First, let’s get this out of the way. The Boston start-up scene kicks ass. Although there is always the inevitable comparison to silicon valley, the only deficiency we have is in the amount of Web Start-up successes.
Excluding the Web, Boston is very strong; in wireless and mobile technology, bio-tech, robotics, gaming, storage, data-center infrastructure, database and cleantech.
The need for improvement is clearly in the consumer internet, which is also where start-up companies can take the most advantage of Angel Investment.
We attended the MIT Innovation Series on Seed Capital panel last night and it is now evident that available capital is not the issue for web start-ups.
Up to now, the Boston angel community has been comprised of successful individuals that made their money in the mini computer, workstation, data communications, instrumentation and enterprise software. This is the world of defensible IP, direct sales and business customers. It makes sense that web companies with no invention risk seeking large consumer distribution may be outside their comfort zone.
Yes, Boston missed the first wave of Web wealth which created the rich angel community in SV such as the PayPal mafia, xGooglers, eBay and Super Angels like Ron Conway. So be it. We are now correcting that.
Start-ups can take heart that just the three investors on the panel last night have enough willingness and money to fund most every viable web start-up in Boston.
Other local angel groups that are backing companies in the consumer web space are:
Bantam Group Savvy and entrepreneur friendly.
eCoast Angels Even though their web site contains this quote about it’s members “the old Yankee adage that your name should appear in the paper only three times: when you are born, when you marry, and when you die.” which is the antithesis of the web culture of transparency, Don Dodge is doing his part to back local consumer web companies.
A recent addition to the scene with a lot of credibility and clout is Founder Collective
With these organizations leading the way, the local angel associations are sure to follow.
Now the money is there. What else can we do?
Shawn Broderick from TechStars commented on the fact that Boston could improve on becoming less insular and open up as a community.
That is one of our hot buttons, to see more meetups and groups where there is a practical exchange of ideas, advice and experience. Let’s move beyond the superficial schmoozefests we know and love, and start more intimate and useful splinter meetups. A rising tide lifts all boats. The more community knowledge, experience and success we share, the stronger our start-ups will become.
So go forth and prosper, the ball is in the entrepreneur’s court to make use of the resources now available. And whatever you do, don’t be shy.