Bye-bye, $1.25: Smart meters could spawn 'surge' pricing for street parking
David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
When Boston last increased parking meter rates in 2011, bumping the hourly charge to $1.25, some drivers were shocked. It was, after all, the first price hike since the mid-1980s. Now, technology is about to bring even more significant changes to parking prices, at a faster pace. In the next few years, street parking prices could rise and fall in response to surges in traffic, part of a high-tech overhaul of the city’s parking infrastructure that includes new meters and the ability to pay with smartphone apps. Read More
HBS students launch Matter, a healthy, disruptive toothpaste
A company pitching disruptive toothpaste might seem like another April Fool's Day prank, but HBS students Rachel Peterson and Calley Means say they are serious when it comes to rethinking the way we brush our teeth. The duo have launched a Kickstarter campaign for Matter, a paste which they claim is free from the dyes and petrochemicals found in other mainstream toothpastes. They're hoping to raise $275,000 to launch their product commercially in the next year.  Read More
Many Americans cannot easily access the Internet without their smartphone
Even 10 years ago, it would have seemed like science fiction. The whole of the Internet accessible from the palm of your hand — and not only that, but also a cell phone, alarm clock, watch, personal organizer, and a myriad other applications. Nobody can deny the widespread social and economic impact of the rapid adoption of smartphones, but how many people actually own one? And how much do those owners rely on their gadgets? Read More
Changing the game for dogs: Cramer announces 'Pawculus Rift'
It's the first of April, which typically means that every company with a smart marketing team knows that with a bit of imagination they can drum up some free publicity. The folks at Boston-based marketing firm Cramer are no exception, only we have to admit that their new "product," a virtual reality gaming system for dogs, is pretty cute: it's the "Pawculus Rift." Fetch will never be the same.
Fiksu lays off 10 percent of workforce, CFO departs as IPO plans hit a wall
Fiksu, a mobile marketing technology company that last year said it had surpassed $100 million in annual revenue, has laid off about 10 percent of its workforce as part of a reorganization, chief executive Micah Adler said. Chief financial officer Ken Goldman has also left the company effective today, less than a year after coming on board to help Fiksu prepare for a possible initial public offering. Read More
running on fumes
$175,000 from MassDevelopment carries Dynamo Micropower into pilot tests
Dynamo Micropower, a startup housed at Greentown Labs, will receive a $175,000 loan, the group announced Monday. The money, distributed by MassDevelopment's Emerging Technology Fund, adds to the $2.5 million in private investment and grant funding that the Somerville-based turbine maker has received over the last 18 months. Read More
Venture capital's diversity problem isn't just bad PR — it's bad for business
Ellen Pao, Therese Lawless, Alan Exelrod
Legendary venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers was cleared of any wrongdoing in last week’s sensational trial alleging gender discrimination against Ellen Pao, a former member of the firm. But there’s no question that the venture capital world suffers from a lack of diversity — a situation that persists even though researchers at the country’s top business schools have shown it’s bad for business, which should be the bottom line for any investor. Read More
Cybersecurity summer camp
MIT students, Highland Capital, partner to launch Cybersecurity Factory
Networking Switch
Over the past several months, two PhD candidates in MIT's CSAIL program have been busy attempting to solve a few tough questions: How do you make cybersecurity sexy? How can you create excitement about the field? And perhaps most importantly, how do you take the impressive work being done at academic institutions and find ways to bring it to market? Read More
Biotech-focused Atlas Venture moves into new digs in Tech Square
Atlas Venture partners Peter Barrett and Bruce Booth. (Photo by Scott Kirsner / BetaBoston.)
If you haven't been following the breakup of the 35-year-old venture capital firm Atlas Venture, which once invested in both tech and biotech, partner Peter Barrett sums it up this way: "In this divorce, the life sciences side kept the name, and the tech side got the house." So Atlas's team of tech investors is casting about for a new name, but staying in East Cambridge. And the biotech crew, still known as Atlas, just moved into new offices yesterday atop 400 Technology Square in Cambridge, midway between the Kendall and Central stations on the Red Line. Read More
Private social network 'Koko' to give people with depression a boost on bad days
Millions of Americans battle anxiety disorders and depression, conditions that sap social ties and leave sufferers vulnerable if they lack a viable support system. Now, a group of researchers with ties to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are creating a private social network where people can anonymously share their daily struggles, and also find kinship. While the forum won’t replace professional treatment or therapy, Robert Morris, who created the system as a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab, said it does show promise as a reliable support for people battling stress. Read More
City Hall's latest high-tech effort? A newsletter.
A new newsletter hopes to put a public face on City Hall. Photo: DAVID KAMERMAN/GLOBE STAFF
The staff at City Hall likes to keep reminding us how serious they are about finding innovative approaches to governance: Mayor Walsh is regularly hopping on Twitter chats and Reddit; he's hired a startup czar and is hosting hackathons; and the city has partnered with cutting-edge transportation tech companies like Uber and Waze on data-sharing efforts. So today's announcement that they're launching a city-wide newsletter seemed a little staid, to say the least. A newsletter? Is that all?  Read More
New kid on Drydock Ave.
Autodesk planning collaboration center for building industry in S. Boston
Company-supplied rendering of the new Autodesk office in the Seaport District.
Only a few blocks from where Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh worked his first union construction job as a teen, the software company Autodesk plans to open a new innovation lab focused on new technologies that are changing the building industry. Walsh plans to speak this evening at an event announcing the new facility, located on Drydock Avenue in the Marine Industrial Park, which will also house about 200 Autodesk employees who currently work in Waltham. Read More
Smart panels turn one shoe into a companion for any outfit
(Image via Volvorii)
It’s a tall order, blending high fashion with high tech, but when you’re working with 4-inch heels headed for the runway, the stakes are even higher. An international team of engineers is taking on this challenge in earnest: They have created a “smart shoe” that, chameleon-like, can change its colors and patterns, according to a wearer’s whims. Their reasoning: Why cede closet space to a dozen pairs of shoes when you can own one pair that can transform into many? Read More