This post was written collaboratively by Michael Greeley, Andy Ory, and Scott Savitz.
All entrepreneurs—even those that have already secured financing—need a great network of supporters to keep advancing their ventures to that “next” phase. So, it is exciting and really gratifying being in a position to open doors and make introductions for energetic young startups. As chairs of the Mass Tech Hub Collaborative’s 12×12 Initiative, we facilitate new connections for entrepreneurs and support expanded success across the Massachusetts startup ecosystem.
It’s great to see the many varied bridges that 12×12 startups are building to leading Massachusetts industry executives and institutions. These are the relationships they can draw on to link to valuable resources, expertise, and opportunities to help their startup capital go further and propel business growth. Not surprisingly, many of them have ties to folks already participating in 12×12 and Tech Hub-related activities (see below for a participant list). Examples include: Endeca founder Steve Papa angel-funding Silver Lining Systems and Predilytics; Netezza founder Jit Saxena providing early backing to Apptegic; Brian Shin of Visible Measures advising Kibits; and Jonathan Kraft of the Kraft Group seed funding Shareaholic.
Going further afield, Olejo, Dailybreak, and Smart Lunches all have employees that were recently competitively selected to the 2012 Future Leaders Group of the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange (MITX), where they will gain special mentoring and networking opportunities. And, Debi Kleiman, President of MITX just signed on as an advisor to Smart Lunches, along with hometown celebrity chef and restaurateur Barbara Lynch. A few months earlier, Sample6 Technologies was awarded a $750,000 accelerator loan by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.
These sorts of connections to recent startup winners and recognized industry leaders can motivate business success for small, new ventures in any number of ways. Just over the last six months, the average 12×12 startup increased their employee count 53% (from 12 to 18 workers) and boosted their capital base 54% (from $4 million to $6 million). In total, 12×12 currently involves 17 startups, representing 253 jobs and $80 million of private investment.
Some recent funding successes include: Shareaholic’s $3 million Series A; InsightSquared’s $4.5 million Series A; Dailybreak’s $5 million round; and Boundless’ $8 million Series A. All of these were led by or involved 12×12-participating VCs.
Other individual success stories include Shareaholic recently topping 1.5 million downloads of its app and snagging former Yahoo CTO Raymie Stata as a new board advisor. And Smart Lunches has steadily been growing its number of partner schools, daycares, and camps (now up to 40), so that their orders quadrupled between last April and May alone and are on track for similar expansion in the fall. Also, On the Spot Systems continues to land impressive deals for use of its mobile survey technology, including those with Not Your Average Joe’s, the Ninety-Nine Restaurants, BJ’s Wholesale Club, and PepsiCo Foodservice, Inc.
No doubt, the entrepreneurial environment we are in offers many quality resources for startup funding, services, and mentoring and a myriad of interconnections between key players. Yet, gaining access and a firm foothold in this dynamic space does not always happen by chance. So, we are proud to be doing our small bit, as a part of the state’s innovation establishment, to support opportunities for startups to build new and important business relationships. It’s an effort—one among many here in Massachusetts—to keep the startup success stories rolling!
12×12 Startups include:
Apptegic; Boundless; Cloze; Custom Made; Daily Break; Directr; Harvest Automation; Insight Squared; Kibits; Linkable Networks; Olejo; On the Spot Systems; Predilytics; Sample6 Technologies; Shareaholic; Silver Lining Systems; Smart Lunches.
12×12 CEO participants include:
Colin Angle of iRobot; Jim Baum of Symbotic; Jeff Bennett of Swap.com; Joe Chung of Redstar: Desh Deshpande of Sparta Group; Helen Greiner of Cyphyworks: Brian Halligan of Hubspot; Tim Healy of EnerNoc; Diane Hessan of Communispace; Jonathan Kraft of The Kraft Group; Andy Ory of AcmePacket; Steve Papa of Endeca; Paul Sagan of Akamai; Scott Savitz of ShoeBuy; Brian Shin of Visible Measures; Ram Sudireddy of CHiL Semiconductor; Steve Vinter of Google; Michael Weintraub of Humedica.
12×12 VC participants include:
Jon Auerbach of Charles River Ventures; David Beisel of Next View Ventures; Kent Bennett of Bessemer Venture Partners; Liam Donahue of 406 Ventures; Scott Friend of Bain Capital; Jamie Goldstein of North Bridge Venture Partners; Michael Greeley of Flybridge Capital Partners; Felda Hardymon of Bessemer Venture Partners; Matt Harris of Village Ventures; Eric Hjerpe of Kepha Partners, Bob Hower of ATV Capital; Chris Lynch of Atlas Venture; Paul Maeder of Highland Capital Partners; Eric Paley of Founder Collective; Carl Stjernfeldt of Castile Ventures.