Boston: Cradle of Liberty and Data Startups

Opinion

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of enterprise storage solutions. TwinStrata and Nasuni both address traditional capacity issues by providing seamless data storage in the cloud. This approach frees the business from having to invest in, upgrade, or replace infrastructure in-house—a benefit that saves them both time and money. While there are a lot of great pure SaaS players in Boston, storage is one area where a hybrid on-premise and SaaS approach can in fact make good sense.

With Boston hosting some of the country’s most reputable hospitals and medical schools, it’s no surprise the healthcare vertical is a popular focus of data companies in the city. One such company, Ginger.io, is developing software that can model patient behavior and derive intelligent conclusions from massive amounts of behavioral data. And just this past summer, Kyruus released a platform that helps profile physicans based on an extensive analysis of public and private information. This makes it easier to match physicians with appropriate healthcare industry resources. This sort of data is driving more transparency in an industry that’s been unnecessarily opaque.

On the consumer side, data can be used to significantly improve how we search for relevant information and content in our day to day lives. One approach on the local side of search is Cambridge-based and aptly-named Locu, which is hoping to create the world’s largest repository of structured, real time small business offerings—such as menus—to enhance local search. While it’s daunting to take on anything search related (ahem, Google), Locu is engaging an interesting and niche problem by creating and then making sense of enormous amounts of useful data.

Beyond local data, another major part of everyday search is travel. Hopper is scouring the Web and building a massive index of travel-related information, so that users of its service can ask questions like “best place to eat in the Bahamas” and even book travel. In essence, Hopper wants to become the Google of travel search. Coincidentally, Google recently acquired Boston-based ITA, which provides the data layer for travel sites like Expedia, Priceline, and others, in an effort to boost its dominance in travel.

As most people in the tech community in Boston know, it seems like every few months, the blogosphere rehashes the now-familiar discussion of whether “[insert name of city] is the New Silicon Valley.” New York, Boston, you name it. It’s almost always rather hyped. The truth is, right now, Silicon Valley is simply unparalleled as a tech ecosystem. Other cities, however, should be recognized for the strength of their own tech clusters. In Boston’s case, the combination of top schools like MIT and a legacy of giant and successful data companies creates a prime talent pool of data-savvy engineers and thinkers. The next entrepreneur contemplating a data startup might well want to consider calling Boston home.

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David Beyer is the co-founder and CEO of Chart.io, which provides dashboards as a service for database data. Follow @

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