Tag: boston

Dec 29 2010

TechStars Boston Applications Are Heating Up

The TechStars Boston application deadline is 1/31/11.  However, the early application deadline is actually 1/13/11 – anyone that applies by this date is eligible to come to TechStars for a Day in Boston on 1/19/2011.

Katie Rae, the new TechStars Managing Director is doing an awesome job.  I just got a note that we’ve already gotten more applications this year than we had last year.  Even more excitingly, they are covering a wide range of companies – some deep tech, social media, health care informatics, robotics, and ecommerce.

Boston has always had a wide range of early stage companies with unique characteristics, most notably robotics and network and system layer software, so it’s great to entrepreneurs from these segments show up.  We’ve also got some fun surprises on new mentors for 2011 in Boston that match up with these segments that we’ll be announcing soon.

So – don’t wait – apply to TechStars Boston now!  TechStars Year 3 in Boston is shaping up to be the best yet.

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Apr 18 2010

Angel Boot Camp in Boston on June 1

Jon Pierce of BetaHouse has decided to organize an Angel Boot Camp in Boston on June 1st. The idea is that anyone interested in learning more about how to get started with angel investing can attend and learn from some people who’ve been there and done that.

David Cohen at TechStars wrote about why he thinks it’s important.  Jon Pierce also wrote about why he’s doing Angel Boot Camp as well as listing some of Boston’s Best Angel Investors.

While June 1 is still several months away, sign up and put Angel Boot Camp on your calendar now.

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Feb 11 2010

Are You A Boston Based Entrepreneur Looking for a Mentor?

My long time friend Warren Katz pointed me out to an event on March 3, 2010 called EO Boston Accelerator Shark Bowl 2010.  It’s a competition for entrepreneurs under 40 with businesses between $100k / year and $1m / year in revenue.  You present to a group of judges including Warren (MAK Technologies), Rich Farrell (Full Armor), Clark Waterfall (Boston Search Group), and Michael Hackel (DiningIN) who are all EO Boston members.

In 1993 I was the founder of the Young Entrepreneurs Organization Boston Chapter and member #1.  My forum group, “Forum Group 1” is apparently still meeting monthly.  And while YEO changed its name to EO, my friend Warren who has been a member from the very beginning tells me the group is still going very strong (the stats look like 88 members with total sales of $427m and 2,231 employees across all of the companies.)

If you fit the qualifications, I’d encourage you to participate.  It’s free, you’ll get some great practice and advice, and meet a bunch of new entrepreneurial peers.  To participate, you must register and to present you must sent your presentation to Caryn Saitz by March 1st. 

Go Boston (and Cambridge) – you are making me proud these days!

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Feb 10 2010

Startups at 351 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, MA

Scott Kirsner had a fun article in Boston.com today titled The Red Line Tour of Innovation in Boston. Several of the stops were regularly hang outs of mine between 1983 and 1995 most notably #10 (Miracle of Science) and #11 (Toscanini’s) but also including #5 (MIT Media Lab), #6 (Muddy Charles Pub), #7 (MIT Lobby 7), and #8 (Central Square and the Necco Factory – back when they made Necco wafers.)

I lived at ADP at 351 Massachusetts Avenue for four years as an undergraduate at MIT.  It was the first frat I went to when the freshman picnic ended (Mark Dodson grabbed me, shoved me in a white van, and said “you are coming with me.”)  I stayed the first night and never left.  Yes – it was a fraternity.Our Annual Foam Party

But we were also nerds.  There was something in the water and a lot of companies were created.  Scott got a few of them such as Colin Angle of iRobot, Jeet Singh and Joe Chung of ATG, and Frank van Mierlo of Bluefin Robotics, but I thought I’d add a few more.  While the founders of Harmonix (the guys that brought us Rock Band and Guitar Hero) came from the Media Lab, one of them (Eran Egozy) also lived at ADP.  As did my first business partner Dave Jilk, who is now CEO of Standing Cloud.  And two of the founders of Oblong – John Underkoffler and Kevin Parent.  Let’s not forget two well known VCs – Sameer Gandhi (Accel) and Mark Siegel (Menlo).  Oh – and Carl Dietrich’s flying car from Terrafugia.  We also lived next door (WILG – 355 Mass Ave) to some other impressive entrepreneurs including Megan Smith (Google and PlanetOut).  There have been plenty of others through the years – these are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head.  If you should be on the ADP entrepreneur list, please comment on this blog and add your name for posterity (and Google searches).

