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Boston is home to a thriving web and mobile startup ecosystem.

The intellectual power here is staggering, with Harvard, MIT, and dozens of other schools making this the academic capital of the world.

For years, Boston has topped the list for most venture capital invested per capita across the US. And large groups of tech startups, formerly found during web 1.0 days out on Route 128, are now flocking to centralized areas like Kendall Square and the Innovation District, infusing the city with the highest level of entrepreneurial energy in recent memory.

But Boston can feel like an insular town, and with something happening every day in the tech community, it’s only getting tougher to navigate the startup scene.

So whether you’re taking classes, building a business, raising capital, or just trying to get plugged in, let this be your jumping-off point.

Your front door to the community.

YOUR HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO BOSTON TECH. WELCOME!

Read a letter from the creators, or scroll down to keep exploring.

CREATED BY

rob-goROB GO
NEXTVIEW VENTURES
@ROBGO
jay-acunzoJAY ACUNZO
NEXTVIEW VENTURES
@JAY_ZO

 

keith-frankelKEITH FRANKEL
CREATIVEMORNINGS
@THEKEITHF
ariel-simonARIEL SIMON
SAPIENTNITRO
@ARIELSIMONSAYS
This guide is brought to you by NextView Ventures.
Get+In

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Concentrated groups of tech startups call these neighborhoods home, making them ideal places to launch new ventures, attend events, or post up at bars and coffee shops.

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inno

This 1,000 acre area of the South Boston waterfront has recently been transformed into a go-to entrepreneurial neighborhood.

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A small group of startups inhabit this neighborhood, which contains Boston’s Little Italy and, on the outskirts, the TD Garden.

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Home to City Hall, Faneuil Hall, and plenty of events in the plaza. A small but growing cluster of startups work here, including local tech media BostInno.

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Its central location has turned the Financial District into a major hotspot for both entrepreneurs and VCs in recent years.

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With similar benefits to the Financial District, this area is home to two dozen tech startups, plus TechStars Boston, Startup Institute, Uber’s local office, and NextView Ventures.

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Offices here may go for a premium, but more tech companies are starting to move to this upscale neighborhood (much to the chagrin of their CFOs).

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If there’s a Boston Tech Ground Zero, this is it. Kendall boasts MIT,  the CIC, dozens of startups, and tech giants like Google, Microsoft, and Twitter.

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It seems like every year, both Harvard Business School and Harvard College produce a crop of successful young companies. The area’s coffee shops are also frequented by VCs and founders alike.

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Just two stops from Harvard on the Red Line is Davis Square, a growing focal point of entrepreneurship. Overall, Somerville startups are becoming more common.



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These independent companies have established themselves locally, nationally, and even globally through a combination of revenue growth, valuation, and brand awareness. More are joining this list every year.

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Burlington

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Waltham

akamai

Kendall Square, Cambridge

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Framingham

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Waltham

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Financial District, Boston

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Innovation District, South Boston

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Back Bay, Boston

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Waltham

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Waltham

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Innovation District, South Boston

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Burlington

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(Multiple Locations)

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East Cambridge

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Bedford

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Financial District, Boston

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Innovation District, South Boston

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Watertown

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Innovation District, South Boston

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North End, Boston

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Cambridge

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Westborough

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Newton

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Burlington

 
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Leather District, Boston

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Back Bay, Boston

 

tech+giants

The Boston area’s globally recognized collection of young talent, combined with its resurgent entrepreneurial drive, has attracted top-tier tech companies such as the following:

amazon

Kendall Square, Cambridge

apple

Kendall Square, Cambridge

google

Kendall Square, Cambridge

facebook

Kendall Square, Cambridge

ms

Kendall Square, Cambridge

paypal

Financial District, Boston

twitter+boston

Kendall Square, Cambridge

ibm

East Cambridge

 
oracle

(Multiple Locations)

cisco

(Multiple Locations)

 

boston+tech+media

As a city, Boston is influenced by its rich history and its modern innovation. This extends to the local media, where both established publications and new, digital-first outlets cover the tech startup world.

