We’re back! After a long hiatus, Xconomy has returned with more strange-but-true facts from the world of New England innovation. And in this latest installment, our third so far, things are getting seriously offbeat.
Who once acted as press secretary for not one, but two of the four leaders of the Tiananmen Square revolt—and which of those four has founded a tech startup right here in Boston? What former VC put himself through college by working in a Canadian nickel mine? Which biotech CEO is a serious race car driver? Whose daughter is a high-profile New York fashion model?
And one more thing: much like that aforementioned miner-innovator, we did a lot of digging to unearth these facts. But we’re more than happy to accept nuggets from our readers as well; just send them to email@example.com.
—When he attended Atlantic College (part of United World Colleges) in the United Kingdom, FastIgnite founder Simeon Simeonov worked at a student-run coastal rescue station on the north shore of the Bristol Channel that was part of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). There was plenty of work, he reports, as the Bristol Channel has the second-highest tidal range in the world—around 50 feet.
—Christina Lampe-Onnerud, founder and CEO of Boston Power, balanced her undergraduate and doctoral studies (her PhD is in inorganic chemistry) at Uppsala University in her native Sweden with her love of singing—performing both in jazz bands and chorus groups. Here in the States, she founded and directs a Massachusetts-based all-women’s chorus—The Stardust Show Chorus. Her husband Per Onnerud, Boston Power’s CTO, is a concert-caliber jazz trumpet player whose swing band has played gigs at Berklee Performance Center, among other places.
—Doug Fambrough, CEO of Dicerna Pharmaceuticals and a venture partner at Oxford Bioscience Partners, is a serious amateur race car driver who has competed at some of America’s most legendary tracks, including Sebring, Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen, and Lime Rock Park. Fambrough takes part in both sprints and endurance races that can last 12 hours or more: he splits the time behind the wheel in longer races with two other drivers. “Part of the thrill is the fear—if you’re not scared, you’re not going fast enough!” says Fambrough, who happily reports he has only totaled one car and has never been injured while racing. He currently maintains three Mazda Miatas in track-ready form.
—In 1989, as a recent Amherst College graduate, Cambridge Innovation Center founder and CEO Tim Rowe acted briefly as press secretary for two of the four leaders of … Next Page »