In search of things new and useful.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Boston Tech Community – August 2012
Another year, another guide. Summer is always the time when large numbers of new participants in the tech ecosystem arrive and start to get their bearings. This is why this guide exists, and why I try to refresh it every year with the most interesting meetups, companies, and folks to follow online.
Boston is a great place to start and build a company. There is a wealth of resources that are unique to this town and a vibrant community of hackers, business people, and investors at various stages in their career.
However, Boston is a transient town, especially for the student population that refreshes a large population each year. It’s also surprisingly difficult for students to get plugged-in to everything that is happening in the local tech ecosystem. This guide is designed to help you hit the ground running and is a starting point for your entrepreneurial journey in Boston.
Large Tech Meetups:
- Web Innovators Group: Quarterly Demo-Style meetup in Cambridge draws over 1000 members of the startup community each time. The Grand-daddy. Alumni have been funded by Sequoia, First Round Capital, Accel, Trinity Ventures, and others. For example: Dropbox, Reddit, and Birch Box, to name a few.
- Mobile Mondays: Boston chapter of the world’s largest Mobile professional community.
- Founder Dialogues: Eric Paley plays talk show host on this recurring fireside chat style event with Boston area founders.
- RubyRiot: Not recurring events, but seems like there is a few big parties every year organized by a small group of folks who are very active in the tech community.
- MITX: Non-profit trade association hosting many events focused on digital marketing and internet business
- Mass TLC Unconference: Large annual conference put on by the MA Technology Leadership Council
Online Resources and Newsletters:
- Bostinno: Great coverage of local startup happenings with a growing network of local writers. Quickly becoming one of the best sources of information on the local tech scene.
- Greenhorn Connect: Excellent hub of BOS tech events and resources. Currently, this seems to be the most popular and most comprehensive event calendar.
- DartBoston: A vibrant community of young entrepreneurs. Join their online community and attend their excellent events. They’ve been a bit quiet of late, but still a good resource.
- OnStartups: One of the largest online startup communities founded by HubSpot founder Dharmesh Shah.
- VentureFizz: Good newsletter with funding announcements, best local blog posts, and other local tech happenings.
- MIT 100K
- MIT Trust Center for Entrepreneurship
- HBS Startup Tribe
- Harvard iLab
- Babson Entrepreneur Resource Center
- Northeastern IDEA Venture Accelerator
- Olin College Foundry Program
- Boston College Venture Competition
Smaller and High Quality Meetups
- Open Coffee – Weekly meetup started by Bijan Sabet and Nabeel Hyatt. No agenda, just come by and talk tech at Voltage
- http://foundermentors.com– Not a meetup, but a great mentorship program started by serial CTO Sean Lindsay
- WebInno Supper Club – Regular, small dinner series around very specific topics. Topics have included “Leveraging Pinterest”, “Mobile Commerce”, and “Facebook Advertising”
- Future Forward and Nantucket Conference – Two high quality, invite only conferences for tech leaders and executives, both increasingly open to bringing in young blood.
- EdTechup – Well run meetup focused on the emerging edtech scene.
- Intelligent.ly – Classes on startups and tech run by practitioners
- General Assembly – Boston branch of tech classes and workshops started in NYC
- Lean Startup Circle Boston
Coworking Spaces and Accelerators
- TechStars Boston – Boston chapter of TechStars. Now doing 2 classes each year!
- Dog Patch Labs – Free workspace run by Polaris Ventures. No cost, not formal strings attached.
- Summer@Highland – Student focused accelerator. Birthplace of Gemvara
- Startup Leadership Program – International mentorship program with over 100 startups participating
- CIC – High quality, flexible office space. Higher cost, but great facility.
- WorkBar Boston – Flexible co-working space near South Station.
- MassChallenge – Startup competition and accelerator. Beautiful space in the South Boston Innovation District.
- Startup School – Professional accelerator program for recent graduates
- Encandle – Co-Working space on Newbury Street
- AngelHack – Hackathon with cash prizes
- Hack/Reduce – Big Data Hackspace
- Space With A Soul – Coworking space for mission-driven companies
Entrepreneurial Development Firms
- Thoughtbot – Web application development and design. Ruby specialists.
- Extension Engine – Software engineering and design
- FreshTilledSoil – User Interface Design
- Terrible Labs – Ruby on Rails, Web and Mobile
- Filament Group – User Interface and Design
- Raizlabs – Mobile Development
- Intrepid – Mobile development
Places to Hang
- Crema Cafe – Great coffee in Harvard Square. Favorite spot for Eric Paley, Antonio Rodriguez, and Rich Miner
- Andala Cafe – Central Square hangout. Free wifi.
- Henrietta’s Table – In the Charles Hotel. General Catalyst is right upstairs.
- Paramount – Favorite breakfast spot for the Beacon Hill VC crowd.
