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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Boston Tech Community (Fall 2013 Edition)
Labor Day is over, time to get to work! 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 was created, 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, product designers, 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 number 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. So without further delay:
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 that has featured Boston’s BEST founders.
- MITX: Non-profit trade association hosting many events focused on digital marketing and internet business. Next major event? Future M on Oct 16
- Mass TLC Unconference: Large annual conference put on by the MA Technology Leadership Council
- Xconomy Events: Steady stream of quality events organized by Xconomy,
- Nantucket Conference: Invite-only conference of the most important local innovators
Online Resources and Newsletters:
- Bostinno: Great coverage of local startup happenings with a growing network of local writers.
- VentureFizz: Comprehensive newsletter with funding announcements, best local blog posts, and other local tech happenings.
- Greenhorn Connect: Excellent collection of BOS tech events and resources.
- OnStartups: One of the largest online startup communities founded by HubSpot founder Dharmesh Shah.
- MIT 100K
- MIT Start Lab
- HBS Startup Tribe
- Harvard iLab
- Babson Entrepreneur Resource Center
- Northeastern IDEA Venture Accelerator
- Olin College Foundry Program
- Boston College Venture Competition
- FRC Dormroom Fund (expected to arrive in Boston shortly)
Smaller, High Quality Meetups and Places to Learn:
- Open Coffee – Weekly informal 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 – High quality, invite only conferences for tech leaders and executives, both increasingly open to bringing in young blood.
- Learnlaunch Events – 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
- Startup Institute – Practical training program to prepare you to join a startup. Great for recent grads or career switchers
- Lean Startup Circle Boston – Meetup dedicated to the lean startup and customer development methodology
- Boston Hardware Startup Meetup – Meetup organized by the founders of BOLT
Coworking Spaces and Accelerators
- TechStars Boston – Boston chapter of TechStars. Now doing 2 classes each year!
- Dog Patch Labs – Shared workspace operated by Polaris Ventures
- Summer@Highland – Student focused accelerator. Birthplace of Gemvara, Handybook, and other terrific companies
- Startup Leadership Program – International mentorship program with over 100 startups participating
- CIC – High quality, flexible office space. Different plans for different budgets all in a great facility.
- WorkBar Boston – Flexible co-working space near South Station.
- MassChallenge – Startup competition and accelerator. Beautiful space in the South Boston Innovation District.
- AngelHack – Hackathon with cash prizes
- Hack/Reduce – Big Data Hackspace
- Space With A Soul – Coworking space for mission-driven companies
- BOLT – Accelerator and mentorship program specifically for hardware startups
- Learnlaunch – Accelerator and mentorship program specifically designed for education startups
- Koa Lab – Shared workspace in Harvard Square founded by serial entrepreneur Andy Palmer
- Greentown Labs – Entrepreneur community and accelerator focused on Cleantech
- Paypal Start Tank – Coworking space within Paypal’s Boston office
- Bocoup Loft – Coworking and events
- And here is another pretty comprehensive list of co-working spaces in town
Entrepreneurial Development Firms
- Thoughtbot – Web application development and design. Ruby specialists.
- FreshTilledSoil – User Interface Design
- Terrible Labs – Ruby on Rails, Web and Mobile
- Filament Group – User Interface and Design
- Raizlabs – Mobile Development
- Intrepid – Mobile development
- Extension Engine – Software engineering and design
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 – Coffee shop in Kendall, also with constant VC and entrepreneur traffic
- Thinking Cup – Popular coffee Shop for the Park Street / Downtown BOS crowd. My personal favorite, but no wifi
- Barrington Coffee – Fort Point Channel
- Flour – Bakery and Coffee Shop in 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
- Andrew Amato – BostonInno
- Dan Rowinski – Boston based writer for Read Write Web
- Kyle Alspach – Mass High Tech / BBJ
- Barb Darrow – Boston based writer for GigaOm
- Dennis Keohane – Venturefizz
- Walter Frick – Harvard Business Review
Looking for Office Space?
- T3 Advisors: Real estate brokers with deep VC relationships. Worked with HubSpot and Boundless. Talk to Greg Hoffmeister
- Jones Lang Lasalle: Global commercial real estate services. Worked with Wordstream and Flipkey . Talk to Bryan Sparkes.
