tao Capital Partners and Rising Tide VC. The round will help Activ continue to develop and expand availability of its software platform, which it launched to market in May.

Activ Surgical’s ActivEdge platform uses data collected from surgical implements, outfitted with sensors created by the company to collect real-time data during the actual surgical process. That data is then used to inform the development of machine learning and AI-based visualizations that can provide guidances to surgeons and surgical systems to help them reduce the occurrence of potential errors, and ultimately improve outcomes for patients.

The company’s primary aim is to bring technological innovation to the sphere of surgical vision, which still relies primarily on methods like using fluorescent dyes that date back more than 70 years. Activ wants to use computer vision to provide real-time visual insight into things that surgeons wouldn’t be able to see on their own – and ultimately to use those insights to power the next generation of both collaborative surgical robots, and eventually even fully autonomous robotic surgical procedures.

ActivSight is the company’s first product in its ActivEdge platform offering, and is a small, connected imaging coddle that can be attached to existing laparoscopic and arthroscopic surgical instruments. The company is currently tracking towards getting their hardware cleared by the FDA for use by Q4 this year, and are working with eight hospital partners for pilot projects in the U.S.

The company has raised a total of $32 million in funding to date.

Activ Surgical raises $15 million to advance autonomous and collaborative robotic surgery

Boston-based startup Activ Surgical has raised a $15 million round of venture funding led by ARTIS ventures, and including LRVHealth, DNS Capital, GreatPoint Ventures, Tao Capital Partners and Rising Tide VC. The round will help Activ continue to develop and expand availability of its software platform, which it launched to market in May.

Activ Surgical’s ActivEdge platform uses data collected from surgical implements, outfitted with sensors created by the company to collect real-time data during the actual surgical process. That data is then used to inform the development of machine learning and AI-based visualizations that can provide guidances to surgeons and surgical systems to help them reduce the occurrence of potential errors, and ultimately improve outcomes for patients.

The company’s primary aim is to bring technological innovation to the sphere of surgical vision, which still relies primarily on methods like using fluorescent dyes that date back more than 70 years. Activ wants to use computer vision to provide real-time visual insight into things that surgeons wouldn’t be able to see on their own – and ultimately to use those insights to power the next generation of both collaborative surgical robots, and eventually even fully autonomous robotic surgical procedures.

ActivSight is the company’s first product in its ActivEdge platform offering, and is a small, connected imaging coddle that can be attached to existing laparoscopic and arthroscopic surgical instruments. The company is currently tracking towards getting their hardware cleared by the FDA for use by Q4 this year, and are working with eight hospital partners for pilot projects in the U.S.

The company has raised a total of $32 million in funding to date.

13 Boston-focused venture capitalists talk green shoots and startup recovery

Welcome back to the second half of our two-part Boston investor survey.

Catching you up, TechCrunch reached out to a host of Boston-area venture capitalists to get their take on the current state of their market, and what they think might be coming up in the future. More VCs than we initially anticipated got back to us, so we broke the survey into two pieces so that there was enough room to include everyone.

Today, in contrast, we’re looking a little further ahead: Are they seeing green shoots? When is a recovery likely to begin? What’s making them feel hopeful in this tenuous era? Here’s who took part:


Boston VC’s vision of tomorrow

Recovery is going to be slow, but most importantly, the comeback is not going to look like one, sole aha moment for any startup or entrepreneur. After poring through dozens of responses, we distilled that Boston-focused VCs think that recovery will favor Boston-area companies to some degree, as the areas they are working on, or the problems that they are working to solve, will still matter after COVID-19.

On the slowness of recovery, NextView’s Rob Go provided TechCrunch with the most vivid prognostication, saying that “while it’s difficult to predict” when the post-COVID recovery will begin, he anticipates “a swoosh-shaped recovery is more likely” than anything V-shaped. “The recovery is likely to be painfully slow,” the VC added.

It’s perhaps unsurprising then that green shoots and fruitful deals are thinner on the ground in Boston today than its startup community probably would have hoped. Momentum through dollars or deals will lead to more sustained recovery. Flare Capital’s Michael Greeley said that it is “still too early” to see green shoots, while other VCs noted that, on a sector-by-sector basis, there are some positive signs that give hope.

Glasswing is an AI-focused fund, making the following comment from its Rudina Seseri interesting, if niche. On the question of green shoots, Seseri said that her firm has “been surprised by the number of companies that are leveraging AI to drive automation, cost savings, optimization and higher performance.” The result of that surprise has been that “over the last five months these companies have beaten their pre-COVID budgets and forecasts for growth.”

The other side of that coin is startup areas that touch on travel or food. It’s hard to find recovery there, for obvious reasons.

