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 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
too hot to handle
Remember that time Mayor Curley asked MIT for flamethrowers to melt the snow?
The year 1948 was a bit of a doozy in terms of snowfall in the Commonwealth, with record-setting numbers logged after several storms. But after the city of Boston was pummeled with 89.2 inches, Mayor James Curley sent a letter to the president of MIT asking for help. Would the Institute please ready a flame-throwing apparatus to get rid of the stuff when it melted? Read More
Euro Innovation
The best way to have fun during the blizzard? Download video selfie app Dubsmash immediately
Whether you know it or not, a group of German entrepreneurs has created what might be the best app you will download on your phone this month. And, if you are looking for something to keep you entertained over the next 24 hours of nonstop snow, get Dubsmash immediately and have a grand old time. Read More
And snow it begins
Would you shovel for your neighbor? The 'Snow Crew' website is looking for volunteers
A shopper buys a shovel at Woodside ACE Hardware in Winthrop, Mass. (Photo: Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
You never know when you'll need a little bit of neighborly assistance during an emergency like the approaching blizzard. Unfortunately, less than half of Americans actually know the people in their communities, a fact that becomes all the more acute when it comes to needing cups of sugar or dealing with snowstorm aftermath. But a volunteer-run website is linking strangers offline while helping them keep each other safe. Snow Crew was launched in 2009 by Joseph Porcelli, a friendly neighbor from Jamaica Plain. He started the site by taking requests for help shoveling sidewalks or cars, and then farming them out to neighborhood volunteers. Today the project has grown into a national website, and it's bracing for a flood of offers and requests for help after this forthcoming storm. Read More
Riding out the storm
Uber, Lyft prices could triple during snowstorm, but travel ban will keep them off the road
Photo via The Boston Globe-REUTERS/FILE
Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft said their prices could triple during the snowstorm that has begun on the East Coast -- that is, if they're even on the road. Uber said its service would be unavailable starting at midnight Tuesday until the Massachusetts travel ban is  lifted. After that, it said it would cap its surge pricing at 2.9 times the base fare for as long as the state of emergency was in effect. Read More
They've got your spot
Predictive parking startup Smarking heads west for Y Combinator program
Diego Torres-Palma and Wen Sang of Smarking. (Photo by Scott Kirsner / BetaBoston)
Wen Sang says he was astonished to learn how much fuel is burned — and traffic caused — by drivers in search of the perfect parking spot. At the same time, most parking garages have spaces sitting empty. What if you could share that information with drivers, perhaps even adjusting the price of vacant spaces so that they were more appealing? Sang says he came to the United States from China to earn a PhD, not start a company. But the possibility of solving that problem led him to launch Smarking last year, after earning his doctorate in mechanical engineering from MIT. Read More