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#CICGetsGreen: Where does our waste go?  

#CICGetsGreen: Where does our waste go?  

In honor of green industry and innovation month, we’d like to shine a quick spotlight on CIC’s internal efforts to go green!

Two small but mighty CIC crews, the Planeteers and the Kitchens Team, are jointly leading a grassroots effort to institutionalize the 3 “R’s” – Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle – within CIC’s day-to-day operations. Below you will find a quick reference guide on some of the current initiatives.

Connect at Venture Café Mini-Conferences

Connect at Venture Café Mini-Conferences

If you’re from the Boston/Cambridge area and in the innovation community, it’s very likely that you’ve found yourself at Venture Café Kendall recently, hosted every Thursday at CIC Cambridge. These events are inarguably the preeminent networking gathering in the area. As a matter of fact, several hundred people attend each week.We’re going to highlight one of Venture Café Kendall’s rarer events, Mini-Conferences.  

CIC Takes the North Shore with Scitus Engineering

CIC Takes the North Shore with Scitus Engineering

I was introduced to the hardware side of Scitus Engineering, including their parent company CCG (Central Centerless Grinding), Mark Flanagan (CEO) and James Paolino (CTO). These two are the perfect pair: the smartest guy in science class and the best guy in shop class became best friends and great partners with Scitus when their interests crossed paths at their mutual passion for engineering. 

Hatred Has No Place at CIC

Hatred Has No Place at CIC

At CIC we strive to create a platform where bright minds of all origins can work together to change the world for the better. Our job is to facilitate great ideas by removing obstacles from entrepreneurs and innovators. To actualize possibility. We would be mistaken if we thought that racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia are not barriers to this.

REVITALIZING MAKING PANEL: RECAPPING THE BUZZ

Product designers from four Boston-area startups recently met up at Fab@CIC to talk about the role prototyping plays in their process. Up front on the panel were Mariya Sitnova from Emulate (organs on chips), Josh Forman from Confer Health (at-home diagnostic kits), Nick Lancaster from Ecovent (room by room temperature control), and Jason Ray of Paperless Parts (“Kayak for manufacturers”).

It's Hip to Be Fab

Alan Fein, COO of CIC, welcomes the community to Fab@CIC.

Alan Fein, COO of CIC, welcomes the community to Fab@CIC.

Thirty years ago, the great musical innovator Huey Lewis loudly proclaimed that it was hip to be square. Lewis (and the News, of course) invented music that took audiences from 1985 to 1955, and brought them right back. This year, CIC looks toward the future and proclaims a new revolution in hipness. It’s hip to be FAB!

You’re probably asking yourself why I capitalized Fab. Fab Labs – ‘Fab’ being short for ‘fabrication’ – have popped up all across the world over the last few years. In essence, they’re community spaces designed to enable digital fabrication. They’re meant to enable makers and innovators to quickly and efficiently produce goods, prototypes, and models. In the spirit of DIY, you could potentially prototype the flux capacitor for your very own DeLorean time machine within a few minutes.

CIC has Doc’s spirit of creativity; we partnered with the Fab Foundation and the wonderful staff at Render Coffee to make this spirit come to life. We figured that a café and a makerspace would be the ultimate combination of community building. Imagine the great ideas that people come up with over coffee followed by the ability to instantly make prototypes within that same space! So, we set out to do exactly that. It was a journey that took quite a long time, many revisions, and finally launched in early May.

Fab@CIC Grand Opening attendee 3D prints on an Ultimaker.

Fab@CIC Grand Opening attendee 3D prints on an Ultimaker.

Capping off our Arts Week celebration was the best and most fitting way to welcome Fab@CIC to the Boston community. Over 450 people RSVPed and we’d reckon to say it was one of the fabbest events in recent memory. We even had the opportunity to showcase a few very cutting-edge virtual reality platforms and local robotics developers, MassRobotics and Franklin Robotics.

