Innovation Economy

Former Zipcar exec Doug Williams joins RunKeeper's team, as new VP of engineering

RunKeeper's Jason Jacobs has an edge over many startup founders: he used to work as a recruiter. So when talented people are looking for their next gig, his grapevine tends to tell him about it. That's how Jacobs connected with Doug Williams, right, who'd served as VP of engineering...

Miami healthcare IT startup searching for space — and employees — in Boston

It's not often that I meet a fellow Miami native in Kendall Square, but Albert Santalo, right, dropped by Voltage Coffee this morning to fill me in on his company's expansion to Boston. Santalo is CEO and founder of CareCloud, which is in the same business as Athenahealth, the public company..

Secrets of the hiring process

In many ways, buyers of lottery tickets have more information about the game they’re playing than job candidates do. They know the odds, and how the numbers will be chosen, and when. That’s not always true when you fire off a resume, or even when you’re invited to interview...

Innovation Amplifiers: 25 people who are turning up the volume on innovation in Boston

I have been asking a pretty straightforward question over the past few weeks, on Twitter and by e-mailing my best-connected contacts: who has been most active in 2012 at working to make Boston's innovation economy better?  I've curated that list, and woven in some names...

The 'burbs strike back: Videogame exec Peter Blacklow argues that surburban workers won't be wooed by Kendall or the Innovation District

Much has been written here and elsewhere chronicling the surge of interest in the urban core, as venture capital firms, biotech companies, and big software-as-a-service businesses have abandoned the suburbs, mainly heading for Boston's Innovation District and Cambridge's Kendall Square...

How a Massachusetts angel investor wound up putting money into Pinterest, the latest social media success in Silicon Valley

Pinterest is the latest social media company to start accumulating scads of users (23 million so far) and a sky-high valuation ($1.5 billion, according to Forbes.) The site, which allows users to "pin" products and images they like onto a digital bulletin board, is growing at a faster rate than Facebook did...

Richard Dale splits from Sigma to raise money for new VC firm, Big Data Boston

The "big data" sector continues to gain steam locally, with a new VC firm called Big Data Boston that is out trying to raise $25 million. The firm doesn't yet have a web site or an office, but its founder is Richard Dale, a former principal at Boston-based Sigma Partners and a co-founder of the life...

Dropbox’s tale speaks to a Bay State weakness

Several summers ago, an MIT student named Drew Houston showed up for an internship at Bit9, a Waltham network security company. After graduation, he landed a job there as a software engineer, but left in May 2007 to do his own start-up. Since then, Bit9 has had a pretty good run. But the business...

14 new startup ideas from the Babson Summer Venture Program demo day

Babson College held its Summer Venture Program "demo day" this afternoon, showcasing 14 startup ideas that students have been working on for the last two-and-a-half months. The teams come not just from Babson, but also Olin College and Wellesley.  Here's a quick run-down, along with...

The MIT roots of Google Glass, the wearable information display

This week's Boston Globe column focuses on a group of MIT students who developed some of the first wearable computers — and are now working on Project Glass at Google. Glass is an effort to develop a light-weight, wirelessly-linked, wearable information display. Google took the wraps off late last month...

Carbonite co-founder and CTO Jeff Flowers hiring and raising money for SageCloud, new cloud storage venture

Carbonite co-founder and CTO Jeff Flowers has a new startup: SageCloud, which is working on "a new cloud storage technology," according to his LinkedIn profile. SageCloud doesn't have an office yet — its seven employees all work from home — and it also doesn't have a web site. While Flowers...

Quant5 angling to become the Nostradamus of 'big data'

Can the right mathematical models, coupled with oodles of business data, predict the future?  That's the belief at a quiet new Cambridge startup, Quant5. The company has been working since last September on a new software-as-a-service offering that will perform "predictive analytics," and this summer, it is...

Plexxi pulls in another $20 million, to help networks and applications 'crack a beer and get along'

In today's cloud-oriented technology world, everyone expects that applications, servers, and storage have become on-demand resources. You should be able to use them like a Slurpee machine, turning them on or off at will, and choosing either an extra-large or a small, depending on your current...

HubSpot exec spins out YouSpot, to offer digital marketing services to small businesses

Things are proceeding rather swiftly for YouSpot, one of the newest digital marketing startups in town.  Earlier this month, executives at HubSpot, a Cambridge firm that helps mid-sized companies market through search and social media, were talking about the possibility of developing a new product to...

Nantucket Conference 2012: Audio, pics and tweets

Just sharing some audio, tweets, and photos from last week's Nantucket Conference on Entrepreneurship & Innovation. About 150 entrepreneurs, investors, and tech industry execs descended on the island to scarf down lobsters and hear from speakers like Ben Fischman of Rue La La, Noam Wasserman...

