Archive for September, 2009

September 29, 2009

Where are the Boston Web Leaders?

You can learn a few things by reviewing the attendees list at the upcoming Mass TLC Innovation unConference this Thursday.

For instance, who is conspicuously absent.

Let’s just focus on the burgeoning web industry we are trying to foster here in the Boston area.

We don’t have a lot of major players in that space, but it is a shame that none of the major players; Akamai, Kayak, TripAdvisor, VistaPrint, Monster have chosen not to attend the conference.

It seems ironic because, I have  experienced first hand their requirements for candidates to have a background with significantly sized web properties. Wouldn’t nurturing the local web startup eco-system be in their best interest?

It is a no-brainer that contributing back to the local innovation economy is worthwhile. They should realize that they don’t exist in isolation and that “sharing the seed corn” is a strategy that will keep them in their leadership positions.

Also check out the VC‘s and Angel Investors attending and you will quickly get a picture of which firms are seeking to invest in web companies here and those that are not.

Lastly, note that the two 5,000 pound Gorillas in the Boston/Cambridge area, Microsoft and Google are attending. Both realize that they need to help our start-up community grow to have a healthy market for hiring/acquisitions.

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September 22, 2009

Mass TLC Innovation 2009 unConference needs Innovators

We attended the first unConference last year and felt it was a great event. Bill Warner is to be commended for his contributions to the Boston start-up scene, and the MTLC unconferences and bringing TechStars to Cambridge are just two visible and recent examples.

You could feel the energy in the room last year and there was a palpable sense of community and cooperation at the kick off meeting. But a week later, it seemed that everyone reverted back to their insulated worlds and carried on in typical Boston fashion. The follow ups that you thought would lead to something fizzled, and the momentum died along with the financial markets. This year could be different. There is already momentum for the growing culture of openness and cooperation.

Looking back at the progress that has been made since the initial MTLC unConference, the change is fairly dramatic and encouraging.

Innovation Events have dramatically increased. Web Inno is huge and the Microsoft NERD center is almost booked solid with events most evenings, ranging from Ignite Boston, Tech Tuesday to Music Hack Day.

Co-working spaces have multiplied with betahouse paving the way for the Cambridge CoWorking Center and others.

Seed Capital programs have proliferated to the point that there are not enough startups here in Boston to fund. Programs like CRV Quickstart, Start @Spark, TechStars, Summer @Highland program and the new DogPatch Labs backed by Polaris, provide ample opportunity for a young company to find funding.

And let’s not forget that Google Ventures has an office in Cambridge.

Programs like Stayinma, have been created to encourage young entrepreneurs to stay in the Boston area once they have finished college

This year the momentum is building and as the economy improves, we need to continue to create a community that nurtures fledgling companies into existence.

But wait, if you take a look at the registration list for the 2009 unConference, you will see that the experts, investors, established founders and service providers outnumber the new startup founders at least 3:1 if not higher. These people already know each other and don’t want to spend the day hearing about each others Nantucket vacation. They want to meet founders with fresh ideas about how to change the world or at least about building something that people want.

I don’t know why there aren’t more new startups signed up for the event, but I do know that it is not really an innovation unconference without a lot of new companies and ideas to fuel a worthwhile exchange of energy and information.

So, take advantage of the opportunity to meet people like Rich Miner and Dharmesh Shah and all the other successful attendees that will be there to lend a hand.

Sign up here and make sure to take advantage of the special deals for students or startups looking for sponsorship.

September 18, 2009

October Entrepreneurs Forum: Viral Marketing

Ultra Light Startups Boston is hosting a forum on Viral Marketing on 10-08-09, 6:30- 9:00 pm at the Workbar in Boston, that features a quality Panel.

Moderator:

  • Robert Buderi, Founder, CEO, and editor in chief of Xconomy

Panelists (alphabetic order):

If your start-up is interested in Viral Marketing and how to apply it to promoting you new company, this event is for you.

Topics:

  • Examples of planned viral marketing campaigns.
  • How to identify and prepare for viral marketing opportunities.
  • Examples of unplanned viral marketing campaigns.
  • How much control do you really have once a viral campaign has been launched?
  • Viral gone bad: What are the important steps to contain a negative viral conversation?
  • What are the key organizational structures needed to support viral marketing?

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September 18, 2009

Yotta

Genotropegrzrlogo Record: Yotta Currently Hiring

Funding Status: Seed

Investors: ? TBD

Industry: Storage Software, Cloud Computing

Offering Description: stealth mode storage offering. Experienced founder.


September 16, 2009

Did Jobvent Get Acquired?

jobventlogo
Chalk one up for the little guy if my deduction is correct.

A while back, I saw a tweet from @oofoot that his side project www.Jobvent.com was up for sale. After four years he had decided to move on and was looking for buyers. After that there were a few tweets and one about some interest from a European buyer. Then nothing more and I kind of forgot about it.

