Why Boston Is On Fire Right Now
At last week’s Boston’s State of Innovation, the Ladies of the iLab had the pleasure of joining leaders of the Boston community to celebrate the city’s entrepreneurs, prominent leaders and groundbreaking strides toward building a stronger future for the City of Boston. The City of Boston is making serious moves to create a stronger future for the cultivation, growth and sustainability of innovation and technology in its ever-thriving communities.
THE HISTORY OF BOSTON’S INNOVATION COMMUNITY
In recent history, Boston has been home to sparking the growth of new ideas that have disrupted industries and changed the way we live. We all know about Facebook being famously born out of Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm while he was studying at Harvard, but why is it that Boston educated entrepreneurs picked up their bags and took off for Silicon Valley on graduation day?
Traditionally, Silicon Valley has been home to a number of the nation’s best-known VCs and tech start-ups. The Bay Area’s “think different” culture combined with an outstanding line up of colleges cranking out all star innovators created the perfect recipe for a prosperous start-up ecosystem, whose essence is hilariously captured in HBO’s latest hit series. Silicon Valley has been an amazing cultivator of innovation for thought leaders across industries for decades.
ALL THAT HAS CHANGED
Today, Boston is joining the startup community as the next leading hub for innovation. Over the past 5-7 years, Boston has been the home of hundreds of startups including Hubpsot, Streetwise-Media, TripAdvisor, and Wayfair among other wicked cool start-ups across ad tech, sports, health, and education that built their frameworks in its start-up centric neighborhoods and saw massive growth as a result of the growing investor communities and education resources in the city.
“We had a chance to move to Silicon Valley,” explained Brian Shin, founder and CEO of Boston-based Visible Measures and Mustbin, at Bostinno’s Up Front Event. “We decided to stay in Boston. Now we have 8 offices.”
In November 2013, Facebook found its routes back to Boston, and was quickly joined by Twitter, Google, Amazing and Apple, all of whom are seeing rapid growth building their infrastructure engineering, data and analytics teams to support new projects for the companies. Today, startups across the globe want to join the leading innovative companies in Boston.
At Boston’s State of Innovation we got the inside scoop from Mayor Marty Walsh on how the City of Boston has invested in closing the innovation gap in order to push the city limits and support amazing growth for new businesses. “Solving problems is the innovator’s path to creation of ideas,” explained Walsh. “Boston’s startup community to learning to ways to connect with each other.”
BOSTON’S INNOVATION PROJECTS
- Boston’s Market for Innovation: Boston is creating a platform, led by the Chief of Economic Development John Barros, that the startup community can come together on. “Boston as a city needs to be more willing to share Big Data,” Barros explains. “It’s a cultural shift for all the departments; it’s also a technology overhaul.” Barros will be pushing out initiatives to connect Boston entrepreneurs and innovators to cultivate and grow their big ideas.
- Startup Incubators: Boston is expanding is innovation hub beyond the city limits. On July 1st, Roxbury’s Dudley Square Center for Innovators is joining Kendall Square and the Seaport District as the latest high-tech accelerator community for inner city neighborhoods.
- Global Initiatives: The streets of Boston are going global. In order to be a global city, Marty realized we must tap into the expertise of Global markets. One of the first global initiatives will be the launch of digital windows throughout Boston that will display a live stream of a scene in cities throughout the world (Paris, London, Rome) and vice-versa
- Public Space Invitational: Boston is investing encouraging residents to overhaul the cityscape and devise ways to make it more innovative. The Public Space Invitational was an effort on behalf of the New Urban Mechanics to reimagine the way we design and engage with public spaces. Check out the winning projects soon to be found among the streets of Boston
- College Think-tank: The third CollegeThinkTank, will be help at MassChallenge on Saturday, June 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to encourage startups to test and deploy their ideas with potential customers who are often businesses or residents living in the Boston area.
- Hackathon: Later this summer, the City will be hosting a hackathon, change the way consumers connect with the City of Boston online.
“We’ve always been a city of ideas and research, democracy and community,” Walsh explained at the State of Innovation. “Now, more than ever, we’re bringing these strengths together…This is the spirit of innovation, and it’s transforming our economy.”