Excerpts from the Innovation Economy blog.
UberSense, a start-up that has participated in the MassChallenge and TechStars Boston programs for early-stage ventures, has announced a $1.1 million funding round and a new version of its sports coaching app.
The free app enables coaches to shoot video on an iPhone or iPad and then mark it up with virtual chalk — as well as audio commentary — to help athletes improve their performance.
It also allows coaches to compare one athlete’s movements with another’s, side by side. Several Olympic teams used the app to prepare for this summer’s London games, including USA Gymnastics and USA Volleyball. The company says that its app has been downloaded 800,000 times and more than 6 million videos have been created. UberSense says gymnastics, baseball, and golf are the three sports the app is most often used for.
Cofounders Amit Jardosh and Krishna Ramchandran started developing the app in hopes of improving their own golf games. Last year, they left jobs at Yahoo and Citrix Online to work on the start-up full time.
The new funding comes from Google Ventures, Atlas Venture, Boston Seed Capital, and Ty Danco, an angel investor in Vermont who participated in the 1980 and 1984 Winter Olympics as a luge racer.
Jardosh said the coaches of MIT’s golf and men’s tennis teams are using the app, adding, “We are now starting to reach out to more local teams and coaches.”
Getting a jump on talent
RunKeeper’s Jason Jacobs has an edge over many start-up founders: He used to work as a recruiter. So when talented people are looking for their next gig, his grapevine tends to clue him in.
That’s how Jacobs connected with Doug Williams, who had served as vice president of engineering and IT at Cambridge’s Zipcar for six years, as the car-sharing network grew from a start-up into a public company, and the engineering team there expanded from three people to more than 40.
Williams left Zipcar in May and spent at the Waltham venture capital firm Matrix Partners, considering his next move. While Jacobs said he didn’t have a specific search going on for a head of engineering at RunKeeper, “We were starting to think about bringing in some foundational leadership to go build a big, enduring company, and to keep up with our aggressive growth. We also share a common investor with Zipcar in Steve Case’s Revolution Ventures.” Case is on the Zipcar board.
Williams joined RunKeeper as its vice president of engineering. The Boston company said 12 million people use its mobile app and website to set fitness goals.
Mark your calendars
Two events in September and October will bring a high-profile cast of West Coast entrepreneurs to Cambridge.
The first, on Monday, features Jack Dorsey, a cofounder and chairman of Twitter and CEO of Square, a mobile payments company that just raised $200 million. Dorsey’s talk at the Stata Center is for MIT students only — basically, a recruiting event — though he will also be holding court with the news media.
The second event, Startup Bootcamp on Oct. 8, is free and open to anyone. It’s at Kresge Auditorium. In addition to local lights like Crashlytics cofounder Jeff Seibert and Paula Long of DataGravity, the roster includes Dave Morin, founder of the mobile social network Path; Digg and Milk founder Kevin Rose; and Leah Busque, the founder of TaskRabbit, a micro-labor start-up born in Cambridge but now headquartered in San Francisco.