At Harvest, founder and former CEO Charlie Grinnell will stay on, overseeing technology and operations, as Kawola focuses on sales and marketing. "At Z Corp., we were building a complex product for a new market, and so this feels very familiar to me," says Kawola, who spent 15 years helping nudge 3-D printing into the mainstream. Initially, he'll focus on making sure that Harvest is reaching all the commercial plant growers who can benefit from the first generation of its 'bot, and later he'll look for other applications. While the current product is good at picking up and moving potted plants, Kawola said that new kinds of sensors and grabbers, which the company might license or acquire, could enable it to do other kinds of tasks.
Kawola tells me that Harvest investor Eric Paley and board member Russ Wilcox connected him to the company; Wilcox was formerly the chief executive of display-maker E Ink.
I last wrote about Harvest in June, when I had a chance to visit a commercial nursery in Connecticut that was testing out the company's robots. And I spoke with Kawola back in 2008, when he was launching an interesting Z Corp. partnership with videogame-maker Harmonix Music Systems.
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About Scott Kirsner Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.
May 16 & 17: Convergence Forum on Life Sciences
Speakers from Bristol-Myers, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, and Biogen Idec talk about the next ten years of the biopharma business. Plus, journalist David Ewing Duncan on radical life extension. (I'm hosting.)
May 22: MIT Sloan CIO Symposium
Chief information officers from Guess, Haemonetics, Intel and other companies talk discuss "architecting the enterprise of the future."
June 25: TEDxBoston
The oldest and biggest of the locally-organized TED events is back, at the Seaport World Trade Center. Tickets are free, but tough to get. Also streams on the web and airs on WBUR.