Innovation Economy

125 stories
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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The long and winding road
Lilliputian Systems, MIT spin-out that raised $150 million, runs out of fuel
Former Lilliputian employees Mouli Ramani and Souren Lefian in the company's lab in 2011. Photo by Scott Kirsner for BetaBoston.
One of Boston's best-capitalized — and oldest — startups has run out of fuel thirteen years after it was founded. Lilliputian Systems, which had been developing a $300 system called Nectar that used butane to charge up portable electronics, has been selling off equipment and intellectual property, and plans to vacate its Wilmington office by September, CEO Sohail Khan tells me. That is after about $150 million of investment from venture capital firms that included Kleiner Perkins, Atlas Venture, Fairhaven Capital Partners, Stata Venture Partners, RockPort Capital, and Intel Capital. Intel had hoped to produce components of the Lilliputian system at its microchip factory in Hudson, which is being shuttered this year. Read More
IPO implications?
HubSpot's head of product and VP of engineering will depart in September
HubSpot chief product officer David Cancel, in one of the Cambridge company's conference rooms. Photo by Scott Kirsner / BetaBoston.
Big news being announced this afternoon at HubSpot, the digital marketing startup widely regarded to be on the verge of an initial public offering: David Cancel, the Cambridge company's chief product officer, plans to leave in September, along with Elias Torres, an engineering vice president. The duo joined HubSpot in 2011, when HubSpot paid $20 million for their 20-person startup, Performable, in its biggest acquisition to date. Read More
Circling the block
Can mobile apps help make parking in Boston less miserable?
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I’m an optimist, and so despite almost 15 years of searching for parking, getting ticketed, and being towed in Boston, I still believe that something will eventually mitigate the misery. Several new mobile apps promise to do that. So I loaded them on my iPhone this month and set out in search of parking. Read More
Keeping score
Do you believe Massachusetts tech is major league?
littleleague
I have started to worry that instead of being in the press box for a Major League Baseball game, all of us who observe and cover the Boston tech scene are instead sitting in the aluminum bleachers of a Little League match that will end with a 24-19 score, and all of the players getting a trophy. Read More
An app for VIP access
Tablelist collects $1.5 million, with visions of becoming the OpenTable of after dark
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In his prior life as an real estate broker for international students in Boston, Julian Jung went to a lot of nightclubs and saw a lot of bottles of high-end liquor ordered. Jung says he has witnessed upwards of $15,000 spent in a single night in Boston, and has seen epic $50,000 evenings in New York. Read More
Eve's distant cousin?
Robot startup Jibo unveils a multi-purpose 'social bot' for the home
Jibo founder Cynthia Breazeal and software architect Jonathan Ross with a Jibo prototype. Photo by Scott Kirsner/BetaBoston.
Roomba hunts dust bunnies. Autom helps you shed pounds. But Jibo wants to be the first multi-purpose robot for your home — a countertop assistant that can snap family photos, remind you of the day's schedule, relay messages, entertain children with interactive stories, and facilitate videoconferences. The $499 product is being unveiled today, but won't be available until late in 2015. Read More
Have we got a deal for you...
Coming soon: Two more apps that will serve up location-specific offers
Screenshot from Epoque's website.
How many times have you heard this scenario pitched: You're walking down Newbury Street looking for lunch, when suddenly your phone chimes with a geographically-relevant offer. If you go just one block down, you can get 25 percent off lunch at a new French bistro (your favorite cuisine!) Read More
Hanging up the checkbook
With new CRV fund, long-time partner Bruce Sachs bows out
Bruce Sachs of Charles River Ventures.
Left unsaid in the announcement of the new $393 million fund raised by Charles River Ventures — oops, they're now called CRV — is that long-time partner Bruce Sachs is bowing out. Sachs still appears on CRV's website, but he confirmed to me this evening that he won't be involved in putting the new money to work. Sachs joined CRV in 1999 after a career in networking, and he was responsible for initially helping CRV put down stakes in California. Read More
Smarter stuff
Entrepreneur and Media Lab researcher David Rose talks 'enchanted objects'
EnchantedObjectsPoster-sm
New book out this week from serial entrepreneur and MIT Media Lab researcher David Rose, entitled, "Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of Things." Rose is doing two local events: one at Bolt on Tuesday night, and one on Thursday at the Harvard Book Store. We sat down a few days ago to talk about what exactly an "enchanted object" is. Read More
Mr. Sulu goes to MIT
George Takei takes a spin through Boston's innovation scene
George Takei talks with Bill Warner, an angel investor and entrepreneur who founded Avid Technology.
When George Takei — social media star, equal rights crusader, and the former helmsman of the starship Enterprise — asks you about the most interesting places to visit to get a sense for innovation in Boston, that's an e-mail you respond to pretty fast. Takei was planning a trip here in May to shoot several new episodes of his YouTube series "Takei's Take," and I suggested he drop by places like Rethink Robotics, which sells a new kind of manufacturing robot, and Bluebird Bio, a Cambridge biotech developing new kinds of gene therapies for rare diseases. The first episode he shot on that trip just showed up on YouTube yesterday. Read More