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Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of SpaceX, boldly proclaims that his company will begin sending colonists to Mars in a decade. Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is using part of his fortune to finance his rocket company Blue Origin, and predicts millions of people will be living and working in space. As these companies go where no businesses have gone before, they raise questions only fuzzily addressed by the Outer Space Treaty: What are private companies allowed to do in space?

Can a company mine the moon or an asteroid and then sell what it has pulled out? How are countries to regulate these businesses? Small enterprises would struggle to pay, leaving them at a commercial disadvantage, they said. Independent contractors like Clayton Cowles, who works in upstate New York, could also be vulnerable. Cowles draws the text for comic book publishers including Marvel, DC and Image, and has worked on Batman, Star Wars and other popular series. Instead, his files sometimes take 15 minutes to be delivered, he said.

A more deeply deregulated Spectrum is one of his 'greatest fears,' he said. Sammons expects rental rates to keep rising as many Silicon Valley companies establish a beachhead in San Francisco, even with five million square feet of office space under construction.

Sammons said. Riordan favors keeping changes to a minimum, rather than ripping up the year old agreement, as President Trump has threatened to do. Riordan asked. American agricultural equipment manufacturers, which impacts us. He has nearly 30 restaurants here now, but he's barely set foot in any of them in two months, not since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. He is not a disaster relief expert, so he began doing what he does best. He found a kitchen, bought some ingredients, and began to cook.

Since then, he's recruited an army of chefs and volunteers, and together they've served more than three million meals to the hungry people of Puerto Rico. Even on Black Friday, with the economy strong, the decline of traditional retail is obvious: "But for Ms. Here's how to collect money from slow-paying customers : "Many businesses and their bankers find that businesses 'grow themselves into the ground. Private employers continue to object to " banning the box ": "Some small businesses worry that fair-hiring laws will expose them to litigation.

An international treaty may get in the way of companies that want to make money in space : "Robert D. Small companies fear repealing net neutrality could price them out of doing business : "Critics of the F. Tech companies are forsaking converted warehouses for expensive, new buildings: "Mr. I oversee entrepreneurial coverage at Forbes, including the Entrepreneurs channel. Loren Feldman Forbes Staff. I cover business ownership, especially the struggle in the trenches. Share to facebook Share to twitter Share to linkedin.

The new location, which just opened today, is at 66 Church Street, not far from the Brattle Theatre. Palmer is getting an assist with the expansion from the Experiment Fund , a Harvard-affiliated venture capital firm run by Hugo Van Vuuren. Among the tenants already based Koa are Data Tamer ; Matter. Schanker says got the idea for BookBub from talking to a friend, Jennifer 8. Lee, who had started an e-book publishing company.

Readers sign up for the free BookBub newsletter, and specify the genres they're interested in. Each day, they get an e-mail touting three to five free or discounted e-books. Publishers and independent authors pay to be listed in the newsletter, though Schanker says there is some curation: "Everything that we feature is fundamentally an ad, but we reject more than half of the submissions sent to us. Why do authors or publishers pay money to promote e-books they're giving away for free? Everyone is trying to build up an audience base.

The company has six employees in Kendall Square, but Schanker says they're about to post another another five or six job listings. Schanker previously started and sold two other local companies: Sombasa Media acquired by About. He and BookBub co-founder Nicholas Ciarelli have been bootstrapping the company so far, without outside funding. Co-founder Shri Ganeshram tells me he is moving back to Cambridge this week, where the plans to begin recruiting additional employees; he hasn't yet figured out where FlightCar will be based.

The startup participated in the Y Combinator accelerator program in Silicon Valley earlier this year. What if you could drive to the airport, hand your keys to a valet, get free parking for as long as you wanted, and have your car washed and cleaned. Oh, and you'd get a free gas card when you returned to pick it up? There's just one catch: while they have your car, they rent it out to other travelers. It's a fascinating new twist on the car-sharing business model, which includes big companies like Cambridge-based ZipCar now part of Avis and smaller start-ups like RelayRides founded in Cambridge by a Harvard Business School alum.

Co-founder Shri Ganeshram is taking time off from his undergrad studies at MIT to help launch the company; the three-person FlightCar team is now participating in the Y Combinator accelerator program for entrepreneurs. Ganeshram tells me that the team noticed something basic about every major airport: there's usually one garage where departing travelers pay money to park, and another where arriving travelers pay money to rent a car.

Right now, they've rented a warehouse near SFO that can fit 30 or 40 cars, Ganeshram says. Departing travelers that have registered with the site can call FlightCar when they're driving to the airport, and they're met there by a valet. He takes the keys, makes notes about things like the gas level and mileage, and also snaps a few pictures to document the condition of the car. The company only accepts cars with fewer than , miles on them, and nothing made before While you're gone, FlightCar tries to rent your wheels to arriving travelers.

FlightCar's daily rental rate includes 90 miles; there's a 35 cents per mile charge after that, all of which goes to the vehicle's owner. When you return from your trip, you call FlightCar again and they bring your vehicle back to the airport. And even if the company hasn't managed to rent your car, the parking and valet service is still free. We'll see what happens to FlightCar when county and state tax authorities discover it. Ganeshram says that because FlightCar is a car-sharing service for members similar to ZipCar , it shouldn't be subject to the same taxes levied on car rental companies.

ZipCar managed to successfully use that argument, he points out. FlightCar intends to only collect sales tax, which Ganeshram says is included in the daily rates its web site displays. If things go well in San Francisco, Ganeshram says the company plans to launch in a second city later this year.

