Innovation Economy

Divining the future of real estate

Highlights from the Innovation Economy blog.

A start-up created by six Dartmouth College­ alums is selling a report that might be relevant if you are in the market for real estate. Pricing Nation looks at an array of indicators about a property — including wage trends in the area, business growth, and similar homes on the market — to produce a one-year price forecast on an individual home.

The company charges $20 for a report on a specific street address, but offers a free forecast for a ZIP code area.

“There’s a pretty big range in the Greater Boston area about what we predict will happen over the next year, with some neighborhoods dropping 12 percent [Plymouth] and others going up 10 percent [Foxborough],” said cofounder Tony Ettinger. He said the estimates could prove useful to sellers thinking about the right time to list their home, and to buyers who “don’t want to catch a falling knife. If the value is still going down on a property, that might be relevant to them.”


The estimates are based on eight key data points, including unemployment figures, ­interest rates, home inventory nearby, and how unusual the property is. The company offers forecasts for seven counties in Eastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire, including Norfolk, Suffolk, and Middlesex.

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Marginize was one of the higher-profile companies to come out of TechStars Boston in 2010.

The start-up attracted $250,000 by the time the program held its concluding Demo Day, including a funding commitment from HubSpot cofounder Dharmesh Shah.

The idea was to allow people to leave their mark on Web pages, by posting comments and tweets or simply by “checking in.” Marginize made a browser plug-in that would show you all this info, and several sites (including added Marginize as a feature, so readers without the plug-in could click to see the marginalia.

But Marginize did not take off, in part because many of the tweets can be summarized thusly: “Hey, check out this cool Web page/blog post/article!” That didn’t exactly add richness to the experience of reading the Web page, blog post, or article.


So Marginize founder Ziad Sultan cooked up a different idea, and went back to his investors. Atlas Venture and several angels ponied up, and Sultan has now raised about $1.1 million for the new idea, on top of $650,000 he had previously raised for Marginize.

The new concept, Nextly, is a nifty way to view “content streams” in your Web browser. A content stream is a set of Web pages from a particular source. It could be the latest articles from, news stories from the BBC, or simply all of the links people are posting in your Twitter timeline.

You can flip forward and backward through the pages quickly by using your arrow keys, just as easily as with a print magazine. Nextly preloads the next few sites in your queue so that they pop up almost instantly.

Dance your lunch hour away

A new event series is getting underway that will invite business movers and shakers to spend their lunch hours, well, moving and shaking. Lunch Beat, founded in Stockholm in 2010, arrives in Cambridge next month.

The concept is simple: Instead of sitting with your co-workers and griping about office politics, you spend an hour dancing to a DJ set. Sandwiches are available to eat during a break from the dance floor, or to take back to your desk.


The Lunch Beat Manifesto decrees that everyone must dance. And “You don’t talk about your job at Lunch Beat.”

The first Lunch Beat happens March 6 at the Hack/Reduce shared space in East Cambridge.

It sounds like the event will be held every month, and it will take place at a Boston venue on occasion.

The organizers include start-up adviser Dmitri Gunn, Rebecca Corliss of HubSpot, and Fred Destin of Atlas Venture, known for his enthusiastic rug-cutting.

There is no website yet with information about the first event, but you can follow @DmitriGunn on Twitter to stay in the loop.

For the full Innovation Economy
blog, updated daily, visit