The Victress Capital team put the dynamic well: “We’ve also been encouraged by the increased pace in innovation that we’ve seen across sectors where innovation has been slow in the past. From edtech to telehealth to food and beverage and more, we are seeing nimble entrepreneurs pivot or change their businesses to respond to the needs of today.”

Our broadest takeaway is that VC firms have not fully written off any sectors given today’s turbulence. The future, largely according to Boston-focused VCs, is startups that are important after the world opens again and focus on the next generation of businesses. It means that investments might look a bit like a risky game of hopscotch. They’re all trying to land on the deal that accounts for the next generation of businesses.

With that, let’s get into full questions and answers.


Lily Lyman, Underscore VC

When do you expect a startup recovery to begin?

“Recovery” is hard to speak to. We’ve been evaluating different phases of behavior and how that will affect the economy and the startup ecosystem. We have been thinking in terms of (1) lockdown opening up (summer 2020); (2) period of remaining social distancing behavior, likely with intermittent periods of lockdowns (into spring 2021); and (3) new normal (spring/summer 2021). But this changes and we are constantly reassessing it. For startups, we remain believers that great companies with great leadership can not only survive but find ways to thrive in this new environment.

Are you seeing green shoots regarding revenue growth, retention or other momentum that you didn’t expect a few weeks ago?

Again, it varies by industry. We have seen a surge in demand for players in the cloud infrastructure space such as CloudZero or for remote collaboration software (an investment not yet announced).

Tell us about the most interesting, Boston-based company you’ve invested in recently.

We are really excited about Popcart and how they are positioned as the world rapidly migrates to e-commerce. The founding team is a pair of engineer leaders from Endeca. Popcart offers consumers price and availability transparency across retail platforms (Amazon, Target, Walmart, etc.). The cross-platform capabilities are particularly unique. When COVID-19 hit, the team quickly created the Supply Finder to help consumers find goods that are in short supply and ensure they are protected against price gouging.

What is a moment that has given you hope in the past 30 days? This can be professional, personal or a mix of the two.

I’m inspired by the great leadership I’ve seen our founders display. They’ve made hard decisions with imperfect information and managed a difficult time with both empathy and conviction.

I’m also appreciating the humanizing reality that working from home and operating in uncertainty brings that unites people. My hope is that pieces of this uniting and empathy will persist.

Cities are wrestling with a potential new exodus in the COVID-19 era, but Urban-X still believes in their future

Embodying the tensions that cities across the world face as they wrestle with controlling a pandemic in dense, urban environments, Urban-X, the accelerator for technology startups focused on the problems cities face, has launched its eighth, fully remote, cohort.

While the accelerator program backed by the BMW-owned Mini Cooper automaker and the venture capital firm Urban Us is based in Brooklyn, it’s conducting its latest program virtually, with participating startups coming from Atlanta, Sydney, San Francisco, Boston, Burlington, and Los Angeles, according to a statement.

“Long term, we are bullish on cities. I think that COVID and climate change share some things in common. If we think that COVID is disruptive, and not only a threat to economic livelihood but human life, climate change, is certainly a much larger threat,” said Micah Kotch, the managing director of Urban-X. “I think that cities have withstood pandemics previously. I think that we will moving forward. The clear things that we need are really good political leadership. We need to heed science and to act quickly based on the best possible science and we need collective action. And that’s where I see a lot of overlap between covid and climate.”

The latest batch of companies that Urban-X will work with includes:

  • Adiona: a machine learning-based service to optimize hourly workforces in logistics and supply chain management. 
  • Aquagenuity: a company providing search information about water quality for consumers
  • Climate Robotics: a manufacturer of robots that produce carbon-sequestering and soil-improving biochar
  • Mobilyze: the developer of a data analytics service for electric vehicle charging station site optimization
  • Resonant Link: the creator of a wireless charging service to power robots and electric vehicles.
  • Xtelligent: a company rethinking traffic signal technology

“Not everyone can afford to move out to the suburbs and not everyone wants to. Cities are going to continue to be the epicenters of creativity and innovation,” said Kotch. “While these last three-and-a-half to four months have been a real challenge, particularly here in the U.S. we are deep believers in the vibrancy and necessity of cities.”

Later stage investors think that the Urban-X thesis can create viable businesses, with about 85 percent of the accelerator’s companies going on to raise additional rounds of funding. Some of the most successful companies (in terms of capital raised) include Bowery Farming, Starcity, Mark43, One Concern, Future Motion, Skycatch, Seamlessdocs, Revivn, BRCK and Rachio.

“Technology, investment and mentorship have the power to advance the low carbon, resilient and high density future we need for our cities,” said Shaun Abrahamson, URBAN-X Investment Committee and Managing Partner at Urban Us. “We are thrilled to have this new group of founders join URBAN-X to build creative solutions that tackle climate change and the biggest issues facing our cities.”

