Monster and Eons Founder Jeff Taylor Starts Incubator as Protest to Startups Fleeing Boston

3/2/10Follow @xconomy

Monster.com and Eons.com founder Jeff Taylor thinks entrepreneurs are bluffing when they cite Boston’s harsh winter weather as the reason for fleeing the city for operations elsewhere, such as California’s Silicon Valley.

“The real objection is that it’s hard to get discovered in Boston, and that our resource-rich community feels like it’s locked behind closed doors,” he says. In January, to help open more of those doors, Taylor quietly launched a startup incubator out of his Charlestown Navy Yard offices. He named the incubator Deep Snow. “I thought to go right in the face of that objection,” he says, explaining the name.

Taylor charges entrepreneurs $200 a month for their own designated desks at his open workspace, and between $250 and $350 a desk in closed-door offices. The incubator, which Taylor refers to as “scrappy entrepreneurial space,” also features a conference room seating 16 that entrepreneurs can rent for $75 an hour. Internet access and shared kitchen space are also included in the price.

“I call it a bare bones incubator,” he says of Deep Snow, which lives on the fourth floor of the updated warehouse-style building that houses two of Taylor’s other businesses, online community site Eons and dating site Meetcha.com, both targeted at the baby boomer age group. His third company, an online obituary database called Tributes.com, is located in another neighborhood of Boston.

Taylor, who works out of the first floor, said he plans to swing by the Deep Snow space every few days for casual consulting with the startups, and will help introduce founders to venture capitalists and other members of the community with resources. He’s also using his connections at area business schools to match Deep Snow startups with interns.

“I wanted to do my part to help keep local IP in this town and create some jobs,” Taylor says. Deep Snow currently houses two companies, RetireLife, a web directory targeting those taking care of elderly parents, and a PR firm that Taylor couldn’t yet reveal the name of.

“I moved into this incubator to surround myself with other startups and to get a new set of blood to bounce ideas off of,” said RetireLife founder Megan Shea, who previously worked out of Babson College’s incubator space. Shea’s website, which launched to a Massachusetts audience last May and opened last month as a national elderly care directory, targets the same baby boomer group as Taylor’s businesses.

Incubator

“He gives you a couple of ideas in a few minutes and leaves you chewing on them for a few hours,” she says of Taylor’s on-the-fly consulting approach at the incubator. Taylor does not have an equity stake in RetireLife, though, Shea said.

Taylor is working on getting a few new high-tech startups at Deep Snow and is slated to have about six companies in the space by the end of March. He isn’t involved in investment discussions with any of the tenants, though, he said. The goal is to get 20 startups this year into the incubator, which has about 10,000 square feet, he says. Space at Deep Snow will be doled out on a first-come, first-serve basis, and interested companies can contact Eons CFO Matt Fuller.

We’ve also updated our X Lists list of technology coworking spaces to include to include Deep Snow.

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  • Jonathan Davis

    Sounds like Jeff is trying to rent some unused office space. Good for him.

  • anurag

    I fled Boston because of the snow. Had the weather been like California, I might have stayed…
    If you arent from Boston, theres not much incentive other than the Fall and Charles River to stay on.

  • http://www.lifeoffbi.com Life of F Bi

    congrats megan and retirelife on the great progress. as someone who was in the babson incubator with megan, i can say whoever moves into snow deep will definitely benefit from her energy.

  • jane

    It would make more sense to have business incubator space that is accessible to people with disabilities. This fourth-floor space he’s using is not, meaning large numbers of potential entrepreneurs, employees and clients cannot physically use what’s being offered.

  • Ed

    @jane the 4th floor space is accessible via an elevator.

  • john

    It sounds like co-working, not incubation.

    If it’s incubation, where’s the seed money / investment?

    Seriously. If you want a desk, you can do that at Cambridge Innovation Center, BetaHouse, and elsewhere.

  • http://www.celebrityspouses.net amy

    I was told two weeks ago. If out seeking funding and you do NOT solve a business solution. Boston VC or Angles will not fund you.
    Boston still is not understanding Social networks as a serious business. Facebook started here and left due to funding.. Boston lost a lot of jobs and revenue.

  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/ekutz/ Erin Kutz

    Thanks for the comments. Across the country we’re seeing a lot of gray area in what distinguishes a co-working space vs. an incubator. We thought Deep Snow fit into the incubator category because of the degree of networking support and business advice that Taylor provides to his tenants, rather than simply renting out space and desks to them. You may note, however, that we listed Deep Snow on the Technology Co-Working Space X list instead of the Venture Incubators & Seed Funds page, because that equity investment segment isn’t there (yet). Overall, it seems the definitions of incubators and co-working spaces are continuing to remain pretty fluid.

  • john

    I don’t think there has to be gray area about the distinction between co-working and incubation.

    That which is incubated is owned by the incubator. It’s the chicken’s egg, or the egg of whatever owns the incubator.

    Here we have the landlord dropping by with “a couple of ideas” that cause a team to “chew on them for a few hours.” That doesn’t sound like egg-warming to me. It sounds like an interruption.

    Indeed, I think it would be helpful for articles such as this one to make such distinctions — perhaps especially since you already are making such a distinction in your categorization on the “Technology Co-Working Space” list. Some of the “news” here is about trying to adopt the name “incubator” without providing the other benefits many incubators commonly provide.

    I’d be curious to know of other self-named “incubators” across the country that only rent space and don’t provide obvious access to capital.

  • Barb

    Entrepreneurs don’t need more cheap space. They don’t need a few hours of pithy words. They need hands-on, roll up their sleeves help, equipment, and money.

  • http://www.absolutesolutionsHC.com Liz Perry

    How can I reach Jeff Taylor?

    I am an entrepreneur and own a Consulting Firm that does Consulting and Executive Recruitment in Long Term Care, Home Health, Hospice and the Ancillary providers throughout the U.S. and beyond.

    I have a confidential matter I would really like to speak with him on? Anyone know how to best connect with him?

  • News Reporter

    Jeff Taylor has been a fucking failure since Monster. A total fucking failure. He should work for Obama. They both share something in common.