Boston Area Entrepreneurs: Have Lunch with Your Favorite CEO

My friend and entrepreneurial mentor Joe Caruso founded BREW (Boston Region Entrepreneurship Week) a few years ago and this year looks to be the biggest and best yet. As a quick aside, if you’re an entrepreneur in the greater Boston area you surely know (or at least know of) Joe. He’s reputation precedes him and it’s no surprise that entrepreneurs literally line up at his door to meet with him. While Joe is an active angel investor (with investments in HubSpot, Carbonite, Kinvey, SCVNGR & LevelUp, Skyhook Wireless, among many others) it’s through his intellectual capital that people find the most value.

Like previous BREW events, entrepreneurs have a chance to lunch with a selection of some of Boston’s hottest and most successful company CEOs and founders, including Jeremy Allaire, Desh Deshpande, Paul English, David Friend, Scott Griffith, Diane Hessan, Dharmesh Shah, among many others. But time is running out – so if you want to get involved with BREW, but especially have a chance to spend some quality time with a CEO who could share some very valuable wisdom and guidance (and potentially more), now is the time to make your request.

To request a lunch with a CEO, first check out the list here on the BREW CEO page, select your top 3 CEOs, and submit your request. The deadline is October 31st, after which time the CEOs will make their selections and schedule lunch with you. And your lunch will be just you and him/her – no interruptions.

Check out the list here, and read more about the CEO Lunch program here.

If you have any questions please let me know and I’ll do my best to help.

Founder Institute Comes to Boston

In early 2007 a new website was founded by someone only known as Ted. The website was simply called The Funded. Simply put, The Funded allows entrepreneurs to rate and review venture capital firms and angel investor groups. While the site, and its founder, has been highly criticized, The Funded took off. For the first time ever, entrepreneurs had a place to go and rate and review investors, and for those searching for potential financing, a place to read those ratings and reviews. The Funded has, in it’s own small way, leveled the playing field and has served the entrepreneurial and VC communities well. For the first time ever, VCs were publicly being held accountable. For example, see here for the most loved VCs of 2009. Some say it’s a one-sided forum, and many just don’t care. Most entrepreneurs agree though – The Funded is a good thing.

The whole idea of The Funded really intrigued me, and had something in common with a little side project of mine called The Founder’s Quandary. But I had no idea who was behind The Funded, so I had no idea who to contact about getting involved or at least offering a virtual high-five.

For it’s first six months it was unknown who “Ted” really was. That is, until Ted unveiled himself as Adeo Ressi, a well known, somewhat controversial, entrepreneur. In the past couple of years Adeo and I have exchanged a number of emails, mostly about how I might help The Funded and perhaps even help with something here in Boston. Well, the good news is that The Funded has announced Founder Institute, and it’s arrived in Boston!

The Funded Founder Institute, a four month program to help founders build the next generation of world-class technology companies, is launching a new semester in Boston from July, 2010, until October, 2010. The program is run by founders for founders, providing a structure for successful entrepreneurs to share their experiences and to provide guidance. Everyone that graduates from the program is invited to join a pool to share in the equity upside generated from the success of their peers. This adds a unique camaraderie to the program and creates a long-term peer support group with a vested interest in your success. If you have a new company or if you are thinking to start a company, take a moment and apply to the program. The program has an early acceptance deadline of May 23rd. Apply here.

Founder Institute has already lined up great mentors for Boston, including;
  • Phil Libin, CEO, Evernote
  • Craig Kanarick, Cofounder of Razorfish
  • Dan Shapiro, CEO of Ontela
  • Eric Melin, CEO of Philanthropist.org
  • Stephen Hau, CEO of Sharable Ink and Patientkeeper
  • Doug Brenhouse, Cofounder of Metacarta
  • Ryan Alfred, Cofounder of Brightscope.com
  • Roger Yee, Former CEO of ShadowLogic
  • Matt Johnson, CEO of OmniStrat
  • And more…
The Institute training and apprenticeship program is complimentary with other incubators, such as Y Combinator and TechStars, both of whom have history in Boston.  “Several people have suggested that the program is competitive with TechStars… However, I just don’t see it that way and encourage all kinds of programs like this in the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” states Brad Feld (TechStars Co-Founder) on his blog, encouraging entrepreneurs to apply to the Institute.
Boston is the third East Coast location, eighth U.S. location, and 10th chapter of the Founder Institute worldwide. The Institute now expects to enroll 800 founders per year in a four-month training and apprenticeship program, differentiated by shared equity upside of all participants. Apply here today!