They're considering Boston, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Kalma , a well-known user experience UX guru, joined Gemvara only in October , moving to Boston to help the customization-oriented site streamline the configuration and purchase process. At Zappos, he spent seven years overseeing user experience, up to and just beyond the point the footwear purveyor was acquired by Amazon. The decision wasn't easy," Kalma told me earlier this week. Kalma had served as a mentor to the MIT-educated Ministry of Supply team last year, when the startup participated in the MassChallenge entrepreneurship competition.

I just had the burning desire to roll up my sleeves with something small and unproven. Hacking the apparel industry was appealing to me. The startup has been working to create a new men's apparel brand, based on a James Bond-like image and advanced materials that dissipate heat, resist odor, and don't wrinkle.

I wrote about the company last July. Kalma says that there aren't formal titles at Ministry, but that he will "spend the first phase of my time there tightening up the web experience and marketing. I last covered Gemvara in November , when co-founder Matt Lauzon stepped away from the CEO's role and became chairman; the company is still on the hunt for its next chief executive officer Going forward, Wallace says, Ovuline is expanding its focus to "use the same data analytics and clinical guidelines to help women have a healthier pregnancy.

But taking your blood pressure daily can be a way to spot problems like preeclampsia, which can threaten the health of the mother and the fetus," he says. He talks about pregnancy as "one of the times when women radically change their health behavior. We are trying to take quantified self technology and apply it to a very specific time when people are motivated to change, and willing to engage. The company has five full-time employees, and "we're going to be growing with this financing," Wallace says. Ovuline will be moving into Launch Capital's Harvard Square offices sometime later this month.

I was hunting for examples of local companies that have already hit the wall, and in the article I mention a few. But this morning, my inbox provided another example: Tasted Menu , a "social dining" site and mobile app that encouraged users to take pictures and post reviews of individual menu items they'd tried at restaurants.

The e-mail went out to everyone who'd registered as a user of Tasted Menu, notifying them that it will shut down as of the end of this month. At that point, the company had five employees. Like many startups, it was trying to attract a large base of users so that it could spool up a business model, like selling advertising or promoting restaurant special offers. I asked Rosenfeld what had transpired since we spoke.

Here's what he said:. Most of our angel money came from New York and the west coast, and of the committed capital for our Series Seed, not a dollar was out of Boston. It was also an excellent area to recruit consumer talent, especially for non-technical roles, which as a media guy I'm sure you appreciate as essential for content-driven businesses. I hope this incongruence lessens, but having been on the ground for the past three years, I saw a lot of promising talk but not enough progress.

One group has been calling its project Exponential Boston , and raising money to launch an inaugural program in mid, aimed at helping education-focused entrepreneurs turn concepts into companies. The other group, LearnLaunch , just unveiled a new non-profit this week seeking to bring together EdTech entrepreneurs for conferences, demo nights, and networking. The accelerator program it has been cultivating seems somewhat more nascent than Exponential's, but it has been dubbed LearnLaunch Labs.

The trio behind LearnLaunch are angel investor Jean Hammond; Marissa Lowman, right, founder of the monthly EdTechUp gatherings and formerly an executive at AisleBuyer, a mobile commerce startup; and Eileen Rudden, who served as a Chicago Public Schools official, and before that an executive at companies like Lotus and Avaya. We're also working on building the team that would run it. Hammond also said that she was in conversations with Satiroglu and his group about combining efforts: "I don't know if there's room for two.

He says he has been scouting locations in the Back Bay; along with housing the accelerator participants, an Exponential office would also include a co-working area for other EdTech entrepreneurs and early-stage companies. Satiroglu already has some funding commitments to support Exponential Boston, but says that he'll focus more explicitly on raising money in January. The first cycle of the program could start in May or June, he says, and the Exponential site is already accepting applications.

Both groups talk about bringing in textbook publishers and online learning companies as partners, especially those with big Boston operations like Houghton-Mifflin and Cengage Learning. Satiroglu and Hammond both say that their objective is to create a stronger support system for EdTech entrepreneurs, helping them learn from one another and connect to universities, school systems, and teachers. But nine years after Lorem Ipsum opened, Mankins now works in New York, as the chief technology officer for the company that publishes Inc.

And the Cambridge bookstore, created as an attempt to get e-commerce and bricks-and-mortar to work together harmoniously, is losing money. There have been earlier cash crunches , too. Mankins tells me that he has never drawn a salary from the store, working various software-related day jobs over the years. Over the weekend, Mankins posted a message to the Hacker News discussion forums announcing that Loreum Ipsum is for sale, and soliciting creative ideas about how to sustain a bookstore in the Age of Amazon.

It has sparked 86 comments so far. There are even a few respondents who seem interested in talking to Mankins about taking over Lorem Ipsum. He acknowledges that running the store from New York, where he has lived since , may have contributed to its situation. I just started the process of looking in earnest. I don't really want to sell the store, but think it's the right thing for the store. An excerpt of Mankins' Hacker News post is below.

Booktopia Search Results for 'Michael Lombardi'. We sell books, hardback, paperback, audio, CDs.

I've listed the company name below, the founder or CEO who'll be presenting today, and a brief description. When companies are based somewhere other than Boston, I've listed that in parentheses. You can view tweets about the event by watching the hash tag " TSDemoDay. Previously participated in Highland Capital's Summer Highland program.

