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 →

Why 10 slides, 5 minute pitches and one pagers really matter

Fred Wilson wrote a good post recently on the optimal size for a slide deck. His thesis was skip the slide deck and do a great demo.  I believe in demos, mockups, product samples or any other devices entrepreneurs use to enable investors to understand what you are selling. The more actual the product is, the easier to get people (including investors) excited.  But, this post is NOT about the optimal slide count or pitch length for investors. Rather, it is about building a successful business.  Wooing investors is great, but ultimately selling a lot of product to customers is what makes a business succeed. The 10 or 6 or 3 slide deck (as opposed to a 30 slide deck) is important because it forces entrepreneurs to think concretely about their business.  Early stage business is about efficiency. Doing the few things (maybe one) really well and delighting your customers with the things you do.  The 5-minute pitch or 10-slide … 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 →