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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

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The Big One

A breakdown on the day’s biggest Inno story.

Lucy: Compared to the whole Boston entrepreneurial scene, Boston University admits it has fallen a little behind when it comes to fostering innovation among its community.

So, the private university is launching a set of initiatives – which the school groups under the label “Innovate@BU” – to give its over 30,000 students more opportunities to engage in creative problem-solving. More substantially, the school is investing $20M and it’s committing to the plan for at least 10 years.

“We live in one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial cities in the world,” Gerald Fine, executive director of Innovate@BU, told me in an interview. “Yet, at the same time, we don’t necessarily hear the name ‘Boston University’ associated with that innovative and entrepreneurial community as much as we’d like.”

The first step of BU’s plan is giving Innovate@BU a home in the center of campus. The university is turning a former Radio Shack store – at the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and St. Mary’s Street – into a 6,000-square-foot student hub called “The BUild Lab: IDG Capital Student Innovation Center.” The renovation, which is slated to be completed in late January 2018, is supposed to give students a place to meet for hackathons, accelerators, classes and workshops. In the future, BU plans to move the space into an even larger one, probably in Kenmore Square, Fine said.

“We’ve taken a good, hard look at ourselves here,” Fine said. “And concluded that we need to do more for our students.” Read more: Inside BU’s $20M Plan to Crank Out More Innovators

In The Know

The Inno stories you need to read today.

Making Moves

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

Dylan: One year after launching with Uber to provide rides to the doctor, Boston healthcare startup Circulation is adding the ride-hailing giant’s main rival in the United States, Lyft, as a partner. Circulation facilitates on-demand, non-emergency medical rides for patients by integrating with healthcare systems and APIs provided by Uber and now Lyft. It now serves more than 1,000 healthcare locations across 44 states. Read more: Circulation Now Works with Both Uber and Lyft to Provide Rides to the Doctor 

Lucy: Radio folks, turn up the volume for a new podcast alert. WBUR and Reddit are partnering to launch Endless Thread. In the new podcast, host Ben Brock Johnson and producer Amory Sivertson will guide listeners on an unexpected journey by uncovering the best stories from “the front page of the internet.” Episodes will be dropped weekly.

Dylan: Drift, the marketing tech startup founded by former HubSpot execs, has been making some big product announcements since the company raised its $32M Series B in September. Today, the company announced a new developer platform that allows developers to build apps and integrations on top of Drift’s conversational marketing software. If you go to the company’s website, you’ll see that Drift now calls itself “the world’s first and only conversational marketing platform.” Given that other companies, including HubSpot, are working on their own conversational platforms, I’m skeptical of that statement. When I pressed Drift CEO David Cancel on Twitter, he responded, “Many can copy n paste our words and features but still the case.” Cancel has previously said that Drift isn’t trying to compete with HubSpot, but I dunno, man. Seems like something is going on.

Lucy: MIT engineers have devised a 3D printing technique that uses a new kind of ink made from genetically programmed living cells, the school wrote in a press release. The “living tattoo” technique can be used to fabricate “active” materials for wearable sensors and interactive displays.

New Money

Your daily funding roundup.

Dylan: WordStream founder Larry Kim‘s new chatbot startup, Mobile Monkey, has raised a $3.3M round, according to a new Form D. Kim left WordStream back in March.

Player Personnel

Who’s moving where.

Dylan: Bullhorn has hired Ian Scott as its director of global accounts. Scott was most recently head of sales for a global provider of recruitment technology that wasn’t identified in Bullhorn’s press release. Bullhorn said Scott is a “trusted advisor to many of the world’s top recruitment firms.”

On a separate note, Ryan Bonnici, a former senior director of global marketing at HubSpot, has landed a role as CMO at Chicago-based G2 Crowd, as reported by our sister site Chicago Inno.

In The Community

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

Lucy: Interested in building a career you love in tech? Tomorrow at 6:30 p.m., Startup Institute is hosting a group discussion with alumni from the Startup Institute itself for insight on coursework, partnerships, instructors and overall experience. For more options, you know the drill: check out BostInno Approved. Read more: BostInno Approved: December’s Top Tech & Startup Events in Boston

Read This Read Now

Insight and analysis from the community and beyond.

Lucy: In a blog postDries Buytaert, co-founder and CTO of Acquia, explains the consequences and urgency of the FCC‘s upcoming vote on net neutrality: “In the end, net neutrality affects how people, including you and me, experience the web. I’ve dedicated both my spare time and my professional career to the open web because I believe the web has the power to change lives, educate people, create new economies, disrupt business models and make the world smaller in the best of ways. Keeping the web open means that these opportunities can be available to everyone. If you’re concerned about the future of net neutrality, please take action.”

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Meet The Authors

Dylan Martin

Lucia Maffei

Kyle Gross

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