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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Entrepreneurs and #RubyRiot In Boston

Comments (8)

If I’ve learned one thing in my life, it’s that nothing is static.

Periodically the meme surfaces that “the only place you can create a great software / Internet company is in the bay area.” While I think the bay area is a special place, anyone that knows me knows that I strongly believe there are several great entrepreneurial communities throughout the US and the potential for many more.

Boston has always been a great entrepreneurial community. Sure – it’s had it’s ups and downs, but when I lived here from 1983 to 1995 the entrepreneurial vector was awesome. I started my first company (Feld Technologies) here in 1987 and made my first angel investment (NetGenesis) here in 1994.

When TechStars opened a Boston program in 2009 there was definitely new energy around the software / Internet startup scene in Boston and TechStars was excited to be part of. When I say “Boston”, I actually mean “Boston/Cambridge” where the center of mass is really near MIT in Cambridge. The venture capital community has finally realized this (again) and much of the physical location of the VCs is shifting to the Cambridge / Kendall Square area with a little in Harvard Square (a 10 minute cab or train ride from Kendall Square.)

I spent the day at TechStars Boston yesterday meeting with all of the TechStars Boston 2011 companies. They are halfway through the program and are stunning. Three months ago I was super psyched about the quality of the TechStars NY 2011 companies as they were halfway through the program. The Boston program, under the leadership of Katie Rae, has taken it up another notch!

Last night at dinner I met a bunch of the TechStars Boston mentors. Katie has recruited some folks I’ve never met before and I asked her to put together a dinner with the people I didn’t know. It was just awesome – super food at Evoo, great conversation, and really impressive people. Tonight we have a TechStars Boston mentor happy hour so I’ll get to see a bunch of old friends and the rest of the TechStars Boston mentors.

At the end of dinner, Matt Lauzon, the founder/CEO of Gemvara, told me about this thing he and some friends had created called #RubyRiot. It’s a “pay-it-forward” event where everyone that comes asks for an introduction to one person (anyone on the planet) and everyone in attendance works together to make the introduction happen. Matt asked me if I’d sponsor the event – Fred Destin piled on and said he’d put up $1k if I did, then Reed Sturtevant did also, and Gus Weber from Dogpatch finished us off. I’m an easy mark so I jumped in the boat.

As I walked back to my hotel, I was buzzing from the day. I believe to my core that the entrepreneurs create and sustain entrepreneurial communities. Everyone else, including VC’s like me, are participants. And it’s just awesome to see the next generation of Internet entrepreneurs reignite the fire in Boston (well – Cambridge) and drag the last generation back into it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bcarcio Ben Carcio

    Brad – The Boston entrepreneurial community is strong, and its programs like TechStars that make it so. Proud to be a part.

  • http://twitter.com/brentgrinna Brent Grinna

    Brad – awesome post. It was great meeting you yesterday and thanks for your vote of confidence for Boston/Cambridge!

  • http://twitter.com/mattlauzon Matt Lauzon

    So excited to have your support – Hoping to make lots of great things happen!

  • http://www.crashutah.com John

    Your comments about developing entrepreneurial communities has been quite inspiring to me. As part of that inspiration, I’ve been working with a few people to bring Startup Weekend to Las Vegas: http://lasvegas.startupweekend.org/ Las Vegas should be a prime spot for an entrepreneurial community. I think this event is a good start to building towards that goal. Zappos.com as a sponsor and Kevin Rose as a judge for this event is a good start to making that happen. We’d certainly welcome you if you wanted to stop by Las Vegas or were coming to the Future of Web Apps conference and wanted to come a little early.

  • http://www.openviewpartners.com Scott Maxwell

    Brad, thanks for pointing out the growing community in Boston. Katie Rae is awesome and is helping to spark the community and it is great to hear that Matt and others are taking such an active role as well. Hopefully it will lead to more expansion-stage companies in the Boston area over time!

    Scott Maxwell
    OpenView Venture Partners

  • http://bergerenterprises.tripod.com/hmshomewarranty.pdf HMS Home Warranty

    I think this event is a good start to building towards that goal. Zappos.com as a sponsor and Kevin Rose as a judge for this event is a good start to making that happen. We’d certainly welcome you if you wanted to stop by Las Vegas or were coming to the Future of Web Apps conference and wanted to come a little early.

  • Anonymous

    That is true Brad. Boston is an exciting place to be.
    Looking forward for #rubyriot

  • Anonymous

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