Massachusetts Innovation News & Events

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)

#######################################################

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.