Out at Nantucket last week, or just too head’s down in code to see what’s happening in town? Here’s some items to get you off to a good start this week, including some items that flew under the radar.
Here are some things that the hardworking local tech and innovation folks are psyched about (and, you can rent Gronk):
Coachup giving back
If you didn’t know, Boston-based coach booking site CoachUp was founded and is led by former Cambridge Rindge & Latin star basketball player Jordan Fliegel. A true Cambridge homeboy, Fliegel will be giving back to his home community through the company’s charitable wing, CoachUp Cares,
On Saturday, CoachUp took six of its top basketball private coaches and brought them to Cambridge’s Hoyt Field for a free skill clinic for inner-city kids, featuring a few former CR&L School hoopsters.
If you’re not familiar with the basketball legacy of Cambridge’s public high school, all you need to know is that it’s one of the best programs in Massachusetts’ history, producing greats like Patrick Ewing, Rumeal Robinson, and, yes, Jordan Fliegel.
Staples looks to innovation
Framingham-based Staples has partnered with crowdfunding site Fundable for what the company is calling its Crowd2Shelf Contest.
The contest is a chance for innovative entrepreneurs/companies to build products that could possibly win the opportunity to be sold on Staples.com and at Staples stores.
In a statement, Staples senior vice president Scott Young said of the contest, “The Staples Brands Group is always looking for new ways to help our small business customers make more happen for their business…We’re thrilled to team up with Fundable as the sponsor of the first-ever Crowd2Shelf Contest and to help emerging businesses by bringing their innovative products to our customers”
Submissions for the contest will be accepted on the Crowd2Shelf site through August 31st.
DraftKings goes big
DraftKings, the Boston-based daily fantasy sports company, still has some spots open for the largest guaranteed payout for a single fantasy sports event. The $3.3 million “Guaranteed Fantasy Baseball Championship” will be taking place at the Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas on August 26 and has 18 spots remaining for the final table.
Participants can qualify for those spots by entering the company’s satellite competitions on DraftKings.
LogMeIn helps Lutron innovate for the Internet of Things
A company called Lutron Electronics released a new product called Caseìta Wireless that lets mobile users control light dimmers and window shades from their wireless devices.
Lutron is using LogMeIn’s “Xively,” Internet of Things cloud platform for the product.
As Matt Swatsky, Caséta Wireless product manager at Lutron said in a statement, “LogMeIn’s robust platform, Internet of Things expertise, and ability to deliver quickly on its promise were key selling points. In just four months, we went from concept to field-ready product.”
Last week, LogMeIn announced that its total revenue increased 35 percent to $55 million, a change $40.7 million from the same quarter in 2013.
Lavastorm Analytics, a Boston data analytics and business intelligence company, announced new product features that make it easier to pull data from Hadoop and MongoDB, which had been the realm of only data scientists or IT departments. The new capabilities can greatly help business analysts leverage big data.
Cubiq, a personal storage concierge service launched last week. The company offers storage packages starting at $29 a month for four “cubes.”
And from interesting news outside Boston
Drop Messages, a company built in Boston (now based in San Francisco) that won TechCrunch Disrupt’s Boston pitch contest two years ago, announced this week that it has raised $1.25 million in seed funding from Atlas Venture and Spark Capital, as well as a group of angels that includes Timothy Draper.
The location-based mobile messaging platform allows users to leave messages for friends/fellow users by location.
In a statement, Spark Capital’s Todd Dagres said, “Drop Messages has gained popularity with users and represents an important trend towards location-based apps that are more integrated into your life.”
Atlas Venture partner Jeff Fagnan said that we’ve just scratched the surface with what location-based technology can do.
“The next generation of apps for smartphones and wearable devices is going to use location-based data to enrich the world around you, not take your attention away from it,” he said.
A company co-founded by former New York Giant Tiki Barber, Thuzio, raised $6 million. The company has some big name backers from the sports world and is billed as a booking platform that is the “Expedia for getting to your favorite sports star.”
Athletes working with Thuzio include the New England Patriots’ very own Rob Gronkowski, LeSean McCoy, NY Giants great Phil Simms, and even Bobby Knight.
I don’t know the scope of how the bookings work or the costs, but I mean, if you could book Gronk for you next summer barbecue, that would be pretty great. (UPDATE: Gronkowski can be booked for an event for the low price of $15,000, and he will promote your brand with a tweet for just $5,000.)