Tuesday, April 14, 2015

New Boston Program For A Startup Factory Links Seasoned Entrepreneurs With New Recruits

A new program from the Boston-based big data co-working space hack/reduce is looking to pair experienced serial entrepreneurs with young talent from the Boston community.
The initiative, developed in conjunction with the Boston-based venture firm FKA Ventures (the technology firm formerly known as Atlas Ventures — and whose partner Chris Lynch is a co-founder of the space), will link Boston’s brightest entrepreneurs with young talent from its universities who are interested in working at new tech companies.
Though in its infancy, hack/reduce has already managed to enlist executives from ArrowPoint and Netezza, both significant enterprise software successes for the Boston community.
“These are guys who have a ton of experience,” says Cort Johnson, an FKA associate also involved in the program.
The new venture from hack/reduce called a “co-creation” model, will involve the elder entrepreneurs coming up with ideas for new businesses, which they will then launch with help from younger operators.
The co-working space will take no equity in these companies, though eventually FKA may become involved, Johnson said.
“The concept is to capitalize on the strengths of multiple generations of tech entrepreneurs,” he said. “Seasoned, visionary entrepreneurs have big ideas. They don’t necessarily want to start up another big business, but they have the desire to stay in the game and help the next generation of entrepreneurs succeed.”
Launched in 2012 by Lynch to promote the development of Boston’s technology ecosystem, hack/reduce has already held 300 events including hackathons to harness big data analytics in applications for the Department of Defense, medicine, transportation, and space travel and interplanetary research in conjunction with National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
“hack/reduce has moved past just being a place for bringing like-minded people together. It is an engine for helping tech entrepreneurs develop their careers in a smart and strategic way, which I personally feel obligated to participate in” Lynch said. “hack/reduce will be the catalyst for building big new tech businesses in Boston and beyond by bringing together the right talent so that they can found, create, and fuel the growth of these businesses.”
The idea of bringing older entrepreneurs together with younger engineering and entrepreneurial talent isn’t a new one. In fact, it embodies some of the latest thinking which has led to the development of so-called venture studios and company builders like Garret Camp’s Expa; Giant PIxel; and John Borthwick’s Betaworks.
In addition to its work in Cambridge, near MIT, the hack/reduce organization is in discussions with the city of Rochester, NY to develop a similar program.

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