The Hive

Techstars enrolls a new class of startups

Highlights fron, Boston’s source for innovation news.

Techstars has unveiled another class of a dozen startups, its seventh in the Boston area and the first at its new location in the Leather District.

The teams represent a wide range of technology applications, including automated job candidate assessments for human resources departments (Cangrade); a wireless, room-by-room heating and cooling system (ecoVent); and Litographs, which helps authors connect with fans and produce literary merchandise.

“We continue to be extremely impressed with the quality of applications and love the diversity of their businesses,” managing director Katie Rae wrote in a blog post.


The startup accelerator program had been in a Microsoft building in Kendall Square since its launch in 2009, but now joins the burgeoning innovation scene in Boston. As Globe blogger Scott Kirsner noted back when the move was merely a rumor, Techstars’s new neighbors include Rest Devices, Ministry of Supply, TurningArt, SpreadShirt, and Uber Boston.

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The winter session will conclude at the end of April.

Callum Borchers/Chris Reidy

‘ for alcohol’ lands $2.25m

A view of the alcohol delivery app.

Drizly, the maker of a mobile app that delivers alcohol to your doorstep, has a new reason to toast after closing a $2.25 million seed round Wednesday.

The Boston startup offers its service here in the Hub and in New York City, but the investment led by Atlas Ventures will help it expand to new locations.


Drizly is the brainchild of three Boston College graduates who figured people would pay a smidge extra (five bucks) for the convenience of having the local liquor store deliver their orders in an hour or less. Stores who partner with Drizly like the idea, too, because people tend to buy more — three times more — when they don’t have to lug their own libations.

“Drizly is the for alcohol,” said chief executive Nick Rellas. “The liquor store experience hasn’t evolved since Prohibition ended in 1933. A tiny fraction of $83 billion in liquor store revenue comes from deliveries. That’s because liquor delivery has been terribly inconvenient for the consumer and a hassle for the stores. Now, Drizly gives consumers the convenience of getting alcohol delivered quickly and responsibly.”

The “responsibly” part comes in the form of age verification upon delivery.

Callum Borchers

Mass. ranks 3d with promising companies

Forbes is out with its annual list of America’s most promising companies today, and seven Massachusetts businesses are among the top 100. That’s a pretty darn good showing that ranked Massachusetts third, behind only California (34) and New York (23).


As you might expect, the lineup is dominated by technology and life science companies.

Among the local entries, uTest got the most respect, coming in at number seven — one spot higher than where it placed last year.

It’s easy to see why: uTest boasts a global network of more than 100,000 contractors who can test developing software under almost any conditions. Huge corporations like Google, Amazon, and Netflix trust the service.

You won’t see the uTest name on next year’s list, however. That’s because the Framingham company is on the verge of a rebranding as Applause, the name of its service for tracking user feedback on apps.

The other Massachusetts firms recognized for great potential were VMTurbo (number 26), NutraClick (58), ALKU (76), Boston Heart Diagnostics (95), Retroficiency (97), and Quantopian (98).

Callum Borchers

Quanterix funded for brain injury tests

Quanterix Corp., a Lexington medical diagnostics company, was awarded $300,000 from General Electric Co. and the National Football League’s head-health initiative to advance tests that can quickly diagnose brain injuries.

The so-called Head Health Challenge is a $60 million collaboration between GE and the NFL. Concussions are a pressing legal issue for the NFL, as well as a health concern. This month, a federal judge took steps to slow the proposed $765 million settlement of NFL concussion claims, questioning if there’s enough money to cover 20,000 retired players.

Quanterix has developed something it calls Simoa technology, designed to measure molecular signatures of brain injuries in blood.