Boston Startups – Resources

Boston has a vibrant startup scene. If you’re looking for information on Boston startups, entrepreneur hubs, Boston startup events, or other resources, I hope you’ll find the following recommendations helpful…

Boston Startup Places (Neighborhoods, Coworking, Cafes)

One of Boston’s best startup ecosystem assets are the number of dedicated coworking spaces, and entrepreneur-frequented cafes in the area. Most coworking spaces have free days, or host public events, that are a great way to connect to the community in them. And in cafes, asking to share a table in packed places like Diesel Cafe has led to many great introductions to other startup founders.

Despite the Boston government’s efforts to create an “innovation district” near downtown Boston, the majority of entrepreneurial activity in Greater Boston takes place in Cambridge (and for many bootstrappers, Somerville).

  • Davis Square - In Somerville, this area is one of the cheapest, best places for young professionals to live.
    • Diesel Cafe - A massive cafe in the heart of Davis Square, Diesel is an indie, laptop-friendly (power outlets everywhere, no rush to vacate your space) spot with good coffee and great atmosphere. The wifi isn’t free, but for $13 / month, it’s still affordable even if you’re a rice-and-Ramen bootstrapper. I’ve had serendipitous encounters with many startup founders, developers, and other startup folk here.
      • If you must have free wifi, or the atmosphere isn’t your thing, there’s a Starbucks right across the street that’s also laptop-friendly.
    • Startups: Davis Square is home to BetterLesson, USpin, and The Echo Nest.
  • Central Square - Cambridge’s meeting ground between corporate-heavy Kendall and academia-suffused Harvard. There’s cheap living space here, but it’s a bit less safe / less pleasant than Somerville.
  • Kendall Square / MIT- Home to some internet heavyweights like Akamai and Endeca, and Cambridge offices for Google, Microsoft, VMware, and many others.
    • Cafes: Voltage Coffee & Art is the go-to place for coffee meetings in Kendall Square’s startup scene.
    • Coworking: The Cambridge Innovation Center, where many of the big corps have their offices, is also home to the newly-expanded Cambridge Coworking Center. A more networking-focused coworking space, The Venture Cafe, is being tested as a concept here as well. On the 6th floor of the CIC, another coworking space is run by Polaris Ventures: Dogpatch Labs.
    • Startups: Though it’s no longer in the heart of Kendall, hot marketing startup HubSpot is here. The Cambridge Innovation Center, HubSpot’s former location, is home to over 240 companies, many of them web, hardware, and software startups.
    • Microsoft NERD: Worth a special mention is Microsoft’s New England Research & Development Center, a space that’s incredibly supportive of the Boston startup community. They host many of the most interesting events organized in the area.
  • Downtown Boston 
    • Coworking: A three minute walk from South Station, WorkBar Boston is a shared office space, home to Boston startup Traackr and the Boston office of global entrepreneur network EFactor. Also a short walk from South Station, just across the bridge, is Boucoup Loft, an open-source hacker space with desks available on a monthly paid plan.
  • Back Bay
    • Coworking: On Newbury Street a new coworking space, Encandle, is hosting events and searching for the right members to join. Another space, Oficio, has a diverse community inside, including a set of consultants providing limited free services to members.
  • Around Boston
    • GlobeLab in Dorchester - Accessible by Red Line, the Boston Globe’s headquarters includes a high-tech space where innovators are building the future of journalism. It hosts a few startups, and there are plans for events and presentations at the space.
    • Waltham, MA – Home to a dozen or more venture capitalists, Waltham is the center of Boston’s “old school” startup scene. Organizations like ENET and Mass Inno regularly host events here. An hour away by bus, 30 minutes by commuter rail. Earlier this year, a coworking space called Studio Crossings got started. They have $25-for-a-day option, but they’re only open 9 to 5.
  • Other Boston Coworking
    • GrabADesk.com – A Boston World Partnerships project, this site pairs companies interested in hosting startups with entrepreneurs that need office space. I’m not sure how active it is right now, but they’ve previously paired 50 startups with companies willing to host them.
    • GeekOffices.com – Coworking facilities in Inman Square (Cambridge, MA) and Newton, MA.
    • Industry Lab – Another coworking space in Inman Square, home to many makers, creatives, and technologists.
    • Intrepid Labs – Shared office space for startup teams. Specifically designed for startups with 5+ people and possibly a growing number more.
    • Brickyard Collaboration Space – Office & community coworking space between Fresh Pond and Porter Square.
    • Space With a Soul – Coworking and event space near South Station focused on social entrepreneurship.