- Cushman and Wakefield: Global commercial real estate services. Worked with Kyruus and Tripadvisor. Talk to Matt Malatesta
Small and Growing Startups
This is a new section this year. In the past, I included a short list of companies to watch. The problem is that the list ends up being a bit duplicative, because great companies tend to continue being great. So, this year, I’m doing something different. I’m listing instead companies that are A) under 100 employees AND B) adding >10 employees in the next 3 months. Of course, growing teams is not an indicator of success – so there are probably many terrific companies that will not be included for now because their teams are not currently expanding (but might do so soon!) It is impossible for me to be comprehensive, but please let me know if your company should be included here
- Aereo – Online TV (backed by Highland, FRC)
- Belmont Technologies – CAD in the Cloud (backed by Northbridge and NEA)
- BitSight – Risk Management (backed by Flybridge and Menlo)
- Cloudant – Database as a service (backed by Avalon)
- Clypd – Video Advertising (backed by Atlas, DataPoint, Boston Seed)
- Coachup – Marketplace for Coaches (backed by General Catalyst and Founder Collective)
- Consumer United – Online Insurance (backed by Spark)
- Custommade – Marketplace for Customer Products (NextView Portfolio Company)
- Data Gravity – Big Data (backed by General Catalyst, CRV, A16Z)
- Evolv Technologies – Advanced Imaging Technology (backed by General Catalyst and Bill Gates)
- Fiksu – Mobile App Marketing (backed by CRV)
- Gazelle – Consumer re-commerce (backed by Venrock)
- GrabCAD – 3D Community and Collaboration (NextView Portfolio Company)
- Gridco Systems – Power Distribution Systems (backed by General Catalyst and Northbridge)
- Hadapt – Big Data (backed by Bessemer and Atlas)
- Hopper – Travel (backed by Atlas)
- Infinio – Storage Performance (backed by Highland, Bessemer)
- Insight Squared – SMB Business Intelligence (NextView Portfolio Company)
- Jana – Mobile Marketing (Backed by Spark)
- Kinvey – Moble PaaS (Backed by Atlas, Avalon)
- Kyruus – Big Data for Healthcare (backed by Highland, Venrock)
- Linkable Networks – Card-linked Advertising (backed by Bain and Kepha)
- Localytics – Mobile Analytics (backed by Polaris)
- Objective Logistics – Workforce Optimization (NextView Portfolio Company)
- Plastiq – Payments (NextView Portfolio Company)
- SessionM – Mobile Marketing (backed by CRV, Highland)
- Stackdriver – Cloud Infrastructure Monitoring (backed by Bain)
- Swipely – Merchant Loyalty (NextView Portfolio Company)
- VM Turbo – Virtualization Management (backed by Bain, Highland)
- VoltDB – Big Data (backed by Kepha and Sigma)
- Wordsteam – Internet Marketing Software (backed by Sigma)
- Yesware – Email for Salespeople (backed by Foundry Group and Google)
40 to Follow on Social Media (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.)
- Antonio Rodriguez – Matrix Partners, HP (blog, @antrod)
- Kent Bennett – Bessemer (@kentbennett)
- Bijan Sabet – Spark Capital (blog, @bijan)
- David Beisel – NextView Ventures, Venrock (blog, @davidbeisel)
- Peter Boyce – General Catalyst (@badboyboyce)
- 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)
- Hugo Van Vuuren – Xfund (blog, @hvgo)
- Fred Destin – Atlas (blog, @fdestin)
- Jo Tango – Kepha (blog, @jtangovc)
- Anthony Tjan – Cueball (blog, @anthonytjan)
- Larry Cheng – Volition (blog,@larryvc)
- Mike Hirshland – Resolute (blog, @vcmike)
- Bob Davis – Highland (@BobDavisHCP)
- Aaron White – Venrock (blog, @aaronwhite)
- Rob Day – Black Coral Capital (my lone Cleantech rep in the list) (@cleantechvc)
- Ric Fulop – Northbridge (@ricfulop)
Entrepreneurs and Thought Leaders:
- Andrew Mcafee – MIT Professor (blog, @amcafee)
- Bill Warner – Avid, Techstars, Angel investor (@billwarner)
- Rob May – Backupify (blog, @robmay)
- David Cancel – Founder of Performable and Compete (blog , @Dcancel)
- John Gallaugher – BC Professor (blog, @gallaugher)
- Dharmesh Shah – Co-founder and CTO, HubSpot (blog, @dharmesh)
- Jennifer Lum – Apple, Quattro, MCube (@lum)
- Katie Rae – TechStars, Microsoft, Eons (blog, @ktrae)
- Tom Eisenmann – HBS Professor (@teisenmann)
- Wayne Chang – Twitter, Dropbox (blog, @wayne)
- Sravish Sridhar – Kinvey (blog, @sravish)
- Cort Johnson – Terrible Labs (@cortlandt)
- Nick Ducoff – Boundless, InfoChimps (@nickducoff)
- Dave Balter – BzzAgent (@DaveBalter)
- Mike Troiano – Actifo (blog, @miketrap)
- Aaron O’Hearn – Startup Institute (@aaron0)
- Dan Allred – Silicon Valley Bank (@dgallred)
- Sarah Hodges – Intelligent.ly (@hodges)
- Sheila Marcelo – Care.com (blog, @smarcelo)
- Semyon Dukach – Angel Investor and Entrepreneur (blog)
- Ty Danco – Buyside FX, Angel (blog, @tydanco)
- Nicole Stata – Boston Seed (@nstata)
- Will Koffel – Thumb, Sermo (blog, @wkoffel)