Fab@CIC will permanently feature 3D printers, laser cutters, large format printers, and will also be open to non-CIC members starting at $75 per month. There is a special early-bird deal, too! If you’re new to the world of Fab, rest assured we welcome all levels of dreamers and makers.

If you’re still on the fence after my encouragement, visit Fab Fourth Fridays on the fourth Friday of every month at 5pm in Render Coffee. These are celebrations of everything Fab and will offer the opportunity to network with local makers. Moreover, Fab Fourth Fridays feature demos of the very crafts made in-house. You have nothing to lose and a whole Fab side of you to gain. Be there, or be square! I know Huey said it was hip to be square, but it’s no longer 1987. It’s hip to be Fab!

NEW STARTUP INSTITUTE PERKS FOR CIC MEMBERS

In addition to pretty sweet office space, CIC members have access to more avocados and orange juice than they know what to do with. However, we’ve come to know that CIC’s biggest asset is the broad network of innovators and creators that call CIC their home.

In an effort to enhance our community of innovators and help each other out with a bit of professional development, we are ecstatic to announce a new benefit to CIC members! Startup Institute has partnered up with CIC to provide all CIC members reduced rates to their training programs, access to private student profiles, and invitations to networking events. We’re very pleased that Startup Institute has chosen CIC Boston as their current home. They were even kind enough to participate in one of our client spotlights last year!

Startup Institute has had incredible success placing alums throughout the Boston area, a few of them even securing jobs with CIC companies. One even landed a role at CIC itself! We reached out to them to glean a bit of insight into how they’ve been able to apply their Startup Institute skills to their new careers.

Dan William, a technical associate for Techstars Boston (based out of CIC), enrolled at Startup Institute due to the “quality of the education and courses” at the behest of a dear peer. Dan mentioned that “it certainly helped that [the staff] were not just awesome people, but that we also saw eye-to-eye on the important issues.” He was connected to TechStars via another Startup Institute alum, and has found that the “enthusiastic chaos” of working for his new company has been made easier by his ability to “understand how a startup needs to run” and how to diagnose issues within larger projects.

On the other hand, Amelia Wellers worked in art management for a few years before realizing she wanted to make a career switch into a more exciting, flexible, and innovative industry. When she joined CIC, there was  no sort of formal – or informal, for that matter – marketing team. Amelia, now a Marketing Lead at CIC, shared, “Startup Institute provided me with the baseline knowledge and skills to begin leading auxiliary marketing teams of talented and passionate CIC staffers, and to eventually advocate for my current marketing role.”

Dan and Amelia participated in the full-time Startup Institute program, though Startup Institute has since built out  a wide selection of part-time, weekend and nighttime programs. If you’re worried about having to give up your day job for the sake of developing your professional skills, worry not!  You can most definitely have the best of both worlds. Check out the CIC/Startup Institute member benefits page for you program guide!

YOUR TRUSTY HOLIDAY GIFT GIVING GUIDE

By Shellie Cohen

If you’re anything like me, you are terrible at giving gifts. I’m always trying to improve, but somehow, every year, I just continue to fall short. This year, I’m going to put forth a concerted effort to think outside the box and give some cool gifts to those around me! Here are some Boston based thoughts for the people in your life, broken down by price range:

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1. Treat someone to an all-expenses-paid vacation, or just subsidize a friend’s flight out to come visit you! Right now JetBlue is having a crazy sale and flights are as low as $20 one way, so you may have to splurge for the flight on the way back, but is pretty cool if you can afford some time off from work!

2. Book an entire island for a vacation for you and some close friends/family! Yes. An entire island. Some start as low as $500 a night!

3. Or you could always fall back on a classic gift.

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1. Make a cool end table. Bottle cap table top, for that beer loving friend. Here is a wikihow link and three examples (example 1example 2example 3) from reddit DIY. The expenses come from buying beer bottles with cool tops for a while, the resin and epoxy (which will probably run you about $80), and, of course, getting a table. Although you could probably find a cheap one on craigslist!

2. Take someone to a show! There are a lot of cool shows that come through Boston, check out House of Blues for good music shows, and Ticketmaster Boston for all genres of shows!

