Xconomy Boston’s Top 20 Stories of Q2 2013: Editor’s Picks

Xconomy Boston — 

Here we are at the midpoint of 2013. Time to look back over the previous quarter and highlight some of the top stories we’ve done at Xconomy Boston.

As is my quarterly tradition, these are editor’s picks—my favorite stories from April through June 2013—and they exemplify what Xconomy tries to do, day in and day out. These stories made an impact, whether that means high traffic, high controversy, discussions spawned in the community, or all of the above.

I also want to take some extra time and add a bit about why each story is listed here. Each one is part of a bigger theme, as you’ll see.

So… here are 20 posts that tell the story of technology and business innovation in Boston over the past three months, in reverse chronological order (and separated by sector):

Top 10 Tech Stories of Q2:

1. Formlabs, 3D Systems in Settlement Talks Over 3D Printing Patent

Here’s a high-profile startup in a burgeoning hardware field, battling the powers that be in a legal dispute. An all-too-familiar scenario for young companies; this case impacts the future of the hardware/maker community in Boston.

2. Boston Tech’s Inferiority Complex: “It’s a F***ing Waste of Time”

Headline says it all. Fully captures the sentiment of local tech leaders when you ask them about Boston vs. Silicon Valley and other clusters.

3. With Big Bucks Chasing Big Data, Will Consumers Get a Cut?

Smart trends piece (involving Boston companies) looking at whether big data and privacy can be resolved by compensating consumers for their information.

4. Go East, Young Developers

Guest post from tech guru David Cancel on local talent flow—and HubSpot’s $30K referral-fee program for recruiting developers. It’s hard to remember a time when engineers were in higher demand.

5. Andy Miller on Apple, Leap Motion as the New Apple, & Sacramento Kings Deal

Fun piece on a Boston-bred mobile entrepreneur who moved to the Bay Area (sigh), worked with Steve Jobs, and now co-owns the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.

6. As HubSpot Eyes IPO, Here’s How It Stacks Up Against Competitors

One of the most prominent tech startups in town in one of the hottest sectors (marketing). An inside look at its peer group, with an eye toward what the future may hold, since everyone and their brother likes to speculate about HubSpot.

7. Terrafugia Unveils New TF-X Project, Talks Future of Flying Cars

Everyone loves flying cars too, even if they’re still a few years away. This Boston-area company, Terrafugia, just has to survive long enough to see them hit the market. But if they do, look out.

8. Atlas Venture Raises $265M Fund, Touts Turnaround from Bloated Years

Some of the top venture firms have been raising new funds (see also Spark, Battery, Third Rock, Highland). These stories have been interesting because we’ve also taken a look at VC returns from their previous funds—something that doesn’t get reported enough. In recent years, Atlas has revamped its model, which will be fun to watch as its portfolio companies mature.

9. Amid Grief, Boston Tech Companies Spot Threats, Analyze Video, Aid Victims

No one needs to be reminded about that terrible week in mid-April. But it’s good to know a lot of local companies have been involved in relief efforts, countering security threats, and more.

10. A Sandwich, a Startup, and Soon a Lawsuit? The Crunchbutton Story

A quirky story about a New England food-tech startup taking on an Ivy League institution. The issue at hand: delivering sandwiches to students.


Top 10 Life Sciences and Energy Stories of Q2:

1. Healthbox, Busy in Boston, Expands and Diversifies Amid Seed-Stage Flood

The story of a healthtech accelerator coming to Boston and adjusting its strategy because of the politics of the healthcare industry and the glut of seed-stage startups.

2. Oh, Baby: OvaScience’s Roadmap to Next Generation IVF

In vitro fertilization is always a hot topic, and this startup, OvaScience, has one of the splashiest approaches in the field. Being led by Michelle Dipp raises its profile as well.

3. Profiles in Long-Termism: Sarepta Therapeutics CEO Chris Garabedian

A great narrative feature about a public company coming back from the brink, and the tough decisions its CEO has to make. An important lesson, as we keep hearing, is to think long-term.

4. Hair-Raising Follica Study Could Point to Baldness Therapy

Another intriguing Boston-area life sciences company, this one working on a therapy for male and female pattern baldness. The hype and speculation has been deafening over the past few years, but Follica finally reported some clinical results and important progress on the science of its approach.

5. The Biotech IPO Scorecard: Who’s Up, Who’s Down in 2013

Here’s a major theme in biotech companies: they’re going public earlier than they used to (sometimes before they have drugs in clinical trials), in numbers that dwarf the tech sector, especially around Boston. Epizyme and Bluebird Bio had IPOs in the past month, while we can’t tell you who the next Boston tech IPO will be (well, maybe we can).

6. Epizyme Prices IPO at $15 Per Share, Begins Trading Friday

Speaking of which, Epizyme seems to be doing fine as a public company, with a market cap north of $700 million. The company is going after new kinds of cancer drugs using advances in epigenetics to target specific enzymes.

7. Digital Lumens, Finding Its Identity, Brings Cost and Energy Savings to Light

This was a long-overdue look at one of the more interesting energy-efficiency startups in town. Digital Lumens plays at the intersection of cleantech, software, hardware, and industrial lighting. And its story (and potential impact) touches all of those sectors.

8. Henri Termeer on Startups, Drug Prices, and Getting Older (Part 1)

An expansive Q&A with one of Boston’s most prominent biotechies, Henri Termeer. Let’s just say the former Genzyme CEO is keeping busy in the community, working with a number of startups and universities.

9. A Biotech Innovation Supply Chain: Reality or Fantasy?

Watch this space, as it is really heating up fast. People are talking about new ways to match up drug companies, biotech startups, and scientific and medical research groups, to do more effective R&D. We’ve had a series of provocative posts from Katrine Bosley, Standish Fleming, and Noubar Afeyan.

10. Big Data Is BS in Healthcare. When Will It Become Real?

Another flashpoint topic in life sciences and tech. Healthcare companies and researchers are trying to figure out how to use “big data” and analytics to improve patient care and reduce costs. But until more business interests get aligned, big data will remain a mostly meaningless buzzword.