CoachUp raised some money last month at a "Shark Tank" pitch event, and I covered them earlier this year. The company also participated in MassChallenge this year. That's what was on my mind on Monday evening, when I got an early look at the thirteen companies that will present in Providence tomorrow as part of Betaspring's fall "Launch Day. Betaspring essentially doubled in size this year, by accepting a spring and fall cohort of entrepreneurs. Here's what the fall group is up to. I've starred the ones I think are most likely to succeed, and offered an explanation in bold as to why.

Just my opinion — and I hope a few of the non-starred ones keep me humble by proving me totally wrong. In the photo above is Kirsten Lambertsen of Kuratur, which collects social media posts and transforms them into nicely-designed "web magazines. Was that a joke? Most Uber cars I've ridden in in Boston have been black Cadillacs, Lincolns, and other comfy-but-nondescript sedans.

I called up Uber Boston general manager Michael Pao this morning, and he confirmed that, yes, a livery driver had signed up to be part of Uber's virtual fleet last week, with a black Porsche Cayenne. Pao told me the driver's name is Adam, but didn't have his last name readily available. He sent the pic below as evidence, and told me that the Porsche shows up as a normal black car on the Uber app, at normal black car rates. You can't make a special request, in other words — you just get lucky.

Pao also mentioned that a driver with a Mercedes GL would soon start roaming the streets of Boston, and said that as more of these high-end cars hit the road with Uber, the company might create a separate class for them — right now, the two options are "black" or "taxi" — and charge higher rates. Siegl is a former Austrian cultural attache and long-time motorcycle racer who came to Harrisville from New York five years ago. He'd already been building bikes as a sideline, but when he came to New Hampshire, he committed to doing it full-time.

He makes about four custom bikes a year, designing the bodies himself, and typically relying on upgraded Ducati and Harley engines. His workshop, in the ground level of an s-era textile mill, used to be the mill's machine shop, and it's filled with welding gear, drill presses, milling machines, and work tables. When I visited last month, Siegl was finishing up a bike that had been commissioned by Puma for display in its stores.

He's also working on a line of shoes, out in , for Puma, and a leather racing jacket in collaboration with Puma and Fall River-based Vanson Leathers. Founded in Cambridge in , Y Combinator created a new model for investing in "classes" of promising startups, and offering guidance and mentorship to help increase their chances of success. The program now operates out of Mountain View, and included 84 startups in its most recent cohort.

Those last three were founded by entrepreneurs who went to school in the Boston area. Graham is also the author of a thoughtful series of essays on entrepreneurship. We chatted for about a half hour on the outdoor patio at Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto; that explains the background noise. Among the topics we covered:. Ravikant explains that the survey is being used to help his team at AngelList figure out what new features to build.

The top needs that startups have, he says, are funding, engineers, and designers, "which is why we have specific products for each of those angel. When Fitzgerald first showed up to work for Rue in the spring of , just after the site had launched, she didn't know much about the company. Flash sales were just getting started. I got a password, became a member, and I felt very elite.

Since then, Fitzgerald has become a familiar face to the six million shoppers who receive Rue's daily e-mail, or access its mobile apps, to see what's on sale today. When we spoke on Wednesday, she was doing a shoot for Lilla P, a Manhattan-based label, and she'd also recently modeled apparel from French Connection, Kay Unger, and Narcisso Rodriguez.

A day of work at Rue typically starts at 8 a. For a city like Boston, which isn't home to many fashion magazines or major retailers, Rue has been "heaven-sent," creating lots of additional work for models that doesn't require them to travel. And she's a true local, having grown up in Medford. Fitzgerald says she's often a Rue customer herself, though she doesn't get a first crack at merchandise or an insider discount.

Rue La La is 30 percent owned by the auction giant eBay, which recently started showcasing some Rue merchandise on its site. Wayland-based Pearl's developed its own breeds of seeds for low-maintenance lawns, which don't require as much water or mowing as typical seeds.

In , the company took one of the top prizes at the inaugural MassChallenge startup competition. Madnick tells me that Logan Airport has been using Pearl's, and that a year old castle in England, right, has been relying on the seed to grow lawns in areas previously considered too shady for grass. Madnick, left, says the company's most recent distribution deal is with Home Depot in the Chicago area it can also be found in Whole Foods Markets throughout New England, along with Mahoney's Garden Centers.

The company has been supported so far by investments from friends and family, but Madnick says they're hunting for additional funding. Madnick's tour of the U. And now Pelkey and Crouch are talking to owners of pedicab fleets about placing orders for their new vehicle, which still doesn't have a name. Pelkey is on the right in the photo. I got to take it for a spin last week at Brigham Circle, with Crouch as my passenger. It was surprisingly maneuverable, and the gear shifting was so smooth it was imperceptible. The prototype uses a continuously-variable planetary transmission made by NuVinci.

Instead of a fiberglass passenger area prone to cracking, they use fabric wrapped around lightweight aluminum tubing. They created a step to make it easier for passengers to get in and out, and added extra legroom for passengers. See photo below. They specced out a "lefty" hub for the rear wheels, intended to be only supported from one side and less likely to break.

Lupoli adds, "And there are no Yelp reviews for catering that tell you about the food or about the service, like whether it'll show up on time. Lupoli is pictured below. Earlier this year, they began testing their website Phoodeez with MIT users. It's intended to streamline the process of ordering food for groups, and help "local restaurants that have great food attract more business in catering, which is very lucrative," in Lupoli's words.

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Yes, his pizza shops and higher-end Italian restaurants are featured on the site, along with several other suppliers. This week, Phoodeez is launching a redesigned site and targeting off-campus customers in the broader Boston area. Every item listed, liked the "good morning breakfast" pictured above, from the Danish Pastry House, explains how many people it feeds. Prices are the same as if you'd ordered directly from the restaurant, Marcus says, but Phoodeez takes a small referral fee off the total amount. The new site will compete against other online food-ordering businesses like Seamless and Foodler.

