Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Technology Companies to Watch in 2010

There are a couple of new companies started this year that are on our radar.

They have known founders and are embarking on a new venture in emerging markets. It should be interesting to watch as they lauch their products or services this year.

Akiba is based in Boston and the founders come from Nexaweb, Fundtech, Fortelligent and Bladelogic.

They are developing a database virtualization solution that enables effortless scalability of a database across nodes, both within the enterprise and in the cloud.

Nasuni is a Natick based company with founders hailing from Archivas and other executives from Leostream and BCG.

They will be providing enterprise-class features, while removing the existing obstacles to cloud storage adoption for companies of all sizes, with or without IT resources. We believe our offering will propel cloud storage into a segment of the market that is prime for the cloud, but not currently being served.

Performable is a virtual startup based in Cambridge. The founders come from Compete and Lookery.

Operating in stealth mode for now, the most they have said publicly is that Performable is a marketing platform for start-ups and online businesses. Without knowing exactly what they are doing,  a data point regarding the product's viability was provided by Sean Ellis (Performable advisor) who said he could't live without the product. That is enough to get our attention and is a good indication they are on to something.

Yottaa is another stealth mode startup based in Cambridge. The founders and executives are out of Nexaweb and Tazz Networks.

Their vague offering description says Yottaa is a cloud computing company building a new generation of cloud services revolutionizing what we know about the Internet. Ray Stata is involved with the company which is a fairly strong indication of strong underlying technology.

Of course this is a partial list of the cool technology companies coming out of the Boston area in 2009.  If there are any additions you would like to make, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Coffee for No Reason: 12.23.09

If you like coffee and you like to network with interesting people in the tech, biotech, media, and the wider start-up world, go check out this weeks Coffee for No Reason.

Organized by Scott Kirsner and Jimmy Guterman , it is a chance to mingle with like minded enterpreneurs and possibly get the ear of two of the most respected technology and business journalists in Boston.

All you have to do is show up at the front room of the Kendall Square Cosi on Wednesday, December 23rd from 9 to 11 AM.

See Scott's post about the event on

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Real Reason You're Wanted in Silicon Valley/SF

By now you have heard it so many times you know it is true.  Silicon valley is the vortex drawing all web entrepreneurs and startups into that bright place where the best environment exists to nurture your fledgling company and become the next TwitFaceLinker. This fact is clear, it is the best place to get a web startup company funded.

Countless VCs, pundits, founder helpers, xfounder VCs and most anybody else involved in the Valley/SF startup scene will ask you "when are you moving out here?  This is where it is happening."

"Step right up, come one come all."  They want you, they need you, and they will own your butt.

Because what they don't tell you is that you will have nothing else to occupy your attention and keep you from working 80 hours a week cranking code with your nose in a computer screen. Why, because there are no women to distract you from your tasks.

You are wanted in Silicon Valley to put to use making startups, where there is less life to divert your attention from your purpose of creating value.

Women, can't live with them can't live without them, can't even find them.

So what if the people extolling the virtues of the Valley startup lifestyle and encouraging you to make the move, are already married. It's a numbers game baby.  Gotta have more pork to make the sausages for the porkfolio.

I know what you are thinking. The Valley has a higher percentage of wealthy men, on the mean, than men from any other major metropolitan area and therefore, that makes it a great place for single women.  Sounds good to me, women will be drawn to you like asyyriaks to a wookee child.

But a study shows an interesting thing happens when the ratio skews too much in favor of women. The amount of socioeconomic status a guy needs to get a girl increases way more than the math would predict. Specifically when the ratio is tilted in favor of women by 10%, low status men became not 1.1 times less likely to get a girl but 2.3 times less likely and high status men 1.3 times less likely.

So the good news is that if you are one of the few to get rich, you have a shot, but the bad news is that if you don’t, you have even less of a shot.


Check out some of the choice comments below, from the people living the life, on a Ycombinator News Discussion of the subject.

Companies and their ratio:


Median Age 27 years Gender Male 68% Female 32%

City of San Francisco:

Median Age 32 years Gender Male 62% Female 38%

"The Lower Peninsula is relatively devoid of Women."

And my favorite

"Negative proof by counterexample. I met a girl in SF last month. Therefore, "there are no girls in San Francisco" is false. QED."

They are discussing a post on the web site Why There are No Girls in San Francisco which contained the study information.

A singles map of the United States of America

women map

Which cities have a surplus of single men (or women) - and what that means for the country

But all this is not about you because you are kicking ass and going to the moon despite the odds.

Startup Failure Rate
Startup Failure Rate

You are "going to make it to the top where the air is fresh and clean." to quote Tom Waits.  So what if you miss a few nights on the couch eating Thai food with your lady, watching Spiderman.

