DART Boston Family Dinner — Call to Action!

Last night I had my first official appearance as an EIR at Dogpatch Labs, attending DART Boston’s family dinner at the Bee Hive in the South End (sponsored by David Chang VP Products, Where.com).   I had the honor of being a mentor along with the like of Bill Warner, Rob Go, Reed Sturtevant, Ty Danco, Eric Paley, and a few others, and Victoria Song did a masterful job of finding 40 young entrepreneurs to join us at dinner.  I left this dinner so energized I felt like I could have sprinted all the way back home!  While I’m not sure how much help I provided my table, they certainly did a great job of helping me understand some of the dynamics for young entrepreneurs.   Here’s who joined me.

Casey — CEO of DealGator, which is a FlashDeal aggregator, started in August and launched in December.   They’ve got a solid user base, are adding cities and have created a lot of buzz.  They’re bootstrapped and have 2 employees.

Lida — CEO of AlwaysonTechnology.  Lida created an app, Cloud Browse which enables full desktop support (+ flash +java) for iPhone.  Has close to a million users, is bootstrapped and has 1 employee.

Mark Bao — Just sold 3words.me, and proved that you can build something interesting,  get viral traction and sell quickly.  Most interestingly — he’s a fulltime student and Bently, and is my accounts already a serial entrepreneur.

Here’s what I observed, in no particular order.

  • All 3 of these entrepreneurs are running pretty successful companies, making money and none have taken (or needed!) any funding. 
  • All 3 of these guys went to school in/around Boston.
  • All 3 have products based fully in the cloud.
  • All 3 are working out of their apartments.
  • Their biggest complaint is that they have a hard time meeting people, and that there are not enough events for them with the content (they don’t need a talk on funding or founding)!

Besides getting really excited about what these guys are up to, it cements for me a couple of things:

  • Lack of funding is not as big of a blocker of entrepreneurship in Boston as some would believe.
  • It’s all about the cloud and Ruby on Rails.
  • We’re leaving money on the table by not doing a better job of connecting with and supporting students (note: none of these guys went to Harvard/MIT).
  • Small gatherings like Dart’s Family Dinner are REALLY impactful and important (first time at this event for all 3 of these guys)

Here’s my call to Action for every VC, Angel, successful entrepreneur and mentor in Boston!

Get off your ass, and dedicate at least 2 nights a month to spending time at something like a DartBoston family Dinner, having office hours at local campus, or pulling together your own small & targeted gathering of folks to spend an evening helping make sure that entrepreneurs like Lida, Mark and Casey can grow a billion dollar business here in Boston.  There’s no magic, no secret sauce — just dedication, openness and a willingness to help.  Not sure where to start?  shoot me a note and I’ll help, or contact Victoria, Cort, or Jason Evanish — who I’m sure will help get you going.

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5 Responses to DART Boston Family Dinner — Call to Action!

  1. Gus,

    Couldn’t agree more. Mentorship, engagement with students and young people, and a focus on the nuts and bolts of building a business are definitely all things we could improve.

    We’re trying to help with that and have seen success with simple things like just flash organizing a dinner on Twitter using the hashtag #StartupDinner. This has actually led to not only some great entrepreneurs coming out, but there’s been at least one angel that stopped by (sometimes multiple) at each dinner..

    I’m certainly happy to help if people are interested in trying to work on any of these.


  2. Ty Danco says:

    Amen, brother. I’d say that you have a nose for the hot tables, but every table was like that. Wish I’d had time to tablehop more.

  3. Salimah says:


    Great call to action to the mentors in the community. We at MassChallenge are also trying to create events for entrepreneurs to meet each other. One great thing is the space that we have opened up to all the entrepreneurs in the area. This is one of the many ways we’re trying to help entrepreneurs meet one another. We are actively adding events to our 2011 calendar that support the ecosystem. We are trying to create a mix of educational and fun events for the community to come together ranging from Startup Game Night coming up this Monday January 24th to Startup Trivia Night which will be next month February 17th. I’m extremely excited about an event we’re hosting with the WomenPreneurs for February 10th inspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s Ted Talk. We are actively invititing entrepreneurs in the community to give us suggestions as well. Feel free to email me at salimah@masschallenge.org or tweet me @salimahn. I’m always open to meeting entrepreneurs in the area and learn how we can support them and the ecosystem at large.

  4. Pingback: Family Dinner March 28th at 6p (venue tba) | DartBoston

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