Massachusetts Innovation News & Events

Unleashing Ideas – Entrepreneurship Week

Unleashing Ideas - Global Entrepreneurship Week

GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEEK BEGINS TODAY IN 130 COUNTRIES

35,000 activities. 7 million participants. One Week.
Follow the action all week at www.unleashingideas.org

Unleashing Ideas - Global Entrepreneurship Week

UNLEASHING IDEAS

WASHINGTON, DC – As economists and policymakers alike focus on the coming fiscal cliff in the U.S. and its global impact, thousands of new start-ups are springing to life and millions of people are exploring their entrepreneurial potential — all during one week. For the fifth consecutive year, Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) features a wide range of events, activities and competitions designed to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystems that are responsible for job creation and economic growth.

“Today marks the beginning of another celebration of the new and young firms that are fundamental for sustainable growth and stability, not just in the U.S. but around the world,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of Global Entrepreneurship Week. “This new generation of startups is unleashing ideas through the marketplace that not only create wealth, but that solve challenges and improve our daily lives.”

An initiative of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, GEW connects people through activities designed to help them acquire the skills and networks necessary to take the next step, no matter where they are along the startup spectrum. National campaigns in 130 countries are in full swing as more than 24,000 partner organizations hold nearly 40,000 activities.

GEW kicks off the week naming Dropifi as the grand prize winner of the Startup Open, a competition that recognizes the year’s most innovative new company. The young cofounders from Ghana took the top prize for their “smart” widget that replaces static “contact us” forms — reading such things as personalities and emotions, allowing companies to better analyze incoming messages and route them accordingly. Dropifi won an all-expenses-paid trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in March 2013 to attend one of the world’s largest gatherings of startup champions, the Global Entrepreneurship Congress.

While GEW has just officially started, hundreds of startups have already sprung to life through Startup Weekend events in 66 cities around the world since Friday. These boot camp style events move participants rapidly from idea to minimum viable product in 54 hours. Another 65 cities are set to host similar events next weekend with the winners from both weekends competing against each other in a Global Startup Battle. Organizers estimate that more than 1,200 new startups could be formed over these two weekends alone.

Winning the top prize for one of the early competitions as a part of GEW – the Cleantech Open Global Ideas Competition – was Biosyntia of Denmark. It won for its work in helping chemical manufacturers move to biochemical methods while reducing costs and CO2 emissions.

Other highlights coming later this week include:

  • Entrepreneurs 2012: GEW’s Jonathan Ortmans joins former U.S. President Bill Clinton and an impressive list of keynote speakers at the four-day business conference in London.
  • Get In the Ring: Hosted in the Netherlands, this event includes entrepreneurs from 17 countries who pitch a panel of  investors in an effort to secure anywhere from €100,000 – €1,000,000 in startup capital.
  • Meet the Lions: Africa’s promising young startups compete through pitch competitions across the continent.
  • Global Student Entrepreneur Awards: Students who own and run businesses while attending a high school, college or university battle for the title of Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year and their share of more than $150,000 in business support services.
  • Creative Business Cup: National winners from the creative industries in 23 countries pitch revolutionary ideas with strong market potential as they face off in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • The Startup Kids: San Francisco, London and Berlin host featured screenings of this documentary film on young web entrepreneurs — including interviews with the founders of Dropbox, Vimeo, Soundcloud and more.
  • Cairo Startup Cup: More than 160 applicants have been narrowed to seven finalists competing in this business model competition in Egypt.
  • Growing SMEs: Princess Maxima of the Netherlands headlines this international conference in The Hague to explore trends in developing, growing and financing small and medium enterprises.
  • World Series of Innovation: Fun, experiential learning is the focus of this global classroom activity that allows students to think creatively and invent new products that address everyday opportunities through one of five innovation challenges.
  • Nordic Startup Awards: The national finals in Denmark, Norway and Finland take place during GEW and lead into the grand finale in early December.

Follow these and other highlights throughout the week and beyond at www.unleashingideas.org.

Global Entrepreneurship Week is sponsored by Dell and supported by Startup Weekend, Endeavor, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Youth Business International, Junior Achievement, Center for International Private Enterprise, MIT Enterprise Forum, DECA, Youth Employment Network, Kairos Society, the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, International Labour Organization and YEC Global.

ABOUT

Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch start-ups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.
During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators.

These activities, from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings, connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors—introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.

The initiative kicked off in 2008, launched by former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Carl Schramm, the president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Since then, it has grown to 115 countries—with nearly 24,000 partner organizations planning more than 37,000 activities that directly engage more than 7 million people.

With so many new jobs in entrepreneurial economies coming from firms less than five years old, it is not surprising that leaders around the world are looking to reinvigorate their economies by focusing on ways to stimulate new firm formation. Global Entrepreneurship Week helps map the entrepreneurial ecosystem in those countries and enjoys the participation and support of presidents and prime ministers on every continent, including: President Barack Obama (US); Prime Minister David Cameron (UK); Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Israel); President Anibal Cavaco Silva (Portugal); Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Canada); President John Atta Mills (Ghana); and, numerous ministers focused on advancing economic growth.

But GEW is more than just an awareness campaign supported by world leaders and celebrity entrepreneurs. It is about unleashing ideas and doing what it takes to bring them to life—spotting opportunities, taking risks, solving problems, being creative, building connections and learning from both failure and success. It is about thinking big and making your mark on the world—doing good while doing well at the same time.

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About Global Entrepreneurship Week

Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.

During one week each November, thousands of events and competitions around the world inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity while connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors.

Now in its fifth year, Global Entrepreneurship Week has expanded to 130 countries—empowering nearly 20 million people through 125,000 activities over that time.

Powered by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the initiative is supported by dozens of world leaders and a growing network of 24,000 partner organizations.

For more information, visit www.unleashingideas.org and follow @unleashingideas on Twitter.

About the Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare.

Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people’s eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. In addition, the Foundation focuses on initiatives in the Kansas City region to advance students’ math and science skills, and improve the educational achievement of urban students, including the Ewing Marion Kauffman School, a college preparatory charter school for middle and high school students.

Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo., and has approximately $2 billion in assets.

For more information, visit www.kauffman.org, and follow the Foundation onwww.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.

Boston Startup School Moves to Atlantic Wharf

Boston Startup School is the best place for young professionals to learn the skills needed to have an immediate and positive impact on the startup they join.

Boston Startup School moving to Communispace HQ on Boston waterfront

Article Courtesy of:  Boston Business Journal

Boston Startup School is the best place for young professionals to learn the skills needed to have an immediate and positive impact on the startup they join.