It's not like you can't control biological urges and yearning for companionship that have stirred in your blood since Australopithecus first spied his missus slurping termites off of her fishing stick.

Now that you succeeded to the point where you have the wife and kids and nice place (not FU money but not bad). You have another problem. Where are the great schools to send your kids?

At least they will have nice weather to come home to when they come back from Exeter or Phillips Andover Academy. Oh yeah, and since the odds aren't against them there, your sons might bring some lady friends home to meet their parents.

*My apologies to the female startup founder for gender generalizations, to whom this does not apply.

*Thanks to Andrew Chen for pointing out the Why There are No Girls in San Francisco blog, but I can't seem to find his post linking to it.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Genotropegrzrlogo Record: Qponus qponus logo

Funding Status: Seed, Self Funded

Founders Backgrounds:, Beacon Hill Athletic Club, Community Magazines

Investors: ?

Industry: Consumer Web, eCommerce

Offering Description: qponus offers a fabulous deal everyday. It's a great way to save money and to try out new things.

Monday, December 7, 2009

For Entrepreneurs, new blog by David Skok from Matrix Partners

Just found out about a new blog,  For Entrepreneurs by David Skok from Matrix Partners.  If you are interested in getting started, getting funded, and building a successful company, you will want to add this blog to your feed reader.

David is a successful entrepreneur, founding his first company at age 22, four companies in total,  including two successful exits from his Boston companies, Watermark(bought by Filenet) and Silverstream (IPO then bought by Novell).

As a VC he has already had successful exits with JBoss(RedHat), AppIQ(HP) and Tabblo(HP). One of his most recent investments is HubSpot, which has probably had some  influence on his decision to start blogging.

For Entrepreneurs has a lot of content other than blog posts which are reference material for startup founders getting their companies off the ground. I particularly like the section on Building a Sales and Marketing Machine. It includes a lot of data and diagrams that walk you through detailed structure and methods for creating a customer acquisition process.

The most recent blog post on Viral Marketing is informative and introduces a new factor , the viral cycle time, which is a key determinant of rate of growth.

We can look forward to a lot more anecdotal advice and guidance that should save aspiring founders much time and effort.

If memory serves me correctly, I seem to remember Silverstream's product launch was from a party on the deck of an Aircraft Carrier, so maybe at some point we will get to hear about that and how things have changed in this era of continuous deployment, product market fit and soft launch.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Genotropegrzrlogo Record:  Micronotes

Funding Status:  Seed Round

Founders Backgrounds:  Okena (Cisco), Entegra, Akamai

Investors: ?

Industry:  Mobile, Consumer Finance, B2C Marketing

Offering Description: Micronotes interactive direct marketing system enables consumer brands to mass-produce face-to-face sales interviews to deliver highly relevant offers to a target audience driving sales at lower cost than existing platforms.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Bigger Problem with Letting Don Dodge Go

*Note that I didn't post this prior to Don's most recent news. But the point is still valid, and maybe more so.

By now the dust has settled and the pundits have weighed in about what a huge mistake Microsoft made letting Don Dodge go.

You can see the some of the commentary here:

But those issues may just be the tip of the iceberg. I think the real problem is just now manifesting itself.

If you read Don's most recent blog post it is clear that the collateral damage may overshadow the initial blow.

Sure, losing his services as the face of Microsoft to the start up community is huge, as  Michael Arrington of TechCrunch pointed out.

But that is dwarfed in my opinion by the fact that one of your biggest proponents of  'all that is Microsoft'  has so quickly "seen the light" regarding the value and utility of the competing products now available to him.

Outlook has been replaced by Gmail with glowing praise "I can already see why people have been raving about it" .

Windows mobile  is out and an Android phone to take it's place. "Windows Mobile is OK, but not great"

I don't think he is the kind of person to do this for spite.  My take is, I sense a great relief to have removed the corporate blinders and the burden of legacy products and preserving cash cows.

*Note: I didn't post this soon enough, and Don's most recent post underscores my points.

He has announced his move to Google and once you have read it, you will understand that losing Don's service was bad, but gaining his adversarial punch will prove to be much worse.

For example from his recent post:

Thanks Microsoft Outlook, but I’m going to Gmail.

Thanks Microsoft Office Office 2007, but I’m going to Google Docs.

Thanks Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5, but I’m going to Google Android.