binno

Operating under parent brand Streetwise Media (and owned by American City Business Journals since its 2012 acquisition), BostInno provides tech news and several pillar events. Their video update, The Beat, is must-watch material for its breaking news and sarcastic, entertaining coverage. Visit>>

BetaBoston

The Boston Globe’s standalone tech blog covers local startups in web, mobile, biotech, robotics, healthcare, and other sectors. The site launched in early 2014. Visit>>

bbj

The local arm of American City Business Journals provides regular tech coverage and is perhaps best known for its annual list of the best places to work in Boston. Visit>>

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Like the BBJ, this is a local version of a national media outlet. Xconomy’s Boston property also organizes regular events for the tech community. Visit>>

tech+resources

Anyone hoping to break into Boston tech or simply keep up with all the happenings around the ecosystem can rely on these resources.

greenhorn-connect

A longstanding resource for Boston entrepreneurs and students which was originally launched by entrepreneur Jason EvanishThe Capital Network recently took over daily operations and provides events, newsletters, and more. Visit>>

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TCN brings together the area’s largest active community of investors and startup experts to provide founders with education and mentoring to navigate the fundraising process. Visit >>

venturefizz

Run by Keith Cline, a top local recruiter, VentureFizz provides both original and syndicated content, as well as several other products like BizzPages, event listings, and a dedicated Boston tech job board. Their running log of local funding and acquisition announcements is a must-read. Visit>>

bostontweetup

Run by Joselin Mane, the site offers a comprehensive events calendar and other information about networking in Boston. Be sure to follow @BostonTweetup on Twitter. Visit>>

boston+startups+guide

Created by Jay Neely of The Globe, this site offers a curated list of Boston startups, along with brief descriptions and job openings. Visit>>

techscene

An interactive map showing the locations of Boston’s startups, as well as funding raised and jobs created. Visit>>

Submit more & view what the community added >>

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In the past few years, multiple podcasts have emerged discussing Boston tech, as well as the broader startup, digital media, and business landscapes.

this-week-in-bos

Hosted by Dave Gerhardt, who interviews Boston entrepreneurs about product, sales, marketing, and more. Visit>>

innovation+hub

Hosted by Kara Miller, Innovation Hub discusses the innovation economy more broadly and is broadcast by WGBH, Boston public radio. Visit>>

tech+it+forward

Hosted by Jay Acunzo on behalf of TUGG.org, the show features stories from entrepreneurs in tech and nonprofit and combines interviews, narration, and music. Visit>>

media+masters

Hosted by Peter Stringer, who leads digital for the Boston Celtics, this show features various business leaders sharing their marketing, social media, and content tips. Visit>>

get+educated

classes+for+startups

Education is a huge part of Boston’s DNA, so it’s no surprise that several organizations have launched here to teach entrepreneurs, developers, and other business leaders. Some have stayed local, others have expanded nationally or even globally, and several outside organizations have also moved to the area.

startupinstitute

Now a global organization, its original location sits in the Leather District. Their 8-week program prepares you to change career paths and/or work for a startup by teaching both job skills and softer skills. Visit>>

intelligently

Workshops and classes to train your company’s management or develop your own leadership skills. Visit>>

ga-boston

With 12 campuses around the world (including Boston’s Fort Point), General Assembly is a global educational institution that provides practical, hands-on learning in technology, business, and design through full-time and part-time training programs. Visit>>

LaunchAcademy

This Boston-based program teaches students how to code to launch their careers as developers, and they offer local tech companies a pipeline of qualified tech talent through their career days. Visit>>

startup+leadership

Another original chapter of an organization that has since expanded, this program helps train and support startup CEOs. Visit>>

girldevelopit

The Boston chapter of this group hosts regular meetups and various courses for women of all backgrounds to learn how to develop software. Visit>>

girlswhocode

This popular organization and movement offers summer programs in Twitter’s Kendall Square office. Visit>>

railsbridge

Dedicated to teaching women how to program in Ruby and Ruby on Rails. Visit>>

apprenticeships

Several of Boston’s companies offer apprenticeships, mainly in product development, design, and UX. Two popular programs include Fresh Tilled Soil’s Apprentice in UX Design and Thoughtbot’s Apprentice.io.

