Exploring the impact
10 years of Web Innovators Group and Y Combinator, both born in Cambridge
Tap Lab co-founder Dave Bisceglia gives an interview after presenting at WebInno in March 2011.
My latest Boston Globe column looks back at the impact of two initiatives born in Cambridge in 2005: Web Innovators Group and Y Combinator. I also ask what we can do to improve Boston's stickiness for consumer-oriented Web and mobile startups; it's impossible to look at the alumni of both programs and not notice that may of the most successful, like Reddit, Dropbox, Birchbox, and E la Carte, have migrated to New York or the Bay Area. Read More
Valore buys Boundless, combining old-school textbooks and digital alternatives under one roof
Boston is both the capital of American higher education and one of the country’s top centers for technology entrepreneurship. So it makes sense that entrepreneurs here would be interested in rethinking the big business of college. Today, two of those companies are joining forces. Valore, a nine-year-old Boston company that runs online marketplace sites for textbooks and student loans, is acquiring online learning startup Boundless, which provides digital alternatives to textbooks. Read More
Mouse Money
Big companies seeing big business in DraftKings' online fantasy sports games
DraftKings founders (from left): Paul Liberman, Jason Robins. and Matt Kalish [Image via DraftKings]
The business of online, one-day fantasy sports betting has become huge almost overnight. Here's one way to measure that explosive growth: DraftKings, a Boston-based company founded in 2012, is reportedly attracting investment from one of the biggest names in sports media. Read More
Social Media
Can Facebook curb cigarette use in young adults?
Anti-smoking campaigns have long relied on broader media campaigns to help convey the dangers of tobacco use. But is that the best way to do it? Might it be more effective to work directly within the channels that smokers already pay attention to? Such was the premise behind a study recently conducted by Rebecca J. Haines-Saah, a health sociologist at the University of British Columbia, and published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. Haines-Saah has spent her career looking at how the health habits of young adults are portrayed in the media, something she said she first started thinking about while working as an actress in the late '80s and early '90s on the hit Canadian television show “Degrassi Junior High.” Read More
Relocated robots
The giant fighting robots have left the Bay State
Last fall, Gui Cavalcanti made a big splash by suggesting that the next big action sport will involve giant robots, piloted by humans, shooting one another with paintballs. Cavalcanti and two co-founders began working on prototypes in Somerville and Worcester, and they offered a sneak peek at last year's New York Comic-Con show. But a Kickstarter fund-raising campaign didn't bring in the $1.8 million that Cavalcanti had set as his goal. Venture capitalists and angel investors were intrigued by the concept — but not quite ready to cut checks. Now Cavalcanti's MegaBots team has relocated to San Francisco, where they've attracted support from the CEO of a major design software company. Read More
doctors orders
Pill tracker app MediSafe can now log glucose levels, blood pressure
A failure of habit ails patients with chronic conditions — a full 50 percent of them have trouble following their prescribed course of treatment. Boston firm MediSafe is among the groups trying to fight back that trend — the company makes an app that reminds people to take their pills on time. This week the company announced it is adding the ability to track glucose levels and blood pressure within the app, an addition that is expected to give its 1.5 million users additional incentive to follow their treatment regime. Read More
Drug Delivery
ZappRx raises $5.6 million for its automated prescription service
Zoe Barry, founder and chief executive of ZappRx. (Photo via ZappRx).
If Boston is the world’s leader in cutting-edge drug development, the city can now also argue that it’s also ahead of the curve in building delivery systems that get those drugs to patients. ZappRx, a Boston-based startup that has worked to streamline the process by which specialty drug prescriptions are processed, announced on Thursday that it has raised $5.6 million in Series A funding from Atlas Ventures and SR One, the corporate venture arm of GlaxoSmithKline. Read More
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 Harvard Business School 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 cellphone, 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