This past Monday was a bit of a whirlwind. In addition to our typical (but contracted) partner meeting, we also said goodbye to our office at 186 South Street and moved in to our new space at 179 Lincoln Street.
For those of you who know the area, we just moved a couple blocks away. It was a little bittersweet to say goodbye to our old very first space, but it was fun to dig through our things and reminisce a little bit. We had been in our old space for a couple years, from the very first close on our first fund. Here’s a picture of the office the day before we moved:
In planning our next space, there were a couple things we really loved about 186 South that we very much wanted to maintain in our new office.
First and foremost, we loved the location. I’ve blogged a bit about this before, but we specifically searched for our first space knowing that we had very similar requirements to the types of companies we would fund. This led us quite obviously to downtown Boston, in the outskirts of the “Innovation District” closer to the Leather District and South Station.
When we first moved here a couple years ago, a number of people were pretty puzzled. But I think now, it’s pretty obvious that for the kind of investing we do, this is the perfect spot. The good folks at Kinvey put together an excellent infographic of all the companies that have moved into our area in recent years. Within our own portfolio, we have 4 companies within a stone’s throw of our office, and probably another 4 or 5 also within walking distance. More than once, I’ve crashed at a portfolio company’s offices because I forgot my keys, or was just too lazy to walk the extra couple blocks to NextView.
We’ve also seen downtown Boston become an emerging center of gravity for later stage companies in our sector as well, including Ebay/Paypal/StubHub, Brightcove, and TripAdvisor which is moving into down in the North Station area. I’m a big believer in the positive side-effects of density and serendipitous collissions, and we are finding only more and more of these as time goes on.
The other thing we wanted to maintain was the “feel” and “personality of the office”. Specifically, we loved that our old office was by nature, very familiar to entrepreneurs. More than once, founders have walked into our old office and commented that this was just like the kind of space they were planning to get after they raise their seed round. We specifically wanted to be in a space that was not at all intimidating to founders and communicated frugality and simplicity (although still maintaining good design). Hopefully when we finish decorating our new space, this will continue to be the case.
In our move, we did want to make a couple changes through our space, and I think we were lucky to achieve this. First, we wanted an office that had a bit more multi-purpose space. This would be handy to house a portfolio company for short periods of time, or comfortably host friends, entrepreneurs, and coinvestors stopping by Boston for a day or two. We also have some ideas cooking for more regular ways to get small, high quality groups within the tech ecosystem together on a regular basis. A larger space would allow us to be more creative in the kinds of community events we can host.
Second, we wanted to move into a building with a stronger sense of permanence. We are here to stay in the tech community and want to be partnering with entrepreneurs to build meaningful companies for a long long time. Dave, Lee, and I are all in the prime of our careers, and want to build a firm that will endure and keep refining itself to offer a better and better product for entrepreneurs. Honestly, our old building didn’t reflect this sense of permanence in quite the same way as our new home does, which was a major factor in our move.
We’re really excited for our new location, and really excited to share it with you when it’s ready. Stay tuned over the next few months, and we’ll provide a number of opportunities to stop by either through housewarmings, or other community oriented events for the startup ecosystem. Until then, here’s a little preview 🙂