Innovation Economy

140 stories
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
New VC star?
Procyon Ventures, focusing on data and analytics, is newest venture firm in Cambridge
Procyon Ventures founder Millie Liu.
A new early-stage investment firm named after a star in the constellation Canis Minor has made a trio of investments since starting up earlier this year. I'd heard rumblings about the existence of Procyon Ventures a few months back, but didn't get founding partner Millie Liu on the phone until yesterday. Read More
Startups by the sea
Drydock is rocking... But here's what else it needs
An aerial view of Drydock Center, a/k/a the Bronstein Center, a/k/a the Innovation and Design Building (to the left of the gray ship), by David L. Ryan of the Boston Globe.
Drydock is rocking. Period. This summer, I think the massive complex on Boston Harbor has finally transitioned from being a destination of last resort for frugal startups who didn't want to pay the rents of Kendall Square or Fort Point to being a place companies actively choose. Read More
Research roommates
Mass Innovation Labs planning another shared lab space for Cambridge
A screenshot from the Mass Innovation Labs website shows a building at 675 Kendall Street in Cambridge.
Cambridge may soon get a second shared laboratory space for life sciences companies in the shadow of the Genzyme building in Kendall Square. And one of the people behind the Mass Innovation Labs project says that it will be different from — and possibly larger than — LabCentral, which opened late last year with financial backing from the state's Massachusetts Life Sciences Center and corporate sponsors like Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer. Read More
So simple, Fred Flintstone could do it
Bedrock Data wants to simplify data synchronization between applications
From left: Adrian Mott, Taylor Barstow, Benjamin Smith, and John Marcus of Bedrock Data.
Bedrock Data was born as a "nights and weekends" project at HubSpot, the Cambridge digital marketing firm. Bedrock's founders observed how complicated it was to craft connections between various software-as-a-service applications so that data from one could be synchronized with another. While still working at HubSpot, they incorporated Bedrock as a company in mid-2012 so they could start accepting credit cards for the service they'd built — focused on simplifying the process of building those links between applications. But Bedrock's founders didn't depart HubSpot until last year, when they were convinced that their new venture's revenues could support them. Read More
Let's do lunch...
Wyth app, from Fiksu and Vlingo veterans, wants to help manage your calendar
wyth-itunes
A Boston startup, Pencil Labs, has slipped a new calendar and messaging app called Wyth into the iTunes Store with zero fanfare. I've been tracking the startup since last May, but the founders aren't saying much and the website is still in "coming soon" mode. Pencil raised some early funding in 2013 from two Cambridge venture capital firms, Matrix Partners and Charles River Ventures. Read More
State support
Cleantech startups eCurv and Powerhouse Dynamics attract funding from Mass. Clean Energy Center
John Stahl, Edison Almeida, and John Lawton of eCurv, which helps companies curb peak energy demand.
The state-backed Massachusetts Clean Energy Center has just made its first new investments in roughly a year, putting a total of $900,000 into cleantech startups eCurv and Powerhouse Dynamics. Both investments are part of larger funding rounds led by private venture capital firms. Read More
A more glamorous Glass?
Laforge Optical pitches stylish smart glasses, on the Entrepreneurs Grill
laforge-glasses
Here's another video from our Entrepreneurs Grill series, shot a few months back. This one features Corey Mack, co-founder and CEO of Laforge Optical. The company is working on a more stylish eyeglass-integrated display, with software that interacts with an iPhone. Laforge's Icis glases can also support prescription lenses. Read More
Managerial nudges
HubSpot veterans launch Grokky, looking to upgrade managerial feedback
Grokky co-founders Patrick Fitzsimmons and Dan Abdinoor.
Dan Abdinoor and Patrick Fitzsimmons freely admit they learned about how to be managers on the fly. Both were among the first ten employees at HubSpot, the Cambridge digital marketing firm, and they say they learned about managing people by observing more senior colleagues with more experience, and by reading. "I read Good to Great, The One-Minute Manager, and a bunch of Harvard Business School case studies based on what my managers recommended to me," says Abdinoor. Their new startup, Grokky, wants to help others who are new to the management ranks get better, faster. Read More
Fashion statement
Can a Harwich startup turn wooden shades into a summer classic?
Cape Codder glasses are assembled in Harwich, from components made in the U.S. and China.
The three founders of Cape Codder Sunglasses had a pretty good summer in 2013. A single retailer ordered 400 pairs — basically, the startup's entire stock at the time — and by the time the trio went back to college in the fall, they'd sold about 1200 pairs of the wood-framed shades, which sell for $90 and up. This year, having just graduated from Boston College and Yale, they're testing the waters of crowdfunding. Read More