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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

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First Off

Rowan: Let’s cut to the chase. Ride-hailing drivers are on strike across the world today in advance of Uber’s IPO. Katherine has details on what’s going down in Chicago, Kieran has info on protests in Washington, Madison is on the scene in Atlanta, and here in Boston, I’ve got you covered.

The Big One

A breakdown on the day’s biggest Inno story.

Rowan: Uber and other ride-hailing drivers are on strike today ahead of Uber’s $90B IPO. In Massachusetts, the Boston Independent Drivers Guild is calling for a shutdown, and protesters were expected to convene at the Uber Greenlight Hub in Saugus at noon.

The drivers’ demands include transparency in how fares are broken down, a driver representative on Uber’s board, regulatory standards around issues like carbon emissions and traffic data, and above all, better wages.

The strike coincides with Uber’s long-awaited IPO, which is planned for Friday, May 10. But organizers say that’s just strategic timing; the shutdown goes far beyond just one company.

“Yes, this strike is directed at Uber, but an injury to one is an injury to all,” said Patrick, a Lyft driver in Brighton who asked that his last name not be disclosed for privacy reasons. “Uber is just the belle of the ball right now because they’re heading into their public offer. All TNC companies are exploiting their workers in the same way. They are claiming to be a software developer instead of an employer.”

Read more: “An Injury to One Is an Injury to All”: Uber, Lyft Drivers Join Strike in Massachusetts

In The Know

The Inno stories you need to read today.

Elsewhere in Inno

Stories from around the Inno network we think you’ll dig.

Making Moves

Inside the people, companies and organizations making moves in Boston.

Rowan: Boston firm Third Rock Ventures is launching a new cancer diagnostics company called Thrive Sciences, according to a new corporation registration filed in Massachusetts last month and unearthed by STAT.

Sri: Boston acoustic sensor company Vesper announced its new battery-powered, voice-activated remote control microphones. The ZeroPower Listening microphones use remote controls from Remote Solution.

Rowan: Cambridge-based cell therapy firm Vericel Corp. has forged a $142M deal to license a gel used to help heal burns. The gel uses enzymes to remove burned tissue, with around 93% of subjects experiencing complete removal of the damaged tissue in a Phase 3 clinical trial.

Sri: Project Onramp, the Massachusetts program to match first-generation and low-income students with premier internships in biotech, successfully placed more than 50 students in internships for its inaugural class.

Rowan: Waltham-based Medicare Advantage plan Devoted Health will begin offering insulin at a $0 copay for its members. The price change is a direct response to reports that diabetic patients cannot afford their insulin treatment.

Sri: Acquia, an open-source digital experience company, acquired Mautic, creator of an open marketing automation and campaign management platform.

Sri: Boston surface coating company NBD Nanotechnologies announced a partnership with mobile lifestyle company ZAGG Inc. ZAGG will infuse NBD’s InvisiPrint technology onto its GlassElite screen protectors, rendering fingerprints invisible on the surface.

Rowan: Woburn agtech company Yield10 Bioscience signed an exclusive worldwide license from the University of Missouri for an advanced technology to boost oil content in crops.

Rowan: Chicago insurance company Productive Edge announced the opening of its Northeast regional office in Boston.

Sri: Today saw the launch of Mereltä, a new, Boston-based hair care company. Its flagship product is a serum called “Mereltä Root Renewal,” an anti-aging, plant-based treatment for the scalp that promotes healthy hair.

New Money

Your daily funding roundup.

Sri: KnipBio, a Lowell startup creating sustainable fish feed, raised $879K in a $1.5M funding round, according to a Form D filing.

Rowan: Tewksbury-based Altiostar, which designs equipment to deploy and expand mobile network operators’ LTE networks, raised $114M in Series C funding with Rakuten coming on board as an investor. Qualcomm Ventures LLC and Tech Mahindra also participated in the C-round early last year.

Sri: Boston-based Mellitus, which is working on new methods of diabetes detection, raised $2.8M in a funding round, according to a Form D filing.

Player Personnel

Who’s moving where.

Rowan: Textbook giant and edtech company Cengage appointed Rebecca McNamara as chief integration officer to oversee Cengage’s merger with McGraw-Hill. Disclosure: Rowan Walrath worked at Cengage in 2015 and 2016.

Sri: Life sciences data and informatics expert Dave John joined iSpecimen as vice president of product management. John was previously a vice president at Decision Resources Group.

In The Community

The events and happenings to know about tonight and this week.

Rowan: The Road to Your Startup’s Exit: Everyone talks about launching a startup. But how does someone sell a company and exit while adding capital value? This free event brings in entrepreneurs who’ve sold their companies. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. at 125 Summer St.

State of Innovation: Talent Inno: Join us May 15 for our next State of Innovation meetup: Talent Inno, presented by Workable, where we invite the community to come together to talk all things leadership, retaining talent, attracting the right employees, work-life balance, and more. With the help of an awesome panel and showcase, we’ll be discussing the best ways to attract, build and retain talent. Register here.


Do you know when to open the door?

Rowan: New York City-based 2048 Ventures is looking for new startups to invest in after raising $27M. “We are ready to be the first check in your company, whether you are located here in NYC, or Toronto or Atlanta, Seattle or Nashville, Austin or Boston, or anywhere in between,” the firm wrote.

Sri: HubSpot and General Catalyst have partnered up to create ELEVATE, a free, virtual startup accelerator. Sessions will take place this summer with the potential opportunity to pitch at INBOUND, HubSpot’s flagship conference.

From Our Partners

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The fun stuff.

Sri: Get ready to imitate life: MassArt will open a free contemporary art museum in February. Previously called the Bakalar & Paine Galleries, the 15K sq. ft. space will function as a teaching museum and resource for MassArt students and faculty. Renderings show immersive galleries, desk space, and open outdoor seating.

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Meet The Authors
Rowan Walrath
Srividya (Sri) Kalyanaraman

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