Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner, Columnist

Is Boston the little leagues of tech?

I have started to worry that instead of being in the press box for a Major League Baseball game, all of us who observe and cover the Boston tech scene are instead sitting in the aluminum bleachers of a Little League match that will end with a 24-19 score, and all of the players getting a trophy.

We have started to cheer when promising startups get bought for undisclosed amounts and folded into big tech giants like IBM, GoDaddy, and Teradata. We’ve started to boast about “mafias” being created by those acquisitions or the occasional IPO, when the reality is a handful of new angel investors cutting $25,000 checks. When companies born here raise money from West Coast investors, and then pull up stakes, some say that we should “celebrate when our ecosystem successfully supports these founders even if they don’t remain in Boston forever.” When a venture firm or accelerator program shifts its focus to Silicon Valley, oh well, we tell one another, their loss. When a year goes by, as 2013 did, with no tech IPOs by Massachusetts companies, we say, “Wait ’till next year.”

Read the full post here, and check out more BetaBoston highlights from the past week below.

(Shutterstock)

Talent wars

Noncompete compromise appears likely, but it could be a stepping stone to full ban

Startups

The current state legislative session ends July 31, and if anything is going to be done about noncompete clauses—even a compromise between opponents and supporters of the status quo—it’ll need to be done by then.

Read More

 
littleleague

Keeping score

Do you believe Massachusetts tech is major league?

acquisitions

I have started to worry that instead of being in the press box for a Major League Baseball game, all of us who observe and cover the Boston tech scene are instead sitting in the aluminum bleachers of a Little League match that will end with a 24-19 score, and all of the players getting a trophy. Read More

 
aereo_globe

The other battle

Aereo’s growth was slow even when it was legal

Aereo

At the end of 2013, seven months after Aereo launched its live TV streaming service in the Boston area, the startup had attracted just 12,000 subscribers in the region despite plenty of hype around the service.

Read More

 
tablelist

An app for VIP access

Tablelist collects $1.5 million, with visions of becoming the OpenTable of after dark

Innovation Economy

In his prior life as an real estate broker for international students in Boston, Julian Jung went to a lot of nightclubs and saw a lot of bottles of high-end liquor ordered. Jung says he has witnessed upwards of $15,000 spent in a single night in Boston, and has seen epic $50,000 evenings in New York. Read More

 
Beer Taps

Where the Beer Flows Like Wine

For Boston tech companies, beer is culture builder and recruiting tool

Clypd

Good talent is at such a premium for Boston tech companies, especially for those startups looking for experienced design, engineering, and development folks, that many resort to various gimmicks and enticements to attract that coveted "new hire." While the good old fashioned, "Let's throw buckets full of money at this techie"  practice is still alive and well, some startups (especially early stage ones) can't afford that approach. So they get creative. A lot of companies have found that there is no easier way to win the hearts and minds of prospective employees (and to delight current hardworking startup-ers) than with rivers and rivers of sweet, ice cold beer.  Read More

 
David Beisel, Lee Hower, Rob Go, and Jay Acunzo of NextView Ventures

A different view on VC

NextView Ventures closes $40 million second fund: here’s why it’s a unique VC firm

Funding

NextView Ventures announced its second fund this morning via Rob Go's blog. The fund will continue to focus on what the firm has stated as its mission since its formation four years ago: seed and early-stage investments in technology and Internet startups. Read More

 
(Shutterstock)

Outside Influence

Boston’s top VC dealmakers in Q2

VC

This week Charles River Ventures, now known as CRV, announced that its new fund would make Silicon Valley the priority, formalizing a shift westward that has been going on for a few years now.

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sanergy

Tapping entrepreneurialism

MIT spinout Sanergy targeting clean sanitation for all of Kenya (and beyond)

Nonprofit

While we fret over our first-world problems, there are nearly 2.5 billion people without access to something we’ve long taken for granted in the United States—adequate sanitation. And it’s a deadly problem: An estimated 1.6 million children die yearly from diarrheal disease as the result of inadequate sanitation.

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Jibo founder Cynthia Breazeal and software architect Jonathan Ross with a Jibo prototype. Photo by Scott Kirsner/BetaBoston.

Eve's distant cousin?

Robot startup Jibo unveils a multi-purpose ‘social bot’ for the home

Innovation Economy

Roomba hunts dust bunnies. Autom helps you shed pounds. But Jibo wants to be the first multi-purpose robot for your home — a countertop assistant that can snap family photos, remind you of the day's schedule, relay messages, entertain children with interactive stories, and facilitate videoconferences. The $499 product is being unveiled today, but won't be available until late in 2015. Read More

 
leather_district

Startup hub

The Leather District’s tech firms (map and list)

Leather District

In the fall of 2011, ed tech startup Boundless set up shop in an office in Boston’s Leather District, a tiny neighborhood sandwiched between Chinatown and the Financial District. Terrible Labs and Yesware would follow in mid-2012.

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