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univ+resources

Aside from student clubs (not shown), several more formal organizations, resources, events, and competitions exist to support student entrepreneurship both on campus and around Boston.

DISCLAIMER:

Boston is home to 70+ colleges and universities, so this section alone could be its very own Hitchhiker’s Guide. With that in mind, we’d ask you and others around the community to submit new resources and/or schools via the link below this section.

campus-recruitment-guide

The New England Venture Capital Association (NEVCA) offers hiring managers a guide to recruit college students. The goal is to keep Massachusetts-based talent in the state. Visit >>

roughdraft

Rough Draft Ventures is a student partnership that invests in Boston area student entrepreneurs, created by VC firm General Catalyst. Visit>>

drf

Boston is one of four regional branches of this student-run venture firm, which invests in other students and is backed by First Round Capital. Visit>>

startlabs

StartLabs is a non-profit that helps support and grow student entrepreneurship. Visit>>

get+connected

twitter

Following people from Boston’s tech startup scene is an easy way to learn about the ecosystem from afar … or dive headfirst into the conversation. It can also be a friendly, human way to network and get offline meetings. The following group of founders, VCs, and community builders are both active and widely followed around Boston (though many more exist that you should get to know).

DISCLAIMER:

In case you were tempted to read into the list as a ranking — it’s not! It’s just based on Twitter followers, and we have a much longer, more complete Twitter list available to follow here. Everybody on the larger list is equally worthy of following and meeting, as they’re all crucial parts of our great ecosystem.

founders+and+entrep

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Follow the Official Hitchhiker’s Guide Twitter List

Includes everyone listed above and below, plus many others: entrepreneurs, executives, local media, notable business authors and academics, and community builders, all innovating here in Boston.

boston-tech-list


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get+out+there
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Boston tech is full of incredibly passionate, exceedingly smart, and fiercely supportive people. This ecosystem prides itself on its pay-it-forward mentality for those seeking advice and support. The events, community groups, and coffee shops below are great ways to join or navigate the local startup scene.

boston+tech+events

A sampling of Boston’s ever-growing list of events, starting with some of the larger, pillar conferences.

soi

BostInno’s flagship annual event attracts over 1,000 business leaders, entrepreneurs, and students. The half-day event covers the state of innovation locally in marketing and advertising, mobile, retail/e-commerce, big data, transportation, venture capital, and more. Visit>>

tedx

TEDx conferences are hosted every year in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville.  

sloansports

The tech community has a big presence at this annual conference, which attracts not only entrepreneurs but pro sports commissioners, owners, management, coaches, and athletes. This event has helped catalyze the massive sports industry into adopting tech and analytics in new and innovative ways across the globe. Visit>>

webinno

One of Boston’s biggest and longest-running events (over 9 years), this quarterly meetup showcases early-stage startups through various demos and presentations. It attracts over 1,000 attendees each time. Visit>>

inbound

INBOUND is HubSpot’s annual conference, which began as a customer meetup and has since expanded to attract 10,000 attendees from the marketing, sales, and startup worlds. Visit>>

tugg

TUGG (Technology Underwriting the Greater Good) brings together the tech community to fund and support local nonprofits. Their annual Tech Gives Back day sees over 2,000 volunteers taking the day off to donate their time to 50+ sites and organizations. Visit>>

nantucket

This invite-only weekend event attracts top entrepreneurs and investors from Boston and beyond. Visit>>

nevy

Run by the New England Venture Capital Association, the NEVYs brings over 700 VCs and entrepreneurs together for a night of recognition across multiple categories and sectors. Visit>>

uncon

By design, this event has no agenda or planned format. The content is entirely crowdsourced based on what attendees want to discuss. Visit>>

 
emtech

MIT Technology Review’s Emerging Technologies conference attracts senior leaders seeking to understand the future of technology and how it will change the business world. Visit>>

cyberposium

Entering its third decade of operation, Cyberposium is the largest student-run technology event for MBAs in the world. The conference is held at Harvard Business School each year. Visit>>

 

events+contd

Even more great ways to network.