Boston Startup School is the best place for young professionals to learn the skills needed to have an immediate and positive impact on the startup they join.

The Boston Startup School is moving this week to a new location, at Atlantic Wharf in Boston.

 VC Editor- Boston Business Journal Email

Seeking to be closer to startup hubs in Boston’s Innovation District and Leather District, the Boston Startup School is moving this week from the Harvard Innovation Lab in Allston into the headquarters of Communispace at Atlantic Wharf in Boston, program co-founder Shaun Johnson said.

The Startup School offers a free six-week program to prepare workers for employment at tech startups, and is launching its second class of about 60 students on Nov. 5, Johnson said. Funding comes from partners including a number of local tech companies.

The Startup School’s inaugural class ran in June and July at the Innovation Lab, and more than 80 percent of its students had jobs within the first month of the program’s completion, he said.

The program trains workers on four startup job tracks: Software development, marketing, product design and sales and business development.

The new location for the Startup School, at 290 Congress St., is ideally situated near a large number of fast-growing tech firms, Johnson said.

“Where we’re going to be is part of the innovation happening (in Boston), with all the energy nearby in the Leather District and Boston Innovation District. We’re going to straddle right in the middle of that,” Johnson said.

The Startup School will lease roughly 3,000 square feet from Communispace, about the same amount of space the program had at the Innovation Lab, Johnson said.

Communispace previously said it would occupy 80,000 square feet in the Atlantic Wharf building.

Communispace, which was acquired by Omnicom in 2011, is a good match for the Startup School due to its work around bringing people together in online communities, Johnson said.

“Looking at who we are, and what we do for the community in bringing skills and people together, we could help (Communispace) traverse this whole space,” Johnson said. “I think our missions tie really neatly together.”

For the second class, the Startup School is also expanding its base of partners, which support the program financially and often get involved with teaching or speaking at the program’s classes.

New partners for the second class include Boston area startups Yesware, Backupify, The Tap Lab, Zagster, UberSense and Daily Grommet, along with Tapjoy (based in San Francisco but with a Cambridge office via the Viximo acquisition) and San Francisco-based startup Traackr.

Traackr blogged last week that it will be partnering with Boston Startup School as instructors in the Web development track, and is “excited to potentially meet the next Traackr team member” at the program.

Looking ahead, the Startup School is planning to hold a summer class again in 2013, but may hold another class before then, in the spring, if there is enough support in the Boston startup community, Johnson said.

Johnson, formerly a TechStars Boston associate, co-founded the program with Aaron O’Hearn, who is head of special projects at TechStars Boston.

The Startup School’s head of content, Kelly McDonald, is an associate at TechStars Boston.

Article Courtesy of:  Boston Business Journal

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About Boston Startup School

An experience to master critical job skills

Boston Startup School is the best place for young professionals to learn the skills needed to have an immediate and positive impact on the startup they join.
It’s an immersive program that educates participants on the startup culture, team dynamics and one of four in-demand skill sets.
You will have an opportunity to work with an incredible set of fellow students and meet Boston startup companies that are looking for top talent to grow their businesses.

History

It all started at TechStars in Boston.

Each Session, the team would continuously ask around the ecosystem “how can we be more helpful?” and they found the answer wasn’t always about financing, but instead about people. Human capital. People who were hungry for a startup and didn’t require training; yet could operate without heavy guidance, make high-impact decisions and deliver immediate value. The team at TechStars began thinking how they could equip the best and brightest minds with in-demand skills they needed to make immediate impact in startups. With an idea, guts and tons of support, Katie Rae got on stage at Ruby Riot and told the community what was about to hit them – the Boston Startup School was launching.

Since that point, they’ve built a team who has been hard at work building an experience complete with action-based curriculum and relevant startup practitioners as instructors.

The applicant response for the inaugural class was astonishing, rivaling that of an Ivy League institution.

You can apply for future sessions of the program here.

Boston Startup School

Experiential Learning

Boston Startup School

Action. Doing. Delivery.

Boston Startup School offers a unique opportunity for students to experience the workflow and culture of a startup workspace.

Our students learn to do, create and deliver with the help of experienced industry leaders in one of four areas of expertise: Product & Design, Software Development, Marketing or Sales & Business Development.

Our classrooms and structure inspire intimate Q&A sessions with lead to collaborative, real-world projects that test and reinforce your new skills. We force you to build and deliver real things that have impact beyond your work.

Adding that real-world pressure requires you to up the ante and put 110% in to what your building.

Meet our Network

Being a part of Boston Startup School simplifies the networking process.

Students of Boston Startup School, will be catapulted to the pinnacle of a collaborative, supportive, and awesome network in the Boston community and elsewhere. They will leave behind the awkward conversations, faceless name badges, and general uncertainty that is common when networking. Instead, students will attend regular events designed to optimize their experience at the program, while working with the staff and instructors to seek out the best opportunities for personal and professional growth. Partnerships with local and national organizations give students priority access to events and seminars at heavily discounted rates.

An extremely important part of the program is the relationships students form with each other. The BSS staff embodies a “pay it forward” mentality, which helps encourage a truly unique environment of support and collaboration both within the program and the greater community. From weekly skill shares to barbeques, sailing on the Boston Harbor, ultimate frisbee, adventurous dinners, and our highly competitive kickball league, students will form invaluable and life-long bonds with each other.

Students build relationships with Boston Startup School’s alumni, partners, sponsors, and extended network. Gain access to the full spectrum of the startup ecosystem including small teams looking to rapidly expand, large companies supporting the startup community, and everything in between. Interact with these companies through morning coffee sessions, field trips to offices, and exclusive speaking events.

Our graduates believe in giving back to the community and are excited to see you succeed, just as they have.

Investor Capitalists in Boston

Venture Capital Boston Massachusetts

Start-up Axio, IDEO put heads together

By Scott Kirsner |  GLOBE CORRESPONDENT

david skok

MATRIX PARTNERS - David Skok – A top go-to investor

Highlights from Scott Kirsner’s Innovation Economy blog.

One of the cooler start-ups in Cambridge right now is Axio, which is developing a headband that could improve your ability to focus on work, studying, or an athletic endeavor.

I wrote about the company back in February, and since then, Axio has participated in two “accelerator” programs: Haxlr8r, which involved spending 15 weeks in Shenzhen, China, and Highland Capital Partners’ Summer@Highland program for collegiate entrepreneurs, based in Kendall Square.

Now Axio will be the first “start-up in residence” at the Central Square offices of IDEO, the renowned design firm.

“Axio is doing really cool stuff with sensors and playing across the hardware and software boundary,” says Colin Raney, IDEO’s location director in Cambridge.