Thanks Microsoft Internet Explorer, but I’m moving to Google Chrome

Most could have seen this coming from a mile away.  Certainly Arrington did as you see from his Exit interview.  Seems like a problem to me.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Eric Ries Talk @ MIT November 19th

We are all set for a great event coming on the 19th. Thanks to our sponsors, we are pleased to be able to present this talk free to all attendees.  By underwriting this event, these sponsors have demonstrated their commitment to the web startup community in the Boston/Cambridge area. Without their help this event would not be possible.

We have some good news. The people that signed up on the overflow list, now have a reserved seat at the event. All ticket holders will receive a confirmation email prior to the event.

Also, there are 12 slots remaining.  If you aren't able to reserve one of the remaining seats, stay tuned. There will be various promotions giving away some tickets by local tech blogs, web groups around town and on twitter.

Sign UP Here

Monday, 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.

Friday, 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.


Genotropegrzrlogo Record:  CheapToday

Funding Status:  private

Founders Backgrounds:  Myperfectgig, Cheap Flights

Investors: Private

Industry: Consumer Web, ecommerce

Offering Description:  CheapToday is a buyer’s guide and commentary site. Our deal experts hand-pick only the hottest daily deals on the internet and display them on CheapToday. CheapToday uses the most powerful computers and the biggest brains, fueled by gallons of coffee—all to bring you the best of the net at the lowest prices available.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Genotropegrzrlogo Record: thredUP

currently hiring

Funding Status:  Seed

Founders Backgrounds: Microsoft, Foley Hoag,

Investors: ?

Industry: Consumer Web

Offering Description: We did some real thinking and figured out this whole idea of more efficient exchange makes a lot of sense for two reasons. First, most people bore easily, clothes included; second, buying stylish new clothes on a regular basis is expensive. So we thought it would be cool if you could exchange the clothes that you were bored of (old to you) for new ones (new to you). Thats really it: out with old to you, in with new you. Then we got all fancy with being a personal shopper and a refresh button and starting a closet revolution. No matter what we call it, its the same great experience.

Tuesday, 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.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, 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.

Friday, 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.


  • 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.


  • 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?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


Genotropegrzrlogo Record: Yotta Currently Hiring

Funding Status: Seed

Investors: ? TBD

Industry: Storage Software, Cloud Computing

Offering Description: stealth mode storage offering. Experienced founder.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Did Jobvent Get Acquired?

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 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, 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.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, September 14, 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, 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.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

TechStars Demo Night Companies

Here is the list of the Companies participating in the Summer 09 TechStars Boston. Twitter app store. Personal relationship management for the mobile professional. 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. Deep Analytics for mobile apps. Makes shift exchange a snap. Pop culture video for learning foreign language. Imagine a temporary-staffing market where everybody wins. Tools for savy golfers. 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

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. travel search? Stealth Mode Learn, Share, Improve your conversions today. disruptive networking technology a marketing platform for start-ups and online businesses.

Tuesday, September 1, 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

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.

Conversion Associates

Genotropegrzrlogo Record:  Conversion Associates

Funding Status: Private

Investors: Founders

Industry: B2B, Web Analytics

Offering Description: Combines web analytics and phone call tracking in a simple web-based platform designed for the SMB market, ad agencies, and publishers.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mass Innovation Night September 9, 2009

If you have yet to attended a Mass Inno event and you are interested in startups and innovation in the Boston area, put this September #min6 event on your calendar.

As mentioned in Scott Kirner's article The Cultural RevolutionMass Innovation Nights has earned a spot as an institution contributing to the emergence of the new (open) innovation culture in Boston.

The September 9 Mass Innovation Night Innovator Companies:

Register to attend and make sure to Vote for the Companies you would like to see a demonstration in the ampitheater.

See you there.

PS. my advice is not to try to park near the museum. Easiest is to find the lot across the river and walk over the footbridge.


By Car: From I-95/Route 128, take exit 26 (Route 20 east). Follow Route 20 east for approximately 1.6 miles, and before Waltham Common turn right onto Moody Street. Turn left at the second traffic light onto Pine Street. Turn left into the City of Waltham Municipal Parking Lot. Park your car and cross the footbridge over the Charles River. Take a right on the brick walkway and proceed to the museum entrance at the end of the walkway.

By Public Transportation: The CRMII is a short walk from the Waltham station stop on the MBTA Commuter Rail from North Station. For information visit or call 800-392-6100
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

TECH Cocktail Boston 3 Thursday, September 3, 2009 – 6:30 p.m

TECH Cocktail Boston 3 is coming in September.

Genotrope was a proud sponsor of the last event and it is always a good time and a massive networking party.

Make sure to put it on your calendar. It will be a great kick off to the fall season.

If there are any Boston area start-ups interested in demoing at the event, please contact me summit-at-genotrope dot com.

Sign up from the TECH Cocktail Boston 3 event page.

see you there.