3. Another classic: take someone out to a nice dinner! There are so, so many delicious restaurants of every type in this city. Don’t forget to keep Chinatown for some dim sum and the North End for some delicious pasta on your list of options.

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1.Get old school and make a mix CD/playlist with a heartfelt note! There is so much new music out in the interwebs; capture some of that and send it along with some love.

2. Go on a brewery tour! There are an excessive amount of breweries in the area. Trillium. Sam Adams. Harpoon. NightShift. Aeronaut. Slumbrew. The list goes on. Gluten free? Not a problem. Take your friend/family member on the Downeast Brewery Tour or stop by Bantam Cider House in Somerville. A lot of these are free to go into and drink in a taproom, and the tours aren’t wildly expensive, so that’s good.

3. Set out to learn how to make a new dish! Invite the giftee over and go grocery shopping together. You can finally figure out what goes in your favorite sushi roll or how to make the perfect macaroon.

Go forth, and give some good gifts!

Guest Post: MASSACHUSETTS ANGEL INVESTOR TAX CREDIT

Kevin P. Martin, Jr. is the Managing Director of Kevin P. Martin & Associates, P.C. (KPM), a CPA and business consulting firm with local offices in Boston, Braintree, and Danvers, including CIC. Kevin works with all types of startup companies and has spent his entire career working with companies to monetize Federal and state tax credit programs. Got a question? Kevin can be reached at kmartinjr@kpm-us.com. You can also follow Kevin on Twitter @KPMCPA.

On August 10, 2016, Massachusetts Governor Baker signed legislation enacting an angel investor tax credit program effective August 17, 2017.

Massachusetts joins a long list of states offering some form of tax credit for investors in early stage companies in specific technologies or industries.

In the Commonwealth, taxpayer investors who make investments in “qualifying businesses” which includes investments in the e-health, information technology and health care sectors will be allowed a tax credit equal to 20% of the taxpayer’s qualifying investment. Investments in qualifying businesses in “gateway municipalities” qualify for a credit of 30% of the investment made.

A qualifying business means a business with:

  • Its principal place of business in Massachusetts
  • 50% or more of its employees are located in the business’s principal place of business
  • A fully developed business plan that includes long-term and short-term forecast and contingencies of business operations, including research and development, profit, loss and cash flow projections and details of angel investor funding
  • 20 or fewer full-time employees at the time of the taxpayer investor’s initial investment
  • A federal tax identification number
  • Gross revenues equal to or less than $500,000 in the fiscal year before eligibility.

Investors may invest up to $125,000 per year with a $250,000 maximum for each qualifying business. Total credits available for use by an individual investor are capped at $50,000 in each calendar year.

Tax credits may be taken in either the tax year of the initial investment or in any three subsequent taxable years. “Excess credits” may be carried forward to any of the three subsequent taxable years.

Let’s face it, credits are being made available to encourage start-ups knowing that those companies create jobs. The hope is that Massachusetts will realize more revenue in the long run than they sacrifice by offering the tax breaks. That said, under the enacted legislation, if the qualifying business ceases to have its principal place of business in the Commonwealth within the 3-year period, the investors will not be able to claim any further credits and must repay the total amount of credits claimed.

One of the problems with these types of credit programs is that so many people remain unaware of them, blunting a potentially powerful financing opportunity.

This is going to be a great program. Let’s see how it plays out over the coming months. In the end, the real driver is to foster growth innovation and workforce development.

Kevin Martin.jpg

Client Spotlight: Boston Area Science Exchange (BASE)

¡Saludos! We wanted to practice our language skills so we sat down with CIC Boston resident organization, BASE!

BASE.jpg

Give us your elevator pitch.
BASE is a teacher-owned and teacher-run language school aiming to bridge cultural and linguistic gaps in the Boston area and beyond. We have 10+ years of experience in Boston helping people with their language skills, including translation and interpreting services.