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community

Whether you join as a member or just drop by an event or meetup, these groups are the glue holding this community together and advancing their various specialty areas here in Boston.

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venues

The following are listed based roughly on event frequency and perceived relevancy to the Boston startup community. (In many cases, these venues just “feel” top of mind to local entrepreneurs.)

district+hallDistrict Hall (Innovation District, South Boston)

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boston+startup+jobs

All those local startups launching regularly around town add up to one great thing for job seekers: opportunity. The following resources can help you find your next career stop:

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incubators

These organizations have contributed to the growth of Boston’s tech startup ecosystem by providing office space, advice, introductions, support, and even budget to fledgling companies.

techstars

TechStars is one of the top accelerators in the world. Its Boston chapter is led by investor Semyon Dukach, who gained early recognition as a student leading the famous MIT blackjack team. TechStars Boston companies (71 as of April 2014) have gone on to raise more than $153 million in funding. Visit>>

MC

The largest accelerator in the world, with over 128 startups per program, MassChallenge is a nonprofit that takes no equity in its companies. As of April 2014, MC alumni have raised $550 million, driven $350 million in revenue, and hired over 4,000 employees. Visit>>

paypal+start

Co-founded in Boston by David Chang, Start Tank has since expanded to London and India. Startups can access PayPal’s network of talent and investors while working alongside PayPal teams. Visit>>

bolt

Focused entirely on hardware startups, this organization offers seed-stage capital, personnel, equipment, and expertise. They also give startups access to their high-end prototyping shop and assist with the manufacture and commercialization of hardware products. Visit>>

summer+at+highland

Local VC firm Highland Capital Partners offers students this 10-week summer program, where they receive office space, mentorship, access to people and organizations, and a stipend of $18,000. Visit>>

learnlaunchx

LearnLaunchX is the accelerator arm of LearnLaunch, which is focused on education technology.  Visit>>

blade

Created by Kayak co-founder Paul English, Blade helps launch several consumer-facing products per year in Boston. Visit>>

innoloft

Existing startups focused on helping small businesses can apply to this program, created by Constant Contact. In addition to the usual benefits offered by accelerators, InnoLoft also grants its startups $10,000 in marketing budget. Visit>>

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coworking

Coworking spaces have also emerged in seemingly every corner of Boston. Below is a sampling of some of the better-known options, but BostonStartupsGuide.com also created a comprehensive list in 2014.

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CIC (Kendall Square, Cambridge)
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WeWork Fort Point (Innovation District, South Boston)

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prod+dev+firms

Have an idea but not sure where to start or how to build it? Just need additional resources while launching? These firms specialize in designing and building apps and products, often working with early-stage startups. Many also go beyond simply building by helping you scope a product and test the market before you launch.

thoughtbot

Thoughtbot

freshtilled

Fresh Tilled Soil

terrible

Terrible Labs

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The Big Studio

dragon

Dragon Innovation

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Extension Engine

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Raizlabs

jd

Janeiro Digital

intrepid

Intrepid Pursuits

cream

The Cream Creative

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Occom Group

FF

Firefield

 
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Filament Group

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Pivotal Labs

 
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boston+vcs

In 2013, the last full year before this site was created, Boston saw more venture capital invested than any region other than California, with over $3 billion. Some of the most active web and mobile tech VCs are listed below.

seed+vcs

founder-collective
nextview
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resolute
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boston+angels

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commonangels
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launchangels

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early+stage

avp
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crv
fhc
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g20
gbc
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lwvp
matrix
nav
pjc
sigma
saturn
venrockvc
dpc
406
early+and+growth
bain
bv
cb
bvp
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hcp
nb
pp
softbank
spark
growth+vcs
opv
volition

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