“We think there’s a great opportunity to learn from each other.”

Axio’s headband uses three sensors that touch the wearer’s forehead to measure brain activity, and transmit the data via Bluetooth to a PC or mobile device. Software on the device helps guide the wearer to a state of intense focus. Cofounder Arye Barnehama has said the company is aiming for a price of about $100.

As for whether IDEO will open its Cambridge office to other fledgling businesses in the future, Raney says, “We’re definitely interested . . . but fit is critical.

For us, this is about learning, finding inspiration, and playing in new spaces.”

Boston’s go-to investors

Venture Capital Boston Massachusetts

When an entrepreneur in Boston has a new idea, which investors see it first?

I surveyed 91 entrepreneurs this month to create a list of the “go to” venture capitalists in Boston in five different categories. It was easy to determine the top dogs in software and the Web but harder in life sciences or semiconductors. My question was simple: “Who is the first VC in Boston/New England you’d pitch?”

I asked people to weigh in only on fields where they’d had experience: social, mobile, consumer Web, and games; enterprise-oriented software, services, software-as-a-service; life sciences, health care, and medical device; cleantech, energy, sustainability, LEDs, and batteries; semiconductors, telecom, materials, robotics, and other “hard” technologies that don’t fit into the cleantech category.

Top vote-getters in the first two categories each received more than a dozen votes, while the other winners rarely received more than three; I received fewer responses from entrepreneurs in life sciences and cleantech, and there were a greater number of investors receiving votes in these categories, especially in life sciences, where 45 respondents gave votes to 23 different VCs.

■ Social media, consumer Web, mobile and games (62 responses):

Go-to investor: Bijan Sabet, Spark Capital

Runner-up: Eric Paley, Founder Collective

Go-to firm: Spark Capital

■ Enterprise-oriented software, services, and SaaS (57 responses):

Go-to investor: David Skok, Matrix Partners

Runner-up: Izhar Armony, Charles River Ventures

Go-to firm: Matrix Partners

■ Life sciences, health care, and medical devices (45 responses):

Go-to investor: Michael Greeley, Flybridge Capital Partners

Runner-up: Bruce Booth, Atlas Venture

Go-to firm: Polaris Venture Partners

■ Cleantech, energy, and sustainability (32 responses):

Go-to investor: Matt Nordan, Venrock

Runner-up: Bilal Zuberi, General Catalyst

Go-to firm: North Bridge Venture Partners

■ Semiconductors, telecom, materials, and robotics (32 responses):

Go-to investor: David Aronoff, Flybridge Capital Partners

Runner-up: No clear runner-up

Go-to firm: Matrix Partners

Note: Antonio Rodriguez of Matrix Partners joined the firm in 2010, and his lack of a long track record may be why he received votes in three different categories: social, enterprise, and semiconductors.

His voted totaled 7.25, making him the third-highest after Skok and Sabet.

And Aronoff at Flybridge moved to New York over the summer to help expand the firm’s office there, so he may not really be accurately defined as a Boston VC going forward.

For the full Innovation Economy blog, updated daily, visit www.boston.com/innovation.

Rapid7 & Aereo – Cambridge & Boston Continue to Dominate Innovation

Aereo Boston MA

7 Ways that Security Firm Rapid7 Is Bucking IT-Business Trends

Gregory T. Huang - Follow @gthuang

Article Courtesy of:  Xconomy Boston

RAPID7 - MIKE TUCHEN

RAPID7 CEO – MIKE TUCHEN

RAPID7 - CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS

In case you’ve forgotten, cybersecurity is still one of the biggest issues in the tech world—and one that is being fiercely contested by many companies in New England and beyond.

One company that stands out from the fray is Boston-based Rapid7.

We’ve previously written about the firm’s approach to developing software to protect against cyber-espionage and test businesses’ IT networks for security flaws.

Rapid7 also made our recent list of biggest technology bets in the area; it has raised $59 million in venture funding to date. Plus, you’ve got to like a company whose new innovation center is on the 14th floor of a building whose elevator only goes to 13. (More on that in a minute.)

I recently caught up with Mike Tuchen, Rapid7’s CEO, at the company’s newest office, in Kendall Square (see photo above). We covered a range of security topics—among them, the recent Java software attacks; the Apple-FBI unique-device-identifier data leak; and this summer’s failed U.S. cybersecurity bill. Sadly, there’s no sign of any slowdown in attacks, Tuchen says. “The root cause boils down to economics.

Cyber attacks are a huge, multibillion-dollar, illegal business,” he says. “As long as there’s things to be stolen on the Internet, there will be people doing it.”

And there also will be companies making a living by protecting others. It struck me that Tuchen’s firm does a lot of things differently from the conventional wisdom in tech-business.

Whether it will all pay off in the end, it’s too early to say—but it should be instructive for the rest of the industry to watch. Here are seven ways that Rapid7 is going against the grain:

1. Setting up shop in Cambridge (from Boston).

The company opened its new innovation center on the aforementioned 14th floor at One Main Street in Kendall, in June. This happened as a lot of tech startups have been moving out of Cambridge or choosing to set up their offices in Boston. Rapid7’s presence in Kendall is still relatively small—20-some employees out of around 150 in the Boston area, most of them in the Prudential building (and north of 275 total)—but the office space itself is something to behold. It’s full of hand-carved wood, furniture built out of the floor (see above), intricate ceiling décor, and stunning views of the river and skyline.

2. Inside sales, not enterprise sales.

The traditional industry practice is to hire a big sales team, buy expensive ads, and build relationships with high-paying customers over years. But the trend has shifted to Internet sales platforms, try before you buy, faster sales cycles, and lower costs. As part of that, Rapid7 is not targeting Fortune 100 companies, but everyone else is fair game. “I believe it’s the way of the future,” says Tuchen.

3. Emphasis on customer service and experience.

A lot of companies say they focus on this, of course, but it’s a key tenet of Rapid7′s culture. Tuchen tells the story of his first iPhone: The on/off button stopped working, so he booked an appointment at an Apple store. The store worker got him a new phone and replaced the plastic case, all for free, in five minutes. “What was brilliant about that was, Apple had empowered the guy in the front to solve the problem,” Tuchen says. “Think about it—how many companies really get it?” (Not T-Mobile, DirecTV, or New York Times delivery, in my recent experience.)

4. All support and development in North America, none overseas.

This one is interesting because it seems like a given these days that some of a company’s developers or support staff will be in lower-wage countries. Not so for Rapid7. Tuchen says he tried hiring workers in India and Argentina in 2010-2011, but it didn’t work out. “There’s not the same talent as in Cambridge,” he says. “It’s absolutely critical to have great support.”

