Boston Hot for Startups, So is Cincinnati

Posted: April 20, 2014 by Bill Cunningham in Culture, Ecosystem, Innovation, Money, Startup, Technology

bill-cunninghamBoston stole the startup crown from Cambridge this past year by closing 97 venture capital deals in 2013 compared with 66 in 2012. Kyle Alspach, tech guru writer for the Boston Globe, penned a front page article describing the huge tectonic shift from Cambridge to Boston. Although Silicon Valley still reigns as the startup king, Cambridge has always enjoyed a vibrant startup ecosystem thanks to the talents and treasures attracted by MIT and Harvard. Former Boston mayor Thomas Menino wanted to

Kyle Alspach, Tech Guru Writer at the Boston Globe

Kyle Alspach, Tech Guru Writer at the Boston Globe

“create an irresistible environment” for entrepreneurs – changing the name of Boston’s Seaport district to the Innovation district. He rallied the politicians to build infrastructure, and real estate barons to convert warehouses into cool, high tech space. It turns out that the basics attract entrepreneurs, and Cincinnati would do well to take copious notes on Boston’s journey.

  1. Access – Boston’s new startup area has more subways and bus lines that can move the usually car-less startup founders to and from work. Remember Boston parking run from $25 to $30 per day for cars – and the Brimmer Street Garage in Beacon Hills sells a car ‘condo’ space for $300,000 not to mention the monthly $700 maintenance fee – and that does not include the condominium. Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky’s urban infrastructure needs to be able to move people around quickly and affordably.
  2. Money – Venture capital firms invested more than $593 million in Boston startups and millions more by angel and private investors. Yes, there is a lot of competition for these dollars and startups are Darwinian by nature. A larger supply provides for more investment opportunities. Cintrifuse’s strategy to attract outside capital will help fuel the region’s ecosystem.
  3. Hipness – As reported in the Globe, Raj Aggarwal, CEO of Localytics feels that “There are more subway lines, and it’s a little hipper in the downtown in many ways because there’s better food.” The tech economy drives the local economy as well. OTR and NKY have seen a surge of new restaurants and clubs, but we need to support them and keep them viable.
  4. Space  – Cambridge is running out of space, and less expensive space in particular. Google and Amazon have expanded in Cambridge over the past few years – so Boston’s average rage of $48.39/sq ft looks a lot better than the $57.85. OTR is a steal compared to these prices.
  5. Community – Both cities have reached their tipping point of talent with lots of software engineers, startup leaders and savvy marketing soldiers. Many co-working spaces offer cross-pollination opportunities and events that offer a natural setting for networking. Imagine being able to hire a software engineer on their third or fourth startup with significant experience at Microsoft or Amazon down the street.

Take note Cincinnati – ideas are impossible until they are not. Vision can drive a community to success. Boston is proving that to Cambridge. A little competition can be very healthy for the ecosystem.

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