Our strength is our focus on building and maintaining conversation skills in the target language via small-group and private courses. We weave our niche community tightly in Boston through the cultural opportunities we offer, in addition to our language courses and through the relationships we’ve cultivated with like-minded organizations in Boston.

Self-assessments are available on our website (bostonspanish.com) to decide what course you need to take.

How did the company start?
We (Lorena Calderón and Bill Spirito) moved to Boston with the initial goal of paying off Bill’s college loans, as earning Colombian pesos while paying off loans in American dollars wasn’t cutting the cake. At first Bill wanted to take a break from language teaching, having taught English and Spanish as well as training teachers in Bogotá for five years, but we almost immediately identified a void in quality Spanish-language learning opportunities in Boston, and the idea took off.

BASE teamed up with JVS Boston where BASE operated from for ten years until the surge of gentrification of Winter Street led us to the enlightened world of coworking space. We discovered CIC with the help of CIC employees who were enrolled at the time that we received our 30-days from Winter Street.

We love CIC!

Do you have a favorite translation or phrase to teach?
“Que estés bien.” Be well.

I use only Spanish from the get-go in my courses, even in the introductory ones, so I lean on synonyms and cognates heavily. When teaching students how to say “good-bye” I write “Adiós = ” on the board (I have yet to have an intro student who had never learned “Adiós” somewhere along the line), and I encourage them to go beyond using that and “Hasta la vista, baby.” By far my favorite authentic good-bye to teach students is “Que estés bien,” which is not just for Buddhists!

What was your latest company milestone?
We began offering Portuguese courses again this year, and surprisingly, in our first attempt to offer courses out of CIC Cambridge at One Broadway, we were successful! From our experience, programs need multiple course periods to take hold.

What brought you to CIC?
Adrienne Mueller, love her! She was one of the above-mentioned CIC staff who had been enrolled in a BASE course at the time we were looking for space to continue our operations. We were then introduced to the wonderful Julia Hansen who toured us around and proclaimed that CIC loves experiments, so we experimented, and so far, so good!

DIY Virtual Reality: A 3D Scan of CIC's Monthly Boston VR Meetup

That’s me, sitting in a CIC Boston conference room and posing deer-eyed for the… DPI-8 3D scanner. Fresh from a meeting with Michael Kaplan of NVIDIA, Jimmy Giliberti of WorldViz, and Chris Ahern from DotProduct, Chris fleshed out our virtual discussion by scanning our nook and rendering it into a virtual space on his NVIDIA-powered, WorldViz-enabled, handheld Android touchscreen in less than 90 seconds.

In anticipation of Boston Virtual Reality’s next monthly meetup at CIC Cambridge on June 29th, event organizer Jeff Bail connected me across time zones with these engaging presenters to discuss new developments in the realm of virtual reality and what future applications of VR they’re most excited to be a part of.

Tell us about your company and your background in VR. What do you do?

Michael K. – I’ve been in the visual graphics world for 20 years, starting off in broadcast and post-production and making my way to business development for enterprise VR. Nvidia started in 1993 and has since become the world leader in visual computing. We provide visual computing platforms for almost every industry, including gaming, manufacturing, medical entertainment, and even aerospace. Did you know that virtual reality needs seven times the amount of graphics computing than gaming does? We provide those GPUs. We’re also really focusing on how deep learning intersects with VR.

Chris A. – I come from a marketing background, and found Boston to be a great fit to focus on marketing for the tech world. DotProduct has been around for four years and shipping products for three years, and is headquartered just down the street from CIC Boston. We take off-the-shelf sensor technology to bringing rapid 3D data capture to the market.

Jimmy G. – WorldViz started in 2002, budding from our CEO’s doctoral work in neuroscience, specifically how the brain processes VR data when dealing with phobias and PTSD. WorldViz is one of the few, early companies to make VR work in the enterprise market, collaborating on product design with large companies and producing a full stack of VR solutions.

What recent development in the VR world are you most excited about? Does it help us normal, un-digitized folk improve our lives? Or is it just really fun?