13 Boston-focused VCs share the advice they’re giving portfolio companies

TechCrunch is focusing a bit more on the Boston-area startup and venture capital ecosystem lately, which has gone pretty well so far.

In fact, we had originally intended on releasing this regional investor survey as a single piece, but since so many VCs took part, we’re breaking it into two. The first part deals with the world we live in today, and the remainder will detail what Boston-area investors think about the future.

We broke our questions into two parts to better track investor sentiment. But, we were also curious what was going to come when things got back closer to normal. So, this first entry in our Boston investor survey covers our questions concerning what’s going on now. On Thursday we’ll have the second piece, looking at what’s ahead.

Here’s who took part:

What follows is a quick digest of what stood out from the collected answers, though there’s a lot more that we didn’t get to.

Boston VC in the COVID-19 era

Parsing through thousands of words and notes from our participating VCs, a few things stood out.

Boston startups aren’t having as bad a time — yet, at least — as area investors expected

Fewer companies than they anticipated are laying off staff for example. From our perspective, the number of Boston investors who noted that their portfolio companies were executing layoffs or furloughs (we asked for each to be precise) was very low; far more Boston-area startups are hiring than even freezing headcount. Layoffs appear somewhat rare, but as we all know cost cutting can take many forms for startups. Especially startups on the seed and early-stage side, which makes up the majority of these firm’s portfolio companies.

According to Glasswing’s Rudina Seseri, startup duress has come in “significantly under what [her firm was] expecting at the beginning of COVID-19.”

This may be due to a strong first quarter helping companies in the city and its surrounding area make it another few quarters. We might not know the full bill of COVID-19 and its related disruptions until next year.

More investors than we expected noted that their Boston portfolio companies aren’t raising this year

So what we’re gleaning from that fact is that any decline in Q2 and Q3 VC data is not because companies can’t raise, but because they don’t need to. Comments echoed a theme we wrote about in April: Boston broke records in Q1 in terms of dollars raised, but saw a dip in the number of checks cut.

Pillar VC’s Jamie Goldstein said that “about 15% of our companies are planning to raise capital this year,” which felt about average. Underscore VC’s Lily Lyman simply noted that, “Yes,” her Boston-area portfolio companies would hunt for new capital this year. Bill Geary of Flare Capital is on the other side of that coin, saying that “each of [his firm’s] Boston-based investments has successfully recently raised capital and will not be raising additional funds until 2021.”

It’s hard not to wonder if what happened to Boston unicorns Toast and EzCater was the exception and not the rule

 You see, Boston’s startup scene skews relatively early stage, so smaller companies don’t have high-profile cuts because, to be frank, there isn’t much staff to cut in the first place. It puts Boston in a unique setting to focus in on its early stage market, and investors all agreed that this is an important moment for the ecosystem.

The March-era stress tests are now months in the rearview mirror, and every startup has shaken up their spend and growth plans. Perhaps we have met the new normal, and it’s time to let the runway do the talking.

With that, let’s get into full questions and answers.

Rudina Seseri, Glasswing Ventures

What is the top-line advice you’re giving your portfolio companies right now?

This is a pivotal time, be efficient and drive execution. Cut costs where possible but at the same time don’t be afraid to spend for growth acceleration.

What percentage of your Boston-based portfolio companies are still hiring, not including those merely backfilling?

About 60%.

What percentage of your Boston-based portfolio companies have frozen new hires?

About 20%.

What percentage of your Boston-based portfolio companies have furloughed staff?

None.

What percentage of your Boston-based portfolio companies have cut staff?

One company that represents about 4% of the portfolio.

Are your Boston-based portfolio companies looking to raise new capital this year?

Most have raised recently, and consequently are not looking to raise at this time.

If not, are they often delaying due to COVID-19?

No, because of their recent raises, their fundraising considerations will take place in 2021.

Has duress amidst your Boston-based portfolio companies undershot, matched or overshot your expectations from March?

It has been significantly under what we were expecting at the beginning of COVID-19.

How has your investment appetite changed in terms of pace and location, if at all?

We have been very active and closed deals in this environment. Our expectation is that our investment appetite will remain the same going forward.

Are you making investments in Q2 into net-new founders and companies?

Yes, as a matter-of-fact we just closed a yet-to-be announced investment this month.

Are there particular sectors of startups in Boston that you expect to do well, aside from SaaS businesses that are benefiting from secular trends? Are there any sectors you have become newly bearish on?

Yes, those that are in our core focus areas — solutions that bring down the cost of cloud and data, platforms and tools leveraging AI, those that facilitate cost reduction, and intelligent solutions in cybersecurity that protect the enterprise.

How does the uncertainty of schools reopening impact the startup ecosystem?

This will further drive and institutionalize distributed teams and remote working as a go-forward mode of operating.

