How Massachusetts Gets Her Groove Back

5/6/08

Editor’s note: Massachusetts, in the eyes of Highland Capital Partners co-founder and general partner Paul Maeder, has three problems with its startup engine. That’s okay, because Maeder has three solutions.

Maeder outlined both the problems and the solutions in a talk at the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council’s annual meeting on Feb. 27—providing a slide-by-slide analysis of the Bay State and how it can best compete with archrival California. He didn’t write up the talk, which brought to light several factors that have often gone undiscussed or at least are under appreciated in all the recent arguments and angst surrounding the Massachusetts vs. Silicon Valley question. But he agreed to share his PowerPoint.

Here’s a quick peek at what it contains:

Problem No. 1: California Always Outperforms Massachusetts
Problem No. 2: Is Everyone in the Game? (Hint: Think Harvard and this piece by Xconomist Chris Gabrieli)
Problem No. 3: What’s Government Doing?

You’ll have to view Maeder’s presentation to get the solutions.

Maeder, who also addressed much the same subject at Xconomist Vinit Nijhawan’s recent workshop on Exploring Regional Venture Capital Models, welcomes your views in the comments section below.

Paul Maeder is a co-founder and general partner at Highland Capital Partners in Lexington, MA. Follow @

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  • John Kenney

    Maybe you had to be there, but I don’t find this at all compelling. Where’s the beef?

    Hold longer + xconomy + no Ralph Nader. That’s the formula? Geez. I hope there’s a Plan B somewhere.

    The silly weather slide doesn’t help – a statistical fabrication if ever there was one.

  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/bbuderi/ Robert Buderi

    Hi John,

    Appreciate your comment. Just one point of clarification on solution No. 2 (and we realize just posting a PP doesn’t fully convey what was being said): while we are proud of Xconomy, Maeder was not referencing us as a solution.

    Rather, he was pointing out articles in Xconomy and the Boston Globe that referenced, respectively, the need for Harvard to do a better job at encouraging entrepreneurs and spinoffs, and the exodus of young people from the state and the need to do something to stem that tide.

  • Kate Stohlman

    On April 17th, the Massachusetts State Senate passed 39 – 0 “healthcare cost containment” legislation, including two provisions that would have a negative impact on medical device companies in Massachusetts and those
    that do business in this state.

    1)The Senate approved an amendment to S. 2650, introduced by Senators Richard Moore and Mark Montigny that would establish a licensing requirement for all life science company representatives that interact with healthcare professionals. This would include all sales representatives and R&D personnel that regularly connect with doctors, nurses and technicians.

    The licensing program would be administered by the Mass. Department of Public Health require all licensees to complete unspecified continuing education and pay an annual registration fee.

    2) S. 2650 would ban gifts of any value from life sciences companies to healthcare professionals. This ban would prohibit funding travel, meals and accommodations associated with training provided by medical device companies to healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses and technicians. The legislation would also restrict medtech companies from providing such items as brochures, charts, anatomical models and research grants.

    I opposes the “gift” (information) ban and
    the “licensing” (handcuff and gag) initiative as proposed in S. 2650. These provisions will have a chilling impact on medical device
    companies’ abilities to interact with and train medical professionals. Unfettered interaction between engineers and doctors is the lifeblood of medical device innovation. Small companies and large will be forced to move their research (and eventually their production) to friendlier states.

    Your participation is critical to turning back these harmful proposals. Write to your state rep. This will kill medical device development both for the doctors and the inventors in Massachusetts.

    The idea that the free exchange of technical information between engineers and doctors is the reason health care costs too much is the most absurd notion the legislature has approved in my memory.

    S. 2650 is now pending in the House Ways & Means Committee, and action is expected on the bill in the coming weeks.