Big Data is Watching
A vast hidden surveillance network runs across America, powered by the repo industry
DRN heat map March 2010

Few notice the “spotter car” from Manny Sousa’s repo company as it scours Massachusetts parking lots, looking for vehicles whose owners have defaulted on their loans. Sousa’s unmarked car is part of a technological revolution that goes well beyond the repossession business, transforming any ­industry that wants to check on the whereabouts of ordinary people. Read More

Growing room
Wayfair getting more space, needs a sign
Wayfair's founders Niraj Shah and Steve Conine

This morning, Wayfair, the Boston-based online furniture retailer, announced that it has added 170,000 square feet to its upcoming lease in The Offices at Copley Place.

The additional office space more than doubles the original square footage Wayfair anticipated needing for its expected move in June. Last spring, the company announced that it was leasing 105,000 square feet from Simon Property Group, Inc., for a summer 2014 move out of the tower at 177 Huntington Avenue, a space that is part of the Christian Science complex. Wayfair's new office space will now be 275,000 square feet, about three times the size of its current headquarters. Read More
they're no copycat
Acquiring competition, FlashNotes finds niche in ed tech
Screenshot from flashnotes.com video
Boston’s FlashNotes, which offers an online marketplace for buying and selling college study materials, is consolidating other players in the market as more of the higher-ed world moves online. Today FlashNotes said it has absorbed Moolaguides, a competitor at Florida State University. The founder of that company is now joining FlashNotes, and its site will eventually redirect to flashnotes.com. Read More
Everyday prodigies
Boston has a hot new app developer. Oh, yeah, he's 8 years old.
Mohamed Tariq Jaffar Ali, 8, was the youngest participant in a Nokia DVLUP Day in Boston. The app he designed, called Kids Zone, has been downloaded about 500 times.
I met a promising young app developer at Microsoft in Cambridge the other day, which wouldn't be unusual except for one key fact: He's 8 years old. Mohamed Tariq Jaffar Ali (he goes by Tariq) is the author of a Windows Phone app called Kids Zone that aggregates online videos from popular cartoons, like "Tom and Jerry" and "SpongeBob SquarePants." It culls YouTube for relevant clips and sorts them into channels. "That's the data source," Tariq told me. Typical third-grade stuff, right? Read More
Charity 2.0
TUGG kicks off 2014 with lofty aspirations and Wine Party
Tugg

When Technology Underwriting Greater Good, or TUGG, held its first "wine party" eight years ago, Atlas Venture's Jeff Fagnan and the rest of the organization's leadership could have never imagined what the event would grow to today.

This year, TUGG expects over 1,200 local tech and innovation folks to attend the 8th Annual Tech Charity Wine Party being held at Royale on Tremont Street. Read More

Hello, World
Welcome to BetaBoston
Photograph by Russ Mezifosky
If you want to get a sense for the impact startups, biotech, hackers, and makers are having on Greater Boston, the evidence is right around the corner: Buildings rising up from parking lots, coworking spaces bustling with activity and optimism. It's happening in Kendall Square and the Innovation District, of course, but in Downtown Crossing and Davis Square, too. 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