Clipped wings
iRobot founder Helen Greiner on drones, the FAA, and how to succeed in business without really flying
AR DRone flights
Helen Greiner didn't just put the 'robot' in iRobot. Starting as an 11-year-old who wanted to build robots, she achieved her a dream twice: after co-founding iRobot and ushering it to an IPO in 2005, Greiner left to create a second company, CyPhy Works, that builds flying robots. Greiner spoke at the RoboBusiness conference in Boston last week, and shared her views on some of the challenges facing the commercial drone industry. Chief among them: How do you grow while the Federal Aviation Administration enforces a ban on flight? Read More
The New Normal?
Threatened by GamerGate, Brianna Wu says she fears for her life but won't back down
Brianna Wu is a developer at Giant Spacekat. (Image via Giant Spacekat)
Brianna Wu, head of development at gaming company Giant Spacekat, became ensnared in the evolving drama that is GamerGate. This month, Wu and her family received death threats on Twitter and were forced to flee her house in Arlington. Wu spoke with BetaBoston about the issue, and said she still fears for her life, but she refuses to back down. Read More
Superconnector
Meet the woman who connects MIT's software smarties with their futures
MIT administrator Anne Hunter (center) in 2012, with MIT students Irena Huang (left) and Elaina Chai (right.)  Photo by Patricia Sampson, MIT.
Over the past decade and a half, I've heard MIT students and grads regularly mention something called the "Anne Hunter list" — sometimes referred to more generically as "the jobs list." It's how they land jobs at Google and Dropbox, or at startups that will become the next Google or Dropbox. It's also how they score free pizza and t-shirts at company recruiting events on campus. So I started to wonder: exactly who was this Anne Hunter? Read More
Behind the Orange Curtain
What makes HubSpot...well, HubSpot? The company's latest alum tells all
Photo via LinkedIn
This is a guest post from Rick Burnes, the new vice president of content products at BookBub. When the history ebooks are written, this month could go down as a turning point for the Boston tech community. Two Boston IPOs this month — Wayfair’s on Oct 2 and HubSpot’s on Oct 8 — were major milestones for companies that could become new anchors for the local startup ecosystem. Read More
Health Connector
Virgin Pulse links with Apple's HealthKit, could serve as hub for other apps to do so as well
Photo via Apple
Virgin Pulse, the Framingham-based health and wellness software company that is part of Richard Branson's Virgin Group, says it has integrated its products with Apple's new HealthKit app. One of the first larger healthy-living programs to connect to Apple's iPhone 6 health app, Virgin Pulse has an opportunity to serve as an intermediary between HealthKit and the wide range of health, wellness, and fitness applications Virgin currently connects to. Read More
A big data supergroup
Netezza veterans reunite for Cazena, focused on shifting data warehouses to the cloud
Cazena CEO Prat Moghe, previously a senior vice president of Netezza, a data warehousing company acquired by IBM. Courtesy of Cazena.
A Waltham startup is coming out of stealth mode today, with $8 million in funding. Cazena reunites several veterans of Netezza, a data warehousing startup that went public and then was acquired by IBM for $1.7 billion four years ago. The deal is unusual in that it's the first time California-based Andreessen Horowitz — the venture capital firm co-founded by the fellow who brought you the Netscape browser — has participated in a Series A round of funding for a startup here in Massachusetts. Andreessen Horowitz is investing alongside North Bridge Venture Partners, the Waltham VC firm. Read More
Apple's Game Changer
5 reasons Apple Pay will succeed where others have failed
PABLO BLAZQUEZ DOMINGUEZ/GETTY IMAGES
This is a guest post from Henry Helgeson, the chief executive of payments system software company Merchant Warehouse. The new iPhones are out. In fact, you might very well be reading this on one. And while you may be excited about the bigger screen, slim profile, fancy camera or even the futuristic Touch ID features, you’re probably not giving much thought to what could turn out to be the coolest feature to come out of this latest iteration: Apple Pay. Read More
Strong STEM Roots
STEM Slam to motivate next generation of female developers/engineers
Erica Orthmann of STEM Slam
On October 27, a stellar ensemble of local STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math) stars will take the stage at Microsoft NERD to tell stories about their journey from girl geek to successful members of Boston's tech and innovation ecosystem. Basically, getting the word out about how women in tech rock this town. Read More
Brand new bots
Local robotics startups debut at downtown showcase
Soft Robotics is making air-powered stretchy robot fingers whose grasp is not too hard and not too soft. (Image: Soft Robotics)
Two robotics startups from Greater Boston debuted products this week at the RoboBusiness conference and exhibition. Just a year old, Soft Robotics presented its gentle, air-powered versatile robot grippers in public for the first time. For Sonzia, a Somerville firm that incorporated in September, it was a first public demonstration of immersive, interactive environments for children with learning disabilities. Read More