Archive for ‘Pre Funded’

October 29, 2010

Boston Web Startups Q4 2010, Launching Soon?

Every quarter we publish a list of the newest web startups in the area that are working towards launching publicly.

Masschallenge surfaced a great many new companies over the summer and I think had an impact on the amount of new companies making themselves known publicly early on.

So, this list is shorter than usual. As always, sign up for the betas and help these new companies with valuable user feedback so they can hone their value proposition and build something people want.

September 10, 2010

A Boston Angel You Should Know

Yes, we have  already heard about the dearth of Consumer Web Angel Investors here in Boston. So you might be interested to find out about a local Angel that has a pretty impressive track record in both quantity and quality of deals.

The fund Lead Dog Ventures is  run by John Landry and has been active locally since 1994. He has been a fixture around Boston since the inception of the enterprise software industry as CTO of companies like Cullinet , McCormack and Dodge and Lotus.

Here is a photo I pinched from his blog (hope he doesn’t mind) to show you that the guy has gravitas.

jobs and Landry photo

As you can see the portfolio is not completely Consumer Web, but the recent fundings of oneforty, Daily Grommet, Ayeah Games and Blueleaf demonstrate the trend towards web oriented businesses.

Take a look at John’s talk at the Angel Boot Camp to get a good feel for how he invests.

So it is not all gloom for Web companies seeking angel funding here in Boston. Some of the traditional enterprise oriented angels will be able to make the transition as John did, and we need more coming from operational experience in web companies to make up the slack for those that don’t, but there are good  angels are out when you’re looking.

August 17, 2010


talentGraphzgrzrlogo Record: Mowbi mowbi logo

Funding Status: Bootstrapped, Seed

Founders Backgrounds:, Shipyard Brewing Company

Investors: Seeking investment

Industry: Mobile Application

Offering Description:

Mowbi is a mobile commerce platform for everybody.

Mowbi includes a mobile store, mobile billing and invoicing system, a mobile credit card terminal and text marketing tools. Because of Mowbi’s modular design, it is being integrated with enterprise applications while at the same time it is the perfect tool for your next garage sale. Just put your garage sale items in to a mobile store and publish the link in your classified ad. People can see, and buy, your items before they arrive plus you can accept credit cards, PayPal and Google Checkout at your garage sale.

Adding the ability for remote sales teams to buy and sell from their phones has a lot of potential to increase income and cut expenses for many businesses. Mowbi is modular so it can be integrated in to enterprise systems affordably.

June 15, 2010


Genotropegrzrlogo Record:  Sembled sembled logo

Funding Status: Seed

Founders Backgrounds: Great Hill Partners (Boston-based private equity firm).

Investors: Friends & Family / Founder

Industry: Consumer Web

Offering Description: LLC helps consumers identify the easiest “assembly requried” products and strives to reduce frustration and time required in assembling a product with detailed video and photo instructions and commentary.

April 28, 2010

When Will They Launch Q2 2010

Every quarter we will be compiling a list of new web properties that are in private beta or “coming soon” stage. We hope to give them a bit of exposure and help with early customer sign up.leonardo walk on water

The other goal is to encourage them to come out to the public and start to get feedback from the user community. We are rooting for you, so launch that leaky boat or take your first steps on the water.

First let’s recap the list from last quarter to see what progress has been made. Hard to say if they have any of these micro-targeted sites up. Here is all we can find, which is on the home page.   AdHarmonics helps consumer find exactly what they’re looking for with micro-targeted sites.  We bring innovation to the lead generation industry through micro-targeted sites that are open, easy to use and transparent to users.  We answer consumer’s queries for education, legal help, mortgages and other categories with narrowly targeted websites.  By focusing on small sets of users and providing them with the best possible options, AdHarmonics delivers high quality leads to its partners. AdHarmonics is based in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA. has launched. Turns out the company is based in San Fran however. has launched. Turns out the company is based in San Fran however. still in stealth mode, though we can cut them some slack since it is not a web company. They are seeking funding for a virtualization play. Has launched. Easy signup go check it out. still in private beta Launched, although not a consumer site of interest to you and me, they have both logistics domain experience and web backgrounds. We wish Evan and company good luck. they have launched. check it out and give them feedback on usability etc… not launched yet. They do have a survey and form for prospective customers to sign up for a consultation. No web app at this point. Launched. It is a community to help people live happier and healthier lives. Join and set some goals and let the community encourage you to fulfill them. Launched. It is a web site where people can have conversations on a specific topic with people who are like them. Check it out, you can search for a topic of interest. As always with user generated content, there is not alot a first but it grows over time. Also Zaang is hinting that this is just the beginning and their “really big” idea is coming this quarter. Stay tuned.

So there you have it.  Half have launched and it is a varied and interesting group. Please take some time and give them a little user love.

Now we come to the new list of sites to watch in the coming months. Give them some sign-up love if you are interested and encourage them to take the plunge into the light of day.

March 12, 2010

Dave McClure Throws Down Gauntlet to Boston Angels

Dave McClure day in Boston was awesome. I attended both events featuring the geek coder, turned marketer, turned Angel investor/VC, here in theHub. The first talk presented by Performable and hosted at Dopatach Labs was excellent and he did a good job of making it fresh. Once he found out that everyone had already seen his Startup Marketing fordave mcclure Pirates presentation he pivoted to other material which included a bit of my favorite Dave talk, a riff on a Kathy Sierra slide, titled F**k or Kill.  You can watch the Performable event here.

