Thursday, January 29, 2009

Venture Investment is down, new Startups pay no attention

You can't read a publication that covers startups without coming across an article about the Venture Capital market tanking.

In spite of this, there have been some really interesting companies recently closing their series A here in Boston. The group is a good mix of seasoned founders and first time entrepreneurs.

The Search Marketing, Lead Generation or Inbound Marketing space is heating up with several new players entering the field.

Wordstream Serial CEO and new founder.

JazD Markets Seasoned VP of engineering, CEO proven executive in turnaround and high growth environments.

Data Center Solutions have been a strong field for Boston and these new players are seeking to continue that trend.

Cloudswitch Founders coming off big exits.

Viridity Software Second time around.

Cloudant First time founders, PHD's from MIT. VC that funded Series A has not been announced. If you have info, let us know.

Mobile Applications and Wireless is an active market for Boston

SCVNGR 19 year old founder quit school to give startup a go.

I look forward to following each company on their journey.

GRITTY REALITY of running a CRAPPY little startup business

The headline is a line from yesterdays post by Dave McClure. His way of throwing ice water in the face of those caught up in the idealism of the start-up culture or the search for the quick buck. It is a corollary to our Shoulders of Giants post from yesterday.

Because you can get there faster using the knowledge and experience of those that have done it before, means you have farther to fall when the reality of failure looms it's head.

The message is, make sure you know what you are getting into and believe what you are doing is valuable and make something people want.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

giantsGetting a new web property off the ground is a tough challenge, even tougher doing it for the first time with no web experience. The easiest part turns out to be coming up with an idea and building the application. Much tougher is finding, attracting, converting and keeping your users.

To be able to profit from the work of others is a beautiful thing and the best example of the camaraderie and transparency of the web entrepreneur community is the amount of free and extremely practical advice offered by those that have gone before.  We're not talking about general stuff like "if you aren't embarrassed by your app, you waited too long to launch" either. This is specific and detailed information.

The following list contains some of the best information available but is not comprehensive. Please let us know what you think should be added and we will update the list with your suggestions.

Practical Advice

Dave McClure best know for his   Metrics Presentation

Startonomics the initial 2008 conference including all speakers video and slideshare presentations.

pmarca Marc Andreesen the founder of Netscape blog. Practical advice from hiring, to operations.

Andrew Chen another great source for metrics and cohort analysis.

VentureHacks gives very practical advice on raising funding.

On Startups Dharmesh Shah co-founder of Hubspot.

Redfin Financials the actual first two years financials of an online realty site.

Lessons Learned Eric Ries xCTO of IMVU  advocate of Lean Startups

Less practical but thought provoking and dealing with the bigger picture.

Umair Hague edge economist

Paul Graham principal of YCombinator

The information provided to the community by these authors and presenters is several careers worth of experience and advice. To be able to take advantage of this wealth of knowledge is a privealege and unprecedented in any industry.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

(Cancelled due to Snowstorm) Social CRM and tech meetup at Betahouse Wednesday 28th 6:30 PM

We received an email today from Scott Annan the CEO of  Mercury Grove, an Ottowa web software firm telling us about their stop in Boston on the current Co-working / Dex Roadtrip tour of the east coast startup scene. He and Scott Lake (founder of, and social media consultant) are traveling to various US cities trying to connect with local bloggers, startups, and technology enthusiasts for a discussion about social CRM and the new app DEX (  As a power user of contact management apps, Dex seems pretty interesting, we just signed up for the beta.

The two Scotts are also co-authors of the blog.  It should be a good time with some interesting conversation.  Try to get out and meet them and let us know how it went.
More information here:

Monday, January 26, 2009

DreamIt Ventures of Philadelphia Summer 2009 Application

As I was thinking about a follow on post regarding the departure of Y Combinator and what or who may fill the gap, I received an email from DreamIt Ventures.

They want to get the word out that Applications for DreamIt 09 summer session are currently being accepted online at . The so called Y Combinator clone program is based in the Philadelphia. Wade Roush from Xconomy did a good profile on them back in October 2008.

One of last years crop of participants SCVNGR that we previously profiled, has relocated to the Boston area and has enjoyed success with funding from Bantam Group and a recent round from Highland Capital.

The program requires relocating to Philly for the three month program in the summer. Check it out, it might be right for you and your idea.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


green cloudGreenCloud Systems

Funding Status: series A stealth

Investors: DoMatrix, Chrysylis Energy

Founders or Execs past companies: Amazon, Treevolt, Energena

Industry: BioEnergy Cloud Computing

Offering Description:  GreenCloud has developed an inexpensive electricity generation system that harvests metabolic energy from bamboo. Using this bioenergy converter we deliver on the promise of cloud computing for next generation data centers, and  do so holistically, addressing: cooling, application performance, and reduction of power consumption.

The more computation the more oxygen is produced. In the future, every Google search you perform will help rebuild the earth's atmosphere.

One Last Thing

Sad day for Boston as Y Combinator pulls up stakes and moves to Silicon Valley

While not a surprise, it is a blow to the local web scene here in Boston to lose Y Combinator.  Paul Graham has long been a critic of the Boston Venture community and their reluctance to invest in his crops of nascent startups. He has now given in to the fact that the Valley is a better place for (web) startups.

Y Combinator did not have a great effect on the Boston economy, as most of the companies moved to the Valley anyway. But it was a beacon of innovation and wisdom about the Web  amidst the established enterprise, data center and wireless worlds that thrive here in Boston.

It was annoying when TechCrunch "discovered" YCombinator and Hacker News and claimed them as one of their own even though it originated in Boston. It is now even more annoying to think that it is now true.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Genotrope Record:  Noteflight

Funding Status:  Seed Funding

Investors:  Founders?

Founders or Execs past companies: Allurent, Maven Networks

Industry: Consumer Web, B2C, Music

Offering Description: dedicated to reinventing the way that people create, share and use written music. Our product doesn't merely improve on other music notation software: it lets written music take advantage of the full power of the web as we know it today. Noteflight is a powerful full-featured application to edit, display and play back music notation in a standard web browser, integrated in an online library of musical scores that anyone can publish, link to, or embed.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

In the shadow of a Monster

We have been watching a couple of local Internet Job sites that are ramping up nicely in the recent months.

MyPerfectGig , the more pedigreed of the two, is a startup funded by North Bridge and Commonwealth Capital. The founding team are seasoned entrepreneurs, having founded BrassRing and run DirectoryM.

MPG describes their offering as "sourcing intelligence". The application provides hiring companies with an incredible amount of information regarding competitors hiring and available workforce.

Vitruva was founded in 2006 by an executive from Iconics. They don't make public their funding sources but they must have some money,  having existed for several years.

They characterize themselves as a "job matching engine" and the tag line is Jobs without Searching.

Both of the sites are showing strong recent growth as you can see. Monster Board, the billion dollar revenue career site was started here in the Boston area and is currently one of the most used sites on the web. The recruiting market is huge and it will be interesting to watch the upstarts as they pick away at a continually fragmenting market. It would be great to see another huge success from the Boston area, rise up and compete with the Monster.