10 Reasons why Boston was a great start-up town in 2011 – Looking forward to a great 2012

In alphabetical order: Artisan's Asylum  – now with 31,000 square feet on the Somerville/Cambridge line, wood shop, welding shop, machine shop, lots of how-to classes and a great mix of artists, machinists, electronic hobbyists, carpenters. You can finally, for little money, build whatever your mind can imagine minutes from Boston. BostonInno , GreenHorn Connect, Scott Kirsner, VentureFizz, Xconomy and many more that I forgot to mention keeping us informed second by second on the local startup scene. Cambridge Innovation Center – The CIC is an incredible space for launching companies and always a friend to the start-up community. Microsoft NERD Center – The NERD center has hosted for free thousands of events in their spectacular spaces. Great to see the corporate giant doing so much for the local start-up eco system. Mass Challenge  - One million dollars in prizes, free awe-inspiring office space. Attracting worldwide talent to Boston. Yowza. TechStars Boston –  A fantastic accelerator program, $100K guaranteed funding, an exceptional training/mentoring program, friendly … Continue reading →

Before You Start a Business, Plan Your Exit

Not usually the first thing you think of when starting a company, but where you want to end up impacts everything you do. I sit on the board of ChatThreads, where we are in the process of raising an equity round to fund the growth of the company. Early in the process, an investor asked what the company could do to accelerate and maximize our exit.  I replied my standard response: “ We intend to build a great business. By building a great business, we create a great exit.” While my answer was accurate and sincere, I owe the investor a more nuanced answer. What Makes ChatThreads Valuable ChatThreads is a media research company that helps primarily Consumer Package Goods (CPG) companies evaluate with a 360-degree view in real time the effectiveness of their advertising dollars.  As an early stage business, with a coveted product offering and broad applicability, ChatThreads can grow in many ways: Maximize the revenue from a … Continue reading →

What will the fall of 2011 look like for entrepreneurs?

It is that time of the year again — the dog days of August when I wax poetic about the prospects for start-up companies in the coming months. This post is a follow-on to my   Summer time or is business slowing post about a year ago.  At that point, things seemed slow, the economy was uncertain, but sentiment was that things would pick up for entrepreneurs. In fact, from last July to this one, things looked promising for those of us who bring new products and innovation to the marketplace. Valuations were soaring, IPOs were picking up steam and Boston was back on the map. In March, I claimed that perhaps valuations were getting too high or bubblicious. In the middle of June, I left TechStars Demo Days feeling like the entrepreneurial scene in Boston was thriving and partying like it was 1999.  TechStars had 12 companies present to hooting and hollering, a rollicking after party with Coolio, oversubscribed rounds – the … Continue reading →

Boston entrepreneurial leaders please stop whining about Boston

I went to my third entrepreneurial event in the last two months last night where the panel discussion degenerated to a groupthink discussion about how Boston sucks for young entrepreneurs. There are no angels that fund anything and how the best course of action is to head to the left coast if you want to start a business. This panel discussion was held at MIT and was sponsored by the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge. That is Cambridge Massachusetts for those of you paying attention and not Cambridge, Silicon Valley, California. This thinking is counter-productive and has got to stop. At the vast majority of these events, we convince all the smart entrepreneurial graduates that they should take the first train to California and seek their fortunes, much like the 49ers searching for gold. I love Northern California and there is a somewhat greater appetite there to fund highly capital efficient, very early stage, internet consumer plays, but this does … Continue reading →