With one founder living in New York and one in Boston, Directr had a big decision to make. The mobile video startup out of Dogpatch (that just raised $1.1 million) ended up heading north, and not just for the sports.
I caught up with Directr’s co-founders Max Goldman and Eli Schleifer to hear more about what they’re working on and why they chose Boston. (Schleifer has been here for years; Goldman is moving here in a couple weeks.) From our conversation, here are the reasons Directr ended up a Boston company rather than a New York one:
Several weeks back, Directr put out the call for interns and found six they were excited to bring on board. That might not sound significant, but the fact that they received such a strong response so late in the process points to the first reason the founders give for choosing Boston: the talent coming out of its universities. In particular, they believe developer talent is strong here for that reason.
Discussion of collaboration and Boston usually comes up in the context of not having enough of it relative to Silicon Valley. But that’s changing. And Goldman told me he thinks Boston actually has a leg up on New York in this respect.
“There’s this ethos of collaboration here,” he said. “This spirit of ‘we’re tackling big problems together.'”
It’s easy to lose sight of the importance of big companies, and in this case Microsoft’s presence here played a big role. Schleifer was previously a senior developer there, and it was his Microsoft connections that led him to Gus Weber who in turn brought them into Dogpatch. And it was through Microsoft connections that Directr met some of its investors.
A Great Place to Do Consumer Tech
Our startup community bemoans the lack of big consumer tech companies, but everyone knows it’s important to differentiate your product. The Directr founders told me that, frankly, the lack of “sexy” companies in Boston helps them stand out and attract talent.
One of the main reasons you hear when companies move west is simply that wallets open faster out there. But Directr’s commitment to Boston was vindicated by its recent investment round which had strong Boston representation through NextView Ventures, Boston Seed Capital, and Advancit Capital.
New York’s burgeoning startup scene is impressive – and I’m personally a fan of thinking of the two as hubs in the same regional ecosystem – but for Directr, shipping up to Boston made the most sense. We’re glad it did.