Recently, I went to the site and noticed some pretty big changes which lead me to investigate further. Now the advertisers are the big names in the HR field such as the Ladders and National education Institutions.

Further investigation revealed a tight integration with http://www.glassdoor.com, to the point where I think it is obvious that Glassdoor has purchased Jobvent.

In which case, a big congratulations goes out to Craig for a successful exit and a job well done. No Y Combinator, no investors, just an engineer and a product people want.

Now he can focus his efforts on Raizlabs and creating other cool apps like the one they built for RunKeeper.

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September 15, 2009

UpComing Web Inno 23 September 29th, 2009 at 6:30pm

By now you know of, have attended or are a regular at David Beisel’s Web Innovation Group mega meeting held at the Cambridge Sonesta Hotel.

This months event is a must attend as they have added a special breakout session entitled “An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Bootstrapping PR.”

One of the reasons we are excited and supportive of this event is that it fits into our theme of, Sharing Practical Lessons, we have promoted with networking events like TestCase and the upcoming Eric Ries Lean Startup Talk.

Nothing against the huge schmoozefest meetups, but it is time to move beyond those gatherings to events where you leave feeling like you learned something. Demos are cool and it is always entertaining to hear the entrepreneur’s answer to the “what is your business model” question yelled from the back of the room.

But one look at the assembled panel and topic:

Entrepreneur and marketing/media executive Mike Troiano will host a conversation with a panel of media reporters/columnists/editors including Scott Kirsner of the Boston.com, Wade Roush from Xconomy, Peter Kafka from AllThingsD, and Bob Brown of Network World. Despite the fact that media coverage is as an essential component of any web start-up’s marketing mix, full-blown PR support may not be in the cards. This on-stage discussion will provide the inside scoop on engaging with the media – everything from how entrepreneurs can generate awareness of their company through the media to what do you need to know before you connect with the press. In addition, panelists will cover questions like “What’s the best way to engage with reporters?” “What do reporters care / write about?” “What could entrepreneurs learn from PR people?” and “What really ticks reporters off (pet peeve)?”

lets you know that this is not your average Web Meetup Event, and you will leave with a bit of valuable advice from experts.

So come out on September 29th, 2009 at 6:30pm in Cambridge. Register here, and don’t forget to say hi.

September 11, 2009

TechStars Demo Night Companies

Here is the list of the Companies participating in the Summer 09 TechStars Boston.

www.oneforty.com Twitter app store.

www.sensobi.com Personal relationship management for the mobile professional.

www.baydin.com Add-in for Microsoft Outlook 2007 that shows you relevant files from SharePoint, shared network drives and your computer based on the content of your email.

www.localytics.com Deep Analytics for mobile apps.

www.havemyshift.com Makes shift exchange a snap.

www.langolab.com Pop culture video for learning foreign language.

www.tempmine.com Imagine a temporary-staffing market where everybody wins.

www.accelgolf.com Tools for savy golfers.

www.ampidea.com Intelligent baby monitor.

Good luck to them all!

For more in-depth coverage see:

Scott Kirsner of the Boston Globe or Don Dodge of Microsoft

September 10, 2009

Keep an Eye on these Companies and Sites

We are always discovering new companies or services as we go about our daily activities of keeping on top of the start-up scene here in theHub of vermeereyesBoston/Cambridge.

Here a a couple of Companies to keep an eye on. They are backed by proven founders and I am looking forward to see what new products and services they will create.

You can sign up on the sites now and be alerted when they go live.

www.goby.com travel search? Stealth Mode

www.abtests.com Learn, Share, Improve your conversions today.

www.infinetics.com disruptive networking technology

www.performable.com a marketing platform for start-ups and online businesses.

September 2, 2009

General Admission Slots (Sold Out) for Eric Ries Talk @MIT

Sorry all seats have been reserved for  General Admission to the Lean Startup Talk @MIT. The rest of the seats are reserved for MIT Students and sponsors. Thank you very much for your interest.

There will be a few seats given away by various sponsors when we get closer to the event, so stay tuned to this blog.

Also, if you can line up a sponsor or get your company to sponsor the remaining slots, you will receive a ticket.

If you don’t follow Eric Ries blog Startup Lessons Learned , you should.

He is becoming one of the premier speaker on the subject of Lean Start-ups and customer development.

Sponsorship Slots still available: Inquire summit (at) genotrope (dot) c om

September 2, 2009

Daily Grommet

Genotropegrzrlogo Record: Daily Grommet  grommetlogo

Funding Status:  Seed

Investors: Launch Capital and private investors.

Industry: B2C

Offering Description: At the heart of it, we’re a bunch of regular folks with a passion for finding Grommets; wonderful products–with interesting stories–that people would love to know about. We’re independent—no one pays us to select a product. In fact, the best thing is, lots of people help us by sharing their own favorite discoveries. In that way, our “team” is anyone who believes that we can make a difference by celebrating the useful, innovative, and beautifully crafted Grommets we collectively discover.