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Innovation Economy

A website where start-ups, talent can connect

Excerpts from the Innovation Economy blog.

Start-up scenesters Alex Patriquin and Jon Pierce are behind a worthy new project called Workvibe. The site will be home to a collection of video profiles of Boston-area companies like PerkStreet Financial, Backupify, and HubSpot. The mission is to try to pull new talent into the start-up scene.

“In looking at the local start-up ecosystem and how we could improve it,’’ Pierce wrote via e-mail, “we converged on a few related challenges: our best start-ups are having trouble hiring the talent they need to grow; much of the talent we do have in Boston - in schools, out on 128, in interactive agencies downtown, etc. - is either unaware of, disconnected from, or has misconceptions about start-ups; collectively, we could do a much better job of celebrating our successes and projecting a positive, entrepreneurial culture; and last but not least, we absolutely must do a better job of retaining the talent we do have, particularly in our schools.’’

Pierce and Patriquin started working on the project in September. While they hope it will have a good run, they don’t aim to turn it into a business of its own.


“We do see an acute need in the marketplace for an evolution of the ways that companies recruit and portray themselves to candidates,’’ Patriquin added.

Other companies that will be featured on include EverTrue, which helps schools communicate with their alumni, and GrabCAD, which operates a marketplace for product design services.

Plugging in

Companies that attain momentum tend to attract “inbound’’ calls from venture capitalists, asking whether they might be able to use a little more rocket fuel.

That was the case with Shareaholic, a small Cambridge company that creates tools for users and Web publishers that make it easy to share content and analyze what visitors are sharing.


Shareaholic founder Jay Meattle wrote via e-mail: “We weren’t even thinking about raising a round [of funding] at the beginning of the summer, but our growth rate and traction started attracting a lot of inbound interest in the company.’’

About 2 million people have downloaded Shareaholic’s browser plug-in, which enables content sharing through services such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Tumbler, and plain old e-mail. Through publishers that use Shareaholic’s tools, the company reaches about 250 million unique users each month, it says. Investors took notice.

Shareaholic announced $1.9 million in new funding last week. “This round will enable us to lay a solid foundation for building the next big company in Boston, by scaling our team and resources to expand on our current traction and growth curve,’’ Meattle wrote.

Executive climbs into robotics

Jim Baum, Netezza’s former chief executive, is making a career leap, from data warehousing to grocery warehousing.

Baum was running Netezza when IBM purchased the company for $1.7 billion; Netezza made high-performance data-warehousing appliances. Baum stuck around at Big Blue for exactly one year. Now, he’s joining CasePick Systems in Wilmington as CEO.

In almost five years of existence, CasePick has remained so quiet that it has not issued a single news release.

CasePick seems to be designing robotic carts - they call them T3Vs, or Track-guided Transfer and Transport Vehicles - that can move through a warehouse, picking up and dropping off cases (usually cardboard boxes) full of merchandise, using a robotic arm.


CasePick was acquired in 2009 by one of its early backers, New Hampshire-based C&S Wholesale Grocers.

As for the company’s low profile, Baum said, “I’m going to change all that,’’ alluding to a “meaningful launch’’ of the company in early 2012.

Baum said the company is exploring “lots of opportunities in the grocery industry and outside it. The strategy is not to keep the technology captive’’ within C&S, which is one of the country’s largest grocery wholesalers.

The company has about 100 employees, Baum said, “and we’ll go well beyond that in the next year.’’

For the full Innovation Economy blog, updated daily, visit