Bright Idea

Many of the 300,000 people in the United States who work at call centers are not happy campers.

Beta Hatch, a two-year-old startup, is intent upon “building better bugs” as organic, high-protein animal feed. 

Buy dinner or supplies and put it on the company card. This employee convenience can also be a vexation for company budgets as casual expenses mount. A Bellevue startup, Center (centercard.com), thinks it has the right solution, and the track record of its founders suggests it might.

Textio uses a machine-learning engine to tailor job postings so companies get more candidates who are better suited to job openings.

Kidney stones can be extremely painful. Larger stones can get stuck, potentially leading to loss of the kidney, sepsis and even death. So in 700,000 procedures a year, kidney stones are shattered with sound waves or laser beams into smaller pieces that can naturally be flushed from the system. But pieces left behind often grow again, requiring an additional 100,000 operations a year at a cost totaling up to $1 billion.

Need a quick oil change? Maybe a complete tune-up? A year-old startup called Wrench dispatches a certified mechanic to your home or workplace and eliminates the hassle and cost of having to drop off your car at the car dealer or repair shop.

New legislation requiring Seattle businesses with 500 or more employees to schedule workers’ hourly shifts two weeks in advance will be a boon to some, but it could complicate the lives of many workers and employers.

A company creates its training program and uploads it onto Skilljar. Customers can access training on computers, tablets and smartphones, anytime and anywhere.

About three years ago, Derek Richardson and his wife bought a second home — “a dark cabin,” says Richardson. He began searching for an affordable smart lighting system but couldn’t find anything he liked. “It was $30,000 or $40,000 for a professionally installed home system,” he explains, “or it was do-it-yourself systems that were difficult to set up.”

Sometimes, bright ideas seem to fall from the sky, like Newton’s apple. More often, as in the case of HyGen, they are the product of careful analysis.