Marcus says they are considering a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for marketing and promotion. But so far, she says, "we are doing it the very old-fashioned way, having raised the initial funds from friends and family, as well as from revenue. Two Hingham entrepreneurs have come up with a solution: linens made out of a fiber derived from Eucalyptus trees it's called Tencel which you can simply toss into a compost bin or trash can when they're dirty.

The sheets from their startup, Beantown Bedding , are both compostable and biodegradable. So far, they're only selling twin extra-long sheets, which is a bed size common on college campuses. And the sheets are only available in white. They started developing the concept of disposable sheets last year, got their first wholesale orders at a trade show in March, and received their first inventory in June.

Tencel is used to make some brands of baby wipes and clothing , but Beantown's founders believe they're the first to be using it for linens. Lambert and Ripple say that many parents already throw away sheets after a summer of camp, or a semester of college, and contend that sheets that can be composted or at least biodegrade in a landfill will have a lesser environmental impact. That may be true, but those who choose to wash their traditional cotton sheets use about 40 gallons of water each time, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, while it requires about gallons of water to make a pound of Tencel fiber.

The manufacturing process for cotton sheets can use as little as 10 gallons of water per pound, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. I asked Heather Henriksen , director of the office of sustainability at Harvard University, what she thought of the concept of compostable sheets. She said she thought it might have merits in places where there isn't sufficient water to regularly wash linens, like a disaster relief camp.

But on a college campus, she suggested that using a washing machine or laundry service is still better. The sheets from Beantown are intended to last about a month. In addition to summer camps and colleges, Beantown is also marketing its compostable sheets for vacation house rentals.

Right now, Beantown's products are being produced in China, but the founders say they're hoping to find a domestic factory. Update: On Wednesday, August 15th, after hundreds of Uber supporters signed an online petition and thousands voiced their displeasure via e-mail and Twitter, one of Governor Deval Patrick's communications staffers tweeted that the state was "working on a swift resolution" and acknowledged that he'd used the service just the night before. Later that day, Massachusetts' Division of Standards reversed its earlier position , allowing Uber to continue operating.

We live in a city with too few taxis, which happen to charge the highest rates in the entire U. In many parts of the greater Boston area like Cambridge , you can't be guaranteed that a cab will accept credit cards. So Uber , a San Francisco company that makes town cars available at a higher price than taxis, but a lower cost than traditional car services, provides a really beneficial service for city-dwellers and tourists. I've used it many times when I needed a lift in a neighborhood with no taxis or cab stands, or when I wanted a more spacious vehicle to take me to the airport.

Many of Uber's fans are women, who tell me that they occasionally are refused rides by taxis late at night if, for instance, they're trying to travel from Somerville to Boston. They're all licensed livery drivers, working as independent operators or as part of a small livery company, according to Uber. And they all seem to like being part of the Uber network, which generates additional income for them when they otherwise wouldn't be busy. Uber is totally transparent about how its pricing works.

Customers receive an e-mailed receipt almost immediately after your ride is over, complete with a map of the ride.


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There's never any issue with illegible receipts, or receipt printers that have run out of paper. You also have an opportunity to rate your driver on a star scale. Some of that process involves Uber's servers, communicating with the iPhone. See if you can explain to me how Boston Coach comes up with its fares, which are more than twice as expensive as Uber's. Who decides which devices are kosher for use in Massachusetts and which are not? Uber, for its part, believes that it is operating legally in Massachusetts, and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told me earlier today that the Commonwealth shouldn't be trying to prevent his company from doing business here, given that no standards exist yet for using an iPhone's GPS system for fare calculation.

Incidentally, I also asked Kalatnick whether it was a consumer complaint that spurred the City of Cambridge's recent investigation into Uber. Do you have any guesses? Upstart's founder is a Massachusetts native, former Google executive Dave Girouard , right, and one of his founding board members is Cambridge entrepreneur and angel investor Andy Palmer.

Here's how it will work: anyone wrapping up their undergraduate or graduate studies this spring at Upstart's five launch schools can create a profile on the site. People who graduated in or later are also eligible.

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They might be looking to raise money so that they can work on a startup, make an independent film, travel with an eye toward starting a non-profit, or begin a career as an artist. Similar to Kickstarter , other individuals can decide to put money toward their fundraising goal. And the profit upside tops out at a To fund its operations, Upstart will keep a 3 percent slice of the money invested in recent grads, and a 1. Upstart is working with just five schools to start with, to "make sure the agreements are right, and that we have sufficient backers, and that the right processes are in place," Girouard says.

And among the first group of students is Nathan Sharp , a graduate of Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business; he's working to launch the online shopping start-up PayOrPass. Sharp will be using the money he raises from Upstart to pay off the debt he racked up while earning his MBA, so that he can focus on the new venture. The program starts on August 11th, and runs every Saturday for six months. Participants are matched with mentors, who will take them to at least one networking event, says Malia Lazu , the group's director.

Among the entrepreneurs who'll run workshops for the participants are Avid Technology founder Bill Warner and Alec Stern, a founder of Constant Contact. Lazu says she's still trying to increase that prize purse. Brand Networks , founded by a veteran of the ad agency Arnold Worldwide, is announcing this week that it is expanding new outposts in New York and Los Angeles, in addition to its Boston headquarters and a technology operation in Rochester, New York.