Jewelry e-tailer Gemvara pockets $25 million in new funding

How much investor interest is there in Gemvara, the Boston-based seller of customizable jewelry? Chief executive Matt Lauzon, right, says that the company just "raised twice as much as we thought we were going to raise" in its latest dance with the VCs. The new round, totaling $25 million, was led...

Nuance fights to maintain edge in speech recognition

In the latest batch of television ads for Apple’s iPhone 4s, one high-profile Massachusetts resident takes center stage. But a second, perhaps more crucial local player, remains incognito.  Movie star John Malkovich, who lives in Cambridge, lounges in a leather chair and chats with Siri, the virtual personal...

Former SpeechWorks chief executive out raising money for Xtone, startup that wants to speech-enable mobile apps Link

In the days before Siri, one of the most innovative speech startups around was Boston's SpeechWorks International. The company mainly focused on bringing speech recognition to the phone systems of customers like Amtrak, United Airlines, and FedEx, helping handle calls more efficiently. But the...

Travel site Kayak buying tickets for IPO road show; take-off could be impacted by Facebook share price

Kayak.com, the travel site with its headquarters in Connecticut but most of its employees at its technology office in Concord, Mass., is preparing for its IPO road show, the series of investor presentation that precede an initial public offering. Kayak first announced its plans to go public about...

Chris Lynch, former Vertica chief executive, joins up with Atlas Venture

Not even two months after announcing his intention to become an active angel in the "big data" sector, former Vertica CEO Chris Lynch is joining Atlas Venture, the Cambridge VC firm.  What gives? Lynch told me yesterday that he felt compelled to sign on with a VC firm because he'd been...

Mass. IPOs don’t create many angel investors

This month’s initial public offering of Facebook will mint a lot of new multimillionaires. No doubt they will spend some of their wealth on fast cars, private jets, jumbo-size boats, and stunning vacation spreads in Hawaii.  But as is the Silicon Valley tradition, they’ll also put some of it into a new generation of...

CoachUp readies for launch, aiming to connect aspiring athletes with private coaches

A Cambridge native who played professional hoops in Israel is getting ready to launch a new online marketplace for private coaches. CoachUp founder Jordan Fliegel took the wraps off a test version of the site recently — and among more than 100 golf, squash and baseball coaches on CoachUp, you'll...

The Innovation Economy Awards, TechStars edition

My comprehensive report on this spring's TechStars demo day is here... but as is my habit, I also wanted to single out a few individuals and teams for Innovation Economy awards. They receive no monetary prize, crystal paperweight, or certificate suitable for framing — just the warm glow of being...

What if? The question that powers Boston’s innovation economy

‘What if?’’ It’s the question that powers Boston’s innovation economy. In academic labs, at start-ups and nonprofits, and within corporate walls, teams of exceptionally smart people hunt for ways to render the impossible possible. It may involve finding a new route to deliver potent drugs to a tumor...

Hang-outs: Restaurants, bars, and cafés that attract the entrepreneurial set

Where in Boston can you drink or dine among the movers and shakers of the innovation economy? That was the question I've been posing to dozens of entrepreneurs and investors over the last few days. Basically, I wanted to know where they went regularly and were most likely to run into others of their...

Case could shape future of textbook publishing

In Boston, it can seem like most of the city’s population has either authored a textbook, assigned one for a course they teach, or purchased one recently. So that makes a recently filed lawsuit our city’s version of Viacom v. YouTube, or the Department of Justice v. Microsoft, one of those cases...

TalkTo raises $3 million for app that lets you text questions to businesses

We're all accustomed by now to text-messaging friends and colleagues to coordinate brunches, ask questions, and schedule meetings. It's often the quickest way to get an answer from someone, even if they're multi-tasking. So why can't you text message a business?  Making that happen is the goal...

What’s great, and not, about the Bay State

My overcrowded calendar in March had me attending a tech conference in San Francisco, meeting entrepreneurs and MBA students in Istanbul, and, back in Boston, speaking with representatives from Spain’s Catalonia region. Leaving the neighborhood and collecting perspectives from other places...

Veterans of Cambridge Technology Partners getting the band back together...at Cloud Technology Partners

Chris Greendale has a picture of the Blues Brothers hanging near his desk, and he talks about building his new venture, cloudTP, in part by trying to "get the band back together." That'd be the consultants Greendale worked with in the 1990s at Cambridge Technology Partners, the systems integrator...

Mobile payment app aims to create loyalty

Seth Priebatsch, 23, has a big vision for his Cambridge company, SCVNGR. He wants to dominate the market for mobile payments, allowing cellphones to be used in place of cash or plastic to buy things.  Already, 250 businesses around Boston allow consumers to use SCVNGR’s LevelUp mobile app to pay...