Excerpts from the Innnovation Economy blog.
Less than three years after the Philadelphia start-up Happier.com went kaput trying to build a website and a mobile app to help people live happier lives, a Boston start-up called Happier is doing the same thing — and hoping for a rosier ending.
The new Happier was cofounded by Nataly Kogan, formerly of PayPal Boston, and Colin Plamondon, a cofounder of Spreadsong, developer of an iPhone book app. It has raised funding from Boston investors Mike Hirshland at Resolute.vc and Mike Tyrell of Venrock.
Kogan did not want to say much about the five-person start-up but mentioned that its first product, a mobile app, is due in November. Kogan is also continuing to meet with venture capitalists locally.
Here’s how the company describes its mission: “Happier is a happiness company. [Yep, you read that right.] We’re inspired by tons of scientific research showing that focusing on the positive and staying connected to people you care about makes you happier, healthier, and more productive.”
The prior incarnation of Happier.com, based in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., had raised just north of $2 million. It had relied on a mix of advertising and a premium monthly subscription offerings for revenue. (Kogan and Plamondon acquired the URL from that company’s investors.)
As it happens, after the old Happier folded, cofounder Andrew Rosenthal came to Boston to earn an MBA at Harvard Business School.
“My hope is that Nataly and her team will be able to hit it out of the ballpark,” Rosenthal said. “It’s exciting to see people using technology to bring this research to a wider population.”
Pitching to a room full of prospective investors is always stressful. How much more stressful does it get when everyone in the room holds a degree from Harvard?
We’re about to find out. The new HBS Alumni Angels of Boston and New England group is open to any Harvard alum — not just from the business school — with an interest in investing in fledgling companies. It plans to meet quarterly and hear presentations from seven to 10 entrepreneurs each time.
The co-presidents are Paris Wallace, a founder of Ovulineand Good Start Genetics, and Tarlin Ray, managing director at Triple Threat Advisors.
There are more than a dozen HBS angel investing groups around the world, but Wallace says there has never been one in Boston.
Invented Here awards
Boston’s Museum of Science held its second annual Invented Here awards ceremony last month, in partnership with the Boston Patent Law Association.
“We aim to showcase breakthrough technologies that will fulfill important individual and/or social needs in novel ways, and ensure a more sustainable future for our environment,” it said in a press release.
I love that one winner, G-Form, makes knee and elbow pads for extreme athletes, and another, IllumisOss, makes a customizable implant for broken bones. Synergy, baby!
Of the IlluminOss Medical Bone Stabilization System, the museum said:
“The system utilizes a photodynamic (light-curable) reinforcing material to customize the implant in the body, and is intended to eliminate the need for traditional, inconvenient, and painful methods of bone fixation with external pins, plates, and screws.”
Another winner is the iWalk Power-Foot BiOm for amputees.
“The orthosis allows individuals, whether they are single or double amputees, or the victims of loss of motor control, such as from stroke, to walk, run and negotiate stairs with a normal stride and at variable speed,” according to the museum.