13 Boston-focused VCs share the advice they’re giving portfolio companies

TechCrunch is focusing a bit more on the Boston-area startup and venture capital ecosystem lately, which has gone pretty well so far.

In fact, we had originally intended on releasing this regional investor survey as a single piece, but since so many VCs took part, we’re breaking it into two. The first part deals with the world we live in today, and the remainder will detail what Boston-area investors think about the future.

We broke our questions into two parts to better track investor sentiment. But, we were also curious what was going to come when things got back closer to normal. So, this first entry in our Boston investor survey covers our questions concerning what’s going on now. On Thursday we’ll have the second piece, looking at what’s ahead.

Here’s who took part:

What follows is a quick digest of what stood out from the collected answers, though there’s a lot more that we didn’t get to.

Boston VC in the COVID-19 era

Parsing through thousands of words and notes from our participating VCs, a few things stood out.

Boston startups aren’t having as bad a time — yet, at least — as area investors expected

Fewer companies than they anticipated are laying off staff for example. From our perspective, the number of Boston investors who noted that their portfolio companies were executing layoffs or furloughs (we asked for each to be precise) was very low; far more Boston-area startups are hiring than even freezing headcount. Layoffs appear somewhat rare, but as we all know cost cutting can take many forms for startups. Especially startups on the seed and early-stage side, which makes up the majority of these firm’s portfolio companies.

According to Glasswing’s Rudina Seseri, startup duress has come in “significantly under what [her firm was] expecting at the beginning of COVID-19.”

This may be due to a strong first quarter helping companies in the city and its surrounding area make it another few quarters. We might not know the full bill of COVID-19 and its related disruptions until next year.

More investors than we expected noted that their Boston portfolio companies aren’t raising this year

So what we’re gleaning from that fact is that any decline in Q2 and Q3 VC data is not because companies can’t raise, but because they don’t need to. Comments echoed a theme we wrote about in April: Boston broke records in Q1 in terms of dollars raised, but saw a dip in the number of checks cut.

Pillar VC’s Jamie Goldstein said that “about 15% of our companies are planning to raise capital this year,” which felt about average. Underscore VC’s Lily Lyman simply noted that, “Yes,” her Boston-area portfolio companies would hunt for new capital this year. Bill Geary of Flare Capital is on the other side of that coin, saying that “each of [his firm’s] Boston-based investments has successfully recently raised capital and will not be raising additional funds until 2021.”

It’s hard not to wonder if what happened to Boston unicorns Toast and EzCater was the exception and not the rule

 You see, Boston’s startup scene skews relatively early stage, so smaller companies don’t have high-profile cuts because, to be frank, there isn’t much staff to cut in the first place. It puts Boston in a unique setting to focus in on its early stage market, and investors all agreed that this is an important moment for the ecosystem.

The March-era stress tests are now months in the rearview mirror, and every startup has shaken up their spend and growth plans. Perhaps we have met the new normal, and it’s time to let the runway do the talking.

With that, let’s get into full questions and answers.

Rudina Seseri, Glasswing Ventures

What is the top-line advice you’re giving your portfolio companies right now?

This is a pivotal time, be efficient and drive execution. Cut costs where possible but at the same time don’t be afraid to spend for growth acceleration.

What percentage of your Boston-based portfolio companies are still hiring, not including those merely backfilling?

About 60%.

What percentage of your Boston-based portfolio companies have frozen new hires?

About 20%.

What percentage of your Boston-based portfolio companies have furloughed staff?

None.

What percentage of your Boston-based portfolio companies have cut staff?

One company that represents about 4% of the portfolio.

Are your Boston-based portfolio companies looking to raise new capital this year?

Most have raised recently, and consequently are not looking to raise at this time.

If not, are they often delaying due to COVID-19?

No, because of their recent raises, their fundraising considerations will take place in 2021.

Has duress amidst your Boston-based portfolio companies undershot, matched or overshot your expectations from March?

It has been significantly under what we were expecting at the beginning of COVID-19.

How has your investment appetite changed in terms of pace and location, if at all?

We have been very active and closed deals in this environment. Our expectation is that our investment appetite will remain the same going forward.

Are you making investments in Q2 into net-new founders and companies?

Yes, as a matter-of-fact we just closed a yet-to-be announced investment this month.

Are there particular sectors of startups in Boston that you expect to do well, aside from SaaS businesses that are benefiting from secular trends? Are there any sectors you have become newly bearish on?

Yes, those that are in our core focus areas — solutions that bring down the cost of cloud and data, platforms and tools leveraging AI, those that facilitate cost reduction, and intelligent solutions in cybersecurity that protect the enterprise.

How does the uncertainty of schools reopening impact the startup ecosystem?

This will further drive and institutionalize distributed teams and remote working as a go-forward mode of operating.