November 24, 2013

5 Reasons for the Boston Tech/Innovation Community To Be Thankful This Week

There is so much to be thankful for as Thanksgiving approaches this Thursday, especially as the robust tech ecosystem in Boston continues to trend upwards. Here is our list of a few specific things to appreciate as part of Boston's startup/innovation community this week.

1. Things are Going Great in Boston

The Startup Community should be really excited about what is going on these days in town. Not only because there seems to be more and more (sometimes surprising) funding announcements; not only because some "pillar" companies are stepping into the "public" consciousness and leading the next wave of Boston companies by sharing their experience and re-investing their dollars; not only because some of Boston's mobile app and e-commerce companies are expanding rapidly; but, because there is an almost palpable spirit of cooperation, widespread mentorship, and "all-in", familial mentality that is coursing through the city like never before.


David Brown, Jeff Fagnan, and Co., have become one of the most important organizations in Boston for helping non-profit charities. 

TUGG's rapid, tasteful, and respectful response to the Boston Marathon bombing shed some well-deserved light on all the good that the organization is doing. 

Over the past month and a half, TUGG has organized its Tech Gives Back Day that raised over $200K and gave a combined $75K to a six charities. They led over twenty teams of Boston startup folks to get involved and raise money for charity in the recent Spartan Race at Fenway, and then then, the next day, fired up a whole bunch of techies to run in the Dan Scharfman Memorial 5K. Additionally, TUGG led a great evening at the Hard Rock Cafe for Techies Got Talent last Wednesday that raised $3500 for Music & Youth, a great charity that runs an after school music education and enrichment program.

Every time I meet him at a TUGG event, David Brown is arm-and-arm with representatives of the charities that TUGG is helping to raise funds for. He is always excited and eager to introduce them and to pump up whatever cause they may be championing.

Last week, it was Music & Youth; but next time I bump into him, I'm sure Brown will have another non-profit to rave about that TUGG is trying to help out.

3. Boston's Quiet Giants are Poised for a BIG 2014 

Dyn. HubSpot. Wayfair. Acquia. 

All companies that may go public in 2014. All very successful right now. All completely off the radar of the national tech conversation. 

Wayfair is exceeding their projections from earlier this fall and surpassing $1B in revenue a source recently told me. 

Acquia and Dyn are two companies, like Akamai, that are the structural foundation for the entire web. Acquia is the world's Drupal expert, led by Drupel inventor Dries Buytaert who founded the company with Jay Batson. (It's crazy how many websites run on the Drupel web platform.)

HubSpot and Wayfair are making hires that hint at an IPO. just quietly filed paperwork for a 2014 public offering.

(Oh yeah, and Veracode, DataXu, Bit9...)

4. Wayne Chang has started an AngelList Syndicate

Always the favorite topic of conversation of folks like Jason Calacanis, AngelList Syndicates have become a viable way to create investor groups, partly due to new investing rules made possible by the JOBS Act. we recently bemoaned the lack of a Boston tech leaders who are taking advantage of the new AngelList Syndicate. 

Recently, we discovered that serial entrepreneur and Crashlytics founder Wayne Chang has created his own Syndicate. Without much fanfare, he already has a few backers. 

The chance to get involved in a funding syndicate led by Chang seems like a great opportunity for local angel investors. Most exciting, the minimum backer investment is $1000. That means that anyone who wants to join a round for a company that Chang would back needs only put $1000 into the deal. However, he does have discretion over who he allows in the syndicate.

5. Gather/District Hall in the Innovation District

I went to Gather for the first time recently and was blown away by what the folks from the City of Boston, the Cambridge Innovation Center, and, everyone else involved have created. 

District Hall and Gather, the restaurant that recently opened in DH, could end up being the Boston tech "clubhouse". With an open door policy for space usage, a great little coffee shop, and a top notch restaurant with one of the best beer lists (and coolest tap designs) in the city, the new hot spot is attracting more and more people each time I drop in.

When everyone talks about the future of the tech community and innovation in Boston, the lack of a main gathering spot is often brought up as one of the things that the city lacks. 

No more. 

With a lot of companies and other tech related firms moving into 1 Seaport across the street, and ever-growing company EnerNOC already there, Gather should not lack for visitors. The question is, how long before it becomes impossible to even find a spot to hangout in at the District Hall space?

Dennis Keohane is a staff writer for VentureFizz. You can follow Dennis on Twitter (@DBKeohane) by clicking here.