The firm has 65 employees and is continuing to hire engineers, account managers, and social media strategists. But they want their partners to have a local presence. The sole employee thus far in Los Angeles is Paul Falzone. Locally, Brand Networks works with clients like Monster. Tedford says that Brand Networks is one of only eight companies that have been awarded three badges as part of Facebook's "Preferred Marketing Developer" program, for creating Facebook apps, helping clients manage Facebook pages, and running Facebook ad campaigns.

The fourth badge that Facebook gives out is called "Insights," for measuring and tracking the activity taking place around a brand on Facebook. A photo of a dedicated desk, in which you can store your stuff, is above. About 80 percent of the stuff we get is sellable. Non-profits can sign up on the site to have their supporters send in merchandise.

And individuals can request a postage-paid donation bag to be sent to their house, fill it with items, and designate a charity that will benefit from their sale. Donors get a tax receipt directly from the charity. Both non-profits and individuals can see a tally of how much they've raised on Fashion Project. Palmer says they'll add men's merch eventually.

Fashion Project takes 40 percent of the sale price, and passes along 60 percent to the charity. Rizk and Palmer met while earning their law degrees at Harvard; they both graduated in Working alongside them as Fashion Project's chief marketing officer is fashion and social media maven Michelle McCormack, who organizes the annual Fashion's Night Out event. The company has five employees, and offices in the Leather District. They're planning a promotion this summer that would encourage Bostonians to donate to the site in exchange for getting a discount on new merchandise at numerous Newbury Street retailers.

Some interesting tidbits: 7 percent of students think working at a startup "makes me sexier"; 22 percent say their romantic partner "puts up with a lot. And among adults, 38 percent say they started their venture "based on a crazy idea they had while in college.

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I edited the above graphic to eliminate some data points I found less relevant, like how many cups of coffee students drink per day and how much sleep they get. Here's the full version. I know you've been meeting with entrepreneurs who've created mobile retail trucks , to consider establishing new parking spots in Boston where they could legally sell their wares.

I'm all for that. But mobile retail won't work for every business, since you can't fit very much merchandise or very many shoppers into a rehabbed FedEx truck. Already, I know of at least one business, bGreen , that tried and failed to sell eco-friendly home products out of a truck. The founders are now trying to get rid of the truck, and instead focus on their web site. There's another model worth considering that could have even more of a positive impact, for the city and for entrepreneurs: encouraging landlords to make vacant stores available to entrepreneurs who want to run pop-up shops.

These businesses would help invigorate neighborhoods that have too many empty storefronts think Downtown Crossing or Dudley Square , and they could help entrepreneurs test retail ideas with fewer up-front expenditures than outfitting a truck. Or it could just invest some time and resources in helping to promote the idea and the shops themselves. For landlords, there are several benefits: pop-up shops using a storefront for a few months may become successful enough to turn into permanent tenants, but even if they don't, they can help increase foot traffic to their location, making it more appealing to other prospective renters.

Black Beans, Mean Business: A Survival Guide for Struggling Entrepreneurs

The new funding, according to founder Jason Gracilieri , "will allow us to expand the team, the collection [of artwork], and the delivery options. We want to have the definitive catalogue of independent artwork, and help facilitate the in-home discovery and buying experience for art. Back in February, I wrote about my experience as a TurningArt customer. And last December, I mentioned the company in a Globe column about art-related startups in Boston.

Electronic dance music, or EDM, "has just blown up," says Day. We wanted to start an educational institution for aspiring fans of EDM," an umbrella term that encompasses genres like dubstep, trance, house, and hardstep. It's music made primarily to get people out on the dance floor. The school will teach students how to use music-making software from companies like iZotope based in Cambridge and Ableton based in Germany , but Maniatis adds, "We'll also teach methodology and history, not just the software. And now, like jazz, it's finding mainstream acceptance.

I was 30 or 31 when I started my first company. If you could solve any problem, what would it be? Once you find it, don't wait. The audio runs for about 12 minutes. Hit play below, or the "mp3" link to download it for later listening. The Valley already has so-called mafias of rich alumni from companies like Google and PayPal supporting new ventures. The very first investors in Facebook, in fact, were members of the PayPal mafia. So where does that leave Boston?

So what about handing them your phone so they can insert it into a Nerf-like ball and toss it around? The TheO Ball is a foam sphere with a pocket in its center that keeps the phone safe while allowing players to see its screen. Some of the initial games will be bowling, hot potato, and a question-and-answer game called Interrogo, but the company also plans a software development kit that will enable others to create games for TheO.

Additional apps will be sold through the Android and iTunes online marketplaces. It'll be available through the company's web site and Amazon store, as well as a number of independent toy retailers. Houvener writes via e-mail, "We see a very significant opportunity to get folks up and moving, while leveraging their smart devices with our innovative and proprietary physical enablers such as TheO, combined with fun and enjoyable apps.

This essentially lowers the price point for 'console' type game experiences by an order of magnitude, while expanding the market to an even greater degree globally. Fliegel grew up in Cambridge, and played varsity basketball at Bowdoin College before spending two years on the rosters of pro teams in Israel and Europe. A broken foot led to the end of his playing career, but while based in Israel, he also started taking business school courses at Tel Aviv University. He finished his MBA locally, at Brandeis.

As Fliegel worked in business development for Waltham-based Zintro , he also did some private coaching in town, and the idea for CoachUp started to take shape. The site targets middle- to upper-income parents who have kids in middle school or high school playing a sport competitively, and who naturally want to see their kids improve. Coaches who offer their services through the site name an hourly price, and CoachUp adds a small mark-up. The site will encourage users to purchase five or ten coaching sessions at once, with discounted pricing on those packages. Fliegel says that CoachUp will interview coaches before allowing them to list on the site, and will check references.

