Monday, March 30, 2009

The Cloud Crowd

The natural next phase after storage, virtualization and data appliances would be  Cloud product and services.

Building on the strong base we have here in the Boston area, there is a new crop of start-ups creating the next products and services for the "Cloud"

The talent pool is pretty robust, with  major companies such as Netezza, EMC, VMWare, Hitachi, Iron Mountain and Sun to tap and founders from the last group of startups Like Archivas, Pirus, Equallogic, Acopia, Virtual Computer to start building the next wave of companies.

Here is a quick list of start-up Cloud companies:





Sonian Networks


When you look at the profiles, you will notice the networks overlap quite a bit from the last group of successful storage companies. It will be interesting to watch these companies progress over the next years.

Please let me know the ones I missed and I will add to the list.

First Massachusetts Innovation Night on April 8, 2009 at 6:30

A new meetup has emerged to showcase Massachusetts-based innovation.  The event is free and being held at the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham.

The Charter Members of Mass Innovation Nights:

  1. IBM/Lotus

  2. Invention Machine

  3. Lexalytics

  4. LuckyCal

  5. Mass High Tech

  6. Noteflight

  7. Practical Solar

  8. Tweetworks

  9. WiBlocks

  10. Xelago

There is quite a spectrum of products being demoed, from a music writing web app to major corporation product announcements to cleantech.

Make sure to register if you are interested in attending.

Friday, March 27, 2009

May's 10th annual Nantucket Conference is Fast Approaching

The Nantucket Conference was started  ten years ago so that New England would have its own high-level gathering for entrepreneurs, investors, and tech execs -- to spotlight what happens here -- rather than always flying out to events on the Left Coast.

If you are fortunate to score an invitation or have your registration accepted, you will be among the elite few that shape the Boston start-up eco-system.

The agenda has been finalized and this year there's an interesting mix of East and West (the COO of Skype is coming), as well as VCs from all over (Jo Tango from Kepha Partners, Brad Feld from Foundry Group in Denver, and Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital in Pennsylvania.) Plus,  Robert Keane (who was at the very first Nantucket Conference in 2000) has been invited back to talk about the VistaPrint success story.

There are still a few slots open, if you would like to register to attend.
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Seeking Start-ups to Participate in TestCase Boston at betahouse

testcase1The Boston meetups Web Innovators Group and the new DemoCamp have enjoyed deserved success. As a result of their popularity, the groups have grown quite large. At this point there might be room for smaller groups to bring back some of the intimacy and conversations, now missing, that made the groups popular in the first place.

We are seeking less schmoozefest and more exchange of knowledge and information.

With that in mind, Betahouse , Bokardo Design and Genotrope are putting together the first TestCase Boston at the end of April, to bring back the smaller get-together , and hopefully, provide some value to the start-ups and audience in attendance.

It's basically a bunch of web heads having a good time, cases of beer, consuming pizza , hanging out at betahouse and talking web.  But in the mix will be four start-up web application demos, a bit of user testing, some analysis by @bokardo Josh Porter  and audience feedback.

If you have a web application or start-up that would like to participate in the first TestCase Boston and receive valuable user and expert feedback, drop us a line. The price of admission will be providing some food and beverages for the gathering.

Update 4-15-09 Participating Companies have been chosen. Keep an eye out for TestCase II

Contact us at        info-at-betahouse-dot-org   or    testcase-at-genotrope-dot-com.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spark Capital has Launched Start@Spark

This is most excellent news.  Another Seed Capital program;  Start@Spark has been introduced for Boston companies.

Spark Capital may be the most aggressive web oriented investor in the Boston area, evidenced by their recent investment in Twitter.

Sadly, to date, only one of their web investments 8D World are from the Boston area. This is probably not through lack of trying as they are more visible here than most VC's, with Bijan Sabet hosting Open Coffee and participating in the TechStars Boston program.

A look at their portfolio will tell you that they are media oriented which might mean that most of the investments end up in NYC.

This is a great opportunity for early stage web companies here in theHub. I hope to see some great things come from this program and hopefully Boston can win a few slots against the more media oriented NYC market.

PostScript: It may turn out that Y Combinator vacating Boston will turn in to a net positive. First of all  YC companies were encouraged to re locate to Silicon Valley after their Cambridge stay had ended and the majority of them did so.  Only a few have stayed in the Boston area to contribute to the start-up community here, and we are glad they did.

Plus, Paul Graham continues to deliver kicks in the pants to the Boston start-up culture, particularly the VC's by commenting on the huge difference between the 1 and number 2 start-up markets.

The fact will probably not be acknowledged, but the vacuum left by Y Combinator and some prodding by their founder and respected seed investor may have given Boston Web start-ups a boost after all.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Upcoming 6th Annual MITX Technology Awards

The Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange (MITX) is a non-profit industry association that serves the digital marketing, media and technology community. Each year they host an awards program that helps local professionals  and companies get the recognition they deserve.

As you can see from some past finalists, it is an impressive group to be counted among.

  • 2005 Winner, Technology Operations Application: Ardence was acquired by Citrix Systems

  • 2007 Winner, Mobile: Enpocket, acquired by Nokia

  • 2006 Finalist, Web 2.0 Application: Maven, acquired by Yahoo!

  • 2006 & 2007 Finalist, Mobile: ThirdScreenMedia, acquired by AOL

Entries can range from startups to mature enterprises; all are welcome. Companies with solutions that may not be fully deployed and have been in existence for less than 2 years, but show promise to make a significant business impact. And companies with technology platforms or applications that are deployed and have delivered a significant business impact/customer story.

It is a great opportunity to showcase your start-up.  The testimonials from past winners attest to the positive effect it can have on a companies visibility. Go check it out and sign up.

Submission Entry Deadline is Friday, April 3rd.

