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 MorePlanting a flag in the StatesTechHub, shared workspace born in UK, will open first US location 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 MoreA Keurig for rink rats?Sparx Hockey debuting $599 home skate sharpening device
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.
Andrew Kehlenbeck pulls up a shirtsleeve and exposes a few linear scars on his forearm. They’re slashes from the plastic propeller of a small drone — a very modern sort of workplace injury.
Kehlenbeck is co-founder and lead engineer at Panoptes Systems in Cambridge, and he is designing a safety system to keep unmanned aircraft from hitting walls, ceilings, trees, and people. Panoptes is just one of the local companies hoping to benefit from a soaring hobbyist drone market and an expected surge in sales to businesses. Read MoreRaked, bagged, and carted awayIn restructuring, Heartland Payment slashes most of Cambridge-based Leaf team
You may have encountered the technology from Leaf at local businesses like Voltage Coffee, Aceituna Cafe, or Garlic & Lemons: instead of a cash register on the counter, a small Android tablet sits on a pedestal. After the cashier rings you up by tapping the screen a few times, he swipes your credit card and asks you to sign the screen instead of a receipt. Leaf's software could provide merchants with reports on what had been selling well, and it also tracked workers' hours. Cambridge-based Leaf aimed to dramatically undercut the big sellers of registers (also known as point-of-sale systems), selling its tablet for $250 and the accompanying software for $50 per month.
What would you do if a couple feet of fresh snow fell... and right outside your office door was a small hill? Oh, and your CEO was an avid snowboarder? And your company made small drones with built-in cameras?
The answer at Danvers-based CyPhy Works was clear: institute snowboarding lunch breaks, filmed from the skies. The runs aren't very long, but CyPhy CEO Helen Greiner says the walk back up the hill is good exercise. While many of CyPhy's employees are mechanical engineers, Greiner says "they haven't built me a lift yet." (That's Greiner, who was previously a co-founder of iRobot Corp., going off a jump in the image above.)
Read MoreDept. of Good Clean FunSwedish import Boda Borg will bring 'questing' to Boston area
Ready to go questing?
Brookline entrepreneur Chad Ellis is planning to open an indoor “questing” center this summer, importing a concept from Sweden called Boda Borg, which blends obstacle courses with puzzle-solving. Some of the quests are so challenging, says Ellis, that only one percent of visitors can complete them — and that’s usually after a few attempts.
Read MoreParty peopleJobble wants to create a marketplace for event staffers
Your company is throwing a cocktail shindig and you need someone to staff the check-in table for two hours. How do you fill that kind of extremely short-term gig?
A startup with roots on two local campuses, Jobble, has built a mobile app and website that will try to supply a solution. Jobble is a marketplace for event staffers available for such tasks as handing out flyers at a festival or helping assemble a trade show booth. The startup will handle payments to event staffers, taking a 20 percent fee off the top. Jobble says it has seven companies lined up to beta test the service. Read MoreSupporting startupsIncubator and accelerator update: Mobile, financial services, healthcare
Three updates from the world of incubators and accelerators that offer a boost to fledgling businesses...
Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and the Convergence Forum. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.