Bloomberg Philanthropies announced it was partnering with the Harvard Kennedy School's Government Performance Lab for the What Works Cities initiative.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the launch of its $42 million What Works Cities initiative, a program that aims to help 100 midsize cities use data to improve how they govern. The foundation, which represents all charitable-giving of New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg, will be working with several policy groups on the effort, including the Government Performance Lab at Harvard Kennedy School. The Lab will offer support to cities hoping to improve the efficiency of their dollars in the procurement of contracts.More →

(Photo by David L. Ryan / Globe Staff)

A coalition of universities, tech companies, and the City of Boston are planning a new hackathon next month that aims to spread entrepreneurship and innovation to more corners of the city. CityStart Boston will take place May 30 at MassChallenge in the Innovation District, with a final judging session happening several weeks later.

The plan, says organizer Monique Fuchs of the Wentworth Institute of Technology, is to bring together college students and entrepreneurs to tackle the problem of fostering startup activity in areas of the city that today have little.More →

Dunwello CEO Matt Lauzon

The cultural idea of an American chief executive still contains strong notes of the 1950s, when an ascendant country was led by hard-charging businessmen projecting corporate power from the corner office to the country club.

Public crusades about intensely private issues were not really part of the script. Some of today’s entrepreneurs and executives, however, are challenging that corporate stereotype.More →


About 6.7 percent of American adults encounter depression each year. But the major drugs available to treat the disorder can take weeks to work. A local company called Tal Medical is investigating a speedier alternative approach — the use of pre-programmed low-intensity electromagnetic pulses directed at the brain — which has shown early promise in providing people with depression and bipolar disorder a rapid sense of relief.

On Tuesday, the company announced $14 million in new funding to continue research and expand its team.More →

The M908 mass spectrometer device helps Hazmat teams detect chemical toxins (Photo via 908 Devices).

Massive public events like the Boston Marathon, which draw hundreds of thousands of spectators each year, also require elaborate security measures. But the police, fire, and emergency staff who were stationed along the route Monday had a new device helping them protect the public: the M908 mass spectrometer, a locally designed tool that allows Hazmat teams to quickly detect the presence of chemical weapons or other toxic chemicals.More →

MakerBot 3D printer

Industrial designers and manufacturers have been using 3-D printers for years to make mockups, models, and prototypes. In the past few years, a gang of startups have tried to cash in on the idea that these physical-object makers were getting cheap enough to get regular consumers interested.

That may not be going according to plan. MakerBot, a leading name in the consumer 3-D printing sector, has laid off staff and closed its three retail stores (including one on Newbury Street in Boston) as part of a strategy change by its parent company.More →

Former Quanttus CEO Shahid Azim, who remains on the company's board. (Photo by Scott Kirsner / BetaBoston.)

Amid all the hype about the Apple Watch, expected to start shipping later this week, a Cambridge startup working on a smartwatch of its own has stayed very quiet. But that will change on Friday, when Quanttus unveils the design of its first product on Friday at the Wired Health conference in London. Quanttus became the best-funded local startup working on wearable devices after it raised $19 million last February, which brought its total funding to about $22 million — but there have recently been a few high-profile departures at the company.More →


In the final, brutal days before Boston officially broke its record for snowfall in one winter, many people had the same thought: How could there possibly ever have been a winter worse than this? Surely, the snow-measurers had to be making some mistake.

Ben Letham, a PhD candidate studying applied math at MIT, was in a rare position to double-check his gut reaction. “I thought, `Oh I’ll just download the data and figure it out myself,’” Letham said with a chuckle.More →