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.