5. Gender balance in executive staff.

A quick look at the company’s leadershippage shows that five of the 14 top-ranking execs at Rapid7 are women: Christina Luconi (chief people officer), Carol Meyers (chief marketing officer), Kara Gilbert (VP of sales), Jennifer Benson (VP of customer experience), and Patty Wright (VP of professional services). It’s not 50-50, but it’s more balanced than most tech companies.

Rapid7

6. Investing in the downturn.

This one can be claimed by a few more companies—at least ones that are still thriving. Tuchen joined as CEO in 2008, just as the recession was hitting. In 2009, Rapid7 made a key acquisition in Metasploit and started putting venture dollars to work. Now its revenues are about 10 times what they were in the year before he arrived, Tuchen told me earlier this year, and the firm has added lots of new staff. “We’ve tripled the company in the last few years,” he says. (Rapid7 says it has had 13 straight quarters of record revenues, including 58 percent growth in the past quarter compared to the same period last year.)

7. Looking to IPO instead of getting acquired.

Most companies will say this, of course, but the track record of security software companies in the area suggests the opposite (see NitroSecurity, bought by Intel/McAfee, Q1 Labs, bought by IBM, and so on). Tuchen says an IPO is a goal of the company. He could be blowing smoke, but I sense that it’s true. If Rapid7 continues on its growth trajectory, an IPO would be a viable option. But the company will have to stay ahead of the hackers in an ever expanding cat-and-mouse game—and if it does that, who knows if a better option might come along.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy’s National IT Editor and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323.

Follow @gthuang

Article Courtesy of:  Xconomy Boston

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Live Internet TV biz Aereo boosts headcount

Aereo Boston MA

By Don Seiffert

MASS HIGH TECH - Voice of Innovation

Article Courtesy of: MASS HIGH TECH

One fast-growing tech company, New York City-based Aereo, already has a sizeable presence in Boston, but many people haven’t heard of it yet because its service isn’t available here.

Aereo offers live television over the Internet, and CEO and founder Chet Kanojia told Mass High Tech he plans to more than double the size of its 45-employee engineering department in the next year.

The 8,000-square-foot site in Boston’s Innovation District is more than large enough to handle the expansion, he said.

Kanojia believes his technology promises to upend the television market in a way that similar offerings – like Hulu and Apple TV – haven’t been able to. Users don’t need a cable subscription or hardware installation, and the shows are not archived, but simply whatever is being broadcast at that moment. The service also offer DVR capabilities to rewind and record shows, and plans range from $1 per day to $80 per year.

“Our whole mission is to provide live broadcast TV access online,” he said. “The big idea is, (we) bring a level of simplicity to it.”

Kanojia intends to launch the service in other cities beyond New York City soon, but didn’t specify when Boston is scheduled.

The company has already prevailed in a lawsuit brought against it by 17 network broadcasters, including American Broadcasting Companies Inc., which argued that the company should only be allowed to broadcast shows after they have already aired. In July, Federal Judge Alison J. Nathan denied the request for a preliminary injunction, writing in her opinion that “although (the plaintiffs) have demonstrated that they face irreparable harm, they have not demonstrated that the balance of hardships decidedly tips in their favor.”

Kanojia himself is a Northeastern University graduate who still lives in the Boston area. His last company, a television advertising software company called Navic Networks, sold to Microsoft in 2008.

Article Courtesy of: MASS HIGH TECH

Future Boston Alliance Picks 25 Businesses for Accelerator Program

Massachusetts Innovation - Boston Start Ups

The Future Boston Alliance accelerator program starts August 11th, and runs once a week for six months.

Article Source:  Accelerator Gazette 

At the end of the program, one startup will receive a year of free office space at the headquarters of the clothing company Karmaloop in Back Bay, Boston.

They’ll also get $5,000 in cash.

 Massachusetts Innovation - Boston Start Ups

Create and Record:

Create & Record looks to become a premium multimedia production entity, creating and engaging in artistic and culturally innovative projects that stimulate the senses, demand attention, and bring a deeper meaning to the collective consciousness of humanity.

Kush Groove Clothing Company:

Kush Groove Clothing Company was established in 2011 as an expressions brand for city stoners.

City streets all over the world have seen the growth of the new age urban hippie: young, fresh, and dynamic.

The Kush Groove brand is a blend of style and culture, expressed through our fashion savvy.

At our core, we produce high-quality lifestyle products inspired by the four-twenty friendly movement.

So, Pick A Party:

So, Pick A Party offers a hyper-local nightlife guide for party goers.

We will be the first company to take advantage of affiliate ticket sales from Eventbrite and the growing small event industry.

For fans, we will provide a more personalized and social way to find events.

For event organizers, promoters, and venues, So, Pick A Party will offer a marketing platform that allows event organizers to promote their events and sell tickets, leveraging Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Little e Communications, LLC:

Little e Communications, LLC assists businesses and individuals in creative communities through organization, to maximize productivity and reach their goals.

Little e embraces the challenge of connecting left brain organizational structures and thinking with right brain creative energy and vision.

In partnership with clients, Little e creates strategies and structures plans to execute any idea, project, event or potential start-up.

Seven Halos LLC:

Founded in 2010 by Jennifer Smith, Seven Halos is the online destination for today’s fashion, art, and cultural trend-setters.

Seven Halos highlights those that continue to be creatively progressive, cutting edge, and looking to add to the cultural zeitgeist

art now! textiles:

At art now! textiles, we believe in art.

We believe in the transformative promise of art in communities, from murals on city walls to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel to a handkerchief in your pocket.

We believe that art plants seeds of growth & change, which is why 5% of each piece sold goes to the local, independent artist who designed the graphic & another 5% goes to a local org doing good work.

Our first piece is a bike-themed handkerchief; Bikes Not Bombs will receive the 5% from sales.

Wealthy And Xcelling a.k.a WAX Clothing:

My business is a clothing line started by myself.

Everything is done by me, including the designs, the printing, and buying the shirts.

This idea has been brewing in my head for the past 2 years.

About 3 months ago I finally started to print my first shirts.

So far, I’ve printed 3 designs and sold 50 shirts total.

Wicked Peacock, LLC:

At Wicked Peacock, we seek to connect emerging and independent designers with people who value distinctive, hand-made, high-quality accessories.

Wicked Peacock wants to help designers by providing them with a platform to attract new customers and to widen their scope of distribution.

Lincoln Arts Project:

Lincoln Arts Project was founded on Waltham’s Moody Street in 2011 by Pat Falco & Elliott Anderson as a vehicle to promote young and emerging artists from the Boston Area.