My first company (Feld Technologies) used 351 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA  02139 as my office address for the first few years of its life (I officially started the company as a sophomore, although my partner Dave Jilk joined me shortly after I got my undergraduate degree.)  But Feld Technologies wasn’t the first company I started at 351 Massachusetts Avenue – that honor went to Martingale Software and my partners Dave Jilk, Sameer Gandhi, Andy Mina, and Jeff Pierick.  We raised $10k, bought a Lisa and a Compaq luggable, earned about $7k, and eventually folded the company and sent the $7k back to our investors.

During the four years I lived there and the two years I had an office at 875 Main Street, I ate an enormous amount of ice cream at Toscanini’s. To this day, Cocoa Pudding with chocolate fudge syrup on top rates as the best ice cream choice I’ve ever had on planet Earth.

One fall, after Feld Technologies had moved to Boston, we hired a recent graduate from Brown named Jonathan Lutes.  While interviewing him I asked what he had done over the summer.  He mumbled something like “screwed around a lot and built a bar called Miracle of Science with my brother Eric.”  Yup – same bar – this was 1990-ish – and it was at 321 Massachusetts Avenue.

Sometimes I actually miss the smell of Necco wafers in the morning.  It smells like ADP.

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Feb 24 2009

TechStars Boston

Last week while I was off the grid for my Q1 vacation, TechStars announced that we are doing a Boston program this summer.  Applications for both the Boston and the Boulder programs are open until March 21, 2009 at 11:59:59 PM MDT, but apply before 3/1/09 and be eligible to attend TechStars for a Day.

We launched the original TechStars program in January 2007.  We’ve now run TechStars in Boulder for two years and have had a dynamite time, helped create some super companies (we’ve had 20 companies go through the program, 2 have been profitably acquired, 2 are profitable, and 12 have been funded), and have been able to contribute meaningfully to the Boulder entrepreneurial scene.

In October, I spent a few days in Boston with Amy.  Among other things, I arranged a “nerd dinner” for some of my old Boston friends, including Shawn Broderick, Warren Katz, Colin Angle, Eran Egozy, and Steve Munroe.  While I have regular contact with each of them, they hadn’t been together in a gang for a while so we enjoyed a rambunctious meal at Sel de la Terre (thanks Warren for dinner) and ended up talking about entrepreneurship in Boston for a while.  There was a lot of discussion about how to energize the community more, what we had been doing in Boulder, and who was doing what to whom.  As part of the discussion, Eran told me I had to get together with Bill Warner, who had been thinking of some of the same things.

Coincidentally I’d been connected with Bill a few weeks earlier by David Cohen.  Bill was considering investing in EventVue (one of the TechStars 2007 companies), was interested in talking more about it, TechStars, and Boston.  We had lunch scheduled for the next day.  I’d never met Bill, but I knew of him from MIT and his experience as the founder of Avid and Wildfire, and had seen him speak about his experiences (I think at an MIT Enterprise Forum event) when I was living in Boston.

We had an awesome lunch and hit it off immediately.  Bill totally got TechStars and our mentor driven approach and said, in short “we’ve got to do this in Boston.”  A logical next step was to have Bill come out to Boulder, spend a day really immersed in things with David, and figure out if it made sense.  We did this and the three of us got more excited about the idea of doing TechStars in Boston, but realized we needed to find “a David” to run things on a daily basis.

We made our list of potential David’s, checked it twice, and started calling.  Shawn Broderick was at the top of the list.  I’ve known and worked with Shawn since 1988 – he was the third employee at Feld Technologies, I was the lead angel investor in Genetic Anomalies which had a very successful acquisition by THQ, and am an investor in TrustPlus.  Shawn was a perfect fit, spent time with David in Boulder, and voila, we decided to do TechStars Boston.

Wade Roush at Xconomy Boston has a thorough interview up with David Cohen titled TechStars “Entrepreneurship Boot Camp” Comes to Boston: An Interview with Co-founder David Cohen that goes deeper in to the why and how.  Shawn has hit the ground running and we are totally psyched with how the Boston program is coming together.

Having spent 1983 to 1995 in Boston, this is a wonderful “going full circle moment” for me.  I’m planning on spending some chunks of time in Boston this summer both with our investments (we’ve got two in Boston), TechStars, MIT, and old friends.  Bill – thanks for being the spark that got this started!

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