It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, we’re not talking about the holiday season. BostInno’s 50 on Fire, our annual awards celebration highlighting our city’s hottest influencers and innovators, is coming up on December 7. And while we’ve already shared the names of this year’s finalists, we’d now like to take the time to tell you a little bit about them.
Let’s kick everything off with more intel about our 12 finalists in the investment category for 2016. You can find more details about these companies and individuals below, but make sure you grab tickets to our awards event to see who makes the cut for being hotter than hot.
The Cambridge-based nonprofit supports microfinancing institutions to make a global impact for impoverished entrepreneurs. Despite being founded in the 1960s, Accion fits right into the innovation economy, also investing in startups that can improve financial services for people in developing nations through Accion Venture Lab. It’s now parterned with 35 microfinancing institutions in 21 countries throughout the world. Last year, it had 6 million active borrowers and this past month, Accion Venture Lab saw its first exit.
Boston Syndicates (BOSS) is an Accomplice-backed and AngelList-powered syndicate through which founders can invest in startups for carried interest. Founders turned investors working through BOSS include Walt Doyle, Diane Hessan, Jen Lum, David Chang, Brent Grinna, Wayne Chang, Jordan Fliegel and Chase Garbarino. And investments have been made in companies like ArtLifting, TableList, Crayon and Drafted.
Fialkow is the co-founder and managing director of General Catalyst. He’s invested in Boston startups including Catalant, CoachUp and Kuvee. This past February, General Catalyst, which has an office in Cambridge, raised its eighth fund totalling $845 million. Fialkow is also a board member of Boston Beer Company.
Devon McDonald is a partner at OpenView Venture Partners, a VC fund investing in growth stage software companies. McDonald is not only part of the firm’s investment committee, but she also heads up OpenView’s Expansion Platform, a team focused on supporting software companies expand into their markets.
Bob Hower and Bill Wiberg, who work together at Advanced Technology Ventures (ATV), founded G20 Ventures, raising $63.35 million for its first fund. They’ve formed a community of 20 (hence the name) accomplished tech veterans to help them invest in early enterprise tech startups located on the East Coast. Its portfolio features names like Evergage, Fuze (previously Thinking Phones) and Mautic.
One of Boston’s newest VCs, Glasswing was founded by Rudina Seseri and Rick Grinnell, both former partners at Fairhaven Capital Partners in Cambridge. With an emphasis on investments in the artificial intelligence and cybersecurity spaces, the firm had been raising $150 million this past summer for its debut fund.
Chairman of Techstars Boston and co-founder of Startup Institute, Katie Rae is a co-founder and managing director at Project 11 Ventures, a seed stage investment fund in Boston. In the past, she’s been an executive at companies like AltaVista and Microsoft Startup Labs.
A principal at .406 Ventures, Payal Agrawal previously co-founded the startup SpotRocket while attending Harvard Business School. Earlier in her career, she was also an associate at Spectrum Equity, a Boston-based growth equity investor with $5.7 billion under management.
Peter Boyce is a principal at General Catalyst and co-founded Rough Draft Ventures, through which the VC firm invests in student startups. RDV has invested in more than 90 companies, including Lovepop, Spyce, Humon, LearnLux, Indico, Herald and Freebird.
Another new fund in the Hub, Pillar was founded this year by Jamie Goldstein, formerly of North Bridge Venture Partners. It’s working with local CEOs and founders at some of city’s most prominent tech companies, like DraftKings, Wayfair, Clear Sky Data, Rapid7, Acquia and TripAdvisor. And in the past few months, Pillar has taken on Sarah Hodges and Rob May as partners, all while raising $100 million for its first fund.
Romulus raised a new fund of $75 million in June, bringing its total assets under management to $150 million. And that’s all before its founders, Krishna Gupta and Neil Chheda, have reached the age of 30. Its investments include ClassPass, Cogito, Cohealo and Placester.
Underscore was founded by Michael Skok, John Pearce and C.A. Webb in 2015. It recently closed its first round at $85 million and is taking an innovative approach to its structure. Along with making its own investments, Underscore will give advisors and investors working with the firm carry, paid out of the VC’s pockets on a deal-by-deal basis, instead of paying them in dilutive company stock.
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