Not just for a masterful presentation today, but Zhang has built strong momentum for the company leading up to today. Team on a Mission The French fellows building Psykosoft want to make it easier for anyone to create digital artwork, animation, and music. In today's presentation, they playfully tweaked tech giant Adobe for offering pricey software like Photoshop that's hard to learn; their mission is to make it enjoyable and fast for anyone to start creating cool stuff online.

The team has a great attitude and a fun marketing message: "We believe everybody is a bit crazy, but not everyone accepts it. The startup wants to make it easy for colleges, hotels, and corporate campuses to offer fleets of bikes for hourly or daily use. And more bike riders is an excellent thing for any city. Most Compelling Presentation Chris Howard of Libboo , who's out to reinvent the publishing business for the digital age.

He talked about his company's mission of finding more readers for e-books by poets like Marshall "Soulful" Jones You can also watch your video side-by-side with that of a pro to observe the differences. The Biggest Surprise award Laveem , which started out the TechStars program focusing on building an online community to help teachers share lesson plans and classroom resources.

Now, they're working on the Food Genome Project, a vast database of nutritional information that could help site builders and mobile app developers create useful new tools for cooks and diners. Great concept. Here's my scorecard of the companies, what they do, who's involved, and how much money they've raised or are seeking. I've listed the companies in order of who had the most buzz heading into the event, according to the mentors and investors with whom I've spoken over the past few weeks as well as media coverage.

You just never had the right tools to express yourself yet. Company's mission is to make it easy to be creative, and its next project is a web-based music composition app called PsykoDio. Photoshop is vintage, it's a lot of fun to learn, and it only costs you a kidney. What happens if you're lazy and you want to have fun in your life? The free site is already getting 60, visits per day. Murfie says it's building a "bank for your music," with the ability to legally buy, sell, and trade the tunes you own.

One service the company offers is the ability to send in your CD collection, have it digitized, and stream it to mobile devices, computers, and Sonos music systems. We'll see what the record labels think about your ability to sell a digital track that you may have already ripped to your hard drive from the CD.

Here are my very subjective, somewhat tongue-in-cheek Innovation Economy awards for Betaspring's latest crop Rooting for Them to Take Over the World award. Next time you're in the hospital, you'll probably wish the doctors, nurses, and lab techs were using CareThread. It's a mobile app that lets a doctor going home for the night update the next doctor coming on duty about your status. That next doctor can also get an instant alert once your latest lab tests come in.

Betaspring clearly saved Movable Code for the last slot of the day for a reason: the startup had a wacky, fun demo of a new game, Incantor, that combines a mobile phone strapped to your arm with a magic wand. See the pic at right. Now if they can only get 10 percent of all Harry Potter fans to buy one I'll be doing a similar discussion at Ramen Camp on May 12th, during lunch.

Admission to that day-long event is, unfortunately, not free. We talked about some of the factors that get people you don't know contributing to your campaign; the right length for Kickstarter campaigns, and the right target amount; how you can get blogs and other media to help promote your campaign; and some of the headaches that can arise when you're dealing with hundreds or thousands of donors.

And Rubin started things off by singing a great song. The audio is below. You can stream it here, or click "mp3" to download it for later listening. Photo above courtesy of Keith Spiro Photography. And Rae and Reed Sturtevant, who helps run the Boston program, say they are hoping to expand its focus, explicitly inviting robotics, bio informatics, health IT, digital manufacturing and edutech companies to apply. The fall program will begin in September. Doing it twice a year lets us have a continuous staff. I asked why they wouldn't just expand the size of the spring session, from a dozen to 20 or 25 companies.

The store will feature a selection of products from local startups and student-run businesses, and the goal of the POPstart concept is to help those kinds of companies reach consumers and test out new concepts without the expense of setting up their own retail presence. It'll be open from 11 AM to 7 PM. Why only two days? The New York-based site lets artists, designers, and entrepreneurs set a fundraising goal and essentially run an online telethon; backers at various levels get different kinds of payouts, from a digital download of an album to a limited edition iPad case.

It's a version of the guessing game "Guess Who" that taps into your collection of Facebook friends. It's free, and it happens on April 19th from 6 to 7 PM. Hope to see you there Wasserman has spent hours interviewing the founders of companies like Zipcar, Proteus Biomedical, Pandora, and Twitter, and he shares their experiences in the book, without sugar-coating them. I sat down with Wasserman last week in his office at HBS. We talked about founder's dilemmas in general 65 percent of them, he said, have to do with interpersonal issues among founders , and some of the specific companies he has studied, including Sittercity founded by Genevieve Thiers, a Boston College grad , 38 Studios the gaming company started by Curt Schilling , and Twitter.

The audio runs about a half-hour. You can click play, or click "mp3" to download the file for later listening. A new site that Boathouse has developed, Speedbilly , wants to change that, creating a kind of Kayak for new car prices, enabling shoppers to compare the price for the same vehicle with the same options across various dealerships.

The site's official launch won't happen until later in March, but a beta version is up and running. When it launches, Speedbilly will include inventory from 20 dealers in eastern Massachusetts who sell just four brands: Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Hyundai. Many other dealers likely want to wait and see how the site performs. Founders John Clifford and Trevor Schwartz met in a pretty unusual place: while working on the factory floor at Raytheon, building sub-assemblies for Patriot missile radar systems.

