Stories

By: Keith Cline | August 29, 2010
CardStar is a Boston based company that is building a consumer-focused platform connecting loyalty cards, merchants and coupons via mobile devices. Their loyalty rewards app has been downloaded over 1.4 million times and is available on all of the major app stores. Danny Espinoza (CTO & Co-Founder) was...
By: Keith Cline | August 29, 2010
THE QUEST for Innovation is back!!! What is THE QUEST for Innovation??? It is a mobile scavenger hunt (using SCVNGR's mobile gaming platform) which brings together entrepreneurs and innovators to collaborate, compete, and celebrate the region's long legacy as a hub of global innovation. This event...
By: Ralph Folz | August 26, 2010
1. Define & Live by Core Values. Authenticity, Transparency, Embracing Change, Customer Intimacy. These are a sampling of the core values that have formed in companies I have been involved with. When core values are defined, and more importantly, enacted, they provide a powerful...
By: Micah Rosenbloom | August 26, 2010
This post was conceived and co-written by Ed Tekeian (former VP Engineering at Brontes), a brilliant engineering leader, great all-around guy, and one of the key reasons our product saw the light of day. (also the only year-round surfer in New England I know) Looking back, one of the things...
By: Diane Hessan | August 25, 2010
1. Hire Passionate People. It is really difficult to teach people to have your values: to have high standards, to be collaborative or willing to take risks or be obsessive about customers, or the like. We hire people who we have passion for what we do, and who can model our values. We can always teach...
By: Michelle Hipwood | August 25, 2010
This is a puzzling dilemma for many entrepreneurs looking to finance their start-up in today’s economic environment. TCN recently hosted an expert lunch with sponsor Silicon Valley Bank around this topic, covering the basics of venture debt financing. Brad Holt, a Relationship Manager at SVB, was the...
By: Niraj Shah | August 24, 2010
1. Focus on customers. a. Always keep the lens on customers – what they want, what can be improved, what makes their experience with your company satisfying, rewarding and something they intend to repeat, etc. It is really easy to get distracted and focus on your competitors, on your...
By: Andy Payne | August 24, 2010
Two years ago, Daniel Cozza and I spent a lot of time looking at location-based apps. We brainstormed tons of ideas and prototyped one. But we ultimately decided not to pursue it; the space (and the iPhone app space, generally), was starting to feel really crowded. Later, it also became clear...
By: Gail Goodman | August 23, 2010
1. Make sure everyone in the company knows your customers’ needs and challenges. Everyone. To make the customer the center of your business universe, you need to bring them into sharp focus for everyone in the organization. Identify personas. Tell stories. Send around case studies. Host an open house...
By: Nathan Burke | August 22, 2010
Sometimes it is difficult to change your own prejudices. The moment I heard about Marginize, an app that lets anyone comment on any web page, my knee-jerk reaction was “Really? Another one of those?” In the past few years, dozens of apps have attempted to get people to comment on the “margins” of pages...
By: David Cancel | August 22, 2010
How do you know if your startup is solving a critical problem? You can survey your users, conduct user interviews, and run a/b testing experiments to try to get your answer. No matter what method you use, parsing out reality is really hard, especially for entrepreneurs (see Reality Distortion Field...
By: Keith Cline | August 22, 2010
Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat...once again it was another ultra active week in terms of deals... a total of eleven! The big news was Zynga's acquisition of Conduit Labs in Cambridge. Nabeel Hyatt, Conduit's Founder, will become head of Zynga Boston. More and more acquisition hungry...
By: Furqan Nazeeri | August 19, 2010
They teach everything else. Why, in business alone, you can get a masters or PhD in marketing (sales' evil cousin), finance, human resources and entrepreneurship (which isn't even a business function, but rather a business practice). In fact, for every head of a business function in a company (VP of whatever), there is...
By: Matthew Mamet | August 18, 2010
Here’s another take on a web startup – one that comes with a 7,000 sq ft storage facility and a fleet of delivery trucks. Meet Fetch Storage. Ok, it’s not really a web startup. As cofounder Jesse Mastro puts it, the team at Fetch is seeking to bring new technology, like personal online inventory...
By: Ray Colwell | August 17, 2010
When building your sales plan at a start up these 3 things will contribute to your success. 1. Plan for the worse - As glass half opened people we tend to think we can do anything. The reality is much of what we do is out of our control. Product releases, market acceptance, economy...
