Innovation Economy

100 stories
Leveling up
Boston game entrepreneurs talk about growing studios, challenges (Audio)
Jon Radoff of Disruptor Beam, Marco Mereu of Gameblyr, and Jamie Gotch of Subatomic Studios at the recent MassDigi Game Challenge.
Sharing some audio from a "fireside chat" I moderated earlier this month at the MassDigi Game Challenge in Cambridge. The two speakers were Jon Radoff of Disruptor Beam, which developed "Game of Thrones Ascent," and Jamie Gotch of Subatomic Studios, which makes the mobile game "Fieldrunners." Read More
Regime change
Angel investor Semyon Dukach will run Techstars Boston accelerator
Semyon Dukach with members of the band Pussy Riot, recipients of a "Troublemaker Award" he created.
After a little more than three years running the Techstars Boston program for entrepreneurs, Katie Rae and Reed Sturtevant are turning over the keys to Semyon Dukach, an angel investor, entrepreneur, and former member of the MIT Blackjack Team. Dukach takes over with the fall cycle of Techstars this year, which runs from August through November. Read More
Cleaners unite
Unsully founder to join home services startup Handybook as Boston GM
Detailers work on a car for Unsully. (Company-supplied photo.)
Joe Nigro, founder of an on-demand car detailing service called Unsully, is joining the home services startup Handybook as its Boston general manager. The deal is being called an acquisition, but Unsully had just one full-time employee, and Handybook — which focuses on dispatching house cleaners, painters, and handymen — isn't adding car washes to its menu of services. Terms  aren't being announced. Nigro had bootstrapped Unsully since leaving Vsnap, a video messaging startup, in 2013. Read More
Protection money
Waltham security firm Verdasys gets new chief, $12 million in funding
Verdasys employees at the recent RSA Security conference in San Francisco.
A security executive who sold his last startup to McAfee is taking over at Verdasys, a Waltham company founded way back in 2002. Verdasys sells software intended to safeguard sensitive data from malicious outsiders — and employees. Ken Levine sold his last company, NitroSecurity, in 2011. He stuck around at McAfee until late last year. Then, one of Verdasys' investors told him the company was hunting for a new CEO to replace Jim Ricotta, who had been running Verdasys for a little more than three years. Levine's first day on the job was last Friday. Read More
Protecting big data
Former White House tech official has new privacy startup, TrustLayers
TrustLayers co-founder Danny Weitzner, former Deputy CTO at the White House.
Danny Weitzner, an MIT researcher who served as Deputy Chief Technology Officer at the White House under President Obama is hatching a new startup related to data privacy: TrustLayers, which is out now raising a seed round of funding. Weitzner's co-founder is Adam Towvim, a long-time executive at the mobile advertising startup Jumptap, acquired last year by Millennial Media. Read More
Database diaspora
Database startup Hadapt sheds about 25 percent of staff
Hadapt CEO Justin Borgman and former VP of marketing Scott Howser.
Cambridge database startup Hadapt quietly laid off about a quarter of its employees in December and January. The majority of those let go appear to have been engineers, according to LinkedIn, and not surprisingly, many of them were quickly scooped up by other local tech companies, including HubSpot, Kinvey, and DataXu. The layoff also included employees in sales and marketing. Read More
Survey says...
State of Massachusetts testing surveys from Cambridge's Panorama Education
Panorama co-founder and CEO Aaron Feuer.
Can surveys of students, teachers, parents, and principals produce better schools? That's the premise at Cambridge-based Panorama Education, which launched last year and already helps about 5,000 schools field surveys and analyze the results. The startup pulled in $4 million in funding last fall — some of it from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and actor Ashton Kutcher — and is now up to eight full-time employees. Panorama also just started its first pilot project with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that will survey 17,000 students and teachers between now and the end of this school year. The department's eventual goal is a statewide roll-out of the new survey in 2014-2015, which would be a much bigger win for Panorama. Read More
Bumps on the road to an IPO?
As Karmaloop seeks to raise next round, it stretches some vendor payments and shutters underperforming sites
Karmaloop CEO Greg Selkoe.
Hipster apparel merchant Karmaloop has been one of Boston's rare consumer e-commerce hits: the company, founded in a Jamaica Plain basement in 2000, booked $165 million in sales last year, according to CEO Greg Selkoe. And the company's headquarters have progressively taken over the inside of what was once the landmark Shreve Crump & Low jewelry store in Back Bay, where it employs almost 200 people. Read More