Innovation Economy

As MassChallenge considers expansion, could New York be next?

The founders of the MassChallenge start-up competition, which offers $1 million in prize money to promising companies, have spent the summer and fall engaging in conversations about expansion. While bringing the competition to a second city will require funding commitments from philanthropists...

Actifio pockets $33.5 million to help corporations cope with the data explosion

When you purchase a toaster oven, execute a stock trade, or hire someone new for your department, you've probably never thought about how many digital records exist of those transactions. But Ash Ashutosh has. The founder of Waltham-based Actifio says that organizations sometimes keep anywhere from...

On the radar: 10 start-ups worth watching

One of the perks of my job is getting a chance to talk to entrepreneurs who are just getting companies off the ground. They tend to brim with enthusiasm about tackling opportunities that others can't see. (And if they don't, well, usually their start-ups don't make it.) Here are ten...

RunKeeper chases down $10 million in new funding, to expand online fitness community

The Newbury Street venture capital firm Spark Capital is leading a new $10 million funding round for RunKeeper, a 14-person start-up located just a few blocks away in Boston's South End. RunKeeper began life in 2008 as part of the first wave of fitness-focused apps for the iPhone, helping runners...

15 ways to support the Massachusetts economy with your holiday shopping

As we barrel toward the two most capitalistic holidays of the year — Black Friday and Cyber Monday — I've been thinking about gifts you could give, or sites you could patronize, to support the Massachusetts innovation economy. Here's a list of 15 ideas...

Moving mapping technology indoors

We’ve all had the experience of trying to find a particular product in a big box store apparently devoid of employees, or roaming the aisles of a vast convention center searching for a booth. While GPS displays in our cars or mapping apps on our phones can guide us to the parking lot, once you step inside...

A fixture of local tech scene looks to stand out

According to the 21st century blueprint for entrepreneurial success, Wayne Chang has done everything right.  He wrote his first computer game while he was in elementary school, and at Haverhill High he was ducking into the boys bathroom to make business calls. He told the Globe in 2000 that his goal...

Can Workvibe's video profiles attract new talent to the start-up scene?

Start-up scenesters Alex Patriquin and Jon Pierce are behind a really worthy new project called Workvibe. The site will be home to a collection of video profiles of Boston-area companies like PerkStreet Financial, Backupify, and HubSpot.  The duo's main mission is to try to pull new talent into the start-up scene...

Shareholic, making it simpler to share content online, collects $2 million in funding

Companies that successfully attain momentum in their marketplace tend to attract "inbound" calls from venture capitalists asking whether they might be able to use a little more rocket fuel. That was the case with Shareaholic, the small Cambridge company that creates tools for users...

Resolute.vc, new venture firm from ex-Polaris partner Mike Hirshland, hopes to raise $25 million

Last week, Mike Hirshland, formerly an investor at Polaris Venture Partners in Waltham, launched the Web site for his new seed-stage venture firm, Resolute.vc.  But beyond saying that the new firm will operate in Boston, New York, and San Francisco, and that it will invest between $50,000...

New CEO at CasePick Systems, company developing droids for the warehouse, comes from Netezza

Former Netezza chief executive Jim Baum is making a career leap, going from data warehousing to grocery warehousing.  Baum was running Netezza last September, when IBM purchased the company for $1.7 billion; Netezza made high-performance data warehousing appliances. Baum stuck...

Can Boston rise again to tech's top tier?

I was on WBUR's Radio Boston show earlier this week, talking about a blog post I wrote. From that post: [Boston is a] second-tier financial services town. Second-tier tech town. Second-tier retail town. Second-tier defense contracting town.  [Boston has] an Avis strategy without the Avis...

Bain Capital Ventures talks about decision to set up shop in Palo Alto

The two big trends of the past two years in the Massachusetts venture capital scene have been: 1. Suburban firms migrating into the city (Highland Capital Partners, Charles River Ventures, Bessemer, ATV, etc.) 2. Boston-area VCs setting up outposts in the Bay area (Highland, Polaris Venture Partners, General Catalyst...

Boston is getting an 'Innovation Center' to serve as a hub for the Innovation District

Boston's Innovation District will get a new building next year — the Boston Innovation Center — that could become the neighborhood's hub. It'll be built on land across Northern Avenue from the Institute of Contemporary Art, and not far from the MassChallenge's digs at One Marina Park...

Secrets of Scaling: Boston CEOs talk about how start-ups get big (Audio)

Sharing some audio from a session I led at last Friday's Innovation Unconference...featuring a line-up of seven local CEOs talking about how their companies made it big, and sharing their advice with the start-ups in the audience.  The speakers were (from left): Michael Simon, CEO and co-founder, LogMeIn

Can projecting texts and playlists on your car's windshield make you a safer driver?