In the company's test phase, they've been limiting sales to 20 passes at each venue. Passes can be purchased online as late as 9 PM on the night when you plan to use them, or bought a few days in advance. Schwartz says that even on nights when you arrive to find that there's no line, the pass can be a good deal, since it saves you the club's cover charge. Schwartz says that venues start off with a free trial of the service, and then at some point start cutting Line Genie in on 10 percent of the pass revenues.

The Daily Free Press at Boston University profiled the company recently, and found that college students seem to like the idea. That's the premise of a new Cambridge start-up, Of Course Meals , which is cranking up operations this week. The company delivers a bag of prepped ingredients to your home on Sunday evening. Inside the bag are the items you need to make two, three, or four meals for a family of four. The proposition is that you spend less time grocery shopping, and less time cooking the meals take about a half-hour to cook , but still provide healthy, home-cooked food for your family.

Consumers get to choose whether the meals feature beef, chicken, seafood, or just veggies. The dishes, which include coconut curry chicken and Asian salmon, sound pretty tasty. It's also getting close to lunchtime The company is launching its delivery service in Cambridge and Arlington. If you order by midnight tonight, you can be part of the first wave of deliveries this Sunday. You can order week by week, or save a little money by signing up for an on-going subscription.

I'd written about the company a couple times , so I was interested to see how it performed from the consumer's perspective. The first thing that caught my interest with TurningArt was that at some point, I'd started receiving daily e-mails from the company showcasing the new artists in its collection. The collection is primarily paintings and photography by living artists, much of it with a contemporary, slightly edgy feel. There were a few artists whose work caught my eye.

The other artist I liked was selling paintings at a higher price point, and I thought that signing up for TurningArt would be a good way to "test drive" what they might look like in my home. Both subscription plans include a free black gallery-style frame with a white mat, and the opportunity to rotate the artwork as frequently as you like.

The art you receive is an unsigned, unnumbered "museum quality" print. As with Netflix, you have a queue of artwork you'd like to rent on the website, and the shipping costs are included in the subscription package. Unlike Netflix, you can request your next piece without sending back the one that's in the frame; instead, you use the cardboard box that the new print comes in to send the old one back. Update : Bolt has found about 10, square feet of space at Chauncy Street in downtown Boston at street level and below ground.

Bolt's website says that it will "accept 10 teams for the Winter class. Teams must relocate to our facility in Boston and spend a majority of their time here for the duration of the 6 month program. Ben Einstein , right, wants to change that. He's out raising money and laying the groundwork for a new accelerator program, Bolt, that would focus exclusively on entrepreneurs who want to design physical products.

Einstein, previously a principal at the product design consultancy Brainstream , moved from Northampton to Boston last month to make Bolt a reality. Einstein says that Bolt will focus on "connected devices," including consumer electronics and robotics, but avoid medical devices and other products that would require extensive, blank-sheet-of-paper engineering. Bolt's offices will include useful tools that the chosen entrepreneurs will have access to, such as drill presses, band saws, 3-D printers, PCB prototyping equipment, and CNC milling machines.

As we chatted before the session, while scarfing down our box lunches, Dreese told me that he'd dropped out of MIT in to start Newbury Comics with his college roommate. Savitz left Shoebuy. Savitz's wife had served on the board of the Charlestown Mothers Association with Frigoletto.

Though the pair had only begun delivering lunch to schools in the Boston area last September, Savitz decided to make an offer to acquire the company just before the end of He knew Green pictured at right from serving alongside her on the MITX board; she had vacated the CEO's office at Yankee Group, a Boston tech research firm, at the end of , and was thinking about next steps.

She signed on to run the business around the same time that Savitz was wrapping up the acquisition. Green says, "I was really captivated, partly because it's so different" -- she'd earlier run Cambridge Energy Research Associates and been a top executive at Forrester Research -- "and partly because the mission is so compelling. The company is doing something worthwhile, and there is a huge scale opportunity. Already, U. We got some early AeroShot samples, started the video cameras, and huffed away. There was a noticeable buzz after a few puffs, but the powder's limey flavor was overpowered by an aggressive bitterness from the caffeine.

The flavor lingers in your mouth for longer than you'd like, and it resembles lime Fun Dip blended with crushed aspirin. The overall effect is much more medicinal than enjoyable. Here's the taste test I conducted recently with Boston. After Gowel started following me on Twitter, reading my blog, and scoping out our mutual LinkedIn contacts, he went to a breakfast panel I'd helped to organize. He writes:. Truthfully, it's not bad advice for connecting with any journalist: we remember face-to-face meetings much better than e-mails or phone calls, and it sure doesn't hurt to have read some of our recent writing so you know what we cover.

As opposed to asking, "What kind of stories do you write? Here's a column I wrote after meeting Gowel, "Make better introductions. On New York, Harthorne says, "There's a lot of money, and a big media presence. We've been talking to billionaire types and major corporate entities. Co-founder Akhil Nigam traveled to London in November to discuss the potential of a second MassChallenge program operating there. And when I caught up with Harthorne by phone yesterday, he was at Logan Airport on his way to Brazil, where he was participating in the state's "Innovation Economy Mission.

Though the Boston program received applications from start-up teams this year up from in its inaugural year , there is the question of whether a second site for MassChallenge would dilute the quality of entrants. And also whether state agencies that have offered financial support to MassChallenge here would continue to feel that MassChallenge was doing enough to boost economic development in Massachusetts if it was simultaneously doing the same thing in New York.

