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 →

Carnegie Mellon Entrepreneurs Group Boston Early Stage Funding Breakfast

As a proud member of the Boston Carnegie  Mellon Entrepreneurial Group, I helped organize and present at a panel session last week at TechStars/Dogpatch Labs in Cambridge. We had a great diversity of investors on the panel, Bob Crowley, B. Christopher Kim, Jim Lang, and Katie Rae.  Rick Lucash  hosted the panel.  Thanks to the presenters, TechStars for hosting and thank to everyone that attended Take Aways Your network matters. The panel was in universal agreement that investors, particularly in Boston, are not going to take your phone call or read your business plan, if you aren’t introduced by a trusted source. This is not your standard old boys’ – or old girls’ — network. It is a filtering process. If you can't find the kind of investor the project requires, then you probably are not building a business to thrive. If you are building a business, you have got to network, face-to-face, and not virtually. There is no excuse … Continue reading →