Fighter pilots have used heads-up displays, or HUDs, for more than fifty years to project information onto the windshield of a plane, so that they don't have to glance down at their instruments in the middle of a dogfight.  But could the same technology make commuting to work safer? Michael Amaru...

What are the top factors students consider when deciding where to start their careers?

As you know, I'm very interested in how New England can retain more of the talented young whippersnappers who come here to get an education... both as workers and as company founders. The Wall Street Journal this week covered some of the ways that New England states are trying to entice...

Oracle is paying up to $1.075 billion for Cambridge's Endeca Technologies

Last Tuesday, Oracle bought Endeca Technologies, a Cambridge company that sells business intelligence and online merchandising software. But not much was disclosed about the deal, beyond the usual manufactured quotes in the press release about the combination of the two companies...

At Friday's Innovation UnConference: The secrets of scaling, from Boston entrepreneurs

My favorite entrepreneurial event of the year is the MassTLC Innovation Unconference. Mostly because I have no part in organizing it... the energy is amazing... and it attracts basically everyone in Boston who is working on an interesting new venture. So I get enough story ideas to last me a couple months..

Data analytics start-up Hadapt raises $9.5 million; plans move from New Haven to Cambridge

Need to find a needle in a haystack — or a crucial piece of business information that could be sitting in any one of a hundred different far-flung databases? That's the challenge that the rapidly-growing "big data" sector tries to address. A  Connecticut start-up, Hadapt, plans to announce...

Giving new angels their wings

In the wake of this week's big local acquisitions — Oracle bought Cambridge-based Endeca for an undisclosed amount, and Cisco bought BNI Video for $99 million — I'm thinking about how new angel investors get created. Major acquisitions or initial public offerings can produce major wealth for a handful...

BuyWithMe, coupon peddler based in Boston and New York, cuts half its workforce

Adding to the turmoil in the "daily deals" space, BuyWithMe is cutting more than half its staff. The Boston and New York-based company, led by Massachusetts CEO Jim Crowley, raised $16 million last year, but seems to have used much of that money to acquire other companies peddling local discounts...

Checking in with Dogpatch Labs Cambridge, two years in

I'll admit I was wondering recently about the future of Dogpatch Labs in Cambridge, the free office space for start-ups in Kendall Square that Polaris Venture Partners set up in 2009, and expanded last year. The winds shifted a bit in 2011, with Polaris announcing that it had raised a new $375 million investment...

Test-riding Uber, the populist car service you summon with a mobile app

San Francisco-based Uber is planning to launch its transportation service in Boston this Thursday. They already operate in New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago, and they've been pilot-testing it here over the past few weeks. I used the app this afternoon to travel from Kendall Square to Brookline...

Is Boston spawning too many start-ups, and starving growth companies for talent?

Sunday's Globe column asked the question, "Is Boston spawning too many start-ups?" That’s the question I’ve been wondering about lately, as I see so many people toiling at two-person companies. Maybe they’re relying on their own savings, or maybe they’ve raised a few hundred thousand...

Reality check overdue for start-ups that don’t fly

Is it possible that Boston is spawning too many start-ups?  That’s the question I’ve been wondering about lately, as I see so many people toiling at two-person companies. Maybe they’re relying on their own savings, or maybe they’ve raised a few hundred thousand dollars from angel investors. Some of them win...

Expanded co-working space at Cambridge Innovation Center opening today

I dropped by the newly-expanded co-working space at Cambridge Innovation Center this morning. That's where entrepreneurs and consultants who don't necessarily need private offices can rent a desk for $250 a month. And it's also home to two "neighborhoods" — one where angel investor...

Boston's AA cluster: Athletic analytics start-ups aim to improve performance for pros and amateurs

I'm a fan of watching new clusters develop in Boston's innovation economy, and a few weeks ago, Zeo co-founder Ben Rubin called my attention to a cool one: start-ups working on ways to help professional and amateur athletes train smarter and perform better. I think of it as the "athletic analytics" cluster...

Emerald City after the wizard

Did you ever wonder what happened in the Emerald City after the wizard lifted off in his hot air balloon?  That, I suspect, was the feeling in Cupertino this week after the news arrived that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had died.  Whenever I visited the headquarters in Silicon Valley, I found myself...

Can ReDigi, new marketplace for 'used' digital music, avoid lawsuits and prosper?

In music's all-digital era, will there be an analogue to the used record and CD shop?  The founders of Cambridge-based ReDigi believe they're building it: an online marketplace that would allow consumers to buy and sell "used" digital songs (IE, songs they don't want to keep in their personal collections any more.) They're planning...