home sweet home
Online real estate startup Placester adds $15M, plans to double staff
House Sold Sign
Most people think of Zillow as a website where they can check out how much homes cost — their own house, their neighbors’ houses, and maybe even their dream home. But as a business, Zillow’s primary target is actually real estate agents. The Seattle-based company makes most of its money selling online ads and other marketing services to real estate agents, who want to be seen by all of those people snooping on home prices. Read More
After cancer diagnosis, MIT student 3-D prints tumor, shares health data
Steven Keating , right, meets with his pathologist---Dr. Keith L. Ligon, at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. (Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff)
Steven Keating’s appetite for knowledge may well be the reason he’s alive. In 2007, his high-minded curiosity drove him to get his brain scanned while studying mechanical engineering at Queens University in Canada. The scans revealed a faint abnormality near the part of his brain responsible for processing the sense of smell. But since his health otherwise seemed normal, Keating thought nothing of it. But seven years later, while a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, Keating experienced an odd sensation: Several times he detected a whiff of vinegar — a phantom odor, it would turn out — but the feeling would quickly pass. With those earlier images in mind, Keating urged doctors to again scan his brain, and this time the results revealed a fist-size tumor. Within three weeks, Keating underwent a 10-hour surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where doctors extracted the tumor in golf ball-size chunks. Read More
Get off my lawn
Astronomers: Keep iRobot's lawnmower bot out of our back yard
Stripes mowed into a lawn
iRobot, the maker of the Roomba, is hoping to find another consumer hit with robots that can mow your lawn. But those plans are causing some friction with astronomers who are mapping the galactic regions that produce new stars. Read More
New Hires
Everbridge brings in new CFO as it plans to go public
Ken-Goldman-2
Last week, when mobile marketing technology firm Fiksu announced that it was downsizing both its team and its IPO ambitions, it also announced the departure of its chief financial officer, Kenneth Goldman. But it looks like Goldman landed elsewhere: Today, the Lexington-based security communications firm Everbridge announced that he's joining the team as senior vice president and chief financial officer as it makes preparations to go public. Read More
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
Textbooks
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?
smoking
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
megabots2
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