Your Guide to the Boston Entrepreneurship Ecosystem
A key component of the Summer Venture Program is its location in downtown Boston, giving the student entrepreneurs a chance to immerse themselves in the Boston startup ecosystem. To help orient us in our first week of SVP, Blank Center Executive Director Debi Kleiman gave us an introduction to the ecosystem.
The Boston entrepreneur is unique. She describes the Boston entrepreneur as deeply passionate and focused on solving problems: “We’re the entrepreneur that really tries to solve hard problems, the entrepreneur that is digging deep and is curious about solving some of the biggest things that plague our world today.”
And the Boston ecosystem is unique as well, for numerous reasons:
- There are multiple, dense concentrations of startups in areas like the Seaport, Back Bay, Cambridge, and the Financial District. As Debi explained, “Clusters matter, density matters when you’re talking about an ecosystem.” Startups can connect with and support each other and feed off of each other.
- There are incredible university resources in Boston, from student led venture accelerators to university-based venture capital funds to demo days.
- Accelerators and incubators have grown considerably. These organizations are diverse, ranging from corporate to independent to industry-specific.
- Co-working has enabled the development of micro-communities and increased opportunities to network and connect. Debi noted that, “Networking is the key to making this whole thing go” – meaning, networking is how you leverage this ecosystem and take advantage of it.
- “We have all flavors of investors here in Boston.” In Boston, there are investors for all different stages and types of companies.
- There is venture capital in Boston focused on being “entrepreneur friendly” and “passionate about bringing up the next generation of entrepreneurs.” Firms with this focus include Pillar VC and Underscore VC.
- Local tech companies represent a very wide range of industries.
- Media organizations in Boston are available, accessible, and eager to write about startups. As Debi commented, “They want to write about you.”
- There are an incredible number of events and networking opportunities.
- Community groups and trade organizations represent all different industries and interests.
Throughout her talk, Debi highlighted a couple of resources that are relevant for all entrepreneurs:
- Boston Innovation Guide
- Greenhorn Connect
- The Capital Network
- Mastering the VC Game by Jeff Bussgang
- Babson Built podcast
- Blank Center monthly newsletter
Debi closed with an encouragement for the SVP teams: “Boston is full of really good stuff for you. Go get it!”
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