Weekly Refresh: Robotic Furniture and Emotion-Reading AI Win Big in Boston

September 9, 2019
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Robotic furniture maker Ori raised $20 million with help from Google parent company Alphabet. Ori makes furniture pieces that fold and expand to let city-dwellers use their space more efficiently. With this funding, the company can start partnering with architects and builders to create urban housing that uses Ori’s technology. [Built In Boston]

Cogito added $20 million to branch into new industries. This AI tool supports call center workers by tracking customers’ emotions during the call and suggesting ways to improve the interaction. The new money provides some momentum as Cogito targets new industries like high-end retail and hospitality. The company plans to bring on 100 additional employees by the end of 2020 and 50 more in 2021. [Built In Boston]

Virtual notary platform Notarize raised about $17 million. With Notarize, users can get documents notarized without leaving the house — they can even get a videoconference with an online notary. The company is currently hiring, director of marketing Ryan MacInnis told Built In. [Built In Boston]

Zippity, which fixes cars on demand, celebrated a $3 million seed round. Zippity makes car maintenance easier for busy people, like our intrepid reporter and negligent car owner Gordon Gottsegen. The company deploys mechanics to wherever your car sits — even the parking lot at work — and will use this new funding to streamline operations and roll out new services. [Built In Boston]

The Federal Reserve is taking on the country’s largest banks, with a Bostonian at the helm. Boston Fed first vice president and chief operating officer Kenneth Montgomery will lead efforts to develop a national real-time payment technology akin to Venmo, but for the entire U.S. financial system. To do so, he’ll need to hire “north of 100” technologists, business payment experts and support staff. [Boston Business Journal]

AI company Affectiva appointed Graham Page as global managing director of media analytics. Affectiva uses facial analysis to measure consumers' emotional response to digital ad content and other experiences, like driving a particular car. Page brings 25 years of experience with research firm Kantar. [Press release]

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