Michael – From an NVIDIA perspective, we’re excited to be able to bring the technology to the table to focus on pristine shading and rendering for VR, and keeping frame rates high to avoid the oft-referenced nausea factor.  We’ll be showing Iray VR, part of our VR Works software stack that makes the experience as photo-realistic as possible, a quality which is also super important for the architecture and manufacturing world. VR has a huge impact on healthcare as well – I’ve been inside someone’s brain, examining the best way to operate on a cancerous tumor.

Chris – DotProduct’s focus is on the widespread realm of decision-making, and pairing DotProduct and WorldViz’s technologies enables us to provide a quick virtual experience to make accurate decisions. We’re excited that providing a lightweight, hand-held solution makes it easy to share immersive, beautiful experiences, or can help with training in dangerous scenarios. Industry-wise, it’s a matter of bringing VR down to scale and showing that those who may not expect that they need VR capabilities actually do need it.

Jimmy – DotProduct also really helps out with communication between the as-planned and as-built, in which someone on the ground can scan and report a misplaced pipe or tube, resulting in greater financial savings for the construction industry. What we’re excited about is projection-based VR, which allows for eight or nine people to experience the same virtual space from different angles. Again, this is especially important for one-on-one training, in which both the teacher and the student can walk through situations meant to desensitize or sensitize the student in preparation for real life situations.

What hurdles do you foresee in the future of VR?

Michael – Right now, I think that the cost to entry from the consumer standpoint is too high, and resolution, speed and latency still needs to be better across the board for it to be totally adopted. Feedback (hapticdevices) and physical resistance also needs to improve for the experience to be as real as possible (our PhysX for VR is helping make this better). Technology is getting better all the time, so the timing of when to invest in this type of technology is also an important decision to be made.

Chris – My impression is pretty similar, though the cost for consumers to purchase VR is going down. The hardware requirements can also be a challenge, especially with the amount of power needed for VR applications.

Jimmy G – My impression is actually, “Wow, it’s that cheap now?” Coming from the enterprise side, it’s actually much more affordable than it was before. It’s also a different set of folks coming to the table whose first impressions determine whether VR is a hit or not. We’re dependent on the next wave of VR applications to set the bar high, as they’ll have a big effect on the industry.

What are you looking forward to at the upcoming Boston VR meetup on June 29?

Michael – I always love educating people to what’s possible, and giving NVIDIA kudos now and then. I’m also excited to be part of a crowd that knows VR – I’ve been to VR meetups at CIC, and I know that room fills up!

Chris – I’m looking forward to showing DotProduct’s partnership with WorldViz. A few years ago, we would talk of the day in which we could bring VR right into your headsets. Now we can speak to the same people and with this software, show how we’ve brought handheld scanning to VR.

Jimmy – As a West Coast person, I’m excited to learn about the needs of the Boston VR community. I also love the fact that this particular demo will be scanning a person, then allowing him or her to walk around him/herself. It’s one of the freakiest things, but it’s kind of fun.

Have a VR fun fact?

Michael – I’ve climbed Mt. Everest! I was in someone’s brain! Just three days ago, I was on the Starship Enterprise and saved a crew from a ship that was being destroyed.

Chris – A lot of people have walked around my apartment, virtually.

Jimmy – I’m still amazed at the worlds that I get to go enjoy. There’s a bit of escapism, and I love to travel. VR is the ultimate travel machine, and it could be a time machine too. I look at it as basically stepping into the Tardis.  

Meet Michael, Chris and Jimmy at the Boston VR Meetup on June 29th in the Venture Cafe, on the 5th Floor of One Broadway in Kendall Square, from 6:00pm – 9:30pm. 

Is Your Company Eligible for the R&D Tax Credit?

Beginning with the 2016 tax year, eligible small businesses and their owners can claim the R&D credit against their alternative minimum tax liability. Eligible small businesses include partnerships, sole proprietorships, and privately held corporations whose average, annual receipts for the 3-year tax-period preceding the tax year claiming the credit do not exceed $50 million. Kevin P Martin Associates