The ceremony will be held on June 16th, 2009


Genotrope Record: Nasuni

Funding Status: Series A

Investors: Sigma, North Bridge

Founders or Execs past companies: Archivas

Industry: Storage

Offering Description: Storage as a Service

Bluefin Lab

Genotrope Record: Bluefin Lab

Funding Status: Seed

Investors: ?

Founders or Execs past companies: Another Andy Palmer mentored company. MIT

Industry: Consumer Web, Video Search

Offering Description: cutting edge video search technology applied to the exciting world of consumer media.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009


Genotrope Record: Kayanta

Funding Status: Bootstrapped

Investors: ?

Founders or Execs past companies: Revivio, Rock Paper Scissors

Industry: Consumer Web

Offering Description: Personalized Search. Helps you find recreational activities based upon personalized criteria.

Friday, March 13, 2009

MITX Start-Up Clinic Off to a Good Start

The MITX Start-Up Clinic kicked off Thursday with a session titled Business Models and Cost Efficiencies. It was hosted by Doug Levin, past CEO of Black Duck Software, and Stanley Doleberg previously at Forrester, who both recently co-founded Precipice Consulting.

The startup founders in attendence ran the gamut both in age brackets and product offerings. There were MIT hackers developing their ideas, to seasoned executives embarking on a new digital adventure. The products ranged from online ticket sales to a digital scale with attendant web app for managing weight and training programs.

The presenters commented that the VC's were looking for capital efficient companies and are speaking about building initial product concepts for $50K. This would be somewhat of a change towards web company funding, which seems like a promising sign.

Another interesting topic of discussion was, how the local VC's have discouraged the angel community in the past by washing them out of investments, thereby creating a vacuum of  active angels in the Boston area.

It seems the lack of  significant active angels in the Boston area is probably the main reason we are playing catch up in the Web Start-up market currently. This makes us respect our active Web angels even more.

As with any first cut at a project there was room for improvements. The comments from the audience made it clear that some of the material covered was a mis-match for the attendees. In particular, a section on cost cutting given to mostly bootstrapped/self funded companies did not resonate.

Another direction recommended by the audience was more practical information such as use cases and real world examples.  If they can get speakers from  local consumer start-ups to come and share their past experience in dealing with the variety of issues Consumer startups face, I believe the attendees would receive that very enthusiastically.

It was clear from the feedback that this group of entrepreneurs was hungry for real world examples and practical, actionable processes and not as interested in theory and high level overviews.

Doug and Stanley have contributed a much needed, more practical meetup to compliment the larger more schmoozefest, demo oriented group meetings. We look forward to attending future clinics as the series unfolds.

Follow the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange MITX site for future Start-Up Clinic events.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Genotrope Record:

Funding Status: Seed

Investors: ?

Founders or Execs past companies: DataSynapse

Industry: Consumer Web, Real Estate

Offering Description: PrestoRent is a web-community where Landlords, Tenants, and Real Estate Agents connect and get everything done.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Shotput Ventures: new startup accelerator in Atlanta

Shotput Ventures of Atlanta has recently launched with their first session this summer. Using the by now familiar formula of $5,000 per team plus $5,000 per founder in exchange for 5% - 10% of equity on entrepreneur friendly terms.

The team is a strong group of successful entrepreneurs with backgrounds in web and software technology.  Certainly a viable candidate when you are applying to the  list of startup accelerators built on the mold of Y Combinator. If they have a winter program, they will be even more attractive to the snow bound Boston teams.

The un-answered question is who will be the audience for "demo day"?  Will Ron Conway or Sequoia be there? Ultimately the test is how many successful companies will be spawned by the program.

They are off to a good start and we look forward to seeing the companies that spring forth under the guidance of Shotput Ventures.
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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Web Innovators Group 21 Tuesday March 10th

Dont forget to sign up for the 21st Web Inno next Tuesday at the Royal Sonesta Cambridge.

Main Dishes

Adroit Interactive

Side Dishes


Let us know which ones are your favorites or any comments you wish to offer about the companies presenting.


Genotrope Record:  Sponty

Funding Status:  Seed?

Investors: ?

Founders or Execs past companies:  Matchmine

Industry:  Consumer Web

Offering Description:

Sponty's mission is to make you and your friends hangoutable.

Sponty takes the hassle out of putting together casual social events. It lets you broadcast your hangoutable intentions, so that your friends can see what you're up to and join you.


Genotrope Record:  RUNmyERRAND

Funding Status: Seed

Investors: ?

Founders or Execs past companies: IBM

Industry: Consumer Web, “service networking”

Offering Description: is an online community of Errand Senders and Errand Runners joining together to get things done.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

MITX Start-Up Clinic for Entrepreneurs: Business Models & Cost Efficiencies 3/12

Next Thursday evening there is a Startup Clinic in Cambridge, for founders of consumer web companies, that should be interesting.

It is the first event in a new series sponsored by MITX.  Hopefully, we will see more involvement of this type from successful local entrepreneurs who are willing to engage with the community and pollinate the web ecosystem here in Boston. This kind of startup to startup interaction is one of the ingredients missing from our local scene.

This free event is for entrepreneurs only; seating is limited and you must be engaged in creating a consumer start-up to attend!

Register for:  MITX Start-Up Clinic: Business Models & Cost Efficiencies

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Presenter: Doug Levin, Serial CEO and Entrepreneur, Founder of Black Duck Software

Discussion points will include:

  • Your company vision, culture, strategies and operations — from zero-stage onwards

  • Your business model, its development, maintenance and evolution

  • Your product and service mix; choosing one or the other, or both

  • Building your business, finance and implementation models for today and the future

  • Cost savings in your business given today's economic conditions

  • And more…

Check it out and let us know how you liked it.