By: Richard Banfield | August 17, 2010
In the second of our series on Boston entrepreneurs we interview Jason Henrichs, COO and co-founder of PerkStreet Financial, a Highland Capital funded startup. Richard: You’re one of those few entrepreneurs that has also sat on the other side of the funding table. In fact you’ve switched from entrepreneur to VC...
By: David Skok | August 16, 2010
This blog post focuses on how B2B companies can optimize their customer acquisition funnels using a customer-centric methodology to analyze and remove blockage points. Acquiring customers in the B2B world involves using a variety of marketing and sales steps with the goal of converting...
By: Steve Green | August 16, 2010
Building out the sales plan in a startup is always difficult...you have a small client base and very little predictability in your deal sizes and sales cycles. Here are a few tips for having success early in a growing company: 1. Get in front of Prospects - Early and Often! Nothing is more important...
By: Doug Levin | August 15, 2010
From August 15th to August 18th, 1969 – forty-one years ago today – “Woodstock” was held at Max Yasgur's 600-acre dairy farm near the town of Bethel, New York. The original poster billed Woodstock as a “Music and Art Fair”. It was the largest music festival held to date, with approximately 500,000 people...
By: Keith Cline | August 15, 2010
The acquisition frenzy continues with 2 major deals announced last week. Unica (NASDAQ: UNCA) in Waltham was acquired by IBM for approximately $480M. Arbor Networks in Chelmsford was acquired by Tektronix Communications. It just keeps you wondering...who is next...
By: Don Dodge | August 12, 2010
Paul Graham of Ycombinator wrote an excellent blog on "What happened to Yahoo?". It reminded me of what happened to AltaVista, the first and most popular search engine. Yahoo thought they were a media company, not a software company. Simple, yet deep implications. AltaVista was hatched inside DEC, a hardware...
By: Lee Hower | August 11, 2010
Much virtual ink has been spilled on the pros and cons of taking seed stage investment from larger VC funds. Chris Dixon and Fred Wilson have their viewpoints, more recently Mark Suster and Brad Feld added their perspectives and helpfully laid out their firms' specific approach...
By: Chip Hazard | August 10, 2010
Last week, SAIC announced that they had signed a definitive agreement to acquire our portfolio company, Reveal Imaging. This is an extremely positive outcome for the company, its customers, employees and shareholders and represents an import waypoint on a fascinating and successful entrepreneurial...
By: Richard Banfield | August 9, 2010
This is the first in a series of interviews with some amazing entrepreneurs in the Boston area. These folks have been selected because they are not just building a business but giving back to the entrepreneurial community in some way. They might be sharing their hard-won experiences on a blog, funding startups...
By: Alex Taussig | August 8, 2010
Damn...that's a bad pitch! Early stage companies, by definition, have little to hold dear: no revenue, no profits, no awarded patents (usually), no commercially viable product, little customer validation, etc. If a seed stage or Series A startup is valued on anything, it is valued on...
By: Keith Cline | August 8, 2010
3 words sum up this quarter so far: acquisitions...acquisitions...acquisitions. We have seen a total of 7 acquisitions since July 1st: GameLogic (by Scientific Games), Reveal Imaging (by SAIC), Storwize (by IBM), Day Software (by Adobe), Picis (by Ingenix), Workscape (by ADP), and ITA Software...
By: Sachin Agarwal | August 5, 2010
Blueleaf is building the world’s first truly personal financial planning platform. It’s a complex product with a lot of features to meet all the different problems that our customer discovery has shown that people want. Here are ten concrete things we’re doing to get 10,000 sign ups before we even launch...
By: Matthew Mamet | August 4, 2010
Everyone’s excited about new mobile applications these days, and that includes me. After covering the guys at Peekaboo Mobile earlier this spring, I was happy to spend time with Jacqueline Thong, CoFounder and CEO of UbiqiHealth, developers of mobile and web based tools for patients with chronic...
By: Bijan Sabet | August 3, 2010
When a big company acquires a smaller company it can go all wrong. Sometimes it goes all wrong right at the start because it was an unnatural acquisition (acquired for the wrong reasons). Sometimes egos get in the way and the startup is never embraced properly after the deal. We’ve seen this over and...
By: Keith Cline | August 2, 2010
We always like to take a moment to reflect and evaluate all that has happened over the past quarter. For our evaluation, we use the following indicators: Top Deals, Company Buzz Watch, and Job Trends. Overall, it was a productive quarter. There was a great buzz in the air across the entrepreneurial...

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