Innovation Economy

149 stories
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
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