- VentureCafe – Networking venue within the CIC
- Voltage – Coffee shop in Kendall. Home of OpenCoffee Cambridge
- Tatte Bakery – New Entrant accross the street from Voltage
- Area 4 – New Coffee Shop and Eatery in Kendall
- Thinking Cup – Popular coffee Shop for the Park Street / Downtown BOS crowd. My personal favorite, but no wifi
- Barrington Coffee – Fort Point Channel
Journalists and News
- Scott Kirsner – Tech journalist of the Boston Globe. See his innovation economy blog and follow him on Twitter.
- Dan Primack – Formerly of PE Hub, recently poached by Fortune. Not Boston focused, but definitely follow his reports of PE and VC financings and the state of the venture market. @danprimack.
- Jonathan Marino – PE Hub
- Gregory Huang – Xconomy
- Walter Frick – BostonInno
- Dan Rowinski – Boston based writer for Read Write Web
- Kyle Alspach – Mass High Tech / BBJ
- Barb Darrow – GigaOm
- T3 Advisors: Real estate brokers with deep VC relationships. Worked with HubSpot and Boundless. Talk to Greg Hoffmeister
- Cushman and Wakefield: Global commercial real estate services. Worked with Kyruus and Tripadvisor. Talk to Matt Malatesta
- Jones Lang Lasalle: Global commercial real estate services. Worked withWordstream and Flipkey . Talk to Bryan Sparkes.
Scaling Companies To Watch (ie: probably hiring)
- Care.com – Just raised a monster round from IVP
- Gemvara – Online retailer for customized jewelry. Founded by recent Babson Alum
- Wayfair – $350M + revenue, 300 employees. Recently raised their very first VC round from Battery and Spark earlier this year. Amazing company, and one of the biggest private online retailers.
- HubSpot – Inbound marketing pioneer. Recently raised money from Sequoia Capital
- Dataxu – Demand Side Platform for Real Time Ad Buying. Led by serial entrepreneur Mike Baker.
- Nanigans – Facebook Advertising Platform. Just hired Yahoo’s VP Media Sales.
- Most of our portfolio companies are hiring too, so I won’t single any particular one out:
30 To Follow (This isn’t a list of the “best” investors and entrepreneurs, but the folks who are consistently creating good social media content and are active in the community. Being edited on the fly, so not exactly 30 anymore)
- Antonio Rodriguez – Matrix Partners, HP (blog, @antrod)
- Bijan Sabet – Spark Capital (blog, @bijan)
- David Beisel – NextView Ventures, Venrock (blog, @davidbeisel)
- David Skok – Matrix Partners (blog, @bostonvc)
- Eric Paley – Founder Collective, Brontes (blog, @epaley)
- Jeff Bussgang – Flybridge, UPromise (blog, @bussgang)
- Lee Hower – NextView Ventures, LinkedIn (blog, @leehower)
- Rich Miner – Google Ventures (@richminer)
- Scott Maxwell – OpenView (blog, @scottsnews)
- Fred Destin – Atlas (blog, @fdestin)
- Gus Weber – Polaris (@gweber)
- Jo Tango – Kepha (blog, @jtangovc)
- Larry Cheng – Volition (blog,@larryvc)
- Mike Hirshland – Resolute (blog, @vcmike)
- Nabeel Hyatt – Spark (blog, @nabeel)
- Chris Sheehan – Common Angels (blog, @c_sheehan)
- Bob Davis – Highland (@BobDavisHCP)
Entrepreneurs and Thought Leaders:
- Andrew Mcafee – MIT Professor (blog, @amcafee)
- Bill Warner – Avid, Techstars, Angel investor (blog, @billwarner)
- Brian Balfour – Co-founder of Boundless Learning, Viximo (blog, @bbalfour)
- Rob May – Backupify (blog, @robmay)
- David Cancel – Founder of Performable and Compete (blog , @Dcancel)
- David Hauser – Co-founder of Grasshopper (blog, @dh)
- John Gallaugher – BC Professor (blog, @gallaugher)
- Dharmesh Shah – Co-founder and CTO, HubSpot (blog, @dharmesh)
- Jennifer Lum – Apple, Quattro, MCube (@jenniferlum)
- Katie Rae – TechStars, Microsoft, Eons (blog, @ktrae)
- Sim Simeonov – Swoop, Polaris, Allaire (blog, @simeons)
- Tom Eisenmann – HBS Professor (@teisenmann)
- Wayne Chang – Crashlytics, Dropbox (blog, @wayne)
- Sravish Sridhar – Kinvey (blog, @sravishsridhar)
- Cort Johnson – Terrible Labs (@cortlandt)
- Nick Duckoff – Boundless, InfoChimps (@nickducoff)
- Dave Balter – BzzAgent (@DaveBalter)
- John Landry – Angel Investor (@leaddog99)
- Mike Troiano – Actifo (blog, @miketrap)