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.
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.