The LAP Gallery is located on 2 floors; currently in the process of shifting from large group shows on both floors to smaller, more focused shows on each floor.

There are long-term permanent plans, including a zine library, artist studio spaces, a residency space, and a live wall for artists to paint on.

Dorchester’s Daughter Publishing:

Dorchester’s Daughter Publishing is a vendor for urban literature.

Founded in 2009, the company seeks to produce and publish novels, essays, memoirs, and poetry compilations that reflect a more prolific, conscious message.

We provide production assistance to writers from editing through publication and marketing.

Whole Citizen (working title):

Consult individuals to be holistic, proactive citizens in their communities.

[background: My life changed when I met my first mentor - someone who encouraged me to start envisioning my life's purpose. Now with 15 years of work and volunteering experience, two Master's degrees, and 35 countries later... I believe I am equipped to assist young individuals sharpen their vision and skills, in a personalized, one-on-one way].

ummFood:

When you are meeting up with a friend for lunch or dinner, what is the first thing you say?

Typically it goes like, “Where do you want to go?” “Umm I don’t care, any ideas?” This usually ends up with the people going to the same place as always.

UmmFood randomizes a group of restaurants and selects one.

With this random selection, a percent discount is given.

This leads people to try new restaurants and break routines.

Beyond Measure Productions:

Beyond Measure is a team of experienced and innovative multi-media professionals.

As a company, we strive to help our clients achieve their visions, through creativity, professionalism and communication.

Our seasoned video professionals and designers, deliver content that resonates with the target market/demographic that our clients seek to reach.

We take tremendous pride in our work, as we understand that our clients’ success goes hand and hand with our own.

Soul on Fire:

SOUL on FIRE aims to explore and expose ART through 5 Senses (music, dance, painting/multimedia art/sculpture, fashion, cuisine/wine) while improving overall public health and quality of life.

It creates arts events to promote these various artists and allow the public to enjoy, often improving their mood and general well-being.

Events are often fundraisers for worthy local or global non-profit causes and organizations.

Born Ready:

In today’s economy and unstable job market, people need to learn how to be in business for themselves — monetizing what they’re good at! Born Ready seeks to provide students with real world experience in the ‘creative space,’ offering them freelance, internship and job opportunities. Born Ready will teach kids how to ‘brand themselves’ and also how to create careers and lifestyles around the passions that drive them.

Repat Inc:

Repat creates fair wage jobs in the USA by upcycling excess textiles into fashionable and more functional clothing accessories. We partner with brands to turn their unsold inventory into an upcycled product that they can re-introduce to customers and give colleges a unique way to turn their excess into totes that can be distributed at events and to donors. All of our production is done in the USA — including NuPath, which employs people with disabilities in Woburn, MA.

b Positive Project:

The b Positive Project is a lifestyle brand born out of an apparel company.

Our goal is to inspire people to stay positive in light of adversity and also do good for others.

A portion of our work is dedicated to helping non-profits and the local community, both in terms of money and our actual work.

We hope that when people see the “b,” it will inspire to have a positive mindset in any situation.

Gallery Basquiat:

Gallery Basquiat is a collective of Boston artists that seeks to foster local economic development with a focus on artists as entrepreneurs and/or small businesses.

To that end, Gallery Basquiat provides selected local artists opportunities to exhibit, perform, rehearse, design, etc.

Pinckney Links:

We are a start-up bar & restaurant.

Frat Labs Inc.:

Think of us as a mobile meetup.com for college students in realtime.

We want to provide a portal for student life and activity based on the interests of each individual student.

Our mobile app allows students to answer the 5 W’s (Who, What…) in a platform that is open for further student development using our open API.

With a focus on the student, campus events, academics and the greater campus community we’ll always help students find something to avoid their homework. Bring your campus to life.

Try Frat Labs.

Our Green Drive:

Our Green Drive is a startup organization that will place the first “All Green” food truck on Boston’s streets.

The truck will embody America’s dream of a green economy by utilizing alternative energy sources, creating green jobs for young people, and supporting local agriculture.

Outside The Box Agency:

Our agency services in brand management & event design.

We are currently managing campaigns for World of Dance ASIA, James Massone (The Voice), and Knock Out Anti-Bullying campaign.

GHouse Ltd:

We digitally distribute music/video, and book tours for artists.

Our application will serve as a hub of reliable information and content from the artists and labels we distribute across all platforms, while providing real-time social analytics to guide marketing in the right direction.

Velvet Collective:

The aim of Velvet Collective is to influence our surrounding culture and economy through means of good design.

We realized (and are backed by Richard Florida’s book “Rise of the Creative Class”) that places and areas of the greatest cultural and economic progression are places where the “creatives” are setting up shop and are doing a damn good job at that.

Velvet Collective, therefore, is looking to create businesses and initiatives that will spur different areas into a places where culture and economy can flourish.

Press Pass TV:

Press Pass TV is a social enterpise that teaches youth media production focused on advocacy journalism to tell the stories of communities working for change.

We believe that storytelling empowers people to find solutions to community issues and envision a better world.

Press Pass TV

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Additional Reading:  Future Boston Accelerator Program

Internet Veteran Launches Venture Capital Fund

Scott Savitz, founder and CEO of Shoebuy.com (Photograph by Channing Johnson)

Shoebuy.com Founder Scott Savitz Assembles ‘All-Star’ Group of Investors and Advisors in Launching Data Point Capital

Article Courtesy of:  Market Watch

BOSTON, MA, Jul 17, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — Scott Savitz, founder and former Chief Executive Officer of Shoebuy.com, today announced the launch of Data Point Capital, a $50 million venture capital fund, which will be based in Boston but with nationally recognizable investors and advisors.

Scott Savitz, founder and CEO of Shoebuy.com (Photograph by Channing Johnson)

Scott Savitz, founder of Data Point Capital (Photograph by Channing Johnson)

The fund will support new and nascent companies that can be leveraged and scaled on the Internet with great potential for growth and profitability. Current categories of interest include mobile, gaming, social networking, online payment solutions, comparison shopping, and e-commerce.

Savitz, who sold Shoebuy.com to NY-based IAC — a leading media and Internet company comprised of more than 150 brands and products — noted that unlike many traditional venture funds, the Data Point Capital fund is “stage agnostic,” allowing for seed, and early to late stage funding, as well as controlling interest deals.

Successful entrepreneurs and business executives that make up what is an extremely impressive Special Advisory group to Data Point Capital that have committed as investors and to bringing wonderful expertise to the fund include the following:

Lars Albright: Co-Founder and CEO of SessionM, a venture funded mobile engagement and advertising platform. Prior to founding SessionM, Lars was at Apple, Inc., where he was a member of the senior executive team of iAd, Apple’s first advertising focused business unit. Before Apple, Lars was Co-founder of Quattro Wireless, a leading mobile advertising platform that was acquired by Apple in late 2009.

