Xconomy

Xconomy Report: Get Stupid, Student

By Xconomy.com   |   Friday, January 20, 2012
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Jan. 20, 2012

ipad education

Top scientists and educators give their take on what students will need to know to succeed in the future. (Brad Flickinger/Flickr)


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — How can students prepare for the world they'll face in 10 years? With a strong work ethic, rigor in their thinking and entrepreneurial energy, says Desh Deshpande, MIT benefactor and founder of Sycamore Networks. He was polled alongside 21 other innovators for a national report on the future of education put together by Xconomy. For Babson College president Len Schlesinger, the answer was “productive stupidity” — which he described as a daring mentality that could lead to big discoveries. You can read the full report at Xconomy.com/education.
 
In other innovation news, Constant Contact, the Waltham-based online marketing firm, has acquired Boston-based CardStar, which makes a mobile app for consolidating membership and rewards cards. The move is Constant Contact's first foray into mobile tech and consumer loyalty.
 
Bedford-based Joule Unlimited raised another $70 million to put toward its technology, which converts sunlight and carbon dioxide into fuels such as diesel and ethanol.
 
Finally for this week, Cambridge-based Constellation Pharmaceuticals has formed a $95 million partnership with Genentech to develop treatments for cancer and other diseases.
 



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The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at Xconomy.com airs every Friday on 89.7 Boston Public Radio.

Xconomy Report: How Green Was My Startup

By Xconomy.com   |   Friday, January 13, 2012
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Jan. 13, 2012


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Medicine could be the latest field to join the natural ingredients craze, thanks to a new startup in Cambridge. Warp Drive Bio came out of the woodwork this week with $125 million in new funding. The company hopes to examine the genetic makeup of plants, animals and other organisms to find hot new drugs. Warp is backed by Boston firm Third Rock Ventures, Greylock Partners and French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi. The startup has an elite roster of founders, including Harvard genomics expert George Church.

In mobile innovation news, Mitt Romney is using software from Cambridge-based Jumptap to create targeted mobile campaign ads. And Boston-based Apperian has been selected to power AT&T’s new mobile app management system.
 
Meanwhile, Massachusetts regained the number-two spot in venture funding and deals last quarter, behind California and ahead of New York, according to a report from CB Insights. Nationally, 2011 saw the most venture dollars and deals of any year in the past decade.
 
And on a sad note, Jerome Rubin, a cofounder of Massachusetts-based E Ink, which makes the display for the Amazon Kindle, passed away this week. He was 86.
 



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The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at Xconomy.com airs every Friday on 89.7 Boston Public Radio.

Xconomy Report: More For Less In 2011

By Xconomy.com   |   Friday, January 6, 2012
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Jan. 6, 2012

zipcar

A Zipcar is parked in Boston in July 2011, three months after the company went public. (Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz/Wikimedia)


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Fewer deals, more money. That’s the takeaway from a new report on U.S. venture capital exits from 2011. According to Dow Jones VentureSource, VC-backed companies netted $53 billion in mergers, buyouts and IPOs last year. That’s up by 26 percent over 2010, though the IPO market has been up and down. Among the Boston companies that went public last year: Zipcar, TripAdvisor and Carbonite.
 
In other innovation news…
 
Boston-area investment firms General Catalyst and Summit Partners have each closed new $500 million venture funds in a tough climate for fundraising.
 
Microsoft’s former chief software architect, Ray Ozzie, has surfaced with a new startup called Cocomo; the Boston company is building communications software with an as-yet-unspecified mobile angle.
 
The founders of Cambridge-based Sermo, an online community for doctors, have spun out a new health-focused Web company called Par8o. If you want to talk about it, that's pronounced "per-EIGHT-oh."
 
And an early clinical study shows that an experimental drug from Cambridge-based Alnylam Pharmaceuticals helped lower so-called "bad cholesterol" by an average of 39 percent in 20 patients. The drug is based on a relatively new branch of science called RNA interference. 
 



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The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at Xconomy.com airs every Friday on 89.7 WGBH Boston Public Radio.

Xconomy Report: This Is Boston, Not Seattle... Right?

