Czar Gazing
Entrepreneurs like the sound of Boston ‘startup czar’
Mayor Martin J. Walsh (JOHN TLUMACKI/GLOBE STAFF)
Boston’s tech types aren’t exactly sure what a “startup czar” does. But they’re pretty sure they like the idea. Local entrepreneurs welcomed the announcement by Mayor Martin J. Walsh in his State of the City speech that he would soon name a startup czar to head a new program called StartHub. Read More
Talk to the cylinder
What's Amazon been up to in Cambridge? Speech rec for Echo product, among others
Amazon's Echo device, priced at $199, can play music and answer questions. But it isn't yet widely available. (Photo courtesy Amazon.)
Amazon has started shipping — in small numbers — a tabletop device called Echo. If Apple's Siri and Bose's WaveRadio had a baby, it would be something like Echo. Once connected to your wireless network, the $199 device can stream music and news programming from services like iHeartRadio and Amazon Prime, and it can also answer spoken questions on subjects like the weather, or what year the War of 1812 ended. And it turns out that a team at Amazon's Kendall Square research-and-development office has been developing the speech recognition capabilities for Echo. Read More
Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator visits Boston to recruit our talent
Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator Boston Event Audience
It's no secret that Boston is a robotics hub. Companies and labs have spawned underwater explorers, robotic gardeners, delivery drones and more. If you can imagine it, it's probably happening. So it was little surprise when the Qualcomm Robotics Accelerator, powered by Techstars, passed through the city this week to visit local technology companies and spread the word about its launch in hopes of recruiting up-and-coming robotics startups to apply for its program. Read More
Deja vu all over again
Driftt, out to improve collaboration on documents, collects $15 million
The Driftt team, from left: David Cancel, Marshall Moutenot, Alden Keefe Sampson, and Elias Torres.
So much happens in five years... In 2010, I covered the initial funding of a Cambridge startup called Performable, which was out to help websites hold on to more of their visitors. In 2015, those same two entrepreneurs are collecting capital for a new idea, Driftt, from the same venture capital firm that initially backed Performable, CRV. Between 2010 and 2015, they got acquired by HubSpot for $20 million, helped that company rebuild its digital marketing product and grow its software development team, and left in September 2014, just before HubSpot's IPO. Read More
Can You Hear Me Now
Bellow, from RunKeeper vets, aims to change the way we communicate
Bellow founders Drew Stock and Jon Gilman
Sitting with Jon Gilman and Drew Stock at a Fort Point area coffee shop one recent morning, I was taken aback when the pair, both former RunKeeper employees, told me that they believed that if Alexander Graham Bell were to invent the telephone in Boston today, he'd probably do it in a much different way. Gilman, a former product manager at RunKeeper, and Stock, a past interaction designer at the fitness tracking company, have created their new startup, Bellow, with the belief that voice communication is superior to texting and that the phone system we use today is broken. They think they can fix it. Read More