Fred Bertino: Founder and President of MMB. Prior to MMB, Fred was President and Chief Creative Officer at Hill, Holliday. Under Fred’s leadership, Hill, Holliday grew from $300 million to $1.2 billion winning international awards such as the Grand Clio, Cannes Lion, the Grand Effie, The One Show and the British Art and Designers Club.

Desh Deshpande: President of Sparta Group LLC, and Founder and Chairman of Sycamore Networks (SCMR). Prior to co-founding Sycamore Networks, Desh was Founder and Chairman of Cascade Communications Corp. As well as sitting on various boards, Desh is involved in several non-profit initiatives that include MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, Akshaya Patra Foundation, and the Social Entrepreneurship Sandboxes in India, Massachusetts and Canada.

Diane Hessan: Founder, President and CEO of Communispace, a leading social networking company that is transforming the way that companies listen to and understand their consumers. Communispace was sold to Omnicom in 2011. The company has created nearly 600 private online customer communities for a premier list of over 120 global corporations, with a 90% client retention rate and a tripling of revenues over the last four years. Communispace has won over a dozen awards for impact, innovation and culture. Diane has also served on the boards of numerous organizations including The Advertising Research Foundation, the Alliance for Business Leadership, Horizons for Homeless Children, and The Boston Philharmonic.

Steve Papa: Founder and CEO of Endeca building it until it was Oracle’s 6th largest acquisition ever on announcement in 2011. Prior to its acquisition, Endeca had achieved $750M in cumulative worldwide revenue and pioneered Guided Navigation, one of the leading search innovations of the decade and now an industry standard. Before founding Endeca, Steve was part of the original team creating Akamai; a member of the early team at Inktomi in charge of creating the company’s infrastructure caching business; a product manager at Teradata; and a venture associate at Venrock.

Alan Phillips: Founder of Where.com, a mobile location-based media company, which sold to eBay in 2011. Prior to Where.com, Alan was at GrandBanks Capital, a Softbank affiliate, and before that, Alan served as an Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer of ZDNet, where he managed technology and infrastructure and was instrumental in the sale of ZDNet to CNet for $1.6 billion.

Jim Salzano: President of Clarks Americas. In his role, Jim is responsible for overseeing US, Canada, Central and South America and the Caribbean markets. Jim has been with the company for 17 years and during that time the company has grown from just over $200M in revenues to over an $800M share of the North American market including over 13,000 locations where Clarks products are sold, inclusive of almost 300 company-owned stores.

Also, serving as personal advisor to Scott Savitz is Gordon Hoffstein. Gordon founded and has served as Chief Executive Officer of five companies. These companies have included Be Free, PCs Compleat, and Microamerica. As CEO, Gordon has overseen the acquisition of 13 companies and negotiated the sale or merger of five companies. Gordon has raised more than $62 million from nine venture partners and over $250 million in public money during the successful IPO’s of Microamerica and Be Free. Gordon also orchestrated the sale of Be Free to ValueClick.

According to Diane Hessan, Founder and CEO of Communispace and Special Adviser to Data Point Capital, “The group Scott has put together is truly impressive. Clearly, he was looking to create a team that collectively brings tremendous experience with all aspects of the Internet: social marketing, traditional marketing, technology, search, brand building, finance, retail, and more. I am looking forward to working with people who have great networks and track records of success — and who are jazzed to leverage their skills, inspire entrepreneurs, and have a positive impact, while still having some fun.”

“I am very excited about being surrounded by such an amazing group of people involved in the fund,” notes Scott Savitz, General Partner of Data Point Capital. “I do think we are still in the infancy of the internet evolution. In working with such smart people who enjoy working with great entrepreneurs to build great businesses, it is the intent of the fund to play a positive role in the wonderful advancements and innovatively leading edge companies of tomorrow.”

Adds Mike Krupka, Founding partner of Bain Capital Ventures, “Our team has always enjoyed a strong relationship with Scott. In an industry that searches for innovation but at times lacks creativity, it does not surprise me to see someone like Scott take a new approach. He is a tremendous advocate of entrepreneurialism, and is applying a model that matches investment dollars with creative management support, to create as much value as possible.”

About Data Point Capital:

Data Point Capital focuses on companies that can be leveraged and scaled on the Internet and touch the consumer.

Categories of interest include mobile, gaming, social networks, payments, comparison shopping, e-commerce and emerging technologies.

The fund is stage agnostic, allowing for investments in seed, early stage, mid-stage, late stage or controlling interest deals and is made up of business executives and internet leaders who have created tremendous value through building a number of very successful companies.

About Scott Savitz:

Scott Savitz is a strong advocate of entrepreneurship and innovation, especially where it aims to raise the bar on the consumer experience. Scott is the Founder of Data Point Capital, an investment fund focused on the internet.

Scott is also the founder and former CEO of Shoebuy.com. Scott founded Shoebuy in 1999, and served as its CEO through its sale to IAC. Under his guidance, Shoebuy grew on average over 55% a year becoming one of the largest online retailers in the country, with over 1 million products and $3.5 billion in inventory available for sale, serving over 8 million visitors a month.

Between the sale of Shoebuy in 2006 and Scott retiring from the company in 2011, Shoebuy tripled revenues and grew bottom line faster than top-line. Scott owns and is Chairman of Smart Lunches ( www.smartlunches.com ), a fast growing internet meal service for schools, daycare and camps. He also serves on the boards of Bluestem Brands, SimpleTuition, Two Ten, and MITX, and serves as an Advisor for Olejo Stores and On The Spot Systems, Inc.

He also serves on several committees focused on fostering growth and a more robust economy including the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and Co-Chair of 12 X 12. Scott received a B.A. in English from the University of Colorado and currently resides in Boston, MA. He is a frequent industry speaker and has received numerous awards and accolades including Ernst & Young’s New England Entrepreneur of the Year.

MIT Media Lab Hiriko City Cars

Hiriko City Cars - MIT Media Labs

Is Driving One of the Tiniest Cars in the World In Your Future?

A miniscule car that folds up to just 60 inches, made by MIT’s media lab, will be deployed in cities around the world for neighborly sharing.