If you’re an entrepreneur in Boston I hope you’ll take a look at this opportunity and get involved! I’m just thrilled to see this happen, and I’m eager to see Founder Institute nurture and provide fertile ground for entrepreneurs!

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Boston Startups Looking for Office Space

Back in May of 2007 CitySquares moved into TechSpace here in Boston’s South End. Unfortunately, TechSpace closed down their Boston location a few months ago. But we’re still here! We, and the other tenants, just have a new landlord. Some things have changed a bit but if one things for certain – the price has dropped substantially and we’re as happy as ever.

It’s quiet here though – there’s lots of empty offices and we’d love some company! There are small offices that are perfect for just one or two people, and there are larger offices that can accomodate a dozen people. There are conference rooms here that we all share, there’s even a pool table.

If you’re a Boston area business looking for a real office space with all the fixin’s of a business environment, let me know and I’ll send you over to the new landlord and make sure you get special care! I have nothing to gain here except having more neighbors!

Oh, the space is very funky too – great for Internet companies, media companies, startups, non-stuffy businesses.

Some of our awesome and friendly neighbors:

SCVNGR– SCVNGR is an interactive texting scavenger hunt that uses proprietary cellular technology to send out clues via SMS (short message service). The SCVNGR service enables the players to access several useful features such as texting SCORE to receive real-time results on how they are faring against other teams or texting HINT to SCVNGR’s short code to receive help solving a particularly tough clue.

Advantage Reprographics – Advantage Reprographics is dedicated to eliminating the cost and headache in managing document histories, printing and delivery. We focus on tailoring custom software to help streamline print output. We have State of the art printing and scanning equipment by Oce and HP, used to turn around the highest quality, right away! Give us a call and we’ll be right there to help you out.

PFL Printworks – CD & DVD duplication, Posters, Flyers, Press Kits

Exxcel Model & Talent – Exxcel Model & Talent is a full service model/talent agency representing models of all types such as female/male fashion, commercial print, child and plus size. Talent representation includes actors for film, television, commercials and theater, as well as singers and dancers.

Brand Networks – “If your Brand is ready to hit the social scene, we’d like to help. Our BrandFans methodology will ensure you network with the right people. Our BrandSolutions are social technologies that connect you with your fans. And we surround it all with BrandServices from social and creative humans just like you.”

SEEDA – The South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) is here to assist companies looking to set up and grow their UK and European operations from a base in the South East.  Our purpose is to promote the growth of the economy and creation of jobs in this dynamic region of the UK.  We provide professional, free and confidential advice and our service can save your company valuable management time and money.  SEEDA works in conjunction with UK Trade & Investment.

Jetpack – Jet Pack is a comprehensive web marketing package for small and medium sized businesses. Each account gets a dedicated internet marketing specialist to setup, manage and optimize for the best results. Our hands-on approach drives more traffic and provides higher conversion rates at an affordable level than full-time marketing agencies.

Sixth Photo Meme

My friend Sooz tagged me in a little Interweb game called Sixth Photo Meme. Basically, Sooz went to her Flickr account, to her 6th page of pictures, and to the 6th picture on that page and then tagged me in the picture. Now although I’m not actually in the picture isn’t the point – the point is that this viral game spreads like wildfire. It’s fun! The one caveat is that you need to have a Flickr account to participate, but even still you need to have at least 6 pages of photos.

