Innovation Economy

194 stories
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
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
Peddling pumps
New site from Rue La La's founder will sell Italian-made shoes, in limited runs
Boston startup M. Gemi plans to sell Italian-made shoes on the web and through a mobile app. Photo via M. Gemi.
Think of Boston-based footwear brands — Converse, New Balance, Reebok — and what comes to mind are shoes you'd wear to a pick-up basketball game or a weekend 10K. Ben Fischman, a serial entrepreneur who started the cap retailer Lids and the "flash sale" site Rue La La, wants to change that. His latest venture, M. Gemi, will sell Italian-made women's shoes apropos for gallery openings and charity galas. Read More
Takin' care of business
Drop-in workspace Cove, founded in D.C., is coming to Boston
Members using one of Cove's Washington, DC locations. Photo by Jeremy Rusnock.
Starbucks founder Howard Schultz popularized the notion of the "third place" — a hang-out in between home and work, or home and school. Now, Washington, D.C. entrepreneur Adam Segal is creating what you might think of as a "fourth place." His company, Cove, is creating a chain of drop-in "productivity spaces" that are more oriented toward getting work done than the local coffee shop, but also not intended for five days a week of toil. Read More
New urbanism
Travel site Kayak quietly moved most of its local employees to Cambridge
Kayak CTO Giorgos Zacharia, in the atrium of the travel site's new East Cambridge office. (Photos at top and bottom by Kaijian Gao. All other photos by Scott Kirsner / BetaBoston.)
Like an empty-nester who can't quite give up the house in the 'burbs but wants a condo in the city, the travel booking site Kayak now has two local offices. Kayak has long had a tech team based in Concord, but starting in January it began moving about 90 employees into an East Cambridge office with views of the Zakim Bridge and the Charles River. Why? Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting. Read More
Kendall Square: A report on who's there
Some interesting data from the Kendall Square Association on the composition of that intensely innovative, increasingly expensive neighborhood: The association spent the past 18 months looking at about 770 companies with offices in the Square, and categorizing them by industry sector. Interestingly, biotech and health care companies now represent the biggest single slice. (I touched on this shift in a Globe column last October.) But the research didn't capture every company located within an incubator or a shared office space; the KSA estimates there are about 1,100 businesses in total in the neighborhood. Read More
A new kind of Big Brother program
MIA in Boston's startup scene: CEOs of our biggest local companies
The Hynes Convention Center during the annual Innovation Unconference.
Let me tell you about the bet I won recently with Ben Einstein, founder of the hardware investment firm Bolt. We were talking about one of the pieces missing from the local startup scene: CEOs of the biggest companies in this part of the world, like Raytheon, State Street Corp., TJX, Dunkin' Brands, or Staples. You just don't often encounter them in the wild, off their corporate reservations. None of them had been to Bolt, whose Downtown Crossing office and prototyping facility houses about a half-dozen consumer electronics startups. Read More
Demoing at SXSW
Sonzia takes digital school desk to Austin, plans Kickstarter campaign
Aaron Hatcher, Calvin Domenico, and CEO Shirley O'Neil of Sonzia.
Somerville-based Sonzia is down in Austin for the SXSW-affiliated Health and Med Tech Expo this week, showing a digital school desk called the Touch Easel that it believes can be helpful for kids with special needs. And last week, the startup took home an "audience choice" award at the Mass Innovation Nights showcase in Boston. Read More
Power of suggestion
Soon-to-launch Chef Nightly app wants to streamline ordering dinner
"Hal, order sushi for two tonight." A Westford startup called Every Labs is working on the artificially intelligent food-ordering app of the future. While the company's Chef Nightly app isn't yet publicly available, a handful of Bostonians have been testing it in recent weeks. And the company has already raised early funding from the startup incubator Blade and Boston Syndicates, a group that includes individual investors and the Cambridge venture capital firm Atlas Venture. Read More
Designing the future of design
Audio: Onshape chairman Jon Hirschtick on CAD, 3D printing, and more
Onshape's web-based software for designing products.
My most recent Boston Globe column focuses on Jon Hirschtick and the team of entrepreneurs behind Onshape, a Cambridge startup that is launching the beta version of its product today. Hirschtick and several other key Onshape team members, like chief executive John McEleney, were previously founders of SolidWorks, a company that pioneered computer-aided design software for Windows PCs. This time, they're building a Web-based application that will run on just about any device — including smartphones and tablets. Read More
Planting a flag in the States
TechHub, shared workspace born in UK, will open first US location in Somerville
From left: Stewart Noakes, Co-Founder at TechHub Boston, William "Bill" Hilton, Partner at Gesmer Updegrove, and Elizabeth Varley, Founder of TechHub Global. Taken last month at a TechHub pre-launch event at Brooklyn Boulders in Somerville.
Need a desk in Bangalore one week and Davis Square the next? TechHub, which operates a network of co-working spaces in India, Romania, Latvia, and the United Kingdom, plans to open in Somerville this month. And much like a card that will give you access to frequent flier lounges, a TechHub membership will let you work in any of the locations as you jet around the globe. TechHub was founded in London in 2010. Read More
A Keurig for rink rats?
Sparx Hockey debuting $599 home skate sharpening device
The Sparx Skate Sharpener. (Company-supplied photo.)
If you’re a hockey player, or you have one in your family, Russell Layton thinks he knows the errand you hate the most: taking in skates to get sharpened. It’s even a chore for professional teams, whose players like to give their skates a glistening fresh edge every game — “and sometimes, in between periods,” said Layton. He played club hockey at Northeastern in the 1990s, and worked as an engineer in the healthcare and telecom industries. But Layton said he became a bit obsessed with the dull blade dilemma. Read More