Hiriko City Cars - MIT Media Labs

Hiriko City Cars – MIT Media Labs

Hiriko CityCars line up outside the Guggenheim Bilbao in this artist’s conception of the foldable vehicle.
By  | Article Courtesy of:  Pacific Standard

Beyond bike-share, easier than Zipcar, the next new thing in getting around town with a light carbon footprint may be Hiriko, a two-passenger electric vehicle developed by the Changing Places research group at MIT’s Media Lab.

production run of 20 prototypes begins next year at Vitoria Gasteiz, in northern Spain. (Hiriko means “urban” in Basque.)

But it may be several years before they see wide use.

Anyway, don’t dream of buying one of your own.

The wee cars aren’t meant for private ownership.

Instead they will be stationed in fleets, as complements to city transit systems.

Likely first locations include Barcelona, Berlin, Malmö, Hong Kong, and San Francisco.

Hirikos measure 100 inches long, compared to a two-door Mini Cooper’s 146.

But for parking they collapse to just 60 inches, and nest together like shopping carts. Drivers use them like shared bikes, picking up a car at a Hiriko depot near where they’re coming from, and dropping it at one near their destination. Thus they address the “last mile” problem of mass transit and “might be most useful at the edges of cities where the transit network is sparse,” explains architect Kent Larson, director of the MIT research group. “In an inner city where it’s very walkable to begin with and then you have good trams or subways or buses, you don’t need the vehicles so much. But at the edges you have a desperate need for additional mobility.”

The car’s miniature size, light weight, and ability to fold are achieved by eliminating the bulky mechanical linkages conventional cars use for acceleration, braking, and steering. In their place, “by-wire” technology transmits information electronically to the four wheels from the driver, who manipulates a yoke much like an airplane pilot does. The wheels are incorporated into identical modules along with electric motors for propulsion. They also control steering and braking. Since all four swivel, the car can pivot on its own axis. Entirely battery powered, it can travel 70 miles per charge.

Hiriko’s modular quality makes for economy of scale; the cars will be priced at about $16,000 each. And the cars can be modified for conditions where they’ll be used. “For San Francisco, with its hills, you’d have probably more powerful wheel motors and bigger batteries,” Larson suggests. “You might have a heating element in Malmö that keeps the system warm. Batteries don’t like to get cold.”

When is Hiriko coming? Sometime after the day after tomorrow.

“You need a public that is willing to adopt new ideas, and you need a local government that’s willing to endorse and support them,” Larson says. “You find both of those in Hong Kong and San Francisco,” which is why those cities are being considered. “San Francisco is globally recognized for its leading public policies towards a zero emissions ecosystem,” adds Gorka Espiau Idoiaga, head of international programs for Hiriko. “Hong Kong has almost no space for private parking in the city and new shared solutions are needed.”

But alas, there are legal challenges to resolve. “Currently the law does not allow you to have by-wire steering without mechanical backup,” says Ryan Chin, a Ph.D. candidate who serves as project manager for the car’s development. Also, “a lot of cities have a class of vehicle called the neighborhood electric vehicle [NEV] which can operate at lower speeds, and not on the highway,” Chin explains. Typically, these are golf carts. “The U.S. and other countries need to create a new vehicle class which is neither NEV nor passenger vehicle but in between.”

How does an architect like Larson end up directing the invention of a car? With a holistic approach to urbanism. “How to improve cities by having shared-use vehicles, by having transformable architecture,” he says, “how to solve societal problems by dramatically increasing the performance and utilization rate of these systems while improving people’s lives&mash;that’s our vision.”

Increasing Rents in Boston’s Innovation District Challenge Startups

Boston's Innovation District

Tech Startups Flee as Boston Innovation District Rents Rise

Boston's Innovation District

Boston’s Innovation District

Whether you are in the Financial District, Government Center, the South End, or any other part of Boston, it is apparent that each area has its own flavor and is home to a unique portfolio of businesses.

Since its creation in 2010, cutting-edge tech companies and other startups have been rushing to set-up shop in Boston’s newest region: the Innovation District.

Recently, however, sources are saying that increasing rents may be driving some startups away.

Every day it seems that technological breakthroughs and shocks to the global economy are forcing nascent companies to make snap “life or death” decisions. Rising rents might not be a glamorous problem, but it is one which many young businesses are acutely aware. Since last year, rents for Class B space in Boston’s Innovation District rose from an average of $25 per square foot to $35 per square foot, or 40% year-over-year.

Many cash-strapped startups have expressed that it is the concepts around which their companies were founded as well as the talent of those involved with the companies that matter most.

The physical location of the company is merely a secondary concern.

With this sentiment in mind, already companies such as Yesware, Tracelytics, and Abroad101 have uprooted their Innovation District headquarters in search of cheaper rents elsewhere in the city.

In Chinatown, Downtown Crossing, and the South End, Class B office space still rents for between $15 to $25 per square foot.

Boston's Innovation District

Analysts are quick to point out that rents in the Innovation District are determined by supply and demand.

So, the very fact that some startups are choosing to leave the area because rents are too high, means that someone else is willing to pay the premium to move into the district.

Otherwise, of course, rents would drop until interest rekindled.

We can all relax and let the free market work its magic in Boston’s Innovation District.

In the meantime, if some innovative companies are obligated to locate in cheaper regions of the city, this will only further the blend of diversity for which Boston is known.

Some of these companies just might be surprised what they will learn by locating next to nontraditional neighbors.

Adapted with help from: Kyle Alspach (http://bit.ly/LpUqMQ) and Corey Turner (http://bit.ly/MTgeUF)

Image Credit: Boston Innovation District Map (http://bit.ly/MTgeUF), Startups Moving (http://bit.ly/M4rb4Y)

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Startups speak up on rising Innovation District rents

Article Courtesy of:  Boston Business Journal

Matthew Bellows, co-founder and CEO of startup Yesware, said a new $4 million round for the company hasn’t made it any less keen on finding inexpensive office space.
Yesware is among the local startups that have recently toured spaces in the Innovation District as it looked to scale up to a larger office, but opted for a less expensive lease elsewhere in Boston (for Yesware, it was on Kingston Street near Downtown Crossing).
“I don’t think that giving $40 per square foot to landlords is a good use for investor dollars,” Bellows said.
Meanwhile, for device startup Temperature@lert, months of searching for a brick-and-beam space in the Innovation District also didn’t produce any affordable options, said founder and CEO Harry Schechter.
The company ultimately settled on an office on Lincoln Street in the Leather District.
At advertising technology firm DataXu Inc., which has grown from a staff of 50 to more than 100 in the Innovation District in the past year, CEO Michael Baker put it this way last week in atweet: “Love it here, but it IS getting overpriced!”
The average asking price in the Innovation District is currently $35 per square foot of Class B space, up 40 percent from the $25 per square foot price of a year ago, multiple commercial real estate brokers said.

