Big thinkers
Hugh Herr and the MIT Media Lab killed it at TED
MIT had a huge showing at this year's TED Conference, the prestigious get-together in Vancouver for global do-gooders and big thinkers. Seven of this year's speakers are affiliated with the MIT Media Lab, the center known of its cutting-edge technology tinkering. They included the lab's co-founder Nicholas Negroponte and its current director Joi Ito. Media Lab Prof. Hugh Herr explained how he designed a prosthetic leg for Boston Marathon bombing victim Adrianne Haslet-Davis. Media Lab research scientist John Werner was there and took more than 3,000 photos of the talks that wrapped up last week. He put a lot of them on Vimeo Wednesday, shown above. So far, from the MIT crowd, it looks like only Herr's video has been posted: But TED is still posting new videos from the conference, which are collected here.
High risk, high reward
Kiva cofounder: Microloans with more risk are needed to battle poverty
Kiva cofounder and president Premal Shah (courtesy of Kiva)
Premal Shah, cofounder and president of no-interest microloan site Kiva, will be in the Boston area this weekend to share his vision for the next phase of microfinance aimed at reducing global poverty. Namely: A focus on making loans that carry a greater risk — and potentially broader rewards — than those Kiva has typically featured to date. Read More
Enter the Matrix
10 Matrix Partners-backed companies in Boston
Antonio Rodriguez, a general partner at Matrix Partners, is shown wearing the virtual reality headset made by Oculus VR of California. Rodriguez led Matrix's investment into the startup last year, and it's now set to be acquired by Facebook for $2 billion. <strong>Click through the slideshow</strong> to see some of the Boston-area companies Matrix Partners has in its current portfolio.
It’s well known that Boston’s Spark Capital has had plenty of hits lately, of which the $2 billion Oculus VR sale to Facebook is just the latest (you may remember the Twitter IPO from last year). But Cambridge venture firm Matrix Partners was also an investor in Oculus, and has been on a winning streak of its own lately. The IPO of in January and the sale of The Echo Nest to Spotify in February — both of them Boston-area companies — are notable recent successes for the storied VC firm. Read More
New Tech by The Old Port
Portland, Maine's CashStar reports record growth
(Fred Field for The Boston Globe)
There are quite a few little tech and innovation hubs quietly growing throughout New England that have a distinct advantage over Boston for entrepreneurs seeking a bit more of the outdoor lifestyle and a culturally unique community. A few companies are reaping the benefits of having easier access to the outdoors and are building offices in cities that are becoming budding cultural centers for arts, food, music, and the like. Read More
Goodbye grocery run
Russo’s and Whole Foods delivery debuts in Metrowest, via Instacart
As of today, residents of four Metrowest communities can get groceries delivered within an hour or two, through a service offered by the startup Instacart, which has been making deliveries so far in Boston and a few surrounding cities. Instacart is also debuting a new partner that will only be available for its Metrowest customers: popular Watertown market Russo’s. Read More
The smooth sounds of chocolate?
Music Tech Fest makes U.S. debut in Cambridge
music tech fest
In the spacious 11th floor of the Microsoft NERD Center, LJ Rich sat at a keyboard before a roomful of onlookers, all poised and waiting, with fragments of chocolate donuts in our hands. On Rich’s cue, we popped the small confections in our mouths. As we chewed, Rich, who has “taste-chord” synesthesia, played arpeggios on the keyboard approximating what the taste of a chocolate donut sounds like to her: A pleasant major chord at first, moving into dissonance after a few seconds, before falling into the lower register and fading away. Read More
Lessons learned?
Equiso returns to Kickstarter despite contentious original campaign
Equiso's Play gaming console (courtesy of company)
In mid-2012, Boston firm Equiso raised $241,000 on Kickstarter for its "Smart TV Stick," a product that turns a TV into an Android device, controlled by a special remote. Today, the company returns to the crowdfunding site seeking $250,000 for a gaming console that streams iOS and Android games to a TV, and uses mobile devices as the controller. The product will be sold starting at $99. Read More