Then at the MIT Enterprise Forum Panel, Dave did not disappoint and really injected the energy into the discussion which might have otherwise been a more boring event. Sim Simeonov is to be congratulated for assembling an interesting group of panelists and especially for adding the entrepreneurs that had been through the venture accelerator programs, which was a brilliant addition.  Again you can view the event courtesy of DartBoston.

It was humorous to see that , Dave’s “blue wordage” was mentioned by the Boston Media, which is surprising because @sbroderick has certainly done his part to introduce Boston to a more emphatic mode of expression.

The point that Boston is lacking active angel investors for web startups was underscored by OneForty founder Laura Fitton’s @pistachio tale about the necessity of traveling to San Francisco to raise her angel round, and Dave voicing his amazement at the lack of active angel investors here. He threatened to come back more often to fill the gap. Let’s hope we see him once a quarter.

Now it is up to the entrepreneur community to produce some interesting companies and disruptive ideas. It is not a one way street, and we can’t only blame angels. When Josh Koppelman of First Round Capital came to Boston last summer and held office hours, the word was, he left thinking not much interesting was happening here.  This is from one of, if not the most savvy early stage web investor, that came here looking to put money into the Boston market, yet left without getting his pen out.

So yes, it is clear that Boston needs more angels willing to invest in the $ 50K to $1M range, but if you look at the past year, changes are taking place.  Google Ventures, Start@Spark and the new Founders Collective are actively seeking to invest in Boston. Realistically those three alone could fund a significant amount of seed rounds. Who is going to step up and take that money off the table?

It can be done and the angels do exist here. If you need to be reminded, take a look at the Flipkey story.

So what do you think? Is there enough angel money to nurture a thriving web application startup market here? Is it really the entrepreneurs fault that they haven’t come up with anything interesting? Can our established angel community pivot away from the traditional technology/IP oriented companies to embrace the consumer web and write faster checks?

Let’s hear some of your stories.

Thanks again to Performable for putting together the presentation at DogPatchLabs and for sending an email with the included McClure photo which I stole.

February 23, 2010

Stamp Mobile

Genotropegrzrlogo Record:  Stamp Mobile stampmobilelogo

Funding Status: Seed

Founders Backgrounds: Urban Interactive, Blackstone Group

Investors: ?

Industry: Mobile Applications, Mobile Commerce

Offering Description: Stamp’s loyalty program is a different breed. Points, rewards, customer management tools — sure, we have that. But we also provide the spark to help you build real relationships with your customers.

January 16, 2010

When Will They Launch Q1 2010

Our post back in May 2009, When Will They Launch pointed out some companies waiting in the wings and extolled them to release their idea into the wild and let it flourish.

It’s time for a recap of those companies to gauge progress.

It’s also time to list a new group of companies and sites on the brink of release to give them a little sign-up love and encourage them to show us what you got.

First the recap of the last list which started with a quote from the founder of Linkedin, “If you review your first site version and don’t feel embarrassment, you spent too much time on it.” — Reid Hoffman New domain name, but closed beta for Seems they sold the domain to a big Sqatter company. Still  the future home of: closed beta, coming soon coming soon still in closed beta sign up for when it becomes available (limited beta at a couple of venues) Launched with customers and investors. expired domain we are launching soon new and improved coming soon currently in closed beta

So that is 1.5 in twelve that has delivered anything publicly. Not a very high ratio. Not trying to give you guys a hard time, but let’s see what you got. It’s time to let us unwashed masses have a go with your app so you can find out what is good about it. Don’t take our word for it though, listen to some people in the know….

Anyway, let’s take a look at a new crop of hopeful new companies and sites looking to make their mark. Give them some sign-up love if you are interested and encourage them to take the plunge into the light of day.

October 26, 2009

You don’t need a CTO, you need a lead developer

A quick review of the startup market here reveals a good number of nascent web startups seeking a technical founder CTO.


Revenue Architects

Kill Your Cube

Dating Site Startup

Recently a first time founder of a Boston startup came to us seeking a CTO for their web app. There was no great technical problem to solve, no dream team and no technical IP to create a barrier to entry. In short, nothing that would interest an experienced CTO. It was certainly a great opportunity for the right person, but that right person was a veteran developer with a track record of shipping reliable code.  Mostly the issues were scalability, time to launch and usability.

Rather than waste effort convincing the type “A” founder that they didn’t want a CTO, we focused on showing them lead developers that had shipped significant products and lead teams. Other sources provided many interviews with CTOs and experienced VPs of engineering, at a considerable waste of precious time, but none could be attracted to the deal. Eventually the start-up ended up hiring three good developers and had a very successful product launch.

If you are a non-technical founder with a Web App idea, just get something built. It is all about the Minimum Viable Product. Get something in user’s hands, gather feedback and iterate until you have something they love and will pay for.

Build some traction and revenue, traction is good, revenue is king. If you take off, chances are you are probably going to throw out all your original code anyway. Once you have traction and revenue,  you will be more attractive to the CTO you thought you wanted when you started out.

October 23, 2009


Genotropegrzrlogo Record:  Serendeputy

Funding Status: Bootstrapped

Founders Backgrounds:, Abuzz

Investors: founders

Industry: Consumer web, New

Offering Description: Serendeputy is your personal news assistant, a little robot who learns what you like and pulls together a page of news articles tailored to your specific interests.