Boston Globe Wins Best Mobile Video Award

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe Named Best Mobile Video Winner for 2012 Brightcove Innovation Awards

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe recognized at Brightcove PLAY 2012 global customer conference.

The Boston Globe today announced it has been named the Best Mobile Video winner for the 2012 Brightcove Innovation Awards, presented today at the Brightcove PLAY 2012 global customer conference in Boston.

Each year, Brightcove recognizes some of the most innovative, cutting edge online video and mobile app initiatives and campaigns across a number of industries and use cases.

This year, awards were presented across nine categories — Best Agency Campaign, Best Customized Player, Best Live Video Event, Best Mobile App, Best Mobile Video, Best Monetization Strategy, Best Premium Video Initiative, Best Connected TV App, and Best Video Marketing Initiative.

“Throughout the past year, we have worked diligently to develop products, including our new website BostonGlobe.com, that allow our audience to view our award-winning multimedia journalism across multiple platforms,” said Jeff Moriarty, Boston Globe Vice President, Digital Products. “The Brightcove Innovation Best Mobile Video award is a testament to this development work, and inspires us as we continually push our innovation forward.”

The Boston Globe was recognized by Brightcove, a leading global provider of cloud content services, for the website BostonGlobe.com and its use of HTML5 and responsive design to enhance the viewer experience across all platforms. The functionality automatically adjusts the page layout for each platform to provide the best viewing experience, whether on a desktop, laptop or mobile device.

“We are very excited about the winners of the 2012 Brightcove Innovation Awards, as these organizations are leading the way in innovation throughout our industry,” said Jeff Whatcott, chief marketing officer at Brightcove. “We are proud to recognize and showcase some of our Video Cloud and App Cloud customers that are doing amazing things and achieving success with their video and mobile initiatives.”

The Brightcove Innovation Awards are presented each year at Brightcove PLAY, the company’s global customer conference. Brightcove PLAY brings together hundreds of Brightcove customers, partners and industry leaders at the forefront of the digital media revolution.

At the event, a wide range of media companies, marketers and developers from around the world convene for three days of in-depth strategy sessions, next generation product demos, all-star keynotes and networking.

About The Boston Globe:


The Boston Globe is wholly owned by the New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT), a leading global, multimedia news and information company with 2011 revenues of $2.3 billion, that includes The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, The Boston Globe, NYTimes.com, BostonGlobe.com, Boston.com, About.com and related properties.

The Company’s core purpose is to enhance society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news, information and entertainment.

Privy wins Boston Main Streets “Social Media Challenge”

Boston Main Streets - Photo via: (City of Boston)

City selects Hub-based start-up Privy to help businesses boost sales via social media

Boston.comPosted by Matt Rocheleau | Article Courtesy of:  Boston.com
Boston Main Streets - Photo via:  (City of Boston)

Boston Main Streets Social Media Challenge – Photo via: (City of Boston)

At Stone Hearth Pizza in Allston, Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Ben Jabbawy, founder and CEO of Privy, hold up a sample of social media — a tweet sent by Menino’s official Twitter account.

The tweet reads: “Congrats winner of @BosMainStreets Social Media Challenge! @GetPrivy helps neighborhood biz turn ‪#sm‬ users into customers. ‪#socialmainst‬”

By Matt Rocheleau, Town Correspondent

A start-up based in Boston’s Innovation District that aims to offer an alternative to “daily deal” websites like Groupon was selected from more than 60 applicants to partner with the Boston Main Streets program to help businesses covert social media users into measurable in-store sales.

Privy, which launched publicly in early April, ofers small businesses the technology to sell deals and other promotional offerings to customers who follow them on Facebook or on Twitter or visit their websites, the Globe has reported.

City leaders announced Monday that Privy beat out seven other finalists to win the Boston Main Streets “Social Media Challenge.”

For its triumph, the start-up will receive a $10,000 prize through a grant from the MacArthur Foundation. To fund the grant, the foundation is using its money from the New Urban Mechanics initiative, a collaboration between Emerson College and the city’s Office of New Urban Mechanics.

“Our platform for helping small businesses get the most out of social media was a perfect fit for the ‘Social Media Challenge,’” said a statement from Ben Jabbawy founder and CEO of Privy, a finalist in the 2011 MassChallenge competition for start-ups.

“We are thrilled to have won the challenge and are excited to ramp up our efforts to help Boston Main Streets and the thousands of neighborhood businesses throughout Boston create online communities and customers,” the statement continued.

The city-led challenge was launched in partnership with another local business, Startup BLVD, which is an online match-making and consulting service that helps connect start-ups, larger companies and municipal governments.

The city used the company’s platform for solicit proposals from businesses participating in the challenge.

According to Boston.com’s “Innovation Technology” section, Startup BLVD opened on Monday a new co-working office space in Allston near Harvard Avenue and the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The “Social Media Challenge” was the first in series of challenges launched by the city’s Office of Business Development that are designed to address specific needs of Boston’s small business community.

This particular challenge launched in January and developed as part of the Main Streets’ “Social Media on Main Streets Initiative” after neighborhood businesses expressed interest in exploring ways to boost revenue through social media.

Using Privy, businesses can launch and track deals from their own website, social media channels and e-mail databases. Consumers can purchase the promotions online and redeem the offerings in-store using either a mobile device or a printed coupon.

The company offers businesses a free one-month trial and then charges a flat, monthly fee, which is priced based on the level of service a business needs. Privy collects an additional 15 percent cut of the purchase price of a coupon each time a customer buys one.

But, because businesses are not charged extra for simply marketing the deals, they can promote their products an unlimited number of times without the up-front costs of traditional advertising.

During its beta period, the company worked with more than 30 clients, who sold about $40,000 in deals, Privy’s CEO told the Globe in April.

On Monday, Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Department of Neighborhood Development director Evelyn Friedman announced the company won the challenge at Stone Hearth Pizza, a current Privy client located in Allston.

“I am proud that our ‘Social Media on Main Streets Initiative’ is providing Boston’s small businesses with new tools to help them compete in today’s economy and connect with neighborhood shoppers,” Menino said in a statement.

“We are excited to announce Privy as the winner of the ‘Social Media Challenge’ and to help our neighborhood businesses leverage online tools to increase sales,” he added. “This new initiative is an example of how collaboration and innovation can benefit Boston’s small businesses.”

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.

For the latest Allston-Brighton updates:
Follow @YourAllstonBri on Twitter, here.
And connect via Facebook by clicking the “Like” button on the top right hand corner of the Allston-Brighton homepage, here.

Boston.comPosted by Matt Rocheleau | Article Courtesy of:  Boston.com