So here’s my Sixth Photo Meme! This is a picture of the best game of baseball I’ve ever had the pleasure to attend – October 17, 2004. It was the 2004 American League Championship Series, game 4 at Fenway Park – Boston vs New York. This was the game 4. The one that resulted in the best comeback in sports history, the comeback that ended the Red Sox’s 86 year championship drought. I had the great fortune of attending this pivotal game, this pivotal moment in baseball history. I watched Dave Roberts steal second base – the single moment, the single play that changed it all. This is a picture of Mariano Rivera, perhaps the best closer in baseball history, on the mound in the midst of this game as it unravelled for the Bombers. Anyway, here’s my 6th photo from page 6:
IMG_0947

So it’s my turn to pick 6 people to play this game. Here we go:

Ryan Sarver, Sean Coon, Nate Aune, Tara Hunt, Dana Zemack, CitySquares

Events and Networking for Boston Startups

It’s been over two years since we discovered WebInno and were subsequently invited by David Beisel to be a sidedish. Among other notable Boston area events, WebInno was probably the most exciting for us, and it really gave us the shot in the arm that we needed. We also met some fantastic people that evening, many of whom we stay in close contact with. In fact, we met one of our advisory board members at that first WebInno. Each time I attend a WebInno, I’m not only shocked by the spike in attendees each event seems to have but also by the genuinely good vibe in the room that lasts for hours.

My point here is that as a startup company, and as an untested business seeking an identity and a place in the Boston entrepreneurial and startup scene, WebInno was really just one of many pivotal networking events for us. As this blog continues to be about entrepreneurship, and my perspective from the trenches, I don’t want to forget about these events and opportunities. Furthermore, I really encourage other entrepreneurs to be sure they get out there – hit the streets, attend events, network, don’t be shy. It’s like anything, once you get some momentum and get into a rhythm it just gets easier.

Here are some events that I’ve either attended or would like to attend in the Boston area:

  • WebInno – Cambridge, MA, about once every 3 months or so. Well worth it! And if you’re in the Internet space, check with David to see if you can a shot at a side dish or main dish. David’s very accommodating and open minded.
  • MIT Enterprise Forum – Cambridge, MA. Hey, it’s MIT man, you know it’s gonna be interesting! I’ve been a member of the MIT Enterprise Forum for about two years now. While not all their events interest me, specifically the bio-tech stuff, they do host many very helpful and relevant events and networking opportunities. From big, globally broadcasted panels on angel investing and venture funding, to small networking opportunities where David Weinberger shares his perspective on the digital world, MIT Enterprise Forum is well worth your attention.
  • MIT Entrepreneurship Center – Cambridge, MA. Are you an entrepreneur? Doesn’t really matter what industry you’re in – go to these events! Get involved! There’s a ton of value to be gained at this event. If you’re in the Boston area – don’t be a schmuck, take advantage of all the MIT has to offer!
  • The Capital Network – Waltham, MA. An organization for entrepreneurs seeking funding. I had the honor of being on one of their recent panels and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. TCN offers some really powerful resources for entrepreneurs, and they really take their time to make sure you’re absorbing all that you can. It’s very much a dialogue at TCN.
  • TechTuesday – An event hosted by the Mass Technology Leadership Council and growing in strength and numbers.

Here’s a bunch more (write-ups courtesy of Don Dodge, thanks Don!):

New England Angel Capital Conference – The Angel Investor groups of greater Boston meet once a quarter to review their best companies. Each group nominates companies to present. They are all looking for a round of funding that is bigger than any one Angel Group can handle. This meeting lets all the groups get a look at promising companies and pool their investment dollars.

Entrepreneurial Team Building – a panel of entrepreneurs that have built companies from the ground up and know the ins and outs of building great teams. What really makes a team come together? How can you be sure that you are bringing in the right folks? Who should be hired first, second, next? We’ll talk about teams at the senior management level and at the BOD level.

Entrepreneurial Series – Plain English Term Sheets – This is a webinar for startup entrepreneurs who want to understand the details of financing term sheets. What to ask for…and what to avoid.

MITX – Mass Innovation & Technology Exchange have lots of great events for technology based startups. The next session is “Building Social Applications and Widgets“.

The 128 Innovation Capital Group – The regular meetings are held on the second Thursday of every month at the Best Western Hotel on Totten Pond Road in Waltham. Every month an investor provides our formal program. After Q&A, our speaker generally remains to speak with audience members, one on one. After the meeting, a roster with the contact information of all attendees is made available to those who came to the meeting.

Nantucket Conference – The 2008 Nantucket Conference audience will consist of approximately 150 of New England’s top entrepreneurs, investors, and tech executives. Rather than sitting through a series of speeches and PowerPoint presentations, the audience will be engaged in a dialogue – and sometimes a heated debate – with Conference presenters.

Get out there! Spring is here, so you’re out of excuses!