Innovation Economy

100 stories
Market forces
Beyond Pricing will help Boston Airbnb hosts adjust rates based on demand
Airbnb host Jen Lawrence rents a pull-out couch in the living room of her Somerville home. (Photo by Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
If you've ever tried to book a flight during February's school vacation weeks, or a hotel in Arizona in August, you've seen demand-based pricing in action. In some cities, even parking meters adjust their prices based on how many spots are left on a block. Now a San Francisco startup, Beyond Pricing, is bringing demand-based pricing to people who rent out their homes — or just spare rooms — through Airbnb. The free service adjusts the price of a condo in the North End or a spare bedroom in Back Bay up or down, based on how much demand exists on each specific night of the year. Read More
Boston's biggest businesses
In education and health care, the future is about cost and access
Image licensed from Shutterstock
The future is not up and to the right. Yet if you look at two of Massachusetts’ biggest industries — health care and education — that’s the trajectory. Better quality, high pay, strong reputations, expensive new facilities, and breakthrough innovations mean you can charge more, more, more. Read More
The escalators are gone
First look: Filene's transformed into new office for communications firm Havas
Gone are the mannequins and automatic mark-downs. The new major tenant of the landmark Filene's building is Havas, the French advertising  & public relations company.
I must admit: even though Filene's closed almost ten years ago, I was a little sad to see the escalators, the stacks of sweaters, and the perfume-spritzers gone. But the Watertown architecture firm Sasaki Associates has kept a few traces of the department store that was once part of every Bostonian's life as it transformed the top four floors of the landmark Downtown Crossing building into offices for Havas. Havas is a French communications conglomerate that owns Boston ad agency Arnold Worldwide; Debi Kleiman, an executive vice president at Havas Media and former director of the trade group MITX, gave me an early look at the space last week. Read More
Tapping into Boston talent
Security startup Lookout will add Boston office after naming local exec CEO
Lookout chief executive Jim Dolce.
Interesting string of events for Lookout, a San Francisco startup that focuses on security for mobile devices... In March, the company named former Verivue and Akamai executive Jim Dolce as CEO. Last week, the company added $150 million in new funding. And in October, the company plans to open its first U.S. office outside of the Bay Area, in downtown Boston. Read More
Craigslist killer?
New mobile startup Classy wants to facilitate campus commerce
(Photo by Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff)
The startup factory Blade is unveiling its first project today: an iPhone app called Classy that wants to supplant Craigslist and Facebook as the dominant way of buying and selling things on college campuses. Just in time for the mass migration back to Boston this month... Read More
Worth watching
Five promising startups from the Harvard Innovation Lab's Demo Day
Divya Dhar of Seratis, a startup developing a new communication tool for healthcare providers. Photo by Scott Kirsner / Beta Boston.
The Harvard Innovation Lab in Allston has been home to 84 startups run by students and recent grads this summer; they call it the Venture Incubation Program. And ten of the companies that have been making the most progress (while the rest of us have been working on our tans) gave short demos yesterday afternoon. These were the five that struck me as worth having on your radar screen... Read More
Gray day for plane-sharing
FAA letter may keep aviation startups like AirPooler grounded
Photo of Hanscom Field by Joanne Rathe / Globe Staff.
Cambridge-based AirPooler isn't exactly "Uber for private planes." But it is a way for private pilots to offer extra seats on their trips to people who'd like to tag along and share some of the expenses. (I wrote about the startup's launch in April, and in June it won entrance to the MassChallenge entrepreneurial program.) Trouble is, the Federal Aviation Administration doesn't seem to love the notion. Read More
Betaspring seeks backers
Providence accelerator Betaspring takes a break, focuses on raising new fund
Betaspring co-founder and managing partner Allan Tear. (Photo by Scott Kirsner / BetaBoston)
Betaspring is taking a breather. The Providence-based accelerator graduated its most recent class of seven startups in June, but doesn't plan to start a new cycle until next spring. Between now and then, they'll need to raise a new pool of capital, and Betaspring managing partner Allan Tear tells me that he's not expecting to get any support from public sources, which have provided substantial backing for Betaspring in the past. Read More
When the Sox are away...
VerbalCare emerges victorious from Fenway Park pitch competition
Screenshots from VerbalCare's product.
Boston startup VerbalCare left Fenway Park $15,000 richer tonight, after winning the "Fast Pitch" competition put on by WeWork, which operates a network of shared office spaces. The competition pitted three Boston teams against three from New York, and asked audience members to vote on the idea they liked best, so there may have been just a wee bit of a home field advantage. VerbalCare makes a tablet app to help patients at hospitals communicate with caregivers, and give administrators better insight into the patient's experience. The company has been conducting a pilot at the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Brighton. I covered VerbalCare earlier this year; and in 2013 they were guests on an episode of The Entrepreneurs Grill.
Quibble over the quadrant
NetScout Systems sues research firm Gartner, alleging pay-to-play coverage
netscoutsystems
If you've ever had a less-than-pleasant interaction with a tech market research firm, here's some enjoyable summer reading for you: a lawsuit filed yesterday by publicly-held NetScout Systems of Westford against Gartner, Inc., one of the most established of the firms that track technology offerings. Read More
Community combination
The Capital Network adopts Greenhorn Connect, student-focused networking organization
Greenhorn founder Jason Evanish with Samantha Hammar, executive director of The Capital Network.
A non-profit that helps entrepreneurs learn how to raise money is absorbing Greenhorn Connect, an organization founded five years ago to help students and recent grads connect with the local startup scene. The merger was just finalized this morning. The Capital Network will continue running several of Greenhorn's flagship events, like the career-oriented Greenhorn Summit and RamenCamp, and will also maintain Greenhorn's online calendar of networking events and workshops. Read More
Sizzle vs. science
Is Bose up to a challenge from Apple?
Bose and Beats headphones on the shelves of the Apple Store on Boylston Street in Boston.

When Apple announces it is entering your business, it’s a bad day for any executive.

For Bob Maresca, president of Bose Corp., the largest consumer electronics company in Massachusetts, that day came on May 28. Apple said it would pay $3 billion to acquire Beats Electronics, a maker of headphones, speakers, and a music streaming service headquartered near Los Angeles.

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