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Digital fitness pioneer Fitbit plans to expand Boston engineering office

Posted by Scott Kirsner  October 28, 2013 08:30 AM

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Update: Fitbit's Boston office will be at 250 Summer Street in Fort Point Channel... the same building that will house Paul English's new startup incubator Blade. They plan to move in sometime in December.


fitbit.pngWhat do Microsoft, Facebook, and Fitbit have in common?

All three companies were founded by Harvard drop-outs, all three have headquarters on the Left Coast, and all three now have Boston outposts.

Fitbit may not be as well-known as those first two, but the San Francisco startup has been a leader of the digital fitness revolution — sometimes dubbed "quantified self" — with a wristband that can monitor your workouts, the steps you take each day, and the quality and duration of your sleep. (The Fitbit Flex, at right, sells for $99, and it lights up to show you whether you're achieving your goals.) The company was founded in 2007, and has since raised $66 million in venture capital. Over the summer, it quietly began building a Boston engineering office.

Fitbit co-founder James Park confirms that the company currently has six employees working out of a shared office on Newbury Street, and says Fitbit is "aggressively building a fairly substantial team." Park founded two startups in Boston before moving west. One, Arlington-based Windup Labs, focused on photo-sharing and was acquired by CNET in 2005. That acquisition pulled Park and Windup co-founder Eric Friedman to San Francisco, where CNET is based.

Running the new Boston office of Fitbit is William Crawford, who was an investor in Windup Technologies. Crawford was previously CEO of Linked Medical, an e-healthcare startup.

Park tells me he is looking for a new, larger space in Boston's Innovation District. He says that Fitbit's first dedicated Boston office will be large enough to accommodate 40 to 50 employees. As a former Bostonian, Park says, "It’s great to have a reason to visit much more often."

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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.

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