View from Window

I’m posting this for two reasons. The first is because I took a nice picture of a view from one of our windows today, of a passing storm. The picture doesnt do it justice. The second reason is because I want to test posting images in my blog. For some reason with this Drupal theme I’ve been having problems posting images up here. So here goes it.

TechSpace is Good Space

When Citysquares first launched as an idea I was still running Atomic Enterprises. We had an office in downtown Boston, near the Orpheum Theatre and across from the Park Street T station. It was a great location. The office left a lot to be desired though – there were break-ins, fires, junkies lingering outside, criminal activity in front of our door, and lots of shadiness.

Back in September of ’06 we (Citysquares) moved out and went virtual. Getting an office wasn’t a priority for a while, as it was saving us good money and we were still productive. But it didn’t take long for morale to take a dive. That was tough, really tough at time. Bob lives in Groton, about an hour away, and Chris, at the time, lived down the street from me. He’d come to my house and work in the basement with me – awkward, yes, but necessary for us to maintain sanity. Bob continued to work from home, in Groton.

Over time, morale took a big dive and we were losing productivity – starting to get frustrated with the situation. An office was immediately necessary but we really couldn’t afford anything, – then came the funding.

We were in the market for an office. Having had an office in the past I knew the operational headaches that come with a regular office – a lease, utilities, Internet service, phone service, parking, security, cleaning/maintenance, and all of the other bullshit that comes with it. Then, you end up spending 10-15% of your time dealing with all that – paying those bills, dealing with outages, changes, etc etc. Argh! No thank you! I need to be productive. We, as a company, need to be productive. A shared office space would be ideal.

We looked at HQ, Regus – no thanks. Too corporate, stodgy. If we were a law firm or a brokerage of some sort, sure why not. They were also pretty darn pricey. Then we checked out Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), in Kendall Square, Cambridge. Let’s just say we weren’t treated too well so that didn’t work out. We fell in love with TechSpace in the South End, but we weren’t too thrilled with the location and needed a little added incentive.

We dealt with Paul McBride, the site manager at TechSpace. Paul was very assertive at winning our business. We put up a bit of a fight and weren’t totally convinced that TechSpace would suit our needs. We had very specific and technical requirements, especially pertaining telecommunications. Paul bent over backwards for us and proved to us that we’d be a valued tenant here at TechSpace. Eventually he had to let go and leave us to make the decision, which we did after a ridiculous amount of internal discussion.

We moved into TechSpace in one day, about a month ago. We’re extremely pleased! Paul has proven to be a fantastic resource for us here, and the admin staff, Myrna and Grace, are top-notch. There’s a cafeteria-like set-up here run by a classy old-school Southie guy named Mike. He does a great job of serving up breakfast and lunch every day here.

The atmosphere at TechSpace Boston is creative, funky, fun, communal, casual, techie, dot-commy. It’s a great place. We’ve got these giant windows at our desks that open up – thrilling! We’ve got access to 4 bonded T-1s, chilling! Four conference rooms, a parking lot, our own private suite, a full IT infrastructure, good people in the neighboring suites and in the hallways, and most importantly – we’ve been super-productive since the day we moved in here.

TechSpace is a great space. If you’re in startup mode, or if you’re a small, innovative and creative company, check out TechSpace at 580 Harrison Ave, 4th floor, in the South End of Boston. Call Paul McBride at (617) 275-7000. He’ll treat you well if you tell him Ben sent you!

2007-05-31: Quick update to this. I just learned that one of the bigger tenants here is moving out in June. Lots of new space available. We may have to relocate down the hall. But also, I just learned that yet another dot-com is moving in here. This is really turning into a nice spot for Boston dot-coms!

Citysquares Raises First Round – Now It’s Official

OK now it’s official, Citysquares has closed our first round. As described in a previous post from last week we raised the money from eCoast Angel Network as well as a couple of angel investors from outside eCoast. I gotta say too, it’s been a total pleasure working with eCoast so far. OK sure, the going hasn’t exactly gone tough but the point I’m trying to make is that I’ve heard nightmares about raising funds, especially the first round, and especially from angel groups. But I rather enjoyed the process! Yes, I suppose I enjoy pain and agony, but I enjoy hard work more, and the fruits that it yields.

We actually secured the round last week, on Friday evening. Bob and I took a spin up to the NH seacoast around 4:30 or so. Up route 128 on the worst day and the worst time of the week. But it didnt matter – we were feeling great. I actually had tickets to the Red Sox/Yankees game that night too, I was supposed to attend with my brother. The first matchup of the season, and I couldn’t attend, and for good reason. Afterwards, Bob and I went out to celebrate a bit – nothing crazy. Some Redbones and then Publick House. Caught the end of the game at Publick House.

This week has been largely operational stuff. Things like getting the new bank account set up, making the deposits, coordinating things with the lawyers, signing documents, getting payroll setup (Bob and I haven’t seen a paycheck in about 20 months, so that was a big priority), the office space, and some PR stuff. Now that all that is mostly done, I’ve been able to catch up on some more important work today, like dealing with our need for a full time business development hire – the “bulldog” as we call it.

So it seems the dust is settling now. The press release is going out tomorrow morning, Mass High Tech is doing a feature story on us, the blogs will surely be buzzing soon enough, and then bang – I’m right back into it Monday. I am more excited for this coming Monday than I’ve been for almost any Monday in quite a while. Reason being: “it’s a new dawn, a new day, and I’m feeling good.” (Nina Simone)

But seriously, next week, the dust will mostly be cleared and it’s game time. Hire our sales people and really get moving. We’ve got a lot to accomplish over the next few months. Bob is focused on the IA for the new platform, Chris is focused on developing brand awareness and business development opportunities out in the streets, and I’m focused on getting the sales engine firing on all pistons and ensuring that Citysquares can quickly and painlessly become a lean, mean, sales-minded company that it’s in it to win.