XSITE 2011, TechStars Demo Day, the Bruins, and Coolio: 25 Things to Remember From Boston’s Hell Week
Ladies and gentlemen, after last week I hereby declare the end of high season for tech events in Boston. We’ve had our celebrations, drunk our grain, and talked our heads off. Now, before we start getting some things done around here, let’s reflect just a little more.
The following took place during a 24-hour period last week:
—Coolio performed at the DartBoston/TechStars Demo Day party.
—The Boston Bruins beat the favored Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals for their first title since 1972.
—Fashion guru Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, co-founder of Gilt Groupe, shared the stage with me at our XSITE 2011 conference at Babson College (photo gallery here).
I’m not sure which of these pairings was least likely—fashion and I have rarely shared the same sentence—but the fact that all three happened in the span of a day suggests Armageddon is upon us. And, given the collective lack of sleep in this region (or at least this office) during that time, I will refer to it as Hell Week—after the Navy SEAL training where candidates are pushed to their limit, sleep less than four hours over 5.5 days, and emerge on the other side stronger than they thought they could be. I mean it in a good way, really.
All of this calls for a retrospective of highlights I’m able to remember through the haze of last week. Let’s get right to it:
1. I remember TechStars Demo Day kicking off with “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys blasting from the speakers of the Royale nightclub—and all the startup teams joining managing director Katie Rae on stage, clapping, wearing a mix of company T-shirts, camouflage tuxedo suits, and other hipster items.
2. I remember a lot of raucous whooping and cheering for the startups (before, after, and sometimes during their pitches), and intro music for each speaker. A bit over the top, but I understand the need to build excitement. One investor called the format distracting, but he was in the minority.
3. I remember a mix of presentation styles, which was nice—from “here’s my life story” to “let’s get right to the business,” from laid-back to in-your-face. Also I remember Walt Doyle from Where (now PayPal) looking like a veteran stand-up comic as he introduced the first TechStars startup, EverTrue.
4. I remember angel investor Bill Warner introducing Ginger.io’s Anmol Madan by saying he was “fearless.” Case in point: some of Madan’s research work at the MIT Media Lab was on “trying to understand women with a computer.”
5. I remember lots more financing being announced by lots more companies than usual over the past couple of years (see this updated list of TechStars Boston financings for the current class). Perhaps Y Combinator’s $150K guaranteed investment for graduates of the program is not so big an advantage anymore.
6. I remember Hardi Meybaum of GrabCAD saying he likes Boston because … Next Page »