Massachusetts Innovation News & Events

Boston Startup School Moves to Atlantic Wharf

Boston Startup School is the best place for young professionals to learn the skills needed to have an immediate and positive impact on the startup they join.

Boston Startup School moving to Communispace HQ on Boston waterfront

Article Courtesy of:  Boston Business Journal

Boston Startup School is the best place for young professionals to learn the skills needed to have an immediate and positive impact on the startup they join.

Boston Startup School is the best place for young professionals to learn the skills needed to have an immediate and positive impact on the startup they join.

The Boston Startup School is moving this week to a new location, at Atlantic Wharf in Boston.

 VC Editor- Boston Business Journal Email

Seeking to be closer to startup hubs in Boston’s Innovation District and Leather District, the Boston Startup School is moving this week from the Harvard Innovation Lab in Allston into the headquarters of Communispace at Atlantic Wharf in Boston, program co-founder Shaun Johnson said.

The Startup School offers a free six-week program to prepare workers for employment at tech startups, and is launching its second class of about 60 students on Nov. 5, Johnson said. Funding comes from partners including a number of local tech companies.

The Startup School’s inaugural class ran in June and July at the Innovation Lab, and more than 80 percent of its students had jobs within the first month of the program’s completion, he said.

The program trains workers on four startup job tracks: Software development, marketing, product design and sales and business development.

The new location for the Startup School, at 290 Congress St., is ideally situated near a large number of fast-growing tech firms, Johnson said.

“Where we’re going to be is part of the innovation happening (in Boston), with all the energy nearby in the Leather District and Boston Innovation District. We’re going to straddle right in the middle of that,” Johnson said.

The Startup School will lease roughly 3,000 square feet from Communispace, about the same amount of space the program had at the Innovation Lab, Johnson said.

Communispace previously said it would occupy 80,000 square feet in the Atlantic Wharf building.

Communispace, which was acquired by Omnicom in 2011, is a good match for the Startup School due to its work around bringing people together in online communities, Johnson said.

“Looking at who we are, and what we do for the community in bringing skills and people together, we could help (Communispace) traverse this whole space,” Johnson said. “I think our missions tie really neatly together.”

For the second class, the Startup School is also expanding its base of partners, which support the program financially and often get involved with teaching or speaking at the program’s classes.

New partners for the second class include Boston area startups Yesware, Backupify, The Tap Lab, Zagster, UberSense and Daily Grommet, along with Tapjoy (based in San Francisco but with a Cambridge office via the Viximo acquisition) and San Francisco-based startup Traackr.

Traackr blogged last week that it will be partnering with Boston Startup School as instructors in the Web development track, and is “excited to potentially meet the next Traackr team member” at the program.

Looking ahead, the Startup School is planning to hold a summer class again in 2013, but may hold another class before then, in the spring, if there is enough support in the Boston startup community, Johnson said.

Johnson, formerly a TechStars Boston associate, co-founded the program with Aaron O’Hearn, who is head of special projects at TechStars Boston.

The Startup School’s head of content, Kelly McDonald, is an associate at TechStars Boston.

Article Courtesy of:  Boston Business Journal


About Boston Startup School

An experience to master critical job skills

Boston Startup School is the best place for young professionals to learn the skills needed to have an immediate and positive impact on the startup they join.
It’s an immersive program that educates participants on the startup culture, team dynamics and one of four in-demand skill sets.
You will have an opportunity to work with an incredible set of fellow students and meet Boston startup companies that are looking for top talent to grow their businesses.


It all started at TechStars in Boston.

Each Session, the team would continuously ask around the ecosystem “how can we be more helpful?” and they found the answer wasn’t always about financing, but instead about people. Human capital. People who were hungry for a startup and didn’t require training; yet could operate without heavy guidance, make high-impact decisions and deliver immediate value. The team at TechStars began thinking how they could equip the best and brightest minds with in-demand skills they needed to make immediate impact in startups. With an idea, guts and tons of support, Katie Rae got on stage at Ruby Riot and told the community what was about to hit them – the Boston Startup School was launching.

Since that point, they’ve built a team who has been hard at work building an experience complete with action-based curriculum and relevant startup practitioners as instructors.

The applicant response for the inaugural class was astonishing, rivaling that of an Ivy League institution.

You can apply for future sessions of the program here.

Boston Startup School

Experiential Learning

Boston Startup School

Action. Doing. Delivery.

Boston Startup School offers a unique opportunity for students to experience the workflow and culture of a startup workspace.

Our students learn to do, create and deliver with the help of experienced industry leaders in one of four areas of expertise: Product & Design, Software Development, Marketing or Sales & Business Development.

Our classrooms and structure inspire intimate Q&A sessions with lead to collaborative, real-world projects that test and reinforce your new skills. We force you to build and deliver real things that have impact beyond your work.

Adding that real-world pressure requires you to up the ante and put 110% in to what your building.

Meet our Network

Being a part of Boston Startup School simplifies the networking process.

