Innovation Economy

121 stories
New neighbors
PayPal's Start Tank opens its doors to six more startups
Entrepreneurs working in PayPal's Start Tank, which offers chosen companies free office space up to a year. (Photo by Dina Rudick / Globe Staff)
It's getting harder for startups to score free office space at PayPal's Boston office. PayPal executive David Chang, who oversees the "Start Tank" program that sets up chosen entrepreneurs with office space that PayPal isn't yet using, says only about 11 percent of applicants got in this fall. That's compared to a 20 percent acceptance rate earlier this year. Read More
Layoffs at adtech firm
Video analytics startup Visible Measures cuts staff
Photo of Visible Measures' office near South Station, from the company's blog.
One of Boston's best-funded adtech startups, Visible Measures, has been shedding employees, with the latest round of layoffs taking place yesterday. According to former employees and executives at other companies who have been fielding resumes from laid off employees, the cuts represent 30 or more people, about one-quarter of Visible Measures' workforce. CEO Brian Shin declined comment yesterday evening, pointing me to a public relations rep who hasn't responded to phone calls or e-mails. The layoffs affect employees across all departments, says one former employee, adding that the company may have simply grown too fast in a hyper-competitive business: "A serious case of cart in front of horse," he says. Read More
Parties without the clean-up
'Avon meets Skype' with new video house party software from Kitsy Lane
kitsylanescreen
I'm not a big buyer of dangly earrings or silver-and-turquoise cuffs, but I have to admit: the new video "house party" software from Kitsy Lane, a Boston-based e-commerce startup, is a lot of fun. Instead of lining up a babysitter and visiting a friend's house to nibble cheese and crackers and try on costume jewelry, you sign on for a group videochat. The new vParty software is part of a recently-launched site from Kitsy Lane called Chelsea Row that focuses on selling jewelry and accessories online, through in-person "trunk shows" and the new live video events. Read More
Speak softly...
Apple is growing the Cambridge research team focused on improving Siri speech recognition
The low-key entrance to Apple's current office in Kendall Square. (Photo by Scott Kirsner/ BetaBoston)
On the eve of its next big product announcement, Apple is expanding its super-secret research office in Kendall Square. Several commercial realtors tell me that the Cupertino company has leased more than half a floor at One Broadway, an MIT-owned building that also houses Facebook's small local team, several venture capital firms, and the Cambridge Innovation Center. The new office, about 13,000 square feet on one of the building's upper floors, is a major expansion for Apple, which currently has a small team on the building's fifth floor. Read More
Parallel entrepreneurs
One is not enough: Let's start two
Phil Beauregard (left) listens as partner Matt Grace makes a presentation to team members at Objective Logistics, one of two companies Beauregard and Grace have founded together. (Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff)
Sitting behind the computer monitor on Phil Beauregard’s cluttered desk at a startup called Objective Logistics is a hardcover book published in 2011: the authorized biography of Steve Jobs. Jobs managed to pull off something that is rarer in the business world than a no-hitter is in baseball. For about a decade after his return to Apple in 1997, Jobs ran two successful public companies, Apple and Pixar, simultaneously. Read More
Construction report
Inside CIC's shared digs in Downtown Crossing, still under construction
CIC managing directors Brian Dacey and Stas Gayshan, in the new Downtown Crossing location.
CIC — formerly known as the Cambridge Innovation Center — began opening its Boston outpost back in May. But construction on the shared office space in Downtown Crossing is only about half done. Two floors are occupied, with another two slated to open starting in October. The space at 50 Milk Street was formerly occupied by Brown Brothers Harriman, a private bank. Read More
New founder on campus
MIT taps Inkling co-founder Josh Forman as newest entrepreneur-in-residence
Inkling co-founder Josh Forman, MIT's newest entrepreneur-in-residence.
The Trust Center for Entrepreneurship at MIT has a new entrepreneur-in-residence for this academic year: Harvard alum Josh Forman, who has worked at Microsoft and the high school social network Sconex. Forman was also a co-founder of Inkling, an e-book publishing startup that was on Fast Company's "Most Innovative Companies" list this year and has raised about $55 million in venture capital. Read More
Celtics CEO joins $35 million funding round for ticket search engine SeatGeek
Wyc Grousbeck, Bob Higgins, and Mark Wan of Causeway Media Partners. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Silicon Valley's Accel Partners and Cambridge-based Causeway Media Partners are among the investors pumping $35 million into SeatGeek, a search engine for tickets to sporting events, concerts, and other live events. Similar to the way Kayak.com scours the web for airfares and hotel rates, SeatGeek does the same across multiple ticketing sites like StubHub and Broadway.com. Also putting money into the Manhattan-based startup are the rapper Nas, NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony, and NFL quarterbacks Eli and Peyton Manning. Read More
Upgrading your weekend
WiGo aspires to be the app that coordinates social life on campus
WiGo founder and CEO Ben Kaplan, left, with co-founder and CTO Giuliano Giacaglia. (Photo by Scott Kirsner / BetaBoston.)
It's one of the enduring questions of campus life: What's everyone doing tonight? An app born on the campus of Holy Cross in Worcester, WiGo, wants to provide a visual answer, showing you photos of friends who plan to go out, and letting you "tap" others you'd like to encourage to come along. Read More
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