A lot has happened in the first three months of 2014. Now that the first quarter is ending, and we’re all more than ready for spring, it’s time to look back on our top stories.
As usual, these are my subjective picks. In many cases, but not all, they were high-traffic stories. Together they paint a picture of important developments in the New England innovation scene, and the types of stories we do at Xconomy that stand the test of time.
Some areas to watch: startup accelerators in transition, the rise of personal health and wearables, the challenges of edtech companies, a new crop of biotech startups, talent flow on the East Coast, and intellectual property at universities.
One familiar theme to Boston techies is buyouts. Azuki Systems was the first major tech-startup acquisition of the year (bought by Ericsson), in early February. That was followed by Skyhook Wireless (TruePosition), Cloudant (IBM), and The Echo Nest (Spotify). For all the talk about upcoming IPOs and building big, independent companies, most successful tech startups get acquired. We’ll see who’s next.
I used to separate these lists into tech stories and life sciences stories, but in the spirit of innovation unity, let’s take a look at them all together. So, starting with the most recent (and with commentary in six words or less), here we go:
1. How Airports Became Ground Zero in the Rental Car Startup Wars
Lessons in ride-sharing at SFO.
2. Semyon Dukach Goes From VC Outsider to Techstars Boston Head
A startup ecosystem in transition.
3. RunKeeper Not Spooked by New Apple, Google Health Push
Bring it on, big boys.
4. One Laptop Per Child CEO: “We Have Achieved Our Goals”
Educational goals, that is, not hardware.
5. Cracking K-12 Edtech: Lessons From TenMarks, Panorama, & Playrific
K-12 edtech is tricky but doable.
6. Ataxion Emerges From Stealth With $17M, Option Deal With Biogen
Resurrecting assets in bid for acquisition.
7. Get a Shot, Have Some Bread: ImmusanT’s Plan for a Celiac Vaccine
Go gluten-free or ImmusanT?
8. Merrimack Valley Startups Pushing Local Innovation, Global Lessons
Innovation ecosystem in a different Valley.
9. Athletes Look to Tech for Performance, Injury Help at Harvard
MC10’s electronics in football, soccer, hockey.
10. Quanttus Dives Into Personal Health With $22M From Khosla, Matrix
Big startup bet in wearable health.
11. Ex-Harvard Bio Prez Leads Spinoff’s Plan to Make Engineered Organs
HART is growing replacement organs. Yes.
12. Swirl Rolls Out “Indoor GPS” at Alex and Ani Stores Nationwide
Startup’s indoor location tech for retail.
13. New York Leads Boston in Tech Job Growth; Google, Wayfair at Top
Where is East Coast talent flowing?
14. Ericsson Acquires Boston Startup Azuki in Internet TV Wars
First, not last, big tech acquisition.
15. PillPack Starts Offering Online, Personalized Prescription Service
Online pharmacy startup makes its move.
16. Will the Next Great Boston Tech Company Please Stand Up?
Besides Wayfair, is what I meant.
17. Enanta, No Longer Obscure, Seeks Slice of Big Hepatitis C Market
Just another public biotech in Watertown.
18. Apple, Amazon, Samsung, & More Settle Boston Univ. Patent Lawsuits
There’s money in them mobile patents.
19. Tillman Gerngross, the Scientist Turned Scientific Businessman
A man, a plan, a life.
20. Scholar Rock Aims to Hit Disease-Causing Proteins in a “Niche”
Here’s what growth factors are, son.