Students of Boston Startup School, will be catapulted to the pinnacle of a collaborative, supportive, and awesome network in the Boston community and elsewhere. They will leave behind the awkward conversations, faceless name badges, and general uncertainty that is common when networking. Instead, students will attend regular events designed to optimize their experience at the program, while working with the staff and instructors to seek out the best opportunities for personal and professional growth. Partnerships with local and national organizations give students priority access to events and seminars at heavily discounted rates.

An extremely important part of the program is the relationships students form with each other. The BSS staff embodies a “pay it forward” mentality, which helps encourage a truly unique environment of support and collaboration both within the program and the greater community. From weekly skill shares to barbeques, sailing on the Boston Harbor, ultimate frisbee, adventurous dinners, and our highly competitive kickball league, students will form invaluable and life-long bonds with each other.

Students build relationships with Boston Startup School’s alumni, partners, sponsors, and extended network. Gain access to the full spectrum of the startup ecosystem including small teams looking to rapidly expand, large companies supporting the startup community, and everything in between. Interact with these companies through morning coffee sessions, field trips to offices, and exclusive speaking events.

Our graduates believe in giving back to the community and are excited to see you succeed, just as they have.

Investor Capitalists in Boston

Venture Capital Boston Massachusetts

Start-up Axio, IDEO put heads together


david skok

MATRIX PARTNERS - David Skok – A top go-to investor

Highlights from Scott Kirsner’s Innovation Economy blog.

One of the cooler start-ups in Cambridge right now is Axio, which is developing a headband that could improve your ability to focus on work, studying, or an athletic endeavor.

I wrote about the company back in February, and since then, Axio has participated in two “accelerator” programs: Haxlr8r, which involved spending 15 weeks in Shenzhen, China, and Highland Capital Partners’ Summer@Highland program for collegiate entrepreneurs, based in Kendall Square.

Now Axio will be the first “start-up in residence” at the Central Square offices of IDEO, the renowned design firm.

“Axio is doing really cool stuff with sensors and playing across the hardware and software boundary,” says Colin Raney, IDEO’s location director in Cambridge.

“We think there’s a great opportunity to learn from each other.”

Axio’s headband uses three sensors that touch the wearer’s forehead to measure brain activity, and transmit the data via Bluetooth to a PC or mobile device. Software on the device helps guide the wearer to a state of intense focus. Cofounder Arye Barnehama has said the company is aiming for a price of about $100.

As for whether IDEO will open its Cambridge office to other fledgling businesses in the future, Raney says, “We’re definitely interested . . . but fit is critical.

For us, this is about learning, finding inspiration, and playing in new spaces.”

Boston’s go-to investors

Venture Capital Boston Massachusetts

When an entrepreneur in Boston has a new idea, which investors see it first?

I surveyed 91 entrepreneurs this month to create a list of the “go to” venture capitalists in Boston in five different categories. It was easy to determine the top dogs in software and the Web but harder in life sciences or semiconductors. My question was simple: “Who is the first VC in Boston/New England you’d pitch?”

I asked people to weigh in only on fields where they’d had experience: social, mobile, consumer Web, and games; enterprise-oriented software, services, software-as-a-service; life sciences, health care, and medical device; cleantech, energy, sustainability, LEDs, and batteries; semiconductors, telecom, materials, robotics, and other “hard” technologies that don’t fit into the cleantech category.

Top vote-getters in the first two categories each received more than a dozen votes, while the other winners rarely received more than three; I received fewer responses from entrepreneurs in life sciences and cleantech, and there were a greater number of investors receiving votes in these categories, especially in life sciences, where 45 respondents gave votes to 23 different VCs.

■ Social media, consumer Web, mobile and games (62 responses):

Go-to investor: Bijan Sabet, Spark Capital

Runner-up: Eric Paley, Founder Collective

Go-to firm: Spark Capital

■ Enterprise-oriented software, services, and SaaS (57 responses):

Go-to investor: David Skok, Matrix Partners

Runner-up: Izhar Armony, Charles River Ventures

Go-to firm: Matrix Partners

■ Life sciences, health care, and medical devices (45 responses):

Go-to investor: Michael Greeley, Flybridge Capital Partners

Runner-up: Bruce Booth, Atlas Venture

Go-to firm: Polaris Venture Partners

■ Cleantech, energy, and sustainability (32 responses):

Go-to investor: Matt Nordan, Venrock

Runner-up: Bilal Zuberi, General Catalyst

Go-to firm: North Bridge Venture Partners

■ Semiconductors, telecom, materials, and robotics (32 responses):

Go-to investor: David Aronoff, Flybridge Capital Partners

Runner-up: No clear runner-up

Go-to firm: Matrix Partners

Note: Antonio Rodriguez of Matrix Partners joined the firm in 2010, and his lack of a long track record may be why he received votes in three different categories: social, enterprise, and semiconductors.

His voted totaled 7.25, making him the third-highest after Skok and Sabet.

And Aronoff at Flybridge moved to New York over the summer to help expand the firm’s office there, so he may not really be accurately defined as a Boston VC going forward.

For the full Innovation Economy blog, updated daily, visit