Bridging the divide between the Paris & Boston startup communities

Bridging the divide between the Paris & Boston startup communities
Innovation

Boston and NYC have 3 main rivalries: the Red Sox vs. the Yankees (95 years running), budget deficits, and high-tech startups. The latter is a healthy competition of creating jobs, fueling innovative research, and promoting disruptive technologies.

Boston is lagging behind NYC but has recently gained momentum because of VC firms like Spark Capital which just announced its fourth round raising $450 million and Hubspot, which recently opened its Dublin office and is becoming a household name for in-bound marketing software.

Boston is Not Silicon Valley

Boston start-ups are the result of some post-doc’s research or years of institutional work, which aims to commercialize an existing or innovative technology. Meraki, a networking startup founded by MIT engineers recently sold their company to Cisco for $1.2 billion late last year. On the SXSW accelerator site is a Harvard MD team launching a centralized patient check-in service for after-care. The platform, Careport Health, will resolve a time and money congested manual booking system costing hospitals $7 billion per year.

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In contrast, Silicon Valley start-ups run by former Google or Oracle employees create brilliant products but out of a desire to solve problems for already existing but complaining consumers.The markets may be the same but the cultural attitudes and long term goals of the tech hubs are drastically different.  Fun fact: There are currently over 500 start-ups run by French founders and a growing number of Germans reaching 50,000 in Silicon Valley alone.

 

3 Ways to Join Boston in 2013

Apply for NETVA: New-England Technology Venture Accelerator by April 7, 2013

During the third annual competition in 2012 organized by a Franco-American committee 5 Startups were selected to prepare in a workshop at the Microsoft Inc. headquarters in Paris. The final competition took place in South Boston at Mass Challenge. The research development program aims to boost French start-up teams (20 members of fewer) in penetrating the US market. The winning technology or design of the product will be guaranteed US R&D opportunities and partnerships for successful implantation in the domestic market.

Apply for Boston Startup Institute by March 31, 2013

Boston Startup Institute, a crash course for entrepreneurs, recently added NYC to its program. They boast 94% of graduates getting hired or starting their own companies.The two-month curriculum motivates marketers, BizDev, and web developers to network, engage in demo days, and even more importantly discover if the world of entrepreneurship is the right choice.

Apply for LearnLaunchX Accelerator program by March 25, 2013

The package includes 3 Months of mentorship with 18,000 seed funding, giving a 6% stake of equity in the company to LearnLaunch. The non-profit enables entrepreneurs to provide tools and strategies for the learning industry. Boston may be an ideal spot for any and every academic start-up since it is host to the world’s most renowned educators.

3 Responses

  1. Avatar
    davininhoBoucard Planel

    Great article Nadia, finally someone who puts Boston at the center of the startup scene ! As the former manager of the NETVA program, I spent the last 2 years in the formidable entrepreneurial ecosystem of Boston. There are just a couple of points on which I feel you took small shortcuts 🙂 I think we can’t talk about Boston’s startup scene without including Cambridge and the surroundings, up to all Massachusetts (to be fair with the Silicon Valley).

    Cambridge is the home of MIT, Harvard and dozens of big companies (Google, Novartis, Sanofi, Genzyme, Schlumberger) and hundreds of high tech startups. As an example, the neighbourhood of Kendall Square gathers the biggest concentration of startups in the world :-). It’s pretty hard to compare NYC and Boston as their strengths are different. NYC is much stronger in web, fashion, IT, but is way behind in Biotechs and Cleantech, which require years of research. That may change of course with New York’s investments, but that’s how it is now. And Boston is way ahead of NYC in terms of IPOs 🙂 It is very true that the cultures are different between Boston and the SV, but I believe the long term is the same: generate new economic growth and most of all new jobs and success stories. Boston’s startup ecosystem is very underevaluated by French companies, and that’s a pity. Both SV, NYC and Boston are great places to develop one’s startup, you just have to find which one fits your ambitions and industry the most !

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