By Xconomy.com   |   Friday, December 23, 2011
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Dec. 23, 2011

amazon HQ seattle

Amazon.com's Seattle headquarters in 2011. (Will Merydith/Flickr)


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — It’s beginning to look a lot like… the West Coast? The warm weather is not the only unusual occurrence in the Boston tech scene as we head into the holidays. Take the rebirth of TripAdvisor as a public company, independent of Expedia. The online travel site has a $3 billion market cap, making it one of the biggest consumer tech firms this side of Silicon Valley. Meanwhile, Amazon.com, the Seattle-based online retailer, is reportedly setting up its first office in Cambridge; it’s slated to open next year. And Akamai Technologies is buying California rival Cotendo for $268 million. That bucks the trend of West Coast companies buying such Boston firms as Endeca, Where, and ITA Software.
 
In other tech news, it was a shocker this week when Burlington-based Nuance Communications acquired Cambridge startup Vlingo. The two companies have spent years suing each other over allegations like patent infringement and commercial bribery, but now say that together they’ll have a better shot at competing with Apple and Google in making voice-enabled applications for smartphones.
 
On the life sciences front, Cambridge’s Metamark Genetics forged a collaboration with the Johnson & Johnson unit Janssen Biotech to develop diagnostic tests and treatments for cancer.



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The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at Xconomy.com airs every Friday on 89.7 WGBH Boston Public Radio.

Xconomy Report: Fight Fat With Fat

By Xconomy.com   |   Friday, December 16, 2011
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Dec. 16, 2011

cookies

Just imagine if you could use your existing body fat to burn off body fat. (Tim Lewis/Wikimedia)


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Drugs that fight obesity by burning off existing fat? The idea sounds far-fetched, but a new Boston biotech firm, Ember Therapeutics, has raised $34 million to develop drugs that tap into a new understanding of brown fat, a bodily tissue that could help people burn off the more-familiar white fat. Other companies have failed to bring new weight-loss drugs to market, but with an estimated one-third of U.S. adults obese, the potential is huge.
 
Elsewhere in local life sciences, one of the biggest companies is getting a new CEO. Jeff Leiden will take the reins of Vertex Pharmaceuticals on Feb. 1, 2012, just as the firm faces new competition for its flagship hepatitis C drug.
 
In tech news, IBM continues its buying spree in Massachusetts. Big Blue is picking up Burlington software firm Emptoris for an undisclosed sum, marking its 20th acquisition in the Bay State since 2003.
 
And here’s a deal to watch next week: Newton-based TripAdvisor plans to issue an initial public offering on Dec. 21. The fast-growing travel review site has been part of Expedia since 2004, but is now being spun out as an independent, publicly traded company.



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The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at Xconomy.com airs every Friday on WGBH 89.7 Boston Public Radio.

Xconomy Report: Protecting Online Privacy

By Xconomy.com   |   Friday, December 9, 2011
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Dec. 9, 2011

hall and oates xconomy report

Advertisers are watching you. They see your every move. That's why Boston startup Abine is working on software to protect Web users' privacy.
 


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — When you go online, do you know who’s tracking you? Advertisers want access to your preferences, your social network, your location and your search history. Now, Boston startup Abine is trying to give consumers more control over their personal information. The 2-year-old company makes software that blocks unwanted Web tracking. Its service also removes people from online databases. Abine’s timing is good, as Facebook and other companies are taking a lot of flak over user privacy.

And now for the week’s innovation deals news from A to Z:

- Actifio, a Waltham-based startup working on data backup and protection for big companies, raised $33.5 million in venture funding.

- Weston-based Biogen Idec and Korean conglomerate Samsung are forming a $300 million joint venture to develop low-cost, generic versions of biotech drugs

- Zink Imaging inked a $35 million investment and hired two Polaroid veterans as co-CEOs. The Bedford, Mass.–based company is developing technology for inkless printers that can connect to portable devices.



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The weekly roundup of business, technology and life science news from our partners at Xconomy.com airs every Friday on WGBH 89.7 Boston Public Radio.

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