Boston Tech Watch: Tinkergarten, ezCater, Glasswing Ventures & More

April 2, 2019

Tech to get your kids out into nature raises some big bucks from some Hollywood tech giants, while restaurant software and automated payments also make big moves. Read on for more Boston tech news:

—Outdoor child-education network Tinkergarten raised $21 million from the consumer technology fund WndrCo run by former Disney (NYSE: DIS) chairman and DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and other media and tech veterans. The Northampton, MA-based company says it aims to help families connect with local teachers who bring “play-based lessons to life in natural learning environments.” The funds will help Tinkergarten launch classes in more cities and further establish the brand. Tinkergarten was founded in 2012 by a couple whose backgrounds touch on education and consumer technology.

—Online retailer Wayfair (NYSE: W) is opening its first full-service brick-and-mortar store this fall, the company says, at a mall in Natick, MA. The store will have customer service and design staff to assist shoppers. Wayfair also says it will open four pop-up stores this summer. In a conference call reporting financial results from the fourth quarter of 2018, CEO Niraj Shah told analysts the physical location would be “meant for the primary goal of customer acquisition and increasing kind of the value of revenue per customer per year.”

—Online catering marketplace ezCater has acquired Vancouver, BC-based Monkey Group, developers of a cloud-based takeout, delivery and catering platform. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Boston-based ezCater says 60,000 restaurants and caterers already use its platform to manage orders, and more than 8,000 use Monkey’s platform. Many restaurants use both products—including Einstein Bros. Bagels, McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Schlotzsky’s. Data on the two platforms will be streamlined and better integrated, the company says. EzCater, founded in 2007, raised $100 million in a Series D funding round led by Willington Management in June. The company’s total venture haul is $170 million.

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