July 27, 2014
Yikes! VentureFizz is 5 Years Old! A Look Back...

Ok - this is crazy!  VentureFizz is 5 years old!  Yup - we launched the site in July of 2009 and what a wild ride it has been!  First off... thanks to all of our readers, we are truly blessed with all of your support!

When we launched VentureFizz, the Boston tech community was missing the buzz factor.  Everything was disjointed and we saw this as an opportunity to build a community hub.  A single place to stay connected to the Boston tech scene.  As a way to celebrate our 5 years, we thought it would be fun to look at the evolution of the site and what was happening back in the Boston tech scene back in 2009.

The Evolution of VentureFizz

Here is what our homepage looked like when we launched in 2009 - at the time, no one knew what VentureFizz was... so, we had to have our homepage explain the purpose of the website.  As you can see, uTest (now Applause) was an early supporter:


As more people started to follow VentureFizz, we realized that our site needed some changes.  First, we needed a homepage that was more content driven in terms of the various buckets of information being published to our site.  Plus, we started to publish a lot of blog content direct to our site from local entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and subject matter experts.  We wanted to put a spotlight on this content.  Thus, we redesigned the homepage at the end of 2010:


Then... in 2012, we did another redesign to make our website look "more current" with other content heavy websites.  We also took it as an opportunity to simplify the buckets of content that appear on our site, along with a rotating slideshow on our homepage:


Next up, last we launched our BIZZpages section during the second half of 2013.  Due to the success of our Job Board, it was a natural transition to use VentureFizz as a way for companies to help promote their employment brand to our readers.  The goal of these pages is to provide our a readers a virtual tour of some of Boston's hottest tech companies and provide a comprehensive snapshot of each company's people, culture, job openings, funding, thought leadership, news, etc.  We now have almost 80 companies that have built a BIZZpage with more signing up every week!


What was buzzing back in 2009?

Ok - this was fun and I published this yesterday on our weekly email, but I went through the six months of emails that I had published from the second half of 2009.  Man... a lot has changed for the Boston tech scene.  I'm talking crazy strides.  Here are 10 interesting tidbits to check out from back in 2009:

  1. We were still pulling out of a major recession and there were hints of optimism in the air... things were getting better in the tech sector.

  2. The Innovation District did not formally exist (launched in 2010 by Mayor Menino).

  3. Founder Collective had just launched with a $40M seed fund.

  4. DartBoston was playing a big part in terms of helping to pull the younger demographic into the ecosystem.  They had a web show called Capitalize where they would stream a founder pitching a VC.  Check out RiotVine's pitch to David Beisel.  Link

  5. Speaking of David Beisel - he was still a Vice President at Venrock... Rob Go was still at Spark Capital... and Lee Hower was still at Point Judith.  Since then, they have formed a very important seed fund called NextView Ventures - they just closed a new $40M second fund.

  6. LogMeIn had gone public in June of 2009 at $16 a share and raised $107M in funding.  The company is now trading at $41.95 a share with a $1B market cap.  

  7. Other IPO candidates at the time were NameMedia (Afternic division was acquired by GoDaddy),Gomez (acquired by Compuware for $295M), Carbonite (went public in 2011), Glasshouse Technologies (filed for bankruptcy), Endeca (acquired by Oracle for $1.1B), and Kayak (went publicin 2012 and they were acquired shortly after by Priceline for $1.8B).  

  8. Techstars was just launching in Boston and the first crop of companies graduated includingLocalytics (recently raised $16M).

  9. Investors were finally funding younger entrepreneurs:  Matt Lauzon was building Paragon Lake(now Gemvara... and Matt is building his next company Dunwello), Brian Balfour was buildingViximo (they were later acquired by Tapjoy... he went on to be a Co-Founder at Boundless and he's now VP Growth at HubSpot), & Seth Priebatsch was getting lots of buzz with SCVNGR (which is nowLevelUp).

  10. Emerging companies... DataXu came out of stealth mode; FitnessKeeper (RunKeeperraised$400K, Swipely raised $875K (they just closed $20M in funding) and Bluefin Labs raised their initial round of funding (they were acquired by Twitter), and RunMyErrand raised $1M (they are nowTaskRabbit and moved to the bay area).

  11. Bonus tidbit #1 - David Cancel raised $3M to launch Performable and Laura Fitton was buildingoneforty, an app store for Twitter and raised $1.85M.  Both companies have since been acquired byHubSpot to make the sum of the parts a greater whole.

  12. Bonus tidbit #2 - Quattro Wireless had raised $10M earlier in the year and they were on the heels of getting acquired by Apple for $275M in Jan of 2010.  

Thanks again for reading VentureFizz!  It's been a ridiculous amount of fun and we are only getting started!  More to come... stay tuned!

Keith Cline is the Founder of VentureFizz.  You can follow him on Twitter (@kcline6) by clicking here.