Highlights from boston.com/hive, Boston’s source for innovation news.
As Springpad positions itself beyond being yet another note-taking service, the Boston start-up has named Jacqueline Hampton its chief executive and charged the former Time Inc. vice president with making to-do lists that help check themselves off.
At first glance, it might be easy to confuse Springpad with the popular note-taking app Evernote or the social clipboard site Pinterest. But Springpad ultimately has a different mission, Hampton said. In short, it wants to help you work your way through what needs to be done, whether it’s back-to-school shopping or planning that dream vacation.
To that end, Springpad tries to automatically detect what kind of information you’re jotting down or clipping in, and then intelligently store it. Is it a recipe? It will break out the ingredients. A movie? It will offer up a trailer and the film’s cover.
But then Springpad takes it a step further, notifying you when that movie hits the theaters, comes out on Netflix, or shows up on Hulu.
If you have a shopping list, it will automatically find items on it at Amazon.
And as with any good digital start-up, the package is mobile and social. This latter aspect is beautifully illustrated with a number of new partnerships with publishers and brands to highlight relevant content, including major names like TripAdvisor and Wayfair.
These pages offer a fun way to explore potential products. For example, TripAdvisor’s Springpad includes a travel plan for a nationwide ballpark tour, including the best travel deals, Foursquare tips for each ballpark, and access to tickets.
Hampton said partnerships will be key to getting the rethought Springpad in front of a larger audience. “We want to help the dreamer be organized, in addition to helping the Type A stay super organized,” Hampton said.
That’s a big target market, but the site has made inroads. Hampton said the site has 4.5 million register users, with 300,000 to 450,000 active monthly users; 75 percent of those users originate via mobile.
— MICHAEL MORISY
Tax-saving ‘coupons’ for businesses
Have you ever bought something, only to realize later that there was a coupon you failed to take advantage of?
The feeling is bad enough when the purchase was dinner at your favorite Mexican restaurant, but I bet it would be a bit more painful if it was, say, a $135 million office building.
Fortunately, the folks at TripAdvisor are better at redeeming coupons than I am. They got a discount worth an estimated $2.75 million on that new office, in the form of state and local tax breaks.
And they did it with the help of a Medway company called Business Development Strategies — a sort of coupon clipper for tax incentives. If you’re a business leader looking to expand your company, you may be vaguely aware that cities and the state sometimes offer tax breaks. But you probably don’t know whether you are eligible, and don’t know the first thing about securing money.
“Companies are intimidated by working with state and local governments,” founder Lynn Tokarczyk said, “because their expertise is running their business. They don’t know what buttons to push with officials.”
Tokarczyk, a former regional director in the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, helps companies identify potential rewards for building in target areas and creating jobs. For TripAdvisor, BDS brokered a deal with Needham that will reduce the company’s tax bill for 13 years when it moves in 2015 from Newton to Center 128, an office park in Needham that is being redeveloped.
The key to any such agreement, Tokarczyk said, is to convince officials and residents that the company will deliver benefits that make tax breaks worthwhile.
There’s also the argument some taxes are better than no taxes. Needham is granting a discount, but officials estimate the town will collect $6 million more than it would if TripAdvisor did not move there at all.
— CALLUM BORCHERS