Harthorne acknowledges the political sensitivities, and says he has talked with city and state officials already. He believes that a New York program "could be complementary to both locations. Boston and New York both have a common enemy, which is California, and all of the hype that surrounds Silicon Valley. Three things make the MassChallenge different from collegiate business plan competitions, or accelerator programs like Y Combinator and TechStars.

First, MassChallenge is open to all sorts of start-ups, whether they're developing biotech drugs or shoes or gluten-free cereal. Second is size: they offer free office space and mentorship to more than companies each year. The program's winners are listed here. Campus Libre offers students a way to buy and sell used textbooks from other students at their school; the company hopes to generate revenues from referral fees, when students can't find a suitable used text and decide to buy a new one online.

They want to get in and get out. Junctions, from John Hoopes and James Rogers, wants to solve that problem with a new iPhone app that lets you produce, organize, and share group photo albums. Srinivasan says he's talking to a number of app developers now Neemware is rolling out first for iPhones , and adds that he may try to raise money for the start-up soon. Both Vahle and Palm are employees of athenahealth, a Watertown company that helps doctors wring money from insurance companies. Founder Charles de Gaspeau Beaubien has worked in tourism for his entire career.

There are also videos on topics like preventing injuries and controlling your sodium intake. How much exercise does it take to reduce your stress level? The start-up's mobile app, now in a testing phase with iPhone users, will help track those dynamics. The company was founded by David Edwards , a professor of biomedical engineering at Harvard who earlier in his career was involved with Advanced Inhalation Research, a start-up that worked on turning drugs like human growth hormone into powders that could be inhaled, rather than injected.

That business is now known as Civitas. Another Edwards company, Pulmatrix , is developing inhalable drugs to fight respiratory infections. At that size, they dissolve in your mouth and are swallowed, rather than entering your lungs, the company says. Each lipstick tube-sized inhaler contains between 4 and 6 puffs. You can use it a puff at a time, or all at once if you're feeling especially dilapidated. Breathable Foods will also market another product Edwards developed and launched in Le Whif , a calorie-free chocolate inhaler. Edwards tells me that without much marketing, , Le Whifs were sold in , mainly to women.

Another product in development is Le Whaf. Edwards says the company will be developing other products that can deliver flavor without calories, or nutritional supplements without having to pop a pill. Edwards says that Breathable Foods' products are intended to appeal to people "interested in the new. Proof that we as venture capitalists should always be on the frontier of where science meets life. I just got a few AeroShot samples delivered to my office; I'm planning to try one tomorrow morning instead of my morning cup of coffee.

I'll let you know how it goes Uber is a way to summon a town car using an app on your mobile phone. For livery drivers, it's a way to fill in extra work at times when they might otherwise be sitting around. And for consumers, it's a way to get a ride in a car that's more spacious and better-maintained than your typical cab. And the Uber app also provides better information about when exactly you'll be picked up.

I'd already set up an account, giving Uber my credit card information. The iPhone's built-in GPS knew just about where I was, but Uber's app gave me the opportunity to adjust my location to the exact spot on the map where I was sitting. Voltage Cafe, at Third Street. It told me that a driver named Hassan would arrive in about ten minutes, and that Hassan had received a 4.


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  7. I left the app open on my phone, and could watch on the map as Hassan's vehicle made its way from Boston across the river. Uber tries to position its service as slightly more expensive than a cab, but far less expensive than a traditional car service. Exactly ten minutes later, I saw Hassan's car pull up outside. I told him where I was going, and we set off down Memorial Drive toward Brookline. Suction-cupped to his car's windshield was an iPhone supplied by Uber, which relayed rider requests to him, and allowed him to accept or reject them based on whether he was available.

    The car was spotless, and Hassan was attired in a blue suit and natty striped tie. Uber charges a distance fee when the car is traveling faster than 11 miles per hour, and a time fee below that speed. The final fee includes any tolls as well as a tip, and is automatically billed to your credit card.

    We both had the opportunity to rate one another on a scale of one to five stars. I gave Hassan five stars. They round down to the nearest dollar. Uber takes 20 percent off the top, with the driver receiving the rest. The cost of my Uber ride was comparable to what it would've cost to hail a Cambridge cab.

    When I tried to get an estimate for how much it would cost to arrange for a Boston Coach sedan to do the trip, the company's Web site told me that arranging for a car in 15 minutes would be impossible. I mainly try to travel around Boston using public transportation, my bike, and occasionally, my own car or a Zipcar. I rarely use taxis or town cars. I can definitely envision myself summoning an Uber car when I'm pressed for time, or traveling a route that requires multiple T transfers. Also, for airport or train station trips when I'm schlepping lots of luggage. Based on this first experience, I liked getting a more spacious and spiffier car than the typical Boston or Cambridge cab, and knowing exactly when it would arrive.

    All that was missing was the Wall Street Journal waiting for me on the seat The firm had initially hoped to raise a tidy half-billion, but the market didn't cooperate. Shortly after that, partners began to splinter off from the firm, including Mike Hirshland , the guy who'd developed the Dogpatch Labs concept in the first place. Also, over the last two years, while about 75 companies have circulated through the Dogpatch Cambridge space, Polaris has found just one company in which to invest: Biff Labs , a stealthy search-and-social media related start-up that recently graduated out of Dogpatch and into its own Central Square office space.

    For context, Polaris has put money into nine start-ups that gestated in the Dogpatch Labs offices in California and New York. The original number earlier in this paragraph was my mistake. To see where things stand, I got in touch with David Barrett , the Polaris partner who oversees the Cambridge location.

    He served up some stats from the first two years, and underscored Polaris' commitment to keep supporting the space.