Boston Startup People

Boston has many helpful, connected, knowledgeable people for those new to the area to reach out to. Please feel free to shoot me an email (jay [.dot.] neely [@at@] socialstrategist [.dot.] com) if you’re looking for advice, and I recommend all of the people below as well. These are people that make things happen in the Boston startup community, and get excited about connecting others to it.

  • Sean Lindsay, serial startup technologist and creator of Founder Mentors.
  • Ali Powell, founder of BostonWomenPreneurs.com and marketing maven.
  • Roy Rodenstein, founder of SocMetrics and Boston angel investor.
  • Jake Cacciapaglia, founder of young entrepreneur group DartBoston.

Boston Startup Events

For people new to the scene…

  • DartBoston events – Dart is a community of young entrepreneurs in Boston. They produce series of live-audience startup & investment webcasts, and frequently organize social mixers. If you want to connect with a young, friendly crowd of startup-interested people, this is the place.
  • OpenCoffee Cambridge – Every Wednesday morning at Voltage Cafe in Kendall Square, web entrepreneurs and VCs gather for informal networking and discussion.
  • BarCamp Boston – a yearly event (dates in September 2013 to be announced) that gets 700+ people from Boston’s geek / startup / tech community together for discussion sessions, workshops, and talks. I’ve been a co-organizer of this event each year after attending my first BCB, during which I made some of the best connections to the startup scene that I still have today.

For startup education…

  • Startup Institute – Intensive eight-week program for startup skills. Web development, product & design, marketing, sales & biz dev tracks.
  • Intelligent.ly – startup-specific technology, marketing, strategy, and design classes taught by community experts.
  • General Assembly – startup-relevant technology, business, and design classes.
  • Lean Startup Circle Boston – focused, stimulating, and well-attended, this monthly meetup provides presentations and attendee-shared best-practices around the lean startup concept. They also have an excellent mailing list.
  • Ultra Light Startups Meetup – Provides a wide-ranging series of presentations for those interested in web startups.

For startup action

For general networking…

Boston Startups News & Blogs

  • Innovation Economy – The blog of Boston Globe columnist Scott Kirsner, this is a great source of news and opinion pieces from a professional journalist well-established in our community.
  • Boston Business Journal Startups & Venture Capital – A fresh daily newsletter from the BBJ, this is a new report aimed at getting more national attention to the innovation and business achievements of Boston startups.
  • The Greenhorn Connect Newsletter – This is a weekly newsletter that rounds up Boston startup events, and if you’re interested, startup jobs in Boston.

Boston Startups

  • I maintain a list of Boston startups, searchable by industry, neighborhood, if hiring and more.
I hope you find the above useful. If you have questions, or would like to connect, please do email me at: jay [.dot.] neely [@at@] socialstrategist [.dot.] com

Contact

E-mails welcome at:
jay [.dot.] neely [@at@] socialstrategist [.dot.] com

Receive Future Posts by…

Subscribe to SocialStrategist by Atom button.
- or -
Subscribe to SocialStrategist by email button.

Follow Me on Twitter

Projects

  • Boston Startups Guide - Directory of Boston startups sortable by location, industry, etc.
  • What To Do Boston - A collection of guides on living in Boston, and tales from my own explorations.