Venture Capital

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Innovation Economy
A star still waiting to be born in Kendall Square
Halls - Color
If you last visited Kendall Square 10 years ago and returned to the Cambridge neighborhood today, you’d think Jack had sprinkled around a bushel of magic beans. New buildings have sprouted, bars and restaurants have opened, and an East Coast Google campus has been completed. You can even ice skate in the winter or rent a kayak in the summer. But one thing that hasn’t changed is Glenn KnicKrehm’s empty gravel lot in the heart of the square. The precious acre of property is still surrounded by chain-link fence, and KnicKrehm is still spinning his vision of building a $300 million arts and culture complex called the Constellation Center. Read more in my latest Innovation Economy column in The Boston Globe.    
An outpost out west
Bolt, backer of consumer electronics startups, expands to San Francisco
Autodesk's design and fabrication workshop on Pier 9 in San Francisco, where Bolt's west coast crew will be based.
Born in Boston just two years ago, Bolt is expanding to San Francisco. The investment fund makes small investments in hardware startups — like a digital tip jar or a wristband that tries to shock you out of bad habits — and then gives them access to a complete machine shop, along with design and engineering experts. Read More
Star Fund
Techstars Ventures raises a $150 million new fund to expand beyond seed stage investments
The last TechStars Boston Demo Day, in May 2013.
Techstars Ventures, based in Boulder, recently announced it raised $150 million for its third fund, which it will use to invest in companies that are part the Techstars ecosystem, but beyond the seed stage. According to Techstars co-founder David Cohen, that community of potential portfolio companies includes Techstars graduates, companies founded by Techstars alums, and those started by entrepreneurs who have served as mentors for the program. Read More
Deja vu all over again
Driftt, out to improve collaboration on documents, collects $15 million
The Driftt team, from left: David Cancel, Marshall Moutenot, Alden Keefe Sampson, and Elias Torres.
So much happens in five years... In 2010, I covered the initial funding of a Cambridge startup called Performable, which was out to help websites hold on to more of their visitors. In 2015, those same two entrepreneurs are collecting capital for a new idea, Driftt, from the same venture capital firm that initially backed Performable, CRV. Between 2010 and 2015, they got acquired by HubSpot for $20 million, helped that company rebuild its digital marketing product and grow its software development team, and left in September 2014, just before HubSpot's IPO. Read More
New funding for maker for manufacturing robots
Rethink Robotics, selling versatile worker bots, raises $27 million more
One of Boston's highest-profile robotics companies announced in a federal filing this week that it has collected almost $27 million in fresh funding. Rethink Robotics sells a two-armed robot called Baxter that can be easily trained to perform a variety of tasks. Rethink's founder is Rodney Brooks, the former MIT professor who co-founded iRobot Corp., and one of its earliest backers was Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos. Read More
VC bubble or not, sea of funding options is boon for entrepreneurs
GREYCROFT PRINCIPAL ELLIE WHEELER AND FORMLABS SALES AND OPERATIONS LEAD LUKE WINSTON SPEAK AT MIT VC & INNOVATION CONFERENCE. (MIMI PHAN/MIT SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT)
Are we in a venture capital bubble? No one quite agrees as to whether we are or not, and venture capitalists and industry analysts have staked out on both sides of the debate over the course of 2014. Whether or not a bubble exists, it is clear that soaring valuations, increased venture funding, and a sea of new financing options are opening up more doors for entrepreneurs seeking funding. Read More
Startup Institute kick off new era
Startup Institute kicks off new era of honest conversations with power quartet of female tech leaders
The scene at the Startup Institute.
The Startup Institute hosted an event on Tuesday called Amazing Women, Honest Conversations, with Diane Hessan, the career accelerator's dynamic new chief executive serving as moderator for the evening.  Meredith Davies, a Startup Institute student in the "Web Development" track came up with the idea — a way to let women leaders in high-growth companies talk about the challenges and opportunities they face. Read More
Adding clinical expertise
Merck veteran signs on with Clarus Ventures, Cambridge healthcare investment firm
Employees of Clarus Ventures, a Cambridge-based venture capital firm.
After departing pharmaceutical giant Merck in June, Barry Gertz is signing on with Clarus Ventures of Cambridge. Gertz had most recently served as Merck's head of global clinical development, overseeing research and development of more than 25 products. Clarus invests in startups creating new drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices. Read More
Innovation Economy
5 things the next Massachusetts governor should do for innovation economy
Kamil Peters of Kamil Peters Metal Sculpture at work in the Brick Coworkshop in Holyoke. (Matthew Cavanaugh for The Boston Globe)

HOLYOKE -- Like Dorothy stepping through the front door after crash-landing in Oz, I knew I wasn’t in Boston anymore.

Boston’s Innovation District is pricey. Construction cranes are everywhere, parking is scarce, and lunch options plentiful. Here in Holyoke’s newly-christened Innovation District, there are beautiful brick mill buildings, cheap hydroelectric power, and a new walkway alongside the canals — but almost no people.

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