App your service
MobileSuites app wants to make hotel stays more convenient
From left: MobileSuites
CEO Dennis Meng, COO
Basel Fakhoury, and CTO
Bob Saris.
One of the more old-fashioned aspects of staying in a hotel is having to pull a leather binder out of a drawer and then pick up a 1980s-era phone to order room service, arrange a wake-up call, or set up a spa appointment. A Cambridge start-up, MobileSuites, wants to upgrade that part of the guest experience, letting you use your smartphone to explore the amenities and interact with the staff. After piloting the app with three hotels last year, MobileSuites says the iPhone app can now be used at about 700 hotels around the United States, including chains like Hilton, Westin, and Marriott. Read More
Meet the lone Super Bowl veteran who works in Boston's startup scene
Seattle Seahawks linebackers Lofa Tatupu and Isaiah Kacyvenski warm up before Super Bowl XL in 2006. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
I caught up with Isaiah Kacyvenski Thursday evening just after he'd arrived in Phoenix for this Sunday's Super Bowl. Kacyvenski told me he'd put in a pretty full week at the Cambridge-based electronics startup MC10 — interrupted by the blizzard, of course — before heading west. Nine years ago, when he traveled to the Big Game in Detroit, it was as a starting linebacker and special teams captain for the Seattle Seahawks. Kacyvenski, a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Business School, is the only Super Bowl veteran I've ever met who's part of the Boston startup scene. When he was drafted by the Seahawks in 2000, he became the highest NFL draft pick in Harvard's history, and his career lasted until 2008, when injuries forced him to retire. He's now a business development executive at MC10, which develops flexible electronics. I asked Kacyvenski a few questions before he headed to the NFL Players Association party last night. Read More
the perfect space
SpaceFinder launches in Massachusetts to help artists find unconventional venues
Gregorian Oriental Rugs on a regular work day. (Photo: Jessica Renaldi/Globe staff)
Gregorian Oriental Rugs opens at 10 a.m. every weekday, and with wood floors and high ceilings, this converted paper mill in Newton is an airy showroom for antique Turkish flat-weaves, Ikats from India, and countless other intricate, handmade imports from the Far East and Middle East. Some evenings, however, the expensive carpets and rugs are folded, stacked, and put aside, and the store is transformed into an intimate performance venue for local artists. Read More
five-star fund
Yelp to provide partial scholarships for the Startup Institute
startup institute
Eden S.  friends 1 review

five starts 01-29-2015 A collaboration between the Startup Institute and Yelp may seems like an odd pairing — but it could prove to be partnership worthy of five stars. The online business-review giant has decided to provide partial scholarships for the Startup Institute's eight week business development courses. The scholarships will be based on financial need, with applicable students in need of assistance referred to the program. Read More
Star Fund
Techstars Ventures raises a $150 million new fund to expand beyond seed stage investments
The last TechStars Boston Demo Day, in May 2013.
Techstars Ventures, based in Boulder, recently announced it raised $150 million for its third fund, which it will use to invest in companies that are part the Techstars ecosystem, but beyond the seed stage. According to Techstars co-founder David Cohen, that community of potential portfolio companies includes Techstars graduates, companies founded by Techstars alums, and those started by entrepreneurs who have served as mentors for the program. Read More
Taking off
Hopper launches mobile app to make saving money on flights easier and less painful
Screenshots of new Hopper app
Perhaps you've been cooped up in the house for the past 24 hours and are going stir crazy. Or maybe you're back at work, and your body is still aching from shoveling. Either way a vacation probably sounds like a good idea right now. So it's more than convenient that Cambridge-based Hopper, a company that collects data on airlines and flight costs to find customers the best deals, launched a mobile app in the Apple iOS App Store today that will send users notifications when the cheapest flights are available for the destinations they're hoping to travel to. Read More
The blizzard through the eyes of Boston's best Instagrammers
Brayan Mesa's photo of the  city dusted in snow earned a feature on the IGERSBoston Instagram feed. (Photo: Brayan Mesa)
The city never looked so good. The open photography community "Instagrammers of Boston" is a daily picture contest of sorts, featuring one stunning view of the city from thousands of submissions from photographers on Instagram.  But as the snow fell on the city Tuesday, the group ran a winter spectacular, curating a selection of the best views of the snow on the network. Read More
Follow the money
Fund Wisdom tries to make sense of emerging business of equity crowdfunding
Data from Fund Wisdom about the cities where startups have been most successful in raising money using web-based platforms like AngelList and Crowdfunder.
Brian Thopsey acknowledges that when it comes to online equity investing — investors backing startups through sites like AngelList and Crowdfunder — the data are still messy. And we haven't yet see the floodgates open, with Regular Joes putting a few grand here and there into fledgling businesses in exchange for shares of stock. That, Thopsey says, won't happen until early 2016. But he's already working to build a company, Fund Wisdom, that will gather data about what's happening on these new sites. Read More
An alternative to shoveling
Plowz and Mowz, the Uber of snowplows, has 225 trucks ready to shovel your driveway
A Plowz driver clears a driveway in Dorchester this afternoon. Photo by Janelle Nanos
Looking for a way to get your driveway cleared that doesn't wreck your back? There's an app for that. With winter storm Juno slamming the city over the past 24 hours, the Syracuse-based startup Plowz and Mowz has been put to the test. The on-demand plowing service has been dubbed the “Uber of snowplows,” and launched in Boston this fall (the also offer lawn mowing in the warmer months). Co-founder William Mahoney said that this bout of weather has been their biggest effort